Khouth Sophakchakrya , Phnom Penh Post, April. 06 2012
Boeung Kak lake residents yesterday accused Phnom Penh municipal police officials of refusing to sign and seal a petition promising to guarantee security at the site following recent violence and theft in the area.
Heng Mom, representing about 20 Boeung Kak protesters, said police had not “fulfilled their duty” to crack down on theft, which had led to them to gather at municipal police headquarters yesterday to file a petition to police chief Touch Naroth demanding action.
Heng Mom, who said more than US$2,000, a passport and an identification card were stolen when her house was broken into in Village 22 in Daun Penh district on Monday, said police had rejected the petition.
“I think it is discrimination against us,” she said.
Resident Nget Khoun told the Post on Tuesday an unknown assailant had tried to strangle her daughter on March 27 as she was falling asleep, but escaped when she woke up.
Police had initially accepted the petition about 9am yesterday, Heng Mom said, and villagers had been told to return home to await a response, but they had refused to leave without it being signed, sealed and sent to Touch Naroth.
About midday, two police officers came outside to persuade the protesters to go home and promised they would pass the petition to the police chief, but the protesters persisted in their demands for it to be signed, Heng Mom said.
Police eventually handed the petition back.
When the protesters agreed to return home, they did so with a promise of more protests today – this time, at nat-ional police headquarters.
The residents held a press conference on Tuesday, complaining that police were failing to protect them. They booted out three commune police officials and several village guards halfway through the press conference.
Touch Naroth said yesterday that police had been given a petition, but he refused to comment further.