Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tensions high in KDC fight

Tensions high in KDC fight

Villagers embroiled in a land dispute with KDC International make their case to the press earlier this month
Villagers embroiled in a land dispute with KDC International make their case to the press earlier this month. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Tensions high in KDC fight

Villagers locked in a dispute with KDC International, a company owned by the wife of a government minister, said yesterday that officials had presented them with an agreement to end a standoff that has lasted some weeks. Police, however, said that wasn’t the case.

Representative Smuon Nhearn, whose house was searched on Wednesday, said police who have surrounded homes in Kampong Tralach district’s Lor Peang village in recent weeks returned to his property to compromise.

“Commune councillors and the district police chief told us to break up the gathering with the promise that authorities will not arrest us,” he said.

Dozens of villagers have been holed up in one house and a tent close to the area that is in dispute, planning their next move.

A row dating back to 2007 between villagers and KDC – owned by Chea Kheng, the wife of Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem – has escalated this month, leading to clashes and arrests.

Khath Saroun, 32, a wife of Seang Hen, a village representative arrested earlier this week, said that the police were not trying to end hostilities, only trick villagers.

“We asked [authorities] to release my husband and another representative but they rejected this, so how can we believe they won’t arrest us when we disperse?”

Hul Veasna, chief of police at Kampong Tralach district, said villagers had been told to end their demonstrations and move on.

“We need to inform them to break up their gathering.”

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,