Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Homes destroyed in eviction

Homes destroyed in eviction

People gather yesterday morning to demand Prime Minister Hun Sen’s intervention to resolve a land dispute in Kandal province.
People gather yesterday morning to demand Prime Minister Hun Sen’s intervention to resolve a land dispute in Kandal province. Mech Dara

Homes destroyed in eviction

Security forces on Friday dismantled and burned three homes in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district after forcibly evicting the families, enforcing a Supreme Court decision from last year that ruled against the households’ claims to the land.

Captured on video by onlookers, the tense standoff between the villagers and about 100 police and Military Police officers also led to the arrest of one man, who was seized as he attempted to defy the demolition crew bearing down on his home in Raka Khpos commune.

In footage reminiscent of some of the Kingdom’s most notorious evictions, distressed occupants of one building clung to the interior of their wooden home and clambered onto excavators as workmen prepared to destroy the structure, which still contained some of the family’s possessions.

After resisting for several minutes, about half a dozen women were dragged outside the building by a group of men, some in uniform.

One occupant, who climbed into the rafters during the fracas, was coaxed down by workmen minutes before an excavator swung its bucket into the house, smashing it to pieces.

The actions of the authorities followed on from the conclusion of a legal case over ownership of the land at the Supreme Court in January 2016.

According to a court record concerning the case of Pon Thorn, the man arrested while resisting, the family’s claim to the land was overruled.

The court sided with an individual referred as Her Excellency Mei Kalyan, who was unreachable yesterday.

Another document in the case, filed by Kalyan, claims the three families were only given the land temporarily for a tyre repair shop business but had instead built homes.

However, at a protest yesterday next to the remnants of their homes, the evicted families denied this and claimed their ownership of the land had been recognised by district authorities.

The wife of the arrested man, Sean Seila, 44, claimed that the family had lived at the site since 1987. Lamenting the loss of her home, she demanded compensation and the release of her husband.

“He was just protecting his wife, his children and his home,” she said.

Another woman, Sae Kim Oun, 39, claimed she had resided since 1996 at the house authorities yesterday demolished.

“They used violence on my children by strangling and throwing them like animals,” she said.

Orn Yien, another of the evicted villagers, pleaded for intervention.

“I have enough legal documents,” Yien said. “Please, King Father, Samdech Hun Sen and Bun Rany, help us.”

Representatives of Kandal police and Military Police were unreachable. Provincial court spokesman Sam Rithiveasna defended the right of authorities to “fulfil their duties”.

“According to the law, the court is permitted to forcefully enforce,” Rithiveasna said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio