Editor’s Choice
A fence being built near plots granted to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s daughters Hun Mana and Hun Maly across the hilly terrain of Prey Nob district's Ream commune in Preah Sihanouk province, on December 1, 2020. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

Villages Emptied Amid an Extensive Web of Elites’ Landholdings

In the past several months, some of the most powerful people in Cambodia have been granted Preah Sihanouk land that boasts stunning ocean views and proximity to key tourist developments. Much of the area sits empty, and interviews with hired guards and local officials suggest there is a web of elite landholdings as many hold onto the plots while their value steadily climbs.

A l’bokator trainee, in Kampong Chhnang province’s Rolea Ba’ier district. (Hy Chhay/VOD)

Video: L’Bokator Seeks a Return to Prominence

A small number of remaining old masters are fighting to preserve Cambodian martial arts l’bokator after surviving the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. Through their passion, the martial art is slowly regaining its popularity — with some of its ritualistic and violent traditions transformed as they are passed onto younger generations.

Sean Bopha of Comped explains the composting process and how it could be expanded throughout Cambodia, in Battambang on November 6, 2020. (Gerald Flynn/VOD)

As Trash Woes Pile Up, Community Efforts Fill In the Gaps

From organized volunteer cleanups to commercialized plastics recycling, community efforts dotted across Cambodia seek solutions to the 4 million tons of waste produced annually, which is filling up volatile dumpsites and soiling the natural environment.

The Laos-Cambodia transmission line’s planned path through the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary. Orange dots mark deforestation in 2019 and 2020 detected by the University of Maryland's Global Land Analysis and Discovery. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

Power Line to Cut Through Prey Lang, Troubling Conservation Partners

Cambodia’s state electricity provider is pushing ahead with the construction of a transmission line through the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, a plan that has caused concerns for representatives of three multimillion-dollar conservation projects as well as officials in the environment and forestry ministries.

Sran Lanj, who became the leader of the Old Kbal Romeas community after the community was flooded and split, in her kitchen in Stung Treng province on September 22, 2020. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

Indigenous Residents at Sesan Dam Prepare for New Fight

Bunong villagers flushed out by Sesan dam floodwaters have been taking boats to visit ancestral grounds, wading through clusters of dying trees that were not adapted to survive permanent floods. They are now bracing for a new fight as a rubber company eyes their refuge on higher ground.

illustration of mother holding baby boy

A Surrogate Family and the Law That Criminalized Them

Cambodia banned commercial surrogacy in 2016. Since then, about 100 surrogate mothers have been ordered by courts to raise the children they carried for others — a costly but happy result for one.