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

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the