Boeung Kak lake residents yesterday accused commune police of not fulfilling their duty of keeping them safe, forcibly expelling a number of officers from a press conference called to highlight the problem.
At the conference held by 20 residents of Phnom Penh’s Village 22 in Daun Penh district, resident Heng Mom said her house had been broken into on Monday night and that US$200, a passport and an identification card had been stolen.
She claimed that police did not pursue the case after she filed a complaint.
“It is extremely unacceptable, because travelling from one place to another, we are trailed by the police. We seem to be criminals as well; but when the robbery occurred in my family, we could not find the police,” she said.
Nget Khoun said an unknown assailant had tried to strangle her daughter on March 27 as she was falling asleep but escaped when she woke up.
The police had demanded 20,000 riel (US$5) when a complaint was filed, she said.
The failure to pursue their complaints, which had taken place after protests to protect their houses in Boeung Kak, was “likely involved with authority of the government”, said a statement issued by the group.
The residents ejected three commune police officials and several village guards – villagers appointed as a patrol under the commune safety scheme – halfway through the press conference, saying they had not fulfilled their obligation.
Thai Virak, deputy commune police chief, who was among those banished from the meeting, said the residents always showed anger toward the police, who were obliged to protect them.
“We do not intend to make any disturbance during the conference but to protect the villagers’ security, because it is their right to conduct meetings to express their opinion,” he said.
Contrary to residents’ claims, authorities were investigating the crimes, he added.