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Land activists summoned by court

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Im Srey Touch, right, at a protest. CEN

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has issued summons for three Borei Keila and Boeng Kak land activists following a complaint filed by the owner of the Phanimex company, who accused them of extortion and property damage.

The activists were identified by the court as Im Srey Touch, Sea Nareth and Phork Sophin.

The trio protested in front of Phanimex owner Suy Sophan’s home in Tuol Kork district two to three times times per month over the past year and Ms Sophan has accused them of throwing objects at her home.

The accused are expected to make separate court appearances on November 1 and 2, said deputy prosecutor Seu Vanny.

“The individuals have to come according to the summons,” Mr Vanny said. “They must bring related documents, if available.”

In 2003, Ms Sophan’s Phanimex development company was granted land by the government to develop the Borei Keila community.

At the time, she agreed to build ten buildings for 1,776 families, but her company only built eight and forced other residents to move to Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district.

As of today, residents still live in old buildings and others are scattered near a rubbish dump in the community. Many of them continue to rally for compensation.

Ms Sophan yesterday said the land activists continued to protest at her home after the dispute case in the Borei Keila community was resolved.

“Those people always come to my house, shout and throw objects to disturb me,” she said. “The case of Borei Keila was already settled – there was compensation – but those people refused. I have no role in this case anymore.”

Ms Sophin, one of the defendants, yesterday said she will appear in court in November as requested.

“I went to protest in front of her house, but I did not commit violence,” Ms Sophin said. “Suy Sophan released her hounds on us, but the dog bit someone else instead.”

“We came and shouted, but we never touched her property,” she added. “She’s the one who destroyed my house with everything inside.”

Ms Srey Touch, another defendant, yesterday said the lawsuit was unfair and that she protested without violence.

“I and Sea Nareth will answer the summons and come to court on November 2,” she said.

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