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Hun Sen Warns of Bloodshed in Campaign Against Land Grabs

Prime Minister Hun Sen warned Monday that he will remove from power those who steal land from the poor, following a mandate handed to him over the weekend from his party's central committee.

The Cambodian People's Party asked Hun Sen to intervene in the growing problem of land grabbing at its annual meeting. In a speech at a management conference Monday, Hun Sen said he would wage war against the problem and warned of bloodshed for those who resisted.

“Don't let the blood flow [because] I don't want to see blood flow. But, if [the officials] are stubborn, blood must flow, especially when it involved flooded forestland," Hun Sen said.

Eng Chhay Eang, a legislator for the opposition party, supported Hun Sen’s commitment to combat the issues but said the government still failed to implement the law.

“Mr. Hun Sen has talked about the issue many times in the past, about stopping land grabbing and illegal logging, but they were not efficient. It was not implemented and the perpetrators were not afraid,” he said.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights' Director Kem Sokha said he did not want to see bloodshed. The issue should be resolved through the Cambodian legal system, he said.

"Land disputes occur all over Cambodia, and the majority of the cases involved high-ranking Cambodian officials with power,” he said.