Police in Phnom Penh said Wednesday they are investigating an attack on a 70-year-old man whose family are locked in a land dispute with the city and are refusing to give up their home unless the city increases its compensation offer.
Ly Seang Heng said he and a friend were driving near his home in Tuol Kok district at around 12 p.m. when he was struck on the back of his head with what he believed to be a metal object. Mr. Seang Heng said he saw a motorcycle with two men on it before he was attacked and claimed to have recognized the vehicle as the same one that had followed him on a previous occasion.
“I think one motorcycle with two men, one of them attacked me on the head because they have followed me before,” he said, adding that his friend prevented him from falling off the back of the motorcycle before he became unconscious and was taken to a local clinic.
Mr. Seang Heng’s family is one of three who share a Tuol Kok district building with local commune council and CPP offices and who the government wants to buy out after it swapped the property with a private firm, the Khun Sear Import Export Company. The family has been offered $15,000 to move out but is demanding $300,000.
After interviewing Mr. Seang Heng, Boeng Kak I commune police chief Horm Kear said he did not think the injury was very serious.
“I saw one spot on his head,” he said. “It was bloody, but I think it is not a serous injury.” He said Mr. Seang Heng also gave the police little information to work with.
“We are investigating and asked the victim who hit him or attacked him; he told police that he did not know,” Mr. Kear said.
Mr. Seang Heng’s daughter, Ly Siv Ming, was convinced the attack was related to their land dispute.
“I think it is related to the land dispute at my house,” she said. “Now we are worried about our security.”
Ms. Siv Ming also claims that unknown people have been banging on their walls and throwing rocks at their shutters on a near nightly basis.
Police detained Mr. Seang Heng and two of the other holdouts for questioning last month and accused them of damaging the property during an incident in April when the families stopped the company from erecting a fence around the building.
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