FIVE workers employed by the Sou Ching conglomerate filed a complaint to a local rights group yesterday accusing a group of Apsara Authority officials of injuring them during a clash over unauthorised construction work on a property within a protected area of Siem Reap district’s Thnal village.
The complaint came one day after the Apsara Authority announced plans to sue Ros Chhoudeth, CEO of the Sou Ching Electric Company. An Apsara official said that around 70 security guards hired by Ros Chhoudeth had threatened and injured members of a team of around 30 Apsara Authority officials and workers who had attempted to shut down construction work on the property on Friday.
Ros Chhoudeth denied that he had hired security guards to protect the property, and said Apsara Authority officials had clashed with a group of around 10 construction workers.
Sous Narin, an investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that both the company and the authorities were at fault.
“We see that the Sou Ching company’s fault is that it doesn’t have permission to make repairs, and the Apsara Authority’s fault is in using violence against the workers,” he said. “The activities violated the individuals’ rights because they are security guards, and the authorities should have discussed [the problem] with the property owner.”
He said the Sou Ching workers had been repairing a fence on the property because it was coming to the end of its lease.
Ty Borey, a Sou Ching security guard, said he was among the five who had filed a complaint against the Apsara Authority.
“They injured me when I was guarding the house,” he said, and added that some of the officials had been carrying guns.
“I felt anger, but I did not have anything to fight back with,” he said.
Prom Karona, director of the Apsara Authority’s Public Order and Cooperation Department, said he had prepared the documents to sue Ros Chhoudeth, and was waiting for approval from “higher” officials before submitting them to court.