Vendors at Phnom Penh's O'Russei market are contesting a Phnom Penh municipal court
decision ordering the seizure of their shops, and have written to the Supreme Council
of Magistracy asking that the judge responsible for the ruling be punished.
On October 3, a group of 27 O'Russei market vendors filed a complaint at the Phnom
Penh municipal court against Judge Kem Ravy's decision ordering the confiscation
of their shops.
The vendors, who do not want to be named, said the real problem was an internal dispute
amongst the partners of the Hui Seng Development Construction Co Ltd, which owns
They said the court did not investigate properly or invite the vendors for questioning
before judgment. They have written to the Supreme Council of Magistracy asking it
to punish Ravy.
"They [the owners] filed complaints about each other," one vendor told
the Post on October 10. "Why would the court want to confiscate my store? I
bought it legally, recognized by the authorities. The vendors did not owe the company
even a riel."
The vendor said that before the stores were leased, the Hui Seng company owner had
advertised for months that they were to be let on 70-year contracts, and the shop
licenses were issued by City Hall.
Contacted by phone on October 12, Judge Ravy said he was busy at a seminar, then
hung up the phone.
On November 10, 2004, Xie Xiang Rong, 53, the 50-percent owner of Hui Seng Development
Construction, filed a complaint against the other half-owner Wei Bing Qing, 62, and
his assistant An Dao Ping, 36, accusing them of committing breach of trust on September
On September 22, 2005, Kem Ravy, Phnom Penh Municipal Court presiding judge, ruled
in favor of Xie Xiang Rong, and sentenced both Wei Bing Qing and An Dao Ping to four
years in prison. He also ordered the confiscation of 27 shops within the O'Russei
market building and their return to Hui Seng Development Construction.
Both the accused, Wei Bing Qing and An Dao Ping, were tried in absentia. Their lawyer,
Poeung Thyda, declined comment.
Lawyer Douk Tipana, representing Xie Xiang Rong, said his client accused Wei Bing
Qing and An Dao Ping of conspiring to sell the 27 stores without the agreement of
his client, the other 50 percent shareholder.
Tipana, when told by the Post of the 27 vendors' argument, said he would discuss
with his client the re-inspection of which stores were bought legally and which were
involved in a conspiracy.
"I think those vendors should meet up with the company and discuss finding a
solution," Tipana said. "If they bought their shops legally, the company
will compensate itself from the offending shareholder's capital, and not seize the
Kieng Leak, chief of O'Russei market, said Hui Seng Development Construction, a Chinese
company, built the market in 2000 jointly with a Taiwanese firm, Grant Construction.
Leak said the 27 disputed stalls are on the south side of the market. He said they
bought the leases from the company in 2003 and 2004 for between $10,000 and $40,000