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Protesters rally for activist

About 50 Krakor district residents gathered yesterday in front of Pursat provincial court to demand answers over Sunday’s arrest of community activist Kuch Veng on fraud charges.

Lon Sirey, a protester at the court, said Veng’s supporters were maintaining he had never been told the specific reason for his arrest.  

“We won’t do anything, we just want to meet Kuch Veng to ask him if he knows anything after his arrest, or we won’t leave.  We will stay here, as well as ask more people to come if we do not get information about the arrest of our representative,” she said.

Known for his repeated protests against alleged land grabbing by developer Pheapimex Group, Veng was arrested by three policemen during his visit to 10 families living in Kbal Trach commune’s Kralanh village.

He was there to investigate claims that students who measured land for the families as part of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s land-titling program recorded less property than they owned.

Thousands of families in Pursat and Kampong Chhnang provinces have been affected by development from Pheapimex Group, which oversees more than 300,000 hectares of farm land thanks to an economic land concession.

Sarun Chanthy, Pursat police chief, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Phoung Sothea, coordinator of human rights group Adhoc, said the arrest was an attempt to “discourage other people to stop protesting against the authorities as well as the company”, he said.

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