Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activists ignore summonses

Activists ignore summonses

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Mother Nature co-founder San Mala delivers a presentation earlier this month in Phnom Penh on dredging activities in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district. Vireak Mai

Activists ignore summonses

Authorities in Koh Kong province’s Botum Sakor district said yesterday they will take legal action against three environmental activists summonsed on Friday over their refusal to answer questions about their supposed involvement in a protest against Vietnamese corporations involved in sand dredging.

Botum Sakor district police chief Sok Phom said that despite calling in San Mala, Try Vokikea and Yeun Dinit – all activists affiliated with the NGO Mother Nature – for questioning on August 14, the three have failed to comply with the request.

Details about who issued the complaint and what the testimony is to cover remain hazy, and Phom refused to give further details about the case.

Koh Kong provincial police chief Somkhit Vean said the complaint emerged after the activists boarded and towed sand dredging boats during a protest against companies International Rainbow and Direct Access.

“If they do not agree to testify in relation to the allegations, the police will ask for [permission] from the prosecutor” to take further legal action, he said. “The case depends on the court’s procedures.”

The summonses are in relation to a previous protest by Mother Nature and community members in Botum Sakor’s Andong Teuk commune, in which they demonstrated against what they deemed “illegal” sand dredging activities that negatively impacted the community’s homes, fishing activities and environmental stability.

On Saturday, 10 activists with Mother Nature continued their protest by hanging a banner against sand dredging and handcuffing themselves to a fence to await authorities, but no arrests were made.

Mother Nature activist San Mala said he and his colleagues ignored the summonses because they believed they had not engaged in any illegal activities.

“If they want to arrest us, we will not escape.

We will be here waiting for them to arrest us because we have done nothing against the law, and our actions are protecting natural resources . . . We welcome the authorities’ procedures,” he said.

Botum Sakor District Governor Orn Pheareak said in late July that the firms were operating legally and that the group’s campaign was affecting their property and finances.

Meanwhile, Pich Siyun, the director of Koh Kong’s Mines and Energy Department, said the companies had not broken the conditions of their licences.

International Rainbow and Direct Access could not be reached for comment.


  • Professor beaten by mob in Phnom Penh after alleged hit-and-run

    Updated with new information: 6:44am, Tuesday March 13 2018 A university professor accused of a hit-and-run has been transported to Vietnam with serious head injuries after he was brutally beaten by a mob in Phnom Penh late Sunday afternoon. A video of the attack shows a group

  • American ‘fugitive’ arrested in Cambodia outside of US Embassy

    An American citizen was arrested on request by the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, according to Cambodian police. Major General Uk Hei Sela, chief of investigations at the Department of Immigration, identified the man as American Jan Sterling Hagen, and said he was

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of