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Two arrested in rubber dispute

SIEM REAP PROVINCE
TWO villagers involved in an ongoing land dispute with a rubber plantation in Siem Reap province’s Svay Leu district were charged with fraud and placed in pretrial detention by Siem Reap provincial court on Friday, officials said.

Vorn Kea, district deputy police chief, said Sunday that police arrested Nhuk Ky and Sar Sam Ol on Thursday after the court issued an arrest warrant based on a complaint filed by the Krek Rubber Plantation Company.

Siek Kimsath, a Krek Rubber representative, said the company filed the complaint after learning that the two men had been collecting money from villagers under false pretences, promising to retrieve disputed land from the rubber plantation.

He said there had been ongoing disputes with 19 families from two villages in Svay Leu district ever since a 9,104-hectare land concession was granted to the company in 2006.

Ky Kun, Nhuk Ky’s son, said 363 families were involved in the dispute with the rubber plantation, and that some had given his father between 50,000 and 200,000 riels (US$48) to help fund protests against the company.

“We will go to protest at the provincial hall in the coming days,” he said.

Court prosecutor Ty Soveinthal declined to give further details of the case and said that a trial date had not yet been set.

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