Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pailin land face-off continues with arrest

Pailin land face-off continues with arrest

Pailin land face-off continues with arrest

A village representative was arrested yesterday as about 50 locals gathered outside Pailin provincial police station calling for the release of three detained villagers who had protested against a forced eviction on land they believe is owned by provincial governor Y Chhien and his wife Ban Srey Mom.

Tout Mak was arrested by authorities after a speech decrying the 15 days locals were given to vacate an area in early March that officials maintain is state land, despite the fact that the land was allegedly given to them by local authorities more than a decade ago as part of a Khmer Rouge integration plan. Pailin province was one of the last strongholds of a Khmer Rouge faction that laid down its arms in the late 1990s.

On March 2, provincial deputy governor Kert Sothea said that authorities had granted the land to villagers, but said later the land had to be taken back after provinces were instructed by the government to set aside parcels of state land for future development.

The first group of three detained protesters, representing 19 families in a land dispute in Pailin’s Sala Krao district, were arrested on Monday after District Deputy Governor Sam Sarat filed a complaint alleging they were ignoring a government directive to vacate the disputed area, provincial police chief Chea Chandin said.

Yat Lav, 27, Sothea’s niece, said authorities informed Sothea that they would be released if all three agreed to thumbprint a letter committing to vacate the land. They didn’t agree.

District Deputy Governor Sarat denied that Chhien and his wife owned the land. Chhien, a former bodyguard to Pol Pot, couldn’t be reached.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Western poll flak is ‘pressure to take the Kingdom hostage’

    After last month’s national elections brought praise for the orderly manner they were run and managed, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed criticism from the West as a “violation of the Kingdom’s independence”. He said the attitude of