Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land activists nabbed for seeking PM’s intervention

Land activists nabbed for seeking PM’s intervention

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Villagers wait outside the Land Management Ministry, where they submitted a petition relating to a long-standing land dispute in Koh Kong provinces.

Land activists nabbed for seeking PM’s intervention

Three land activists were briefly detained by the Daun Penh district authority on Monday after they attempted to submit petitions at Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence in the capital.

The three were among more than 30 protesters from different communities in Phnom Penh and Koh Kong province who gathered at the prime minister’s house in the vicinity of the Independence Monument to seek his intervention in their respective, long-running land disputes.

Sea Naret, a Boeung Kak community activist, Chray Nim, a Thmor Kol community representative – both based in Phnom Penh – and Prep Ratha, a land activist from Koh Kong province, said they were detained for questioning for more than an hour.

The confrontation occurred just two weeks after Hun Sen created a joint committee to receive land dispute-related complaints and petitions at his houses in Phnom Penh and Kandal province’s Takmao city.

Thmor Kol activist Chray Nim said he had lost hope in the committee, which is chaired by Hing Bun Heang, who heads the prime minister’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU).

“The creation of the new committee is not to help solve people’s problems as claimed by the prime minister, but to destroy protesters who are locked in land disputes,” Nim claimed.

Sang Puy, an activist from Koh Kong province, said police should have facilitated the process instead of preventing protesters from delivering their petitions.

“I don’t think the prime minister created this committee to solve problems for people who come to his house because no officers came out to accept our complaints. Officers even arrested people,” she said, adding that the protesters went on to submit their petitions at the UN office following the confrontation.

Puy said the UN office accepted the petitions and promised to seek meetings with relevant authorities to address their problems.

Bun Heang, who is also deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Kandal provincial governor Mao Phirun, who has been appointed deputy head of the joint committee at Hun Sen’s residence, said he had not received a report yet.

Rights group Adhoc spokesman Soeung Sen Karuna said the police action ran counter to Hun Sen’s call for compromises on land disputes through the committee.

“I don’t know how people will submit their complaints [in the future] if the authorities take action as they did on Monday. Protesters should be allowed to meet the committee to hand in their petitions. It’s the motive behind the establishment of this committee,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride