Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Four receive jail terms over Preah Sihanouk land dispute

Four receive jail terms over Preah Sihanouk land dispute

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Villagers rally at the Preah Sihanouk provincial court on Wednesday, demanding the release of four people involved in a land dispute. ccfc

Four receive jail terms over Preah Sihanouk land dispute

Preah Sihanouk provincial court yesterday sentenced four representatives of the O’ksach community in Otres commune, Stung Hav district, Preah Sihanouk province to a year in jail and a five million riel fine.

The decision was handed down after the court ordered the detention of “those who used violence against property owners”.The case of the accused involved a land dispute with Oknha Tan Tab and Lonh Vannak.

Meantime, some 300 people who were present in front of the court during the trial, sang songs and demanded the court drop the charges and release the accused – Luch Touch, 55, Kao Heng, 43, Nhgang Cheat, 35, and Men Ken, 36.

They said the four should be released to be reunited with their families for the coming Pchum Ben Festival.

Sun Sophat, who represented the community, said: “The court has decided and announced that the four have to serve one-year sentences and each has to pay a fine of five million riel.

“This case is absolutely unfair. If the court does not drop the charges against them, where will they find the money to pay this tycoon? We are very disappointed in this court.”

Court deputy prosecutor Lim Bun Heng said the sentence would be reduced to seven months.

Six people were arrested by the police and sued by Tan Tab on May 7, as they cleared grass and weeds on their own land which they have been legally occupying since 1992.

Four of the six were convicted in the provincial court with “causing violence to the property owner” according to Article 253, while the other two were released after being detained following a complaint by the tycoon.

According to Article 253 of the Land Law, the four could have faced a fine of up to 25 million riel and imprisonment of between six months and two years.

The coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC) president Theng Saroeun claimed that the people hardly won any land dispute cases which were taken to court. Nonetheless, they should file a complaint to the Appeal Court.

He said that tycoons sue citizens as a threat not to engage in land disputes against them and that it was not the first time the court had ruled against the people in such cases.

“This case might be due to corruption. Since the government granted economic land concessions to the companies, the people protested to the top state institutions."

“But those institutions have issued intervention letters to the provincial authorities in order to settle the cases for the people, but have not [done so]. All we see are complaints filed against the people instead,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in