Family in Land Dispute Gets Unwanted Khmer New Year Party

Over the past year, a family locked in a land dispute with the Khun Sear Import Export Company has faced harassment in the form of beatings, arson and even a bag of cobras thrown through their window.

Now they are being bothered by loud music.

The family patriarch said the group of young men, some employed by the Khun Sear Com­pany, set up their own Khmer New Year party in the street outside the house in Tuol Kok district and have been blasting music into his home for four days.

Ly Sreang Kheng, the father of one of three families refusing to cede their land in Boeng Kak I commune to the Khun Sear Company, said that the men turned violent when he confronted them Sunday morning.

“The gangsters started playing the loud music four days ago and, on Sunday morning, after I complained about the noise, they got into my house and removed a wooden bed and broke it,” Mr. Sreang Kheng said.

“They threatened my family and said we should stay quiet if we want to live in peace.”

Video clips posted to Facebook show a group of men surrounding the stand from which Mr. Sreang Kheng sells petrol in front of his home. The gang attempts to pull apart his petrol stand, and then turns its attention to attacking a platform bed.

On Sunday night, Mr. Leang Kheng claims the men threw rocks on his roof.

Yim Leang, chief of Senate President Chea Sim’s Bodyguard Unit and a business partner of Khun Sear, said that the attacks yesterday must have been a result of Mr. Sreang Kheng’s ex­panding petrol stand.

“We have asked the family not to sell gasoline on the sidewalk because it causes traffic problems,” Mr. Leang said.

Mr. Leang admitted that two of the men who had joined the party in front of Mr. Sreang Kheng’s home were security guards of the Khun Sear company, but said they were doing nothing illegal.

Tuol Kok district deputy governor Saing Sopheak Vichet said that his office would not stop the party.

“We have seen that they are playing loud music next to the family home but we cannot stop them because it is their right during Khmer New Year,” he said.

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