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Land Grabs Likely Will Worsen After Election, Groups Warn

As prevalent as land-grabbing seems now, the problem will likely increase dramatically following national elections next year, two rights groups said Tuesday.

Adhoc and Licadho, two local groups with strong field offices in the provinces, warn that the current regime has no interest in eliminating the problem, though they may seek to politicize the issue ahead of elections.

Adhoc's chief investigator, Ny Chariya, said it is the habit of Cambodian politicians to create an atmosphere of calm ahead of elections, but that the calm will not last.

Though many land cases appear to have been solved recently, he predicted a rise in the problem after Cambodia's choose their parliamentarians.

"We observe that one or two years before the election the ruling party does not do anything to the people, because it is afraid of having an effect on the election result," he said.

This year has already seen 130 land-grab cases, according to Adhoc figures.

Licadho founder Kek Galabru said that the problem with land-grabbing stems from people with power and money: "sometimes it is for the protection of some companies."