Two activists with NGO Mother Nature and two local community members have filed a lawsuit accusing a representative of the Oudom Seima mining company of illegally detaining them – along with a British filmmaker and a 5-year-old girl – for several hours in December, according to a copy of the complaint obtained yesterday.
According to a translation of the complaint, dated December 28 and filed to the Koh Kong Provincial Court, the six were boating in Tatay Krom commune when approached by staff from Oudom Seima – whom they accuse of illegally dredging sand.
The company staff then asserted they needed permission to photograph the area and subsequently held them against their will.
“People arrived and started taking pictures of us, as if we were criminals,” reads the complaint filed by four members of the group, which also states that company staff demanded to see their documentation papers.
Company director Eat Bunthol, however, denied the allegations, saying his staff had just asked the activists some questions, and maintaining that the group “violated our business’ territory”.
Koh Kong district deputy police chief Seng Thet declined to comment on the incident.