Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Crowds again seek PM’s help

Crowds again seek PM’s help

Villagers from Battambang and surrounding provinces gather at a pagoda
Villagers from Battambang and surrounding provinces gather at a pagoda yesterday after travelling to Phnom Penh to seek Hun Sen’s intervention in their land disputes. Vireak Mai

Crowds again seek PM’s help

A week after Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly chided provincial officials for allegedly failing to notify him about land disputes, hundreds of villagers converged on the capital yesterday demanding their conflicts be resolved.

About 300 villagers from Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Pailin travelled to Phnom Penh with the intention of submitting petitions directly to the premier, who last week blamed middlemen at the provincial level for keeping such information from him. Police directed the crowd away from Hun Sen’s house, guiding them to a pagoda in Russey Keo district.

“If local authorities can’t solve land disputes, more and more people are going to travel to Phnom Penh,” said Chan Sovet, senior investigator with human rights group Adhoc. “The provincial [officials] cannot solve their problems.”

While gathered at the pagoda yesterday, Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy, his deputy, Kem Sokha, and Ministry of Interior Secretary of State Sak Setha spoke to the group. All said the disputes would be resolved.

“We are over the moon that we were paid so much attention,” said Ouk Sam Ath of Pailin province, who added Setha apologised that the villagers had to travel all the way to Phnom Penh, rather than officials visiting the provinces. “But we are still worried sick about whether they will keep their word.”

Separately, about 30 people gathered outside the Asian Development Bank’s office, demanding answers about the railway project, which will cause more evictions as it moves on to its second stage.

Long Chandy, a community representative, said the ADB has failed to detail what would become of people living along the railway when the buffer grows from its current 3.5 metres to 10 metres.

“We who have houses in the area will soon be evicted,” Chandy said. “So we want to know details about this plan.”

More than 80 supporters of four representatives of villagers displaced by a special economic zone in Koh Kong rallied outside the provincial court.

The four were questioned in court after staff from the SEZ – owned by tycoon Ly Yong Phat – accused them of property destruction and intentional violence. All four were later released.

MOST VIEWED

  • Archaeologists find ancient remnant

    A team from the Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a gatekeeper statue’s foot fragment at the Tonle Snguot Temple, within a metre of the toe of a statue found in 2017. ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on Wednesday that the fragment was

  • Hun Sen to the rescue

    Cambodia has won praise for allowing passengers of the MS Westerdam cruise ship to dock at Preah Sihanouk port, thanks to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s humanitarian act. In a message via Twitter on Wednesday, the director-general of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu

  • EU partially withdraws EBA

    The EU Commission on Wednesday announced the partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme, citing a serious and systematic violation by Cambodia of principles in the four core human and labour rights. The suspension affects one-fifth or €1 billion ($1.08 billion) of Cambodia’s annual

  • PM orders immediate action against ‘sexy’ live streamers

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered immediate action against women who live stream their sales pitches on Facebook wearing revealing clothing. The prime minister said the practice erodes traditional Cambodian values and disgraces women. Hun Sen gave the order to officials attending the Cambodian

  • Trump tweets praise for Kingdom docking ship

    Cambodia continues to earn praise for its humanitarian act of allowing the MS Westerdam cruise ship with more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board to dock at the Preah Sihanouk port. The praise this time comes from none other than US President Donald Trump. “Thank

  • Japan calls for policy changes

    Representatives of Japanese companies and investors on Wednesday submitted a list of policy recommendations to the government concerning 21 challenges to the Kingdom’s business climate. Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami and leaders of the Japanese Business Association in Cambodia (JBAC), Japan International Cooperation Agency