Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen: Dismiss Koki clash officials if they abused power

Hun Sen: Dismiss Koki clash officials if they abused power

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a meeting of the Supreme Consultation Forum at the Peace Palace on Thursday. Photo supplied

Hun Sen: Dismiss Koki clash officials if they abused power

Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the ministries of Interior and National Defence to investigate senior military and provincial officials in Preah Sihanouk province over their alleged involvement in clashes between members of the security forces and villagers.

The officials in question include a military commander and a deputy provincial governor after the implementation of a Supreme Court ruling over a long-running land dispute turned violent.

The prime minster ordered the ministries to dismiss the two unidentified officials if they are found to have abused their power.

The case involves a Supreme Court ruling in 2017, judging that ownership of a disputed area measuring 71ha in Koki village in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune be returned to the original nine families after it been bought and sold since 1993.

As payment was not made in full, the families ended the sale and continued to own the land, the court ruled. The main cause of the confrontation on January 24 was a 26ha area that remained under dispute.

A man was shot, sustaining serious injuries, during the clashes between nearly 300 villagers and 200 security personnel when residents attempted to stop authorities entering the land.

During a meeting of the Supreme Consultation Forum at the Peace Palace on Thursday, Hun Sen said the court’s ruling ordering the demarcation of the land was supposed to be implemented by the judicial police and not the armed forces.

Ministry of National Defence spokesman General Chhum Socheat said the ministry is probing the military commander’s involvement.

“We are working and implementing the order of Samdech [Hun Sen],” he said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan told The Post on Thursday that the prime minister had spent nearly the entire meeting expressing his frustration with the two officials.

“Hun Sen talked a lot about the land dispute. He pointed out irregularities as to why they sent armed soldiers out of their base to resolve the issue,” he said.

He continued that the violent crackdown on civilians needed to be investigated to ascertain the circumstances.

“Why does the deputy provincial governor not know whether the land is state land or private land? Why did they need to send armed soldiers in because it is a problem for justice officials? Why have the Military Police been sent to the site?” he quoted the prime minister as saying.

Khmer Rise Party leader Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung, in attendance at the meeting, wrote on Facebook that his party was disappointed with the incident of police violence in the land dispute.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak on Thursday said the ministry “supports Hun Sen’s statement” and will follow the prime minister’s orders immediately.

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Shipments of mango to South Korea poised to begin this week

    Exports of Cambodian mangoes to South Korea will begin this week after Korean authorities gave the nod. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Department of Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements director Ker Monthivuth told The Post on Sunday that after several inspections of

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that