Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Voters split in Boeung Kak

Voters split in Boeung Kak

Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong meets with villagers during a pre-election visit to the Boeung Kak lake community in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong meets with villagers during a pre-election visit to the Boeung Kak lake community in Phnom Penh. HONG MENEA

Voters split in Boeung Kak

The battle for Phnom Penh at Sunday’s national election will be fought out with the years-long Boeung Kak land dispute still unresolved, after the city’s governor announced yesterday a solution would be found only after the ballot, villagers said.

Governor Pa Socheatvong, who in May promised to resolve the drawn-out dispute, visited the site yesterday, villager Heng Mom said.

The pledge leaves the already-divided Boeung Kak community considering which party is more likely to provide them with a solution to their woes.

In recent weeks, Mom has been accused of being bought by the CPP for publicly speaking out against her former friend and cellmate at Prey Sar prison, Tep Vanny.

“But my family and I have always supported the CPP,” she said yesterday. “I have joined CPP rallies, even though I felt disappointed … when they bulldozed my home.”

Mom, whose house carries CPP signs on its front, can be forgiven for being disappointed. But why support the party that destroyed her house?

“I’ll vote for them again, because they need to pay me back,” asserted Mom.

Vanny said yesterday that she was “very pleased” the governor had visited Boeung Kak. But some of the families she represents said police had kept them away from the governor.

Last Friday, when opposition leader Sam Rainsy made a triumphant return to Cambodia, one of Vanny’s group, Nget Khun, 73, was pressed up against the stage at Freedom Park, awaiting his homecoming speech.

“Before, I supported the CPP,” she said yesterday. “But since they tried to steal my home and land, beat me as we protested … I have stopped supporting them.

“I have followed the CNRP since I saw that their seven policies included focusing on rescuing poor people from land disputes.”

Sia Phearum, Housing Rights Task Force secretariat director, said it was disappointing the government had not resolved the dispute before the election.

“The previous governor promised not to evict them after the election and then did,” he said. “But it’s their right to choose who they will vote for.”

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,