SIEM REAP – Villagers in Siem Reap’s Chi Kraeng commune said Monday that they had abandoned a plan to plant dry-season rice on a disputed 475-hectare plot of land after 30 police and military police officers showed up, though the district governor denied that additional police had been sent to the scene. Village representative Thorng Sareth said the villagers had become frightened when they saw the officers riding on motorbikes and cars to the disputed land, which Siem Reap Governor Sou Phirin has ruled belongs to neighbouring Anlong Samnor commune. “We were afraid to go because we heard the police say that they would electrocute us and kill us if we went,” said Tork Savong, 30, who claims to own a two-hectare plot of the disputed land. “But the villagers may decide to go tomorrow.” The ongoing land dispute erupted in violence last March, when some 100 armed police opened fire on 80 Chi Kraeng villagers caught harvesting crops on the land. Four were injured in that altercation. Chi Kraeng district Governor Pork Sereyrothmony denied that officers had been sent to the site on Monday. District police chief Touch Sakal could not be reached for comment.
Land Dispute: Chi Kraeng rice planting abandoned