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PM’s aid sought in land row

111209_08
Phang Eng Song speaks to reporters yesterday during a press conference in Phnom Penh.

A high-ranking government official yesterday called on Prime Minister Hun Sen to help villagers locked in a land dispute with well-known land tycoon Thong Sarath.

Undersecretary of State Secretariat for Civil Service Chea Se, representing seven families in Mean Chey district’s Boeung Tompun commune, complained in July that Thong Sarath was destroying people’s property.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Kry Sok Y dismissed the complaint yesterday because it “lacked evidence”.

Speaking at a press conference, Chea Se said enough evidence existed to warrant legal action against Thong Sarath, but the court had instead focused on allegations that Chea Se’s brothers Phang Eng Song and Phang Kosal had threatened to kill the businessman.

“Thong Sarath has created a tale accusing my brothers of taking a gun to shoot him,” Chea Se said, adding the allegations had come after Thong Sarath had urged him to withdraw his complaint.

“Thong Sarath told me . . . filing a complaint against him would not win. He said that he had US$60 million; he talked directly to me at Dreamland restaurant,” Chea Se said.

The dismissed complaint alleged Thong Sarath had destroyed people’s fences so he could extend a road towards his construction site.

Chea Se called for villagers to be compensated for the damage. “I would ask Hun Sen to find justice for our families. The court did not find justice for my family but the court proceeds with a tale case,” he said.

Thong Sarath was not available for comment yesterday.

Deputy prosecutor Kry Sok Y said he had sent the complaint to the Appeal Court and it could be reviewed if more evidence was found.

Ouk Sovuth, general prosecutor at the Appeal Court, had not received the complaint.

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