Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Jarai man gets day in court

Jarai man gets day in court

Jarai man gets day in court

A Ratanakkiri Provincial Court prosecutor yesterday summoned an ethnic minority Jarai man in O’Yadav district to explain to the court his allegations that local authorities had threatened to kill him for exposing a land-sale corruption racket.

Romas Chhvang, 45, filed a complaint to the court at the end of October against three commune chiefs he alleges have threatened to kill him for meddling in the secret sale of 480 hectares of state forest land in Ratanakkiri to a private company.

“The three commune chiefs have threatened to kill me if I do not drop the complaint against them that they are involved in selling state forest to a private company,” Romas Chhvang told the Post yesterday.

Romas Chhvang filed a complaint with rights group Adhoc about the involvement of the Yatung commune chief and police chief, and the Ten village chief, in illegally selling 480 hectares of state jungle. Just one hectare was worth more than US$800, he said.

After filing the complaint, Romas Chhvang said he had hid in Adhoc’s provincial office, fearing authorities would follow through on their alleged threats and attempt to kill him if they found him.

“Afterwards, I returned to my village fearfully. Eight villagers were summoned last week by the authorities, who tried to persuade them to stop me  exposing the corrupt land sale,” he said. “But my family has rejected this pressure.”

Neither the Yatung commune chief or police chief, nor the Ten village chief, could be reached for comment yesterday.

Adhoc provincial co-ordinator Pen Bunnar said the case exemplified the widespread, systematic corruption of local authorities in selling state forest to private companies. “Village and commune authorities sign on buying and selling state forest and community land – they have to be responsible for what they did,” Pen Bunnar said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman