Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land dispute hits the capital

Land dispute hits the capital

Land dispute hits the capital


Chi Kraeng district residents flee violent land dispute to petition the National Assembly to intervene; opposition party pledges to take up their cause.

Photo by:

Chi Kraeng villagers in Phnom Penh outside the National Assembly on Monday.  

AROUND 100 villagers from Siem Reap gathered Monday in front of the National Assembly to petition for help over a land dispute in Chi Kraeng district that erupted into violence March 22 when four villagers were shot and injured by authorities.

The clash followed a dispute between villagers from neighbouring communes over 92 hectares of farmland. A video of the incident, which Licadho says it received from villagers,  reportedly shows the deputy district police chief firing a shot into the air. Immediately afterwards, a commune policeman opened fire on villagers, shooting at least two with an AK-47. Other police or military police then started shooting, the NGO said.

The villagers, who said they fear for their safety, were met by Sam Rainsy and the opposition MP for Siem Reap, Ke Sovannroth.

Sam Rainsy pledged to take up their cause, saying: "This is a severe human rights violation.... I will push forward your case to the president of the Human Rights Committee to work on it," he told the villagers.

A representative of the group, Thoang Sareith, told the Post the villagers would remain until the National Assembly resolved their case and guaranteed their safety. Villagers have previously reported receiving threats on their mobile phones, and Thoang Sareith said they were now afraid to return home.

Am Sam Ath, a monitor for the Cambodian human rights NGO Licadho, said the land dispute between the two communes had been ongoing since 2004, but resolution efforts by the authorities had been unsuccessful. He said that provincial Governor Sou Phirin had promised on March 24 he would resolve the dispute fairly with the participation of civil society groups. That had not happened, he added.

Am Sam Ath said the Constitution gives citizens the right to petition the National Assembly for assistance if they lack confidence in their local authorities to solve the problem.

Ke Sovannroth told the villagers that she had written a letter to the Interior Ministry and the National Assembly requesting an investigation, but had not yet received a response.

The Post was unable to contact Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak for comment, but he has previously said that the ministry was investigating the incident, and that police would be held to account if they were found to have acted unlawfully.


  • Professor beaten by mob in Phnom Penh after alleged hit-and-run

    Updated with new information: 6:44am, Tuesday March 13 2018 A university professor accused of a hit-and-run has been transported to Vietnam with serious head injuries after he was brutally beaten by a mob in Phnom Penh late Sunday afternoon. A video of the attack shows a group

  • American ‘fugitive’ arrested in Cambodia outside of US Embassy

    An American citizen was arrested on request by the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, according to Cambodian police. Major General Uk Hei Sela, chief of investigations at the Department of Immigration, identified the man as American Jan Sterling Hagen, and said he was

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of