In an effort to combat violence and intimidation against landowners involved in land disputes, an educational spot on land grabbing started airing on television and radio stations early this week.
The spot, which will be broadcast on TV5, TVK and five radio stations for two weeks, portrays a rich man trying to buy a family’s land. When the family rejects the offer, armed guards threaten to take the land without paying any money.
“The spot is promoting the Land Law and educating people to stop being afraid of such intimidation,” said Thy Bunthoeun, spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Advocacy Project’s Community Legal Education Center.
The spot describes Article 253 of the Land Law, which states that anyone who uses violence on property owners—even if they do not have a land title—must be fined between 1.5 million to 25 million riel (approximately $375 to $6,250) and/or imprisoned between 6 months to 2 years.
Tuy Kith, a resident of Koh Pich island where villagers are involved in a land dispute with Phnom Penh Municipality, said he was excited to see the spot because it will be useful to him and other people who are suffering due to land issues.
“The educational spot shows the current reality of land grabbing in Cambodia,” he said.
Koh Pich villager Chum Sam Oeurn said the television spot was a good idea but in practice standing up to powerful people who do not respect the law was much more difficult.
“They have power,” Chum Sam Oeurn said. “How can we punish?” he asked.