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Boeung Kak lake residents arrested by police while on peaceful protest

(CCHR/IFEX) - Phnom Penh, 22 May 2012 - At roughly 11:30am on 22 May 2012, a group of 13 Boeung Kak activists were arrested by police while holding a peaceful protest and news conference in Village 1, Boeung Kak Lake.

According to reports, more than two hundred Boeung Kak residents came together to protest against what they saw as empty governmental promises to resolve the on-going Boeung Kak land crisis and call for their land to be returned, or proper compensation to be paid for their loss. The residents decided to take matters into their own hands and start rebuilding their properties in the same place places they had been destroyed by the Shukaku Inc Company just two years ago.

On gathering, the activists were met by more than one hundred policemen and private security guards each armed with hammers and other construction tools. The policemen and security guards penned the protestors in a small area and prevented them from moving away or leaving the site; when the protestors complained at their treatment they were shouted at, threatened and beaten by the security guards, resulting in three activists losing consciousness and many more being injured.

The Police were ordered by the district governor to confiscate what tools the residents had and thirteen residents were arrested and taken to Phnom Penh police station, where they remain held on unspecific criminal charges and without access to their lawyers.

As a result of the actions of the police and private security guards, around one-hundred Boeung Kak residents handed letters of petition to the European Union, the World Bank of Cambodia and United States Embassy to complain about the handling of the event and facilitate the release of those still being held.

The names of those still being held by police are as follows:
* Kong Chantha, Tol SreyPov, Tep Vanny, Pov Sophea, Suong Samai, Pan Chhunret, Heng Nom, Chan Navy, Po Davy, Nguon Kimleang, Song Sreyleap, Chheng Leap, and Nget Kun.

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