Kompong Speu provincial authorities have detained two members of a little-known political party who were involved in mediating a dispute between villagers and a local pagoda, officials said last week.
Mey Chanveasna, the official in charge of human rights at the Khmer Unity Party, said that provincial police apprehended two party activists in Samraong Tong district’s Samraong Tong village on Nov 25 after inviting them to police offices for questioning and accused the pair of destroying pagoda property.
Lay Mao, 39, and Pol Chanthea, 32, had been mediating a four-month-long dispute between villagers and monks at Wat Samraong Tong, Mey Chanveasna said. The two had been representing villagers who wanted easier access to water from a pond on the pagoda grounds, according to Mey Chanveasna.
Fifty-four families from the village asked the chief monk at Wat Samraong Tong to reopen a path that the monks fenced off four months ago.
Deputy Provincial Judicial Police Chief Chea Vuth said the police had warrants from the Kompong Speu provincial court to arrest the two suspects, who were accused of tearing down six meters of fence and concrete pillars erected by the monks.