Sar Kheng Warns Police Instructor to Return Land to Training School

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A traffic police officer in Phnom Penh on September 15, 2020. (VOD)
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Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Tuesday warned a high-ranking instructor of the Police Academy of Cambodia that he’d strip his rank if the instructor did not return a piece of land to a police training school he’d formerly led.

The deputy prime minister issued his warning to Yos Phorn during a speech at the National Police School of Region 1, in Stung Treng. Phorn had been the director of that school in the past, and is now a teacher at the academy in Kandal.

In his speech, Kheng said he’d heard Phorn was in a land dispute with the Stung Treng school, which had filed a court complaint against the former director. The school has alleged the former director had taken public land from the institution for his own private use. Kheng said the documentation granting the public land for the police school in 2003 was clear about its size, saying it was “impossible” for a discrepancy there.

He said there are only two options to handle the dispute now.

“The first option, if he prefers to keep his role as a teacher of the National Police framework, he must hand over the land, because the land does not belong to him,” Kheng said. “[The second option,] if he does not give the land back, he must walk out of the framework. He will not get away with this, and it will proceed to court.”

However, the minister suggested, Phorn still might get some land for his trouble.

“For the first option, we think of handing him any proper land for him to build a home to live on,” Kheng said. “We cannot use any gratitude [for his service] to allow him to take the land for building the school.”

Men Kung, the deputy head of the Steung Treng provincial administration, said the land dispute at the school has been ongoing since 2013. He said Phorn has a title to the land, but that it was made at some later date than that of the school’s title, confounding an administrative or judicial resolution.

“The problem is still stuck and continues because a previous resolution through the court … found some documents that involved the land in the Region 1 school title,” Kung said, adding the issue required further investigation.

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