They've had thugs and flaming metal drums before, but residents in a land dispute with Khun Sea Import Export claim intimidation was ramped up when venomous snakes were lobbed into a house.
Early on Wednesday morning, Boeung Kak 1 commune resident Mak Seav Hour, 51, awoke to something falling.
She saw a man running from her house and then a bag containing a cobra and two vipers.
“They wanted the snakes to bite us to death,” she said.
Her neighbour, 57-year-old Sok Heng, who helped Hour’s husband chase the snakes out of the house, said one of them spat venom in his eye. “Soon after the snake spewed its poison, my eye was dim,” he said.
The Boeung Kak 1 families say even though it was dark, they know who perpetrated the snake attack, pointing to the Khun Sea Import Export Group, run by Lieutenant General Yim Leang – the son of Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly.
The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee and the Housing Rights Task Force back up the claim and add the company has harassed the families for days. Customers were chased from the business of one resident on Monday.
The same day, men associated with the export company allegedly threatened the families’ pets; later that night, two dogs and one cat were left dead on the families’ doorsteps.
Lieutenant General Yim Leang confirmed yesterday that he owned the land, but said he did not know of any issues with the residents.
The families’ says their troubles began last year, when the import export group claimed to own the land, according to Housing Rights Task Force legal officer Nan Ony.
“According to a  document from the Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Hun Sen endorsed the land exchange at Boeung Kak 1 commune giving it to the Khun Sea company,” he said.
Four of the seven families who lived on the property refused the $15,000 compensation offered to vacate the area.
“I can’t use the money to buy another piece of land as big as this one,” Hour said. “Here, I run a rice business. I can feed my family with this.”