The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday ended a long-running land dispute and dropped charges against four Boeung Chhouk community representatives, after the court found no evidence that residents committed violence against local businessman and developer Lao Tonmey.
Presiding judge Top Chhun Heng announced the verdict yesterday morning.
During the hearing, more than 20 activists from the community awaited the result outside.
After the verdict was announced, community member Khieu Chenda was gleeful, saying, “We got a fair [trial], and they cancelled our charges.”
In 2002, Russey Keo district authorities failed to forcibly remove residents from the community, despite claiming that they were living on state land.
But seven years later, in 2009, residents were again threatened with eviction after claims arose that their land was actually owned by Tonmey – who has also been referred to as “Tear Thoeurn”.
At that, point he filed a complaint against community members Khiev Chenda, Bu Meng, Kang Naren, and Kol Sorphear for “using violence against the legal owner of the property”.