Land dispute: Villagers evade arrest in Pursat

03 November

TWO village representatives in Pursat province’s Veal Veng district evaded arrest yesterday by running into the wilderness after protesting against the encroachment of a developer, local residents said.

Heng Pai, 53, one of the representatives, said more than 40 police officers had arrived at his home in Sangkum Thmey village yesterday to arrest him and fellow representative Bi Born, 32, for “persuading the residents” to protest against the company.

Roughly 60 people reportedly protested on Monday against the MDS development firm when company representatives arrived in the area to clear land.

Heng Pai said the representatives had done nothing to incite the villagers, who were protesting against the development because it “affected their farmland”.

Bi Born said the company, which wants to build a casino and potato factory on 950 hectares of land currently occupied by 85 families, “does not care about residents, who have a right to eat”.

Pursat Provincial Deputy Police Chief Sarun Chanty said he had not yet received information about the issue.

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