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Phanimex owner summoned

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court has summoned the owner of a controversial local development company to appear next week over a land dispute pitting two of Cambodia’s elite against each other.

Court deputy prosecutor Sok Roeun said Suy Sophan, owner of the Phanimex company, had been directed to appear in court on Monday over a land dispute in Meanchey district, after a complaint was filed against her by Yim Chhay Lin. Yim Chhay Lin is the daughter-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the daughter of Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly.

Suy Sophan said yesterday that she hadn’t received the summons.

“I will not go to the court,” Suy Sophan said. “I will have my lawyer clarify on my behalf.”

Phanimex was also involved in the eviction of several dozen families from Prampi Makara district’s Borei Keila community last year. The case drew international attention in part because of the eviction of roughly 40 families with HIV-positive members who were forced to move to Tuol
Sambo village in Dangkor district, prompting critics to accuse the government of creating an “AIDS colony”.

The evictees were initially required to live in 3.5-by-4.5-metre metal sheds smaller than those required by the UN for emergency refugee camps, though many have since received permanent housing with the support of the NGO Caritas Cambodia.

Chub Sitha, chief of Meanchey district’s Prek Pra commune, said he did not know the details of the dispute between Suy Sophan and Yim Chhay Lin.

“We always see poor people lose in court against powerful people,” said Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for local rights group Licadho.

“It’s rare to see powerful people file complaints against other powerful people.”



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