CAMBODIA’S
2017
IN PICTURES


From political drama and deaths to cultural marvels and the minutiae of daily life, here are 50 moments captured by our photographers around the Kingdom in 2017.

 


 
Arts, Culture & Around Town
A woman shops at a stall filled with decorations in Phnom Penh’s O’Russey market ahead of Chinese New Year in January. | Pha Lina
A child chases birds in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh in February | Hong Menea
Young dancers perform at the funeral of Yit Sarin, one of Cambodia’s greatest practitioners and teachers of the masked classical dance Lakhon Khol, who passed away in March. The Post looked into Sarin’s life in-depth, in the process locating his last unpublished manuscript. | Read more | Eliah Lillis
Patrons crowd restaurants and bars at Jet's container night market in March. The roaring success of the market has spawned copies in the capital and beyond. | Read more | Sahiba Chawdhary
Lightning strikes beside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh in April. The country's heavy rainfalls during this year's dry season were “unpredictable and exceptional” according to Nop Polin, a program officer for humanitarian NGO Dan Church Aid Cambodia. | Hong Menea
A family celebrates Ching Ming, the 2,500-year-old “tomb-sweeping” holiday, in Pursat in April. So called because families clean and adorn their ancestors’ graves, the festival is one of the year’s most important holidays for the Chinese-Cambodian community. | Read more | Eliah Lillis
Requiring about 50,000 pieces of bamboo to build, constructing the iconic Kampong Cham bridge was an expensive and time-consuming feat of engineering. The bridge, which was built seasonally by residents on the island of Koh Paen, was one of the province’s most popular attractions. But with a government-funded permanent bridge being built up the river, 2017 was likely its final year. | Read more | Eliah Lillis
Sixteen-year-old Kun Khmer boxer Long Bronh, pictured in May, at the gym where he trains in Toul Kork. Almost 1,000 boxers a week are featured on various Cambodian television channels competing in this ancient sport, which tends to attract fighters from poor families, many of whom are high school dropouts. Despite a recent resurgence of sponsorship money into the industry, only a small portion tends to reach the actual fighters | Read more | Eliah Lillis
A panoramic view of Phnom Penh’s iconic White Building bears a post-apocalyptic look after its residents were cleared out in June. Later that month the building was razed and will make way for a 21-storey high rise constructed by Japanese firm Arakawa Co. | Read more | Sahiba Chawdhary
An exterior view taken in June of the Kda Ouk Temple among the south group of Sambor Prei Kuk Temples where there are 12 carved reliefs allegedly representing foreigners. The ancient Chenla archeological site built by king Isanavarnam I was later inscribed as a Unesco world heritage site in July. | Read more | Heng Chivoan
An 11th-century statue sits behind bars in Kampong Chhnang province. Under normal circumstances, found artefacts in Cambodia are handed over to the government and taken to the National Museum. But the villagers who discovered this particular statue — believing it to have spiritual powers — have been reluctant to let it go. | Read more | Sahiba Chawdhary
Prima ballerina Chap Chamroeun Tola warms up with a stretch before the Hong Kong debut of the Cambodian Royal Ballet in September. | Read more | Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon
Mourners accompany the body of Vann Molyvann, the legendary architect who died in September aged 90. Molyvann started an architectural renaissance in Cambodia and designed some of its most iconic structures, including Phnom Penh's Independence Monument, Olympic Stadium and Chaktomuk Theatre. | Read more | Heng Chivoan
Children swim in the flooded streets of Phnom Penh's Toul Kork district in September. | Sreng Meng Srung
Boats sit on the Tonle Sap for this year's Water Festival in November. The event, which marks the end of the rainy season and the naturally occurring phenomenon of the reversal of the Tonle Sap's current, attracted 3 million to the capital. | Read more | Hong Menea

 


 
News & Features
A view from a building overlooking Boeung Kak in January. A decade ago, Phnom Penh City Hall and the development firm Shukaku Inc announced an agreement to transform the Boeung Kak lake area into a sprawling mixed-use development. Since then, the lake has been filled, close to 4,000 families have been forcibly evicted or resettled, and only recently has Shukaku started developing the land into what it calls “Phnom Penh City Center The Pearl of Cambodia”. | Read more | Eliah Lillis
Prominent Boeung Kak activist Tep Vanny breaks down as she is escorted into the Supreme Court for a bail hearing in January 2017. | Read more | Hong Menea
Bopha*, a surrogate mother for a Dutch couple, pictured in Kampong Speu province in January. A sudden crackdown on commercial surrogacy in 2016 left those engaged in the practice in limbo. | Read more | Heng Chivoan
Garment workers travel to their factory on the back of a truck in Kampong Speu in January. A familiar sight along the roads of Cambodia, for most of the 700,000-strong workforce the risky form of transport is the only way to commute. “We keep worrying until we reach home and then, relief,” said Chreng Saren, pictured, who was in an accident which bruised her ribcage and injured 32 other workers. | Read more | Eliah Lillis
Political analyst Kim Sok raises his hands at Phnom Penh Municipal Curt in February, where he was arrested for defamation and inciting unrest after arriving for questioning. He is currently serving an 18-month sentence. | Read more | Heng Chivoan
Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng mourn the death of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in March. Some $750,000 was laid aside from the national budget for a lavish goodbye to the man known as Hun Sen's 'right-hand man', who passed away aged 66 after a long illness. He was given the prestigious title “Samdech Vibol Panha” a few days before his death. | Read more | Heng Chivoan
Four young activists are arrested by armed police in March, after their screening of the Al Jazeera documentary "Cambodia's Deadly Politics" was shut down. Moung Sony, one of the four, said they were released after signing an agreement not to show the film, which explores the suspicious circumstances surrounding political analyst Kem Ley’s murder. | Read more | Pha Lina
Sao Vanna, sitting on a bamboo bench as chickens dart around her in her family home, reveals a chain fastened to her ankle. Vanna, based in rural Ang Snuol district, is one of an unknown number of mentally disabled people across Cambodia who are chained, tied or caged by relatives who resort to restraint as their only way of coping. Experts say that, while the practice clearly violates the rights of disabled people, it exists in a legal grey area. | Read more | Erin Handley
Mondulkiri villagers gather to look at the body of Atork, a 60-year-old elephant that was shot dead by police in April after it murdered its mahout and went on a rampage that destroyed buildings and terrified locals. Another mahout said the unfortunate killing was an outgrowth of a changing way of life that has seen elephants’ traditional work in the forests gradually slip away. | Read more | Eliah Lillis
Community members drag the body of suspected murderer Suon Ottara across a pond to be picked up by his relatives in Kandal province after he was killed by a mob of angry villagers in April. Mob justice continues to be pervasive throughout the Kingdom and is a response to the lack of a dependable justice system, experts say. Ottara died after a group of 30-40 villagers descended upon him after he allegedly killed the father of a girl he wished to marry. | Read more | Erin Handley
Activists commemorate the five-year anniversary of environmentalist Chut Wutty's murder by gathering outside the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh in April. After praying they watched a live stream of the documentary “I Am Chut Wutty” on their phones and tablets. They also called for justice for an activist who was shot dead while accompanying two journalists to the Cardamom Mountains. | Read more | Hong Menea
Women join more than a thousand people who gathered to march along Sothearos Boulevard to the National Assembly on May Day calling for rights for workers and other sector-specific demands. Initially met by blockades, after nearly two hours of negotiations the group was allowed to walk a short way, but only after police equipped with shields, batons and smoke grenade launchers were deployed to watch over them. | Read more | Hong Menea
Military officials carry the coffin of slain Cambodian peacekeeper Im Sam after his body was brought back to the Kingdom in May from the Central African Republic. Three other Cambodians died alongside him in an attack. | Read more | Pha Lina
Actors in Khmer Rouge uniforms re-enact moments from the brutal regime to mark the annual ‘Day of Anger’ at the Killing Fields in May. | Read more | Hong Menea
A ministry of Environment ranger walks among charred remains of trees in Prek Toal a year after fires tore through the Tonle Sap wetlands, destroying an estimated third of the seasonally flooded forests that surround the lake. The loss of the trees, which are breeding grounds for freshwater fish, poses an existential threat to the area’s ecology and to the livelihoods of local villagers. | Read more | Hong Menea
Workers step out of a Thai truck packed with Cambodian migrants in Poipet. Since late June 2017, thousands of migrants have left Thailand for Cambodia fearing punishment and possible arrest. Uncertainty around potential changes to Thai law has left returnees with a choice: pay to get documented and go back, or stay put. | Read more | Sahiba Chawdhary
National Election Committee deputy secretary-general Ny Chakrya speaks to reporters as he leaves Phnom Penh’s Prison Judiciare in June. More than a year after being arrested, four Adhoc staffers and one election official were released on bail for their alleged links to opposition leader Kem Sokha’s purported sex scandal in 2016. | Read more | Sreng Meng Srun
On July 10 2016, outspoken government critic and political analyst Kem Ley was shot dead in broad daylight in what many believe to have been a politically-motivated assassination. On the one year anniversary of his killing, hundreds of mourners poured into Takeo province to pay their respects. | Read more | Pha Lina
An aerial view of the Chong Kneas floating village and a number of traditional arrowhead-style fish traps exposed by record low water levels on the Tonle Sap Lake in 2016. This was the page one photo for the August 1, 2017 feature story “The point of no return”, which detailed a prevailing scientific sentiment on how climate change, dam construction, and overfishing may soon collapse the ecosystem of the gigantic lake upon which millions depend for food and irrigation, critically threatening Cambodia’s food security, economy and demographics. | Read more | Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon
Dauk Paris, photographed at her home in Svay Rieng province in August, was born with deformities consistent with others affected by Agent Orange, 25 years after her grandparents were directly exposed to a white powder dumped by passing airplanes. During escalating tensions between the two countries this year, Cambodia accused the United States of not taking responsibility for its war legacy in the Kingdom, including the alleged use of chemical weapons. | Read more | Sahiba Chawdhary
Cambodian taekwondo star Sorn Seavmey lands a kick on her opponent, renowned Philippine fighter Kirstie Elaine Alora, in the women’s 73kg final at the Southeast Asian Games in August. Seavmey took gold on the penultimate day of the games in Kuala Lumpur along with Cambodian kickboxer Khun Dima, bringing the Kingdom’s gold medal total to three. | Read more | Sreng Meng Srung
A worker stands in front of the Lower Sesan II Dam as it was put online in Stung Treng province in September. The controversial hydropower structure is expected to provide a boost to the Kingdom’s electricity supply but is also expected to cause significant damage to fisheries. | Read more | Hong Menea
Soldiers attend the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ 64th anniversary celebrations in Kampong Speu in November. At the ceremony, Defence Minister Tea Banh compared the opposition’s protests in the wake of the 2013 elections to the Khmer Rouge regime’s violent takeover in the 1970s, saying they were similarly dangerous. | Read more | Heng Chivoan
Prime Minister Hun Sen prays alongside first lady Bun Rany during a huge religious ceremony at Angkor Wat on December 3 meant to highlight stability within the Kingdom. | Read more | Hong Menea

 


 
Politics
Prime Minister Hun Sen is seen through a door at a National Assembly session in February where controversial changes to the Law on Political Parties were approved. The amendments paved the way for the later dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party and the redistribution of its seats among the Cambodian People's Party and several minor parties. | Read more | Pha Lina
Swift changes to the Law on Political Parties in February saw former CNRP President Sam Rainsy resign from the party’s leadership necessitating infusion of new leaders for the opposition. In March, the party elevated Deputy President Kem Sokha to lead the party, aided by three newly-minted deputy presidents - Pol Ham, Mu Sochua and Eng Chhay Eang. | Read more | Pha Lina
Thousands of supporters join a CPP campaign rally on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich in May, on the first day of campaigning for the June commune elections. | Read more | Pha Lina
Former opposition leader Kem Sokha waves to massive crowds and he leads a party rally across the capital on the last day of campaigning for the June commune elections. Two days later, the CNRP would go on to win around 30 percent of the country’s communes, putting forth the opposition's best ever performance in local elections. | Read more | Hong Menea
Khmer National United Party supporters adorn their party colours as they participate in an election rally in Phnom Penh in May. The party was the only smaller political entity to win a commune council during the June local elections, but was soon rocked by the surprise arrest of its president, Nhek Bun Chhay, for his alleged involvement in a 2007 drug bust case. | Read more | Heng Chivoan
Two women cast their commune election votes at a polling station in Phnom Penh in June. | Read more | Pha Lina
Prime Minister Hun Sen, accompanied by First Lady Bun Rany, shows photographers his ballot before casting his vote in the June commune elections at a polling station in Kandal’s Takhmao City. | Read more | Heng Chivoan
Former CNRP president Kem Sokha votes at a local school in Phnom Penh’s Chak Angre commune, after which he reiterated his party’s goal to garner 60 percent of the popular vote. The party ended up with 44 percent of ballots to the ruling CPP’s 50 percent. | Read more | Sreng Meng Srun
Former Cambodia National Rescue Party President Kem Sokha is escorted from his Phnom Penh residence in early September after nearly 100 police officers surrounded the his home in the middle of the night. The arrest followed the release of a 2013 video of Sokha speaking in Australia claiming to have received US assistance to plan his political trajectory, leading to him being charged for “treason”. | Read more | AFP
Security officials stand guard at the Supreme Court in November ahead of a ruling that dissolved the country’s main opposition party, a move rights groups say has stripped the 2018 national elections of any credibility. | Read more | Pha Lina
Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh and his party members leave the Royal Palace after a swearing-in ceremony in December. Funcinpec filed the complaint which led to the dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party in November, after which it was handed 41 of the CNRP's seats in the National Assembly, despite winning just 3.66 percent of the popular vote in the 2013 National Election. | Read more | Pha Lina