Villagers Take Out Frustrations on Officials

Two district governors in Kandal province and a commune council chief in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district have been in­volved recently in separate clashes with villagers unhappy with the way officials are governing. 

More than a dozen market vendors in Muk Kampul district be­came angry with Governor Sam Rithy and hit him on the head last week, causing a bloody gash.

The vendors said the governor is forcing them to move to a new market. But Sam Rithy said Wednes­day the order to build the new market was approved by the provincial governor. He said he asked the court to charge the vendors with attempted murder, but instead 10 of the vendors were charged with assault.

“It is not fair for me. It is an in­justice,” the governor said.

In an unrelated incident, the house of Leuk Dek district Gov­ernor Ek Sam Ol was damaged Aug 7 by more than 100 stone-throwing villagers who had gathered to protest electricity prices, which had recently been raised by about 100 percent. Villagers claimed Ek Sam Ol was involved with the electricity owner and colluded to raise the price.

“I’m not involved with the electricity problem, but my house is near the generator,” Ek Sam Ol said.

Villagers said they have complained many times to the provincial governor and appealed to the private electricity owner, but to no avail. Since the attack on Ek Sam Ol’s home, villagers have agreed to a compromise on the price.

Finally, about 40 families in Dangkao district’s Kok Roka commune upset over a land dispute detained commune Chief Oun Savorn in his office for six hours on Monday after he re­fused to sign off on a land sale.

Oun Savorn was freed after Dangkao district governor intervened and police arrived, district Deputy Police Chief Keo Bunrith said Wednesday.


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