People have reacted with scorn to the head monk of the Samaki Raingsey pagoda, Thach Hasam Ang, for saying those who fell victim to land grabbing had themselves grabbed land in a previous life, and are now paying the price.
Hasam Ang made the remarks on May 18 to Koh Kong land dispute victims who went to stay at his pagoda while in the capital seeking a solution at the Land Management Ministry.
Two video clips went viral on Facebook, with the monk saying: “It is because you did not do good deeds and you have never listened to the Dharma.
“This is karma . . . It is because of your sins from the previous life as you used to grab other people’s land. You grabbed the land belonging to other people, and in this life, they grab the land back.”
One Facebook user, Sak Pheak Nuon, said: “If you go to him, slap him once and if the monk asks ‘why did you slap me?’ just tell him that ‘in the previous life you slapped me, that’s why I slapped you now.”
Another Facebook user, Chan Chhan Keo, said: “This monk does not help the victims. We should stop offering food to him. He should protect the victims, but instead he puts the blame on them and this is ridiculous.”