Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ethnic group reps held after land petition bid




Ethnic group reps held after land petition bid

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ten representatives of Banong ethnic villagers from five districts in Mondulkiri were stopped at a checkpoint. Photo Supplied

Ethnic group reps held after land petition bid

Ten representatives of Banong ethnic villagers from five districts in Mondulkiri were questioned for more than an hour by police on Tuesday for their attempt to seek intervention from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet over the loss of sacred land to 11 families.

Kreung Tola, one of the representatives, said after he was released that they were in a van on the way to Phnom Penh in an attempt to petition the premier’s cabinet and other authorities, but 10 police officers stopped them at a checkpoint.

“The police checked the van and brought us in for questioning at the Keo Seima district police station for over an hour,” Tola said.

In December 2016, Secretary of State Thai Norak Satya at the Ministry of Culture met with the provincial authorities and the representatives of the indigenous community in an effort to find a solution to the land dispute near the Phnom Dos Kramom Mountain.

At the meeting, it was decided not to grant the 2,750 square metres of land to the 11 families because they “had no evidence it belonged to them”.

However, Nget Phan, a representative of the 11 families, submitted a letter rejecting that decision and asking for intervention from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts on January 11, 2018. Last month, the land was officially handed to each family by the local authorities.

Representative Tola added that at first he and his community wanted the provincial authorities to intervene but later they found they had no hope and headed to Phnom Penh.

“This is the state’s land and a sacred place which belongs to everyone, not to me alone,” Tola said.

Sun Bun Thoeun, Keo Sima district police chief, told The Post that the police only wanted to instruct the villagers to find a solution from the local authorities first before going to the national-level government. “We did not punish them and let them go home,” Bun Thoeun said.

Long Vibol, Senmonorom town governor, said they decided to give the land to the 11 families to ease their poor livelihoods. “Even though they had land, the authorities granted 5-by-50-metre plots to each family,” Governor Vibol said.

Svay Sam Eang, Mondulkiri provincial governor, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that