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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,