Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Private armies a threat

Private armies a threat

Private armies a threat

Dear Editor,

I write to outline my serious concerns arising from an article published recently in The Phnom Penh Post on the involvement of police and military police in a land conflict in Stung Trang district, Kampong Cham (‘Police employ guns and batons to drive villagers from disputed land’, August 10).

Stung Trang district deputy police chief Chear Thearirth confirmed that a private company involved in the land conflict with local villagers “hired” police and military police to intervene to clear the impugned land, leading to clashes with villagers and injuries to two elderly women and a young man.

This incident reflects a dangerous trend in Cambodia, whereby police and armed forces are increasingly working in the interests and under the apparent direction of private individuals and businesses.

On February 22, the Post published a leaked Royal Government of Cambodia document, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, which lists individual units of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces together with private individuals or companies that are reported to be providing donations to those units. Since the publication of that document, a land dispute in Omlaing commune, Kampong Speu, between villagers and a company owned by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat, has highlighted the likely results of these donations. Battalion 313, which according to the leaked document is funded by Ly Yong Phat, violently intervened on behalf of his company to clear the impugned land.

The growing trend of private control over the police and armed forces poses a very serious threat to stability in Cambodia. The creation of bands of armed men answerable to powerful individuals or companies raises the spectre of violent clashes between different groups operating in defence or furtherance of conflicting private interests.

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights urges the RGC to intervene immediately and publicly to stop the dangerous co-opting of the police and armed forces by private individuals and businesses, and to curb the serious threat to stability that is posed by such practices.

Ou Virak, President

Cambodian Center for Human Rights

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO?Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length. The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Cambodia detects new Covid cases after 52 days: PM

    After 52 days of zero new Covid-19 cases, Cambodia has now detected new infections, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In his special audio address to the nation late on June 28, Hun Sen said the new cases were detected on people who had undergone PCR tests

  • Gold-covered boundary stone found within Angkor Thom’s West Gate

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) announced that their working group in charge of restoration work at Angkor Thom's Takav Gate or the West Gate recently found an ancient stone slab commonly known as a boundary stone. The boundary stone is 53 cm by 53 cm and 12 cm

  • Higher education leaders tour US

    With support from the US Department of State, 10 Cambodian leaders in higher education participated in the 10-day International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) in three US states from June 19 to July 1. They included nine university rectors and directors of higher education institutions who are members of