Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Preah Sihanouk protest over land dispute



Preah Sihanouk protest over land dispute

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People protest in front of the provincial court in Preah Sihanouk province. ccfc

Preah Sihanouk protest over land dispute

Some 400 people in Preah Sihanouk province's Stung Hav district on Friday protested in front of the provincial court demanding the release of four protesters who have been detained over a land dispute with a tycoon.

Loch Touch, Men Khen, Nhanh Cheat and Kao Heng, all from Otres commune's O’Ksach village, were put in pre-trial detention on May 6 after they were arrested for "intentionally clearing" Tan Tab's land, to which he has a title.

The villagers, who have been locked in the dispute with Tab since late last year, also demanded 84ha of the disputed land.

You Veasna who represented the 400 villagers, said the four had been treated unfairly.

“We asked the court to drop all charges against them. The detention is unjust because the court ignored the Ministry of Agriculture's certification which ceded parts of the protected forest land to villagers."

“Not long after that, the powerful tycoon just came out of nowhere with a land title, leading to the arrest and detention of the four," he said.

Cambodia Coalition of Farmer Community (CCFC) head Theng Savoeun said the court should conduct further investigation and release the villagers so they can collect more evidence to prove ownership of the land.

"Court officials said they need more evidence and documents before they could release the four. But I think if they want more documents, they should release them first so they can collect legal documentation to stand up to the tycoon. If they are still in detention, how can they handle the case with the tycoon?" he asked.

Provincial court spokesperson Yim Bunnareth said the villagers should appeal the detention according to law.

"They have to petition the court to release them on bail and let the court decide. Then they can file a complaint to the appeal court. If they come to protest, how can we solve the problem?" he asked.

Defence lawyer Ke Bun Thoeun previously told The Post that his clients should not be detained given a lack of evidence.

He said the land is located in a protected forest to which no one is entitled to by law. He said the plaintiff, who claimed to have a title, should be punished under article 259 of the land law.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese