About 150 villagers were stopped by police Monday about 1 km from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Takhmau residence, where they were going to seek his intervention in a dispute involving a fishing lot owner, military police and four fishermen who were shot earlier this month.
Sok Suon, a relative of the four fishermen, said 200 villagers on four trucks were turned back by police.
“The police said if we wanted to go to Hun Sen’s house, we must go on foot. We all agreed to walk even if it is more than 10 km. We want to find justice for dead and injured people,” Sok Suon said.
“They must see Kandal Governor Kim Bo first,” Kandal provincial police official Chea Samoeun said. “It is a provincial matter, and it must be handled by a provincial authority.”
On April 11, the fishermen—three brothers and their cousin—were allegedly shot by military police while fishing illegally on a lakefront lot in Prasat commune, Sa’ang district, Kandal province. One man died. About 300 people destroyed property on the lot after the shooting, said Tom Vai, Kandal province deputy chief of judicial police.
Sok Suon said his family was upset that the lot owner, Peng Long, sent local officials to negotiate compensation for the dead fisherman’s funeral and the survivors’ medical bills. He said the offer was insufficient.
“We asked them to pay 60 million riel (about $15,000), but they agreed to give only 10 million riel (about $2,500),” Sok Suon said. “We could not accept that amount. We are talking about people’s lives, not animals.”
Tom Vai said he has applied for a warrant to arrest two men accused in the shooting. The two men are now missing.