About 60 people protested outside Koh Kong Provincial Court yesterday after one of their community representatives was questioned then detained over a land dispute with a Ly Yong Phat-owned company.
Phorn Nol, 48, was charged with the theft of materials from the SEZ Company in Kiri Sakor district.
Yong Phat, a tycoon and ruling party senator, owns SEZ, which is locked in dispute with 135 families over land in the area.
Long Lun, a lawyer that rights group Adhoc provided to Nol, said the court had placed his client in pretrial detention to prevent him committing “further” crimes and to pressure witnesses.
He said his client is physically disabled, “so he doesn’t have the ability to pressure anyone or affect the court’s investigation”.
Nol’s fellow community representative Rout Sophal said the incident in question had involved villagers seizing company materials as they tried to erect fences on their land in January.
They will continue protesting today.