Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - King writes letter concerning imminent Koh Kong eviction

King writes letter concerning imminent Koh Kong eviction

King writes letter concerning imminent Koh Kong eviction

KING Norodom Sihamoni has written a letter to Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana, asking that the minister investigate a land dispute in Koh Kong province in which villagers are set to be evicted from their homes today.

The King’s letter referenced a note he had received from Kek Pung, president of local rights group Licadho, which, the King wrote, “asked for my help and intervention regarding the Supreme Court’s verdict on June 16, 2009”.

Kek Pung’s letter drew attention to the plight of 43 families from Koh Kong’s Sre Ambel district, who have been involved in a land dispute since 2006 with two businessmen who claim the families have been squatting illegally on their land.The Supreme Court ruled in June that the land belongs to the businessmen, Heng Huy and Sok Hong.

Tep Hai, one of the affected residents, said he was worried that the eviction will occur today, as he had seen several police cars driving on the disputed land. Despite the threat of violence, however, he and other villagers said they plan to resist authorities.

“I am very worried about the court-ordered action ... because it may lead to violence and arrests,” he said. “We will resist attempts by the authorities to enforce the court’s order.”

Phay Nheung, also of Sre Ambel, said that though she and other residents plan to resist the eviction, they would avoid using violence.
Heng Huy said he supported the court order, though he added that he hoped violence could be avoided.

“I will join with the government authorities in carrying out the court’s verdict [today], but we will try to negotiate with the residents there in order to avoid violence,” he said.

Sre Ambel district governor Bun Noeut and Koh Kong provincial Deputy Judge Meas Vatanea said they, too, hoped to avoid violence.
Meas Vatanea said he was not aware of any compensation offered to the affected villagers.

Ang Vong Vathana is currently travelling in Vietnam and could not be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to