Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monk, NGO staff detained

Monk, NGO staff detained

Ethnic Kuoy villagers protest where resin trees were allegedly cleared in Preah Vihear’s Tbeng Meanchey district
Ethnic Kuoy villagers protest where resin trees were allegedly cleared in Preah Vihear’s Tbeng Meanchey district last year. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Monk, NGO staff detained

Dissident monk But Buntenh was arrested along with a fellow monk and three NGO workers who had attended a protest by ethnic Kouy villagers held yesterday against an alleged land grab by three plantation companies in Preah Vihear’s Tbeng Meanchey district.

Buntenh, president of the Independent Monks Network (IMN), was detained along with monk Nam Chanthen and Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) members Bo Pao, Em Sarom and Chhen Sambo, Sambo said yesterday.

Sambo said about 40 armed police and military officers detained them as they left the protest site, alleging they had trespassed on private property without permission.

“I do not know whether we will be released or not,” he said as police drove the group to the provincial police station yesterday evening.

Lor Chan, a coordinator of Adhoc in Preah Vihear, said that a crowd had gathered outside the district police station while the group was being questioned.

“Hundreds of people are protesting there to demand their release,” he said, adding that if the case was taken to court Adhoc would offer legal aid.

The Kouy protesters, representing 528 families in the district, say Chinese firms Lan Feng and Roy Feng and a local company, Ly Heng, began clearing their land of resin trees in 2012 and the dispute remains unresolved.

In 2011, Lan Feng was granted 9,015 hectares in the area for an economic land concession, and Roy Feng has the rights to 8,841 hectares, government records show.

Chann said that the companies had been clearing the land without measuring the boundaries of their concessions and studying the possible effects on local communities.

“Though the villagers have launched many protests and for many years already, there is no resolution and it has become a chronic land dispute,” he said.

However Pang Yiek, Treng Meanchey district governor, said the companies were operating within the law.

“The companies do not work on the villagers’ land, but on legal land granted from the government,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group