Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kraya gets final negotiation

Kraya gets final negotiation

Kraya gets final negotiation

Kraya commune villagers rest at their homes in Kampong Thom last week. The residents, many of whom are disabled, say they were given permission by Prime Minister Hun Sen to live on the land.

AFTER Sunday’s refusal by the besieged residents of Kraya commune to acknowledge relocation talks, Kampong Thom provincial authorities made a unilateral decision on Monday to issue villagers their last compensation offer on December 3.

“We’ve called the negotiations on Thursday because we want to find a peaceful resolution, but if they do not agree with us, we will begin to enforce the eviction order,” said Santuk district Governor Pich Sophea.

Village leader Pou Kin said that he and his neighbours would continue to reject the possibility of relocation. “When the authorities come here on Thursday, it looks like we are all going to have a real big problem because we refuse to leave,” he said. “Even though authorities say they want a peaceful resolution, I don’t think we will be able to avoid it coming to violence.”

Another villager, Neang Sinath, said officials had threatened to reduce their homes “to ashes” if they fail to reach an agreement on Thursday. “We are willing to die here and let the authorities find a ‘peaceful resolution’ for our spirits,” she said. “I know that we are disabled and cannot win, but we can try.”

Kraya commune was established as a social concession in 2004 to offer poor and disabled veterans a chance to support their families, according to Khun Sokea, chief of the Kraya Disabled Veterans’ Development Community. “Having farmland is better than going to beg in the city,” he said. “We’re trying to escape poverty. Living with disabilities is already hard, but the authorities are trying to make it harder still.”

The commune is now home to more than 1,000 families from across the country. Their claim to the land was recognised by Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2007, but in that same year the land was sold to the Tin Bien rubber company. “We’ve had trouble here ever since,” Khun Sokea said.

In 2008, police began a campaign of harassment and intimidation aimed at pressuring the commune’s residents to relocate, villagers say.

Resentment erupted into violence on November 16, when 200 villagers burned four company excavators and other property before clashing with Military Police. Since the incident, the village has been blockaded by police hoping to catch the alleged ringleaders. Seven people have so far been arrested. A further 13 are still being sought.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said