Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hearing on Wat Phnom attacks resumes

Hearing on Wat Phnom attacks resumes

People hold posters during a protest in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday afternoon as Boeung Kak Lake community activists are questioned.
People hold posters during a protest in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday afternoon as Boeung Kak Lake community activists are questioned. Hong Menea

Hearing on Wat Phnom attacks resumes

Questioning resumed yesterday over a now three-year-old attack on a peaceful gathering of activists at the capital’s Wat Phnom, as dozens of local land dispute activists protested outside the municipal court demanding justice.

The September 2013 attack saw about 20 members of the Boeung Kak and Borei Keila communities – as well as journalists and observers – attacked during a candlelight vigil by a group of men armed with sticks, slingshots and electric batons.

Eleven activists, including two elderly women, were injured in the attack.

After her questioning yesterday, 57-year-old Phann Chhunreth told the Post that the court had maintained it possesses no evidence related to the attack, despite widely circulated video and photographs. Four of her fellow activists were questioned last week.

“When we filed the complaint, we submitted evidence as well,” she said. “But now they say we did not have the evidence. We had pictures of the fighting and video clips.”

The complaint names four Daun Penh district officials as the ringleaders of the attack: Deputy District Governor Sok Penhvuth; director of order Kim Vutha; council official Pich Socheata; and deputy police chief Soa Nol.

“I saw only one of them during the violence – Socheata. But they were the four leaders [of the attack],” Chhunreth said.

Reth went on to say that presiding judge Lim Makaron addressed confusion over the dates on the summonses – which listed the date of the attack as May 6, 2016, rather than September 22, 2013 – admitting an error and saying that it would be corrected.

Nget Khun, 76, also known as “Mummy”, said she will continue to present the evidence the activists had originally submitted to the Ministry of Interior and National Police during her own questioning today, adding that complications such as the summons date mistake were rare when activists were the target of complaints.

“They did not call perpetrators, but they called us. Now, they put the wrong date [on the summons],” Khun said. “So, I don’t know what tricks they are playing.”

Hit near the eye by a marble in 2013, Si Heap said she and other activists had initially ignored the summons because they were afraid of validating the wrong date on the document, which could adversely affect the verdict.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon