The WO Casino compound in Kampot’s Kampong Trach district, on May 19, 2022. (Mech Dara/VOD)

A Friend’s Journey Attempting Rescue From Alleged Slave Compound

Reporters followed the case of a 22-year-old from his call for help — in which he alleged he was trapped and electrocuted at a Kampot scam compound — to the efforts of a friend of his to get him out.

CPP supporters in Phnom Penh on May 21, 2022. (Hean Rangsey/VOD)

CPP Letters on Polling Station Staff Training Raise Red Flags

Two ambiguously worded letters from CPP Phnom Penh members calling for polling station staffers to attend training have sparked concern from opposition parties saying the letters appeared to be inviting NEC officials to receive ruling party guidance.

Cambodia Reform Party founder Ou Chanrath.

Ou Chanrath Interview: ‘I Don’t Want to See Cambodia Become a Second China’

If the Cambodia Reform Party were to win commune positions, it would work to empower the grassroots and ensure there is no corruption in the delivery of public services, said party founder Ou Chanrath. He had to contest this election because an uncontested ballot risked turning Cambodia into a “second China,” he said.

Pate commune chief Chhay Thy at the commune hall in Ratanakiri’s O'Yadaw district in May 2022. (Ananth Baliga/VOD)

Mixed Feelings in Ratanakiri Over Chhay Thy’s Roads

Pate commune chief Chhay Thy is proud of the two roads he built over the past five years. The former rights worker turned ruling party politician said he was confident of ongoing support from residents, but some said they wanted a Jarai leader, not a Khmer outsider.

The Candlelight Party’s campaign rally in Phnom Penh on May 21, 2022. (Roun Ry/VOD)

Campaigning Kicks Off for June 5 Commune Election

VOD reporters followed the launch of the official campaigning period for the June 5 commune election on Saturday morning. The Candlelight Party held a march through Phnom Penh, while the ruling CPP conducted gatherings within communes. Other parties like the Grassroots Democratic Party and the Khmer National United Party also kicked off their campaigning.

Traffic in Sihanoukville on January 21, 2021. (Tran Techseng/VOD)

Four Workers Dead After Fall at Construction Site

Four construction workers are dead and another has been hospitalized with serious injuries after a cable on their lift snapped, causing them to fall from the 15th story of a building, a police official said.

Chao Ratanak, Candlelight Party’s commune chief candidate in Poipet commune, outside her house on May 14, 2022. (Matt Surrusco/VOD)

A Daughter Steps Up in Poipet

Chao Ratanak, Candlelight’s top candidate in Poipet commune, where her father once served as an opposition councilor, had no political experience until recently. If elected, she says she’ll draw on lessons from her father and her family’s migrant worker experience.

Around 30 young activists rode bicycles on May 19, 2022, around Phnom Penh's Boeng Tamok calling for a stop to the privatization and filling of the lake.

For Boeng Tamok Residents, Youth Activists Speak What They Can’t

33 young activists rode bicycles around Boeng Tamok calling for a stop to the privatization and filling of the lake. For local residents, the youths were doing what they couldn’t dare to. “I’m happy to see it,” one said. “I want to see the young generation stand up to fight.”

‘I Want to Be the One Who Can Make a Change in My Village’

Sor Sarath is the only woman commune-chief candidate for the Grassroots Democratic Party. Sarath, a 38-year-old tailor, says she is committed to pushing for women’s rights and participation in social activities in Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Tralach commune. The task is not a simple one but would be a lot easier if men got out of the way, she says.

A sambar deer captured on a camera trap in Phnom Tamao's forested area.

Forest for the Trees: Minister’s Letter Skips Over Phnom Tamao Forest Loss

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon assured animal welfare NGO Wildlife Alliance that an animal rescue center at Phnom Tamao will remain untouched, but did not address the potential destruction of hundreds of hectares of protected forest around it through the planned privatization of land.

A propaganda video produced by a government agency in 2017 alleged Kem Sokha, pictured here with former U.S. ambassador William Todd, was colluding with the U.S. to overthrow the Hun Sen administration. (PQRU)

No Clarification on Whom Kem Sokha Allegedly Conspired With

Prosecutors and government plaintiff lawyers declined to specify a country, organization or individual behind opposition leader Kem Sokha’s alleged “conspiracy with a foreign power” during his trial hearing on Wednesday.

Indigenous People’s Party president Plang Sin in Bosra, in Mondulkiri’s Pech Chreada district, on May 15, 2022. (Ananth Baliga/VOD)

‘Elephant Party’ Wants to Protect Indigenous Land

The party won just over 1,000 votes in Mondulkiri in 2017, and many local residents don’t even know its name — only its elephant logo. But amid rampant land loss — burial grounds seemingly targeted by brokers — the Indigenous People’s Party wants to push back.

Bunong villager Pon Peul herds her buffaloes back as the dusk sets in, in March 2022. (Tran Techseng/VOD)

‘Everything Changed’: Cambodia’s Gold Rush Weighs on Indigenous Livelihoods

Labeled a “great achievement” for Cambodia’s post-pandemic recovery, the country’s biggest goldmine also exemplifies some of the challenges facing indigenous communities seeking to protect traditions. “It’s something very dangerous to lose culture, lifestyle and traditional practices,” one Bunong lawyer said.

Land granted to tycoon Khun Sea in Preah Sihanouk province’s Ream National Park. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

10,000 Hectares Privatized for Khun Sea, ‘Families’

Six sub-decrees signed in the span of a week privatized nearly 10,000 hectares across four provinces, with thousands of hectares going to unspecified families in northeastern provinces and a plot in Ream National Park adding to land tycoon Khun Sea’s property empire. 

A screenshot from a video of a shoe being thrown toward Prime Minister Hun Sen as he meets a crowd in the U.S. on May 11, 2022.

Hun Sen Vexed About US Shoe Throwing

Prime Minister Hun Sen asked supporters to tolerate a shoe thrown at him in Washington, but pondered why U.S. officials didn’t respond to a violent action.