Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activists have charges dropped

Activists have charges dropped

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Phork Sophin (centre) speaks to the press on November 1. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court dropped the charges against her and two other Borei Keila land activists on Friday. Pha Lina

Activists have charges dropped

Phnom Penh Municipal Court dropped the charges against three land activists on December 14, rejecting the accusations of extortion and property damage brought against the trio by the owner of a development company.

The three land activists from Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila neighbourhood – identified as Phork Sophin, Em Srey Touch, and Sear Naren – denied any wrongdoing and called the complaint baseless.

Phork Sophin told The Post on Sunday that the municipal court stopped the investigation and closed the case because they found it to be lacking in evidence.

She added that Suy Sophan – who owns the development company Phanimex – filed the complaint against the three land activists after they protested in front of Sophan’s house on numerous occasions in February this year to demand proper compensation for land dispute cases dating back to 2004.

The dispute started when residents in Borei Keila were asked to move out of their homes to make way for a development project undertaken by Phanimex.

The firm initially agreed to construct 10 new buildings to relocate the displaced residents, but only completed eight, leaving hundreds of families homeless when their abodes were destroyed in a single day in 2012.

Sophin applauded the court’s decision, saying the protesters simply held banners demanding proper compensation from Sophan’s company for land grabbing and illegally clearing their homes.

“We asked the court to drop the charges because we are all innocent. The court dropped all the charges and will no longer summon us to court,” she said.

Fellow defendant Naren told The Post she was happy the charges were dropped and again pointed the finger at the mogul and her company for the wrongdoing.

“I did not do anything wrong, I am not worried. How about people who took my land and destroyed my house? I was simply asking for what is mine,” she said.

Sophan could not be reached for comment on Sunday. But back on November 1, she told The Post her lawyer will pursue a case against the three activists, saying the protesters threatened the destruction of her property when they gathered in front of her home.

She added that all the protestors had previously accepted compensation from Phnom Penh Municipal Hall for their land and so should stop their protests.

Lawyer for the defendants, Terk Naro, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At