Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - After KDC clashes, rage burns

After KDC clashes, rage burns

Straw-stuffed effigies lie on the ground in Kampong Chhnang province’s Lorpeang village
Straw-stuffed effigies lie on the ground in Kampong Chhnang province’s Lorpeang village yesterday during a hexing ritual held by the local community against KDC International. PHOTO SUPPLIED

After KDC clashes, rage burns

In their latest bid to end a long-running land dispute with KDC International, residents of Kampong Chhnang province’s Lorpeang village yesterday cast a curse on the politically connected development company.

Following clashes between KDC security guards and protesters last week, during which at least one person was beaten unconscious and 14 injured, more than 200 villagers gathered over the weekend for a two-day hexing ceremony.

“We would like to appeal to the holy ghost spirit to condemn the company owner and those involved to be … ruined. We do so because the authorities cannot find justice for us, only the holy things can find justice for us,” community representative Seang Heng said.

During the ceremony, residents burned an effigy of KDC director Chea Kheng, the wife of Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem.

Other effigies that were burned included KDC representative Thai Hy; Lam Ley, a court officer who has dealt arrest warrants to the villagers; and authorities who residents say have been complicit in KDC’s land grabbing.

Om Sophy, another community representative, said the residents had been left with no choice but to curse those involved.

“If the company followed the law, they would not [take the land] . . . even the Ministry of Justice issued a letter calling for the company to postpone its activities but it still carries on,” she said.

A letter signed by Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana on July 1 called on the company to stop clearing land until a verdict was reached by Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court.

Sam Chankea, a coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the ritual “reveals that people have lost confidence in the judicial system as well as the . . . government”.

On Thursday, United Nations special rapporteur for human rights Surya Subedi released a statement calling on all sides in the dispute to exercise “calm and restraint”.

KDC representative Hy could not be reached for comment.

Kampong Chhang provincial police chief Prak Vuthy and Kampong Chhnang provincial governor Chhouk Chandoeun also could not be reached for comment.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Thy Sovantha threatens new suit

    Social media celebrity and card-carrying CPP member Thy Sovantha yesterday said she will file a lawsuit against wildlife NGO head Suwanna Gauntlett alleging discrimination after the latter allegedly denied her access to an ecotourism program the group is launching today in Koh Kong province. The

  • Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

    A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities. A report posted to the

  • Hun Sen’s in-law removed from RCAF after cockfighting rings raided

    Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen who is accused of running two large cockfighting rings, has been removed as a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Phany, formerly a one-star brigadier general, was removed by royal decree on December 19, according to

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially