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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and