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Family in hiding names price

Ly Srea Kheng holds a bag containing snakes he claims were thrown into his home in Phnom Penh
Ly Srea Kheng holds a bag containing snakes he claims were thrown into his home in Phnom Penh last year by people working for Khun Sear Import Export Company. Pha Lina

Family in hiding names price

A teenager whose father and sister were arrested last week over a land dispute with a politically connected company said yesterday that his family will vacate their home for $250,000.

Ly Bun Heang’s family has claimed it has had snakes thrown in their house and their property burned, among other abuses, in an attempt to have them leave their home of 30 years in the capital’s Tuol Kork district. The government signed over the land in Boeung Kak I commune to the Khun Sear Import Export Company in 2010.

Bun Heang, 18, said yesterday that his family has previously refused to talk money with the company but would now request $250,000 as compensation to leave.

“I have contacted NGOs to help negotiate. I say $250,000,” he said, adding that the price was less than market value. “If the company agrees with this price, we would like all cases to be withdrawn.”

It would then be expected that his father, Ly Srea Kheng and sister Ly Seav Minh, who were arrested November 18, would be freed from pre-trial detention at Prey Sar prison, he said. The pair has been charged over alleged violence against Khun Sear representatives. The family claims that company “gangsters” have repeatedly intimidated them to leave.

Khun Sear representatives, who could not be reached yesterday, are yet to respond to the family’s offer.

Srea Kheng was arrested at the family home in the capital’s Tuol Kork district last Tuesday morning. His daughter, Seav Minh, was arrested later that day when trying to see him at Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Bun Heang, fearing he was next, ran out of the court and was chased by police.

After his escape, Bun Heang and his mother, Mok Seav Huong, went into hiding. Their efforts to return home last Wednesday were abandoned when they realised police were stationed outside their house, Seav Huong said.

“I still want to go back to my home, but I am afraid of being detained,” said the 50-year-old, who is battling a number of health problems. “They are rich and powerful and can do anything. I am only with my son and I am living with disease. I can’t resist or defend my land.”

Choung Choungy, the family’s lawyer, said he will lodge a request with Phnom Penh Municipal Court seeking bail for the father and daughter.

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