Brigade 70 General Faces Another Land-Grab Complaint

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A scuffle over a land dispute breaks out in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nob district on December 20, 2020, in photos posted to the district police Facebook page.
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A military general and his soldiers violently took over land in Sihanoukville, bringing knives, making threats and destroying fences, alleges a complaint from residents.

Phoeun Phalla is a general, deputy commander of Brigade 70, oknha tycoon, target of an internal military investigation over a violent land conflict in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nob in 2020, and the husband of a woman, Sar Sorphea, who has been receiving parcels of state land on Phnom Penh’s controversial Boeng Tamok lake.

He is now the target of a complaint by residents of Village III in Sihanoukville’s Muoy commune saying about 30 soldiers invaded their land.

On August 13 and September 9, the soldiers came armed with knives to destroy fence posts, pitch tents and build temporary structures. They threatened to destroy houses and use violence, the residents said in their complaint submitted to the provincial administration.

“This is why we are so afraid for our security and safety, and especially worried about losing property, land and houses to this group,” the October complaint says.

“Please, his excellency, help by intervening and taking legal action against this group,” it says, addressing Preah Sihanouk governor Kuoch Chamroeun.

Provincial spokesman Kheang Phearum said on Tuesday that the provincial administration was in the process of working to resolve the case. Relevant parties were being invited to meet at the provincial hall next week, he said.

Army spokesman Mao Phalla said he did not have information about the latest case against Phalla, but said the previous issue had been resolved. He added that he did not have any specific details about the previous case.

Commune chief Chhit Sophat said he was busy and could not comment.

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