The family of a policeman detained over a land dispute with Princess Norodom Marie Ranariddh pleaded for his release Wednesday, telling reporters that authorities had attempted to trick them into leaving their land in Kep municipality.
“I ask the princess to release my husband and offer me suitable money [for the land],” Yin Neang, 37, wife of detained officer Proueng Pov, 45, said at a news conference held at the headquarters of the rights group Adhoc.
“I have been living on the land since 1991,” she added.
National police and the rights group Licadho announced Tuesday that the policeman, originally identified by Licadho as Priep Pov, had been detained since mid-February on the orders of National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy as a result of the land dispute.
Authorities denied Licadho allegations that Proeung Pov had been tortured and said he was not under arrest.
Princess Marie declined to comment Wednesday while Hok Lundy and Deputy National Police Chief Sau Phan, who is in charge of the case, could not be reached.
Yin Neang said authorities had in the past recognized the family’s ownership of the 42-by-60-meter plot in Kep district’s Kep commune but later changed their tune.
“The police said the land belonged to [Princess] Eng Marie once the land’s price went up,” she said.
Yin Neang said she had visited her husband four times since he was detained and found him shackled at a police compound in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district.
In a statement Wednesday, the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 23 NGOs, said the family had thumbprinted illegitimate documents to transfer ownership of the land in a failed attempt to protect Proeung Pov.
(Additional reporting by Douglas Gillison)