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Court date to draw crowd

Court date to draw crowd

IN THE latest chapter of a long-running land dispute between a company owned by CPP senator Ly Yong Phat and villagers in Kampong Speu’s Thpong district, a 37-year-old woman summoned to appear in court today will be accompanied by more than 100 protesting villagers.

Khem Srey Pao of Omlaing commune said she was summoned by authorities last Tuesday, accused of occupying land owned by the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, which received a 9,000-hectare concession from the government in 2010.

Two other villagers were also summoned, one of whom – Chum Srey Noun – has been detained since Thursday.

Khem Srey Pao maintained her innocence yesterday, saying that she had lived on the land in question for nearly a decade. “I am not wrong. I am living on my land; I did not take over somebody’s property,” she said.

Village representative Kang Keartha said that more than 100 villagers will accompany Khem Srey Pao to court today to protest the charges and demand the release of Chum Srey Noun.

“We are all victims, so we have to support each other,” she said.