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Borei Keila resident summoned for questioning

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Borei Keila residents stand in front of Phanimex owner Suy Sophan's house last month to demand compensation. Sreng Men Srun.

Borei Keila resident summoned for questioning

A Borei Keila villager has been ordered to appear for questioning Tuesday at the Ministry of Interior over protests in Tuol Kork last month against the forced evictions of residents to make way for a development project.

Phork Sophin, 45, was ordered to appear at the Interior Ministry’s Crime Department by its director Sok Khemarin, after a protest at the house of Suy Sophan, the owner of Phanimex, which is developing the area.

The long-standing land dispute is one of the country’s most prominent, and escalated when Phanimex failed to deliver on a promise to build 10 buildings for residents leaving their homes. Only eight were built, resulting in years of protests and negotiations.

The letter from the Interior Ministry does not specify the alleged crime or basis of the complaint filed against Sophin by Sophan.

Sophin said suspected the complaint was in relation to protests held “many times” last month with other residents in front of Sophan’s house.

The gatherings included the throwing of a chilli-salt mix, and the beating of buckets, plates and pots.

At one point, she said, bodyguards came out and took their belongings when they refused to leave, at which point the demonstrators banged on the gate of Sophan’s house.

“She bulldozed and cleared my homes and sued me too,” she said. “We have been protesting for six years for a solution, but no [solution].”

Sophin said she was demonstrating to demand $25,000 in compensation for her home. She said she would appear for questioning Tuesday, with some 30 villagers planning to accompany and support her.

Department director Khemarin said he did not remember the specifics of the case, but asked Sophin to appear for questioning in accordance with the law.

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