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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Woman battles local governor in land row

Woman battles local governor in land row

The deputy chief of a village in Sihanoukville is suing town governor Chin Sarin for allegedly destroying her fence in an act of retaliation because she refused to sell him land.

Duong Sokunthea, deputy chief of village I in Sihanoukville’s commune II, said she will file a complaint today to the Preah Sihanouk provincial court for a second time against Chin Sarin after he used government vehicles and police to destroy her concrete fence on Saturday.

“He has used his governor’s role and his influence as well as the Royal Cambodian Government’s vehicles and police forces for his own uses. He has used his power in threatening me, destroying and robbing my property,” she said.

“He is the governor and is also one of the leadership whose duty is to serve people in Preah Sihanouk province. But he did not do so. He is the worst governor in the province.”

The dispute first arose, Duong Sokunthea said, in June 2008 when Chin Sarin and his wife asked her to sell a 10 x 115 metre plot of land in Commune III’s village III at an unacceptably low price of US$20 per square metre so they could construct a road to their own property.

Duong Sokunthea said she rejected the offer and began constructing a fence, which police, military police and bodyguards led by Chin Sarin destroyed last Saturday before they erected a barricade on a road leading to her property.

“Besides barricading me from entering my land, he has also threatened to shoot me. He threatened that he will shoot dead any of my family members who dared to enter into my land,” she said, adding her son had also been illegally detained for six hours afterward.

Chin Sarin was charged in December 2010 with intentionally damaging Duong Sokunthea’s fence during a separate incident and placed under the control of the court, according to documents obtained by the Post.

Yesterday, he denied he had used bodyguards, police and military police to destroy Doung Sokunthea’s fence and detain her son.

“I have just asked her to stop building the fence because it was built on the old road entering into my land. I asked her to wait for the court’s decision because … this case now has already been in the court and the court has not solved it yet,” he said, adding that the land had belonged to him since the 1980s and accused Duong Sokunthea of defaming him.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial governor Sbong Sarath said he was not aware of the dispute.

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