Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Agro firm bows to pressure

Agro firm bows to pressure

Agro firm bows to pressure

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A day after Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened to withdraw TTY Company’s economic land concession licence if it refused to cooperate, the company yesterday began assisting police to find security guards wanted over the shooting of villagers during a protest in Kratie province last month, it said.

Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post
A woman from Kratie province’s Snuol district walks through the land that is the subject of the dispute with the TTY company.

Heng Sarath, deputy-general of TTY, denied the company had ordered the shootings and said he was cooperating with provincial and military police to find the three company security guards, Koe Sovanna, 29, Yon Chhaina, 32, and Phin Oeun, 35, who have been summonsed to court.

“We could not accept their activity,” he said. “They destroyed the company, we have to find them so can they can be arrested.”

On January 18, four villagers were seriously injured when a company security guard opened fire with an AK-47 on a group of about 400 people in Snuol district’s Pi Thnou commune as they tried to prevent bulldozers from clearing their cassava trees.

Hun Sen said on Tuesday that he would fire TTY director Na Marady as his adviser if he did not turn in the guards responsible for the shootings.

Heng Sarath denied TTY had issued guns to the security guards and said blame directed at the company was unwarranted.

“We employ security guards, but we provide them only batons – the government should not abuse my company like this.”  

“We don’t know how the security guards got guns. Our company has only three handguns,” he said.

Those guns, which are logged with the government each month, had not been given to the security guards, he said.

Heng Sarath said TTY officials did not know which provinces the security guards were from, but had told its staff to cooperate with police.

If there were employees who knew which province any of the three guards were from they should go there to assist local authorities, he said.

Mao Rainny, deputy military police chief in Kratie province, said military and provincial police had cooperated with TTY and officials in neighbouring Mondulkiri and Kampong Cham provinces yesterday as the search continued.

A photo that shows a security guard brandishing an assault rifle and another guard was being distributed with copies of the provincial court summonses, he said.

Police were also still investigating the possibility that the company was hiding the men.

“My officers are still been deployed near TTY’s office in case the guards are being hidden inside,” he said.

Ket Socheat, the investigating judge in Kratie, said he was examining the backgrounds of the security guards.

“I would like to ask to not speak about those three guys because it could affect my job,” he said.

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