Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Boeung Kak protester trio detained, released

Boeung Kak protester trio detained, released

Boeung Kak protester trio detained, released

In yet another case of district security guards assuming the role of police officers, three evictees of the capital’s Boeung Kak lake area were detained in the capital yesterday morning and taken to a police station.

Daun Penh district security guards seized Em Srey Touch, 41, Sia Nareth, 56, and Sath Pha, 40, as they gathered with a group of about 10 former Boeung Kak villagers demanding more compensation outside Phnom Penh’s City Hall.

“The guards arrested me while I was getting off a tuk-tuk in order to try to meet with [Phnom Penh governor] Pa Socheatvong,” Srey Touch said.

The three were taken to Phnom Penh municipal police headquarters, questioned and released later without charge.

After the three were detained, about 50 protesters gathered outside the police station demanding their release, which came after each of them agreed to ink all 10 fingers and thumbs on a document containing details of their interviews.

The increase in security guards working for the Phnom Penh municipality or the districts over which it presides has been noticeable this year as men in non-descript clothing, often wearing motorcycle helmets, have forcibly detained or clashed with protesters.

In late January, City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said many of those guards had received no government security training and were detaining people as civilian “public order” officers.

Dimanche said yesterday that the three protesters had been targeted as a way of preventing traffic delays along Monivong Boulevard, where City Hall is situated.

“The arrest is just advice to them since they tried to block the road,” he said. “This can lead to traffic congestion and social disorder.”

The protesters are part of a group of villagers who accepted compensation some years ago to leave their homes at Boeung Kak after the ruling Cambodian People’s Party awarded the area to a company owned by its senator Lao Meng Khin.

Those detained yesterday said their families had accepted $8,500 in compensation after Meng Khin’s company, Shukaku, had flooded their homes with sand and put pressure on them to vacate.

That compensation, however, has not been enough for them to establish new homes of an equivalent standard and many have since fallen into debt, they say.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group