Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police beat Boeung Kak protesters




Police beat Boeung Kak protesters

Police beat Boeung Kak protesters

front_page
Kong Chantha, 45, a community representative from the Boeung Kak lake area, is taken into custody yesterday after police broke up a protest outside City Hall. Kong Chantha, of Village 24 in Phnom  Penh’s Srah Chak commune, was arrested along with two other Boeung Kak residents when about 200 protesters blocked Monivong Boulevard to call attention to evictions.

A violent crackdown by the Daun Penh district police on a protest by about 200 people today in Phnom Penh concerning the controversial Boeung Kak lake development project led to the arrest of three activists, while 10 others suffered injuries from beatings.

The protesters descended upon Phnom Penh Municipal Hall to ask Governor Kep Chuktema to reconsider their alternative plan for the lake, which would set aside 15 hectares for families who would otherwise be displaced.

Kep Chuktema recently dismissed the proposal and did not show up to discuss the issue.

Ouch Leng, land programme officer for the rights group Adhoc, said no officials arrived to meet the protesters, who then attempted to block traffic along Monivong Boulevard in front of City Hall.

About 100 district police dispersed the villagers and arrested Suong Sakmai, 52, Ros Sreyneang, 45, and Ouch Phana, 42, following a 15-minute fight.

They were released from the Daun Penh district police station after signing contracts agreeing to stop causing public disorder.

“In the crackdown, many villagers were beaten and wounded with electric batons, and some were dragged to police cars and sent to Daun Penh district hall,” Ouch Leng said.

Tep Vanny, a 28-year-old from Village 22 near the lake, said several district police grabbed her by the hand and neck and dragged her to a police car.

“Those [district police] pressed my neck and hit me against the car like an animal,” Tep Vanny said.

She said she shook loose, however, with the help of other protesters.

Another lakeside resident, Kong Chantha, had been beaten unconscious, Tep Vanny said.

“Refusing to solve the problem and cracking down makes the villagers lose trust in the government more and more,” Ouch Leng said. “They also suspect that the present government is the company government, not the government that serves the citizens’ interests.”

Kim Heang, communications officer for the Housing Rights Task Force, said police briefly confiscated her camera, returning it only after deleting her photographs.

“We do not know how much those authorities know about the law, but their action for me is a violation of rights and law,” she said.

In January, city police temporarily confiscated the camera of Post photographer Sovan Philong during an eviction at Boeung Kak lake and deleted his photographs.

Sok Sambath, deputy governor of Daun Penh district, declined to comment at the scene.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia

  • Police arrest 29 Chinese for PP kidnapping

    Phnom Penh Military Police arrested 29 Chinese nationals on kidnapping charges on Wednesday. The suspects are said to have abducted three other Chinese nationals from a hotel in Chaktomuk commune, Daun Penh district. The operation took place on Wednesday and was led by two deputy commanders –