Villager: Complaint a Form of Intimidation

Two villagers from Koh Pich, the island opposite NagaCorp ca­sino where residents are fighting a municipal eviction order, were summoned to the Muni­ci­pal Po­lice Serious Crime Office on Thurs­­­­day for questioning over al­leged pesticide use on their land.

Chum Sam Oeun, 52, said Thurs­day that the police complaint was an act of intimidation em­ployed to force him into selling his land.

“They want to put pressure on me because I am the most active. I never sprayed pesticide. I rent my land to somebody else, but they sprayed,” he said

Four military police officers stationed on the island since the land dispute with City Hall erupted—and who live in a makeshift post on Chum Sam Oeun’s land without his permission—have complained of respiratory problems.

Khek Chhouen, 20, one of the military police officers living on Chum Sam Oeun’s land, said on Thursday that he arrived on Koh Pich Jan 25 and began having health problems Feb 21.

Khek Chhouen said he nearly had a stroke and that his heart almost stopped because of the pesticides.

“I told my military commander I was sick,” he said. “He told me to go to the hospital. The municipality told me to file a complaint.”

Deputy Judiciary Police Chief Suong Thoeun said Thursday that until now, he had never dealt with a complaint about pesticide poisoning.

“I am not aware whether there was ever a case of pesticide be­fore,” he said.

Cambodian law currently bans and restricts the use of more than 100 pesticides. But enforcement of these bans is scant.

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