Protesters March for Removal of Village Chief

About 100 protesters on Tuesday marched to their local commune office on the outskirts of Poipet City to submit a petition demanding the removal of their village chief, whose three sons they accuse of using violence with impunity.

Sous Ry, 53, a representative of the group from Prey Prech village, claimed the three sons had repeatedly injured others during drunken fights, safe in the knowledge that their mother, Hok Loeum, would not take action against them.

“Villagers are not satisfied with the leadership of the village chief…so the people demand that she be fired from the position,” he said.

Mr. Ry said he was confident that CPP commune chief Nuot Ly would fire Ms. Loeum because most villagers were supporters of the ruling party. He said he had collected 161 thumbprints for the petition in support of her sacking.

Commune chief Nuot Ly confirmed that he received the petition and said he would announce a decision after a commune council meeting in 20 days’ time.

“We would be able to remove the village chief from her position because the people are not satisfied with her,” he said.

Ms. Loeum, 61, said that her sons—Ly Puot, 44; Ly Khoeung, 27; and Ly Khet 25—regularly got into arguments with others during volleyball matches, but had only ever been the victims of abuse.

Two weeks ago, she said, “two people chased my sons in an attempt to beat them with steel pipes, but my family and neighbors stopped the fight.”

Ms. Loeum added that if Mr. Ly tries to remove her, it would only be to garner the sympathy of a handful of opposition CNRP members in the village.

“I understand that the people who are attempting to fire me are members of the CNRP, so the commune chief wants to fire me to satisfy those people, so that they vote for the CPP,” she said.

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