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Charges dropped in land protest case

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:

Pursat Provincial Court has dropped charges against seven people sued by the Pheapimex Company over use of violence in connection with the burning of company machinery during a land dispute in Krakor district.

In 2010, residents of six villages in Krakor district got into a land dispute with Pheapimex after the company received an economic land concession.

The villagers said the company had cleared hundreds of hectares of their land and began protesting.

During the protest, the company claimed villagers set some of their machinery aflame and filed a lawsuit against them in 2011.

Pursat Provincial Court conducted a hearing on November 16 and announced the verdict yesterday.

Lach Saran, one of the accused villagers, said Judge Ith Samphors dropped the charges because the company had insufficient evidence.

“We were released from the charge, and I think that the court has given us real justice,” he said.

Judge Samphors and Pheapimex owner Cheung Sopheap could not be reached for comment yesterday, while deputy prosecutor Chhay Hong, who handled the case, declined to comment.

According to the villagers, the land dispute was resolved after the protests in which the company machinery was destroyed.

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