Dispute in Kampot sees three charged

Source: Phnom Penh Post

A soldier watches while company representatives tear down a house that villagers were building on what authorities claim is company land. Photo supplied

Three people involved in a violent confrontation over disputed land in Kampot province last week have been charged by an investigating judge and a fourth was arrested yesterday.

Journalist Chea Sytha and villagers Proeung Pran and Sok Pisey are charged with intentional acts of violence, damaging property and encroaching on public property, all stemming from the confrontation last week in which Chrey Bak residents wielding machetes, axes and slingshots destroyed several company cars and severely beat a security guard, according to Man Boreth, provincial court administration spokesman.

The three are accused of instigating the showdown after workers from First Bio-Tech Agricultural (Cambodia) Co Ltd tore down houses the villagers had begun building on disputed land.

Heng Phearak, an Adhoc investigator in the area, said authorities also arrested a fourth villager in connection with the incident. A relative who declined to give his name confirmed that the man had been arrested while walking to get food in Kampot province.

Khan Sophal, provincial prosecutor spokesman, said police are still looking for more villagers they believe to be responsible for instigating the conflict last week.

“There are still many accomplices,” Sophal said.

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