Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday demanded a rubber plantation turn over two security guards accused at opening fire on a gathering of villagers earlier this month.
Police say they are searching for two men who shot at a crowd of villagers who had gathered in protest to a land concession in Kratie province on Jan. 18. Four people were injured in the shooting, but no arrests have so far been made.
Hun Sen called the violence intolerable and called on TTY Corporation, which is owned by powerful business tycoon Na Marady, to turn over the security guards.
The Kratie court has issued a summons for the two guards.
At the inauguration of a new road in Mondolkiri province, Hun Sen said the company should be punished if it is found to be protecting them.
“I condemn such violence and cannot tolerate it,” Hun Sen said. “And ask the TTY Corporation to help hand over the offenders to the authorities of justice.”
Hun Sen said he had ordered Interior Minister Sar Kheng to arrest the men.
Land disputes are a growing concern in areas of more and more land concessions. Rights workers have pointed to tens of thousands affected and a potential source of widespread unrest.
Hun Sen said Tuesday he would take back land concessions if the violence continues.
Am Sam Ath, lead investigator for the rights group Licadho, welcomed premier’s words, but he said, “we will watch the effectiveness in implementation of Hun Sen’s speech.”