‘Strange’ Uniforms Lead Police To Detain Seven in Land Dispute

Military police in Banteay Mean­chey province on Thursday arrested and released soon after seven men in black uniforms who prevented authorities from measuring land earmarked for a social land concession, officials said Friday.

Koy Lun, 46, who claims to be the director of an NGO called Anti-Social Crime in Cambodia, was arrested along with six of

his supposed staff members when they went to Malai district’s Tuol Pongro commune and al­legedly provoked villagers into rejecting 1,500 hectares of land being measured for them by a group led by district governor Em Sokha, provincial spokesman Ouk Keo Ratanak said.

“One of the key reasons over this arrest is that the seven men were wearing a black uniform, exactly like Thai military uniforms, except that these ones had a tiger head [patch] at the top of the sleeves,” he said.

“Furthermore, this group also incited people from other districts and provinces to move into the area, measure and split the land into a plot for their families.”

Mr. Sokha said that villagers in the area had informed police about the presence of the group prior to his officials being dispatched to measure the land.

“It’s important to stop them, be­cause their uniforms are really strange,” Mr. Sokha said, adding that the men were released at 7 p.m. the same day after questioning.

According to a copy of the provincial military police report, signed by commander Roth Srieng, the ar­rested men were re­leased after they signed declarations that they would cease their activities.

The report said that the men had moved into a protected zone within Roniem Daun Sam Wild­life Sanctuary with the intention of creating a new village in the area.

“The three men had been active in creating a new village in a prohibited area…where wild animals pass, for more than a year, even though such activities were denied by local authorities and wildlife officials,” the military police report said.

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