A Banteay Srei district land dispute activist’s home was shot up by an as-yet unidentified assailant on Saturday morning ahead of a scheduled meeting with local authorities yesterday, according to the Farmers Association for Peace and Development (FAPD).
FAPD director Heng Chhoeun said the NGO’s representative, Chan Rith, had been home alone in Tbeng commune’s Tbeng Lek village when he heard his dog barking. Rith then cautiously made his way downstairs and a short while later four shots were fired into his home and hit his bed.
Chhoeun said this was not the first time Rith had been subject to intimidation, noting that Rith had been scheduled to meet with military police yesterday morning to mediate a dispute with a land broker.
“He always helps villagers who are the victims of land disputes,” Chhoeun said. “Land brokers often try to harass him through the courts by accusing him of stealing cows and things like that.”
Rith could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Banteay Srei district police chief Mouy Norn said yesterday that his officers were providing assistance to Rith and searching for his attacker.
“We are seeking the shooter as it is our obligation to protect our villagers,” Norn said. “However, after the incident Mr Chan Rith did not file a complaint to us. He just acted like nothing had happened.”
“We, the police are the ones that contacted him for his and his family’s safety. I just wondered why he did not report it to us after the shooting,” Norn continued. “That is so strange.”