Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Eight held for ‘violence’ in oknha land row

Eight held for ‘violence’ in oknha land row

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A man had been injured in the violence in relation to a land dispute with tycoon Pheun Phalla, who holds the honorific “oknha” title, in Prey Nop district. Hong Menea

Eight held for ‘violence’ in oknha land row

The Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court has placed eight men in pre-trial detention on charges of “intentional violence” in relation to a land dispute with tycoon Pheun Phalla, who holds the honorific “oknha” title, in Prey Nop district.

The land dispute involving oknha Phalla and 500 families living O’Oknha Heng commune’s O’Oknha Heng and O’Ta Sek villages erupted into violence on December 20.

Provincial deputy police chief Kol Phally told The Post on December 24 that the suspects had been identified as Saing Kou, 19; Sok Phearum, 31; Sie Rotha,36 ; Lao Teukyou, 57; Chak Sokun, 56; Song Chen, 30; Phan Sapich, 37; and Kong Reaksa, 36.

Prey Nop district police arrested the eight, who allegedly worked for oknha Phalla, two hours after the violent incident between them and a group of O’Oknha Heng villagers.

Phally said police completed their investigation on December 23 and determined that there was sufficient evidence to send their cases to court for further legal proceedings.

He said the provincial court charged the eight men with “intentional violence” on the evening of December 24.

Provincial court spokesman Lim Bun Heng said the eight had in fact been charged with the more serious crime of “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances” under articles 218 and 411 of the Criminal Code.

A report from the Prey Nop district police said the violence between the villagers and a group of men allegedly sent by oknha Phalla is related to a dispute over the land that the villagers had lived on for many years.

Villagers said oknha Phalla had been sending his men to the area to prevent them from building houses on the land which he claimed he owns despite the villagers having occupied it without challenge from other parties since 1993.

The report said the tycoon’s workers used sticks, slingshots and even fired a gun several times at the villagers in an attempt to stop them from building houses. The villagers then tried to use stones and sticks in self-defence.

District police chief Huor Yai said on December 24 that at least five people – including two of the tycoon’s men and three of the villagers – had been injured in the violence. A pick-up truck belonging to the tycoon’s company was also destroyed.

“The violence was instigated by Pheun Phalla’s group so they were the people who our police decided to arrest and bring to justice,” he said.

Oknha Pheun Phalla could not be reached for comment on December 24.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • Quarantine still a must for all arrivals, in next Covid chapter

    Since early May, an average of five to 10 Cambodian people have died from Covid-19 a day with many others testing positive amid the ongoing community outbreak. At the same time, however, hundreds of patients also recovered a day. The first Covid-19 case in Cambodia was

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of