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General’s libel case sees trial

General’s libel case sees trial

A Chinese-Cambodian woman was charged at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday with defaming Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) Major General Nim Meng and using “fake proof” to obtain land owned by his company.

Prosecuting lawyer Bun Kong said 46-year-old Sok Neang Gek damaged the reputation of Meng, a personal assistant to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the deputy commander of his Bodyguard Unit, by publicly accusing the three-star general of illegally grabbing 10 hectares of land in Preah Sihanouk province’s Stung Hav district.

“She has defamed my client’s honour [by telling local media] that he grabbed her land . . . and saying that [he] has used armed forces to protect the disputed land,” Kong said in reference to comments Neang Gek made to Koh Santepheap Daily newspaper in 2011.

“Her [accusations] have had a serious effect on [Meng’s] honour and reputation.”

Kong accused Neang Gek of using fake documents in 2010 to claim ownership of part of 46.1 hectares of land in Otres commune owned by Meng’s company, Nim Meng Group Co., and asked for $100,000 in compensation.

Defence lawyer Kea Chhay said that Neang Gek’s husband legally purchased the land in 1998. After her husband passed away, Chhay said, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court passed the deeds on to Neang Gek.

Chhay added that any attempts to take back the land have been met by force.

“When my client, the provincial prosecutor, and the relevant authorities have come to implement the provincial court’s decision at the site, many armed forces, who were General Nim Meng’s soldiers, and who were also Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguards, were on guard and blocked them from entering.”

The verdict is due Friday.