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Soldiers, cops plan to quit over MDS dispute

Soldiers, cops plan to quit over MDS dispute

Twenty members of the security forces in Pursat province have issued a threat of mass resignation after a soldier was granted a land title following a similar threat last month.

The 20 officers from Pursat’s Veal Veng district, drawn from both the police and military, have been embroiled in a land dispute with tycoon Try Pheap’s MDS Import Export Co since it was awarded a land concession in the area in November 2010.

Last month, members of the security forces in the area were told to bulldoze their own land for the company, which is known to use military units for protection and labour.

The announcement followed a visit on Wednesday to the area by Keut Chhe, deputy provincial governor.

“He promised to settle the dispute for police officers and soldiers,” said one of the police officers threatening to resign, Cheng Samoa.

“If he does not stick to his promises, we will continue with our old plans [to resign] . . . but if he follows through, we will protect the nation for the rest of our lives.”

Seng Pov, a soldier in Veal Veng, said he had resigned over the dispute on November 26, but just days later he accepted an offer of a land title and now denies having spoken to the media.

Lun Leang, the local police commander, Kheang Sochivoin, Try Pheap’s manager in the province, and Keut Chhe, deputy Pursat governor, could not be reached.

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