UPDATE (Cambodia): A ranking police officer allegedly order a lower officer punished in a land dispute


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-012-2008
ISSUES: Inhuman & degrading treatment, Land rights, Police negligence, Prison conditions, Torture,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information that a national police commissioner allegedly ordered the punishment of Pring Pov as Pring refused to follow an order to cede his land. To date no investigation into several violations of criminal procedure code against him has been reported. The police allegedly illegally arrested, tortured and denied him medical treatment. (See further: AHRC-UAC-045-2008)


In response to previous appeal (AHRC-UAC-045-2008), Ing Sam Ol, the police commissioner of Kep town denied Pring’s arrest but acknowledged that he had been “remanded in custody” in execution of the order of Four-Star Police General Hok Lundy, the national commissioner, for disobedience to orders when Pring refused cede his land without compensation to a senior government minister named Eng Marie.

In his interview with a radio programme, Voice of America, on March 12, Ing said, “In fact, this land belongs to Princess [Marie]. She has all the ownership title on it. What has happened is that Pring Pov has torn open her fences and built a house [on the land]. Then the land owner filed a complaint. Since Pring Pov is a police officer, Princess Marie wrote a letter to His Excellency the National Police Commissioner to seek his intervention. We then gave [Pring] a teach-in, but he did not accept this teach-in. Therefore [our police] commission had no choice but simply execute the order of the National Police Commissioner.”

According to a source who has access to the Police Discipline Unit, the head of this unit known as “Ta Mon” has said that he has also executed the national police commissioner’s order. “Ta Mon” has told those who have approached him to get Pring’s release not to come to him and urged them to go and see the National Police Commissioner instead.

Their responses have confirmed that the order to arrest and detain Pring came from the chief of the country’s police to pressurize Pring into ceding his land to Eng Marie. However, there has been no hint at all that Pring has done anything wrong in his performance of his duties as a police officer. His alleged disobedience to orders or rejection of his superiors’ “teach-in”, that has been used to charge him, has nothing to do with his duty or conduct as a police officer. Nor has he done anything that might affect the image or reputation of the police to deserve such punishment.

However, to date no investigation into the alleged illegal arrest, torture, right to legal counsel and denial of medical treatment has been conducted.


The police have no jurisdiction over Pring’s dispute with Eng Marie over that plot of land. Such disputes are under the jurisdiction of the municipal or provincial then National Cadastral Commissions for unregistered land, the courts of law for registered land, and the National Authority for the Resolution of Land Disputes for unclear or politically related disputes. They are not under the jurisdiction of the police at all.

Ing Sam Ol’s claim that Pring had torn open the fences and then built his house on that land is not well founded. Pring built his house in 2005. He could and should have been apprehended, sued and brought to a court then and therefor encroachment on private property (registered land) in accordance with the land law of 2001, if Eng is really the rightful owner as Ing has claimed. The court could have evicted Pring from the contested land. Hok Lundy, the national police commissioner, could and should have directed Eng to resort to the due process of law to evict Pring. Instead he abused his power when he issued an order to Pring to cede his land to Eng and then took action against Pring for disobedience to his order.

Hok’s abuse of power and Ing Sam Ol’s, Mom Sitha’s and “Ta Mon”‘s blind obedience to his order are reprehensible. These four police officers should be made accountable for Pring’s arrest, alleged detention, alleged torture, and the impact on his health.

Please write your letters to the authorities listed below to urge them to conduct an investigation into the abuse of power by National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy, and into the blind obedience to his order by his subordinates, on top of calling on them to immediately release Pring Pov, conducting an investigation into is arrest, alleged detain and alleged torture, taking action against violators of his rights.

The AHRC has also written letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture and Adequate housing, Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights–Cambodia and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights in Cambodia calling for their intervention in this case.


To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear ___________,

CAMBODIA: A ranking police officer allegedly orders a lower officer punished in a land dispute

Name of victim: Mr. Pring Pov, 40 years old, police officer of Kep seaside town; residing at Kep village, Kep commune, Kep district in Kep seaside town; arrested on 19 February and currently detained at Police Discipline Unit
Name of alleged perpetrators: 
1. Hok Lundy, national police commissioner, police department, ministry of interior,Phnom Penh;
2. Ing Sam Ol, Kep police commissioner
2. Police officer known as “Ta Mon”, head of the Police Discipline Unit, Samaki village, Trapaing Krasaing village, Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh
Date of incident: Since 19 February 2008 
Place of incident: in police custody at Police Discipline Unit, Samaki village, Trapaing Krasaing village, Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh

I am writing to express my deep concern relating to the arrest and alleged torture of Pring Pov, 40, a police officer serving the police force of the seaside town of Kep, in the southwest of Cambodia in the morning of 19 February 2008. He was arrested without any arrest warrant when he was summoned to a meeting. He was handcuffed, shackled and bundled in a car which took him straight to that Police Discipline Unit at Samaki village, Trapeang Krasaing, Russey Keo district, some 20 km away from Phnom Penh.

According to persons who were permitted to see him in police custody, Pring has been confined in a windowless cell all day and is shackled at night. They have seen blood and wounds around his wrists and ankles, and bruises on his chest. They heard him coughing badly. However, Hock Lundy, the National Police Commissioner, has disallowed any doctor from visiting Pring. Doctors who have successively brought in to see him have all been turned away.

According to the same sources, Pring was arrested following a land dispute over a plot of land he had cleared in 1991 and has since owned. In 1994,  he was forced to give it to a high ranking woman named Eng Marie who was the wife of the president of the then ruling party. Pring was also forced to guard the same land and promised a monthly allowance and 30kg of rice which he received only once.

Eng has never visited Pring’s land. In recent years, she became a senior government minister. In 2008, she laid claim to that land and filed a complaint wiht the Police Department to that effect. The senior officers of the Kep police, including Kep police commissioner Ing Sam Ol and Kep Police Inspector Mom Sitha, then put pressure on Pring to vacate his land. They forced him and his wife to sign an agreement to the effect that they would vacate their house if they received an appropriate compensation but refused to give them a copy of that agreement, despite Pring’s pleas.

Pring has not received any compensation and has refused to dismantle his house and move out. His refusal is apparently the reason for his arrest, detention and torture, not his disobedience to orders from his superiors as wrongly charged.

According to his radio interview on 12 March Ing claimed that the concerned land rightfully belonged to Eng and confirmed that he had taken action against Pring in execution of National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy when failing in his “teach-in” to get Pring to cede his land. I find Ing’s claim, his confirmation of that order and his execution of it very contradictory, even preposterous. If she were the rightful owner, Eng could or should have resorted, or could or should have been directed, to resort to the due process of law to get a court of law to evict Pring. Such land disputes are not under the jurisdiction of the police but under that of courts of law. This is but abuse of power by Hok and blind obedience to his order by his subordinates.

What I find disturbing is that Pring’s detention from 19 February until now has far exceeded the legally permitted period of 72 hours under the Cambodian code of procedure. He should have been released then or brought to court to face any genuine charge. Under Cambodian law, such prolonged detention is illegal and the officers responsible for it ought to be punished for gross violations of Pring’s rights.

What is most disturbing is that Pring has allegedly been tortured and ill treated after his arrest as he was handcuffed, shackled and bundled in a car while being taken to the Police Discipline Unit. Persons who have visited Pring have found blood and wounds around his wrists and ankles, and bruises on his chest. They have also heard him coughing badly. But he has been denied any medical treatment. This alleged torture and denial of medical treatment should be investigated into and appropriate action be taken against the perpetrators without any further delay.

Furthermore, what I find totally unacceptable in this particular case is the abuse of power by National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy, and blind obedience to his order by his subordinates, all to punish Pring for having done no wrong in his performance of his duty, but for refusing to give in in a dispute which is under no jurisdiction of the police.

I therefore, strongly urge you to immediately order Pring Pov’s release, conduct an investigation into his arrest, prolonged detention and torture, and take action against all violators of his rights.  I also urge you to conduct another investigation into the abuse of power by the national commissioner and the blind obedience to his order that has let to that punitive action against Pring Pov

I also call upon you to clearly criminalize acts of torture and ill treatment and set up a national mechanism for their prevention as stipulated in the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol which Cambodia has already ratified. Furthermore, you should ensure that all persons in detention have the right to medical treatment, and this treatment not be left to the whims of the custody officer or the prosecutor.

I trust you will act on my above stated requests.

Yours sincerely,


1.  Mr. Hun Sen
Prime Minister
Cabinet of the Prime Minister
No. 38, Russian Federation Street
Phnom Penh
Fax: +855 23 36 0666
Tel: +855 2321 9898
E-mail: cabinet1b@camnet.com.kh 

2. Mr. Sar Kheng
Deputy-Prime Minister
Minister of Interior
No.275 Norodom Blvd., Phnom Penh 
Fax/phone: +855 23 721 905 / 23 726 052 / 23 721 190 
E-Mail: info@interior.gov.kh 

3. Mr. Henro Raken
Court of Appeal
No 240, Sothearos Blvd.
Phnom Penh
Fax: +855 23 21 66 22
Tel: +855 11 86 27 70

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-012-2008
Countries : Cambodia,
Issues : Inhuman & degrading treatment, Land rights, Police negligence, Prison conditions, Torture,