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

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • Vietnamese land-grabbers held

    Following a provincial court order, Ratanakkiri Military Police on April 16 arrested 12 Vietnamese nationals accused of crossing the border into Cambodia and illegally clearing forest land. The accused are now being detained at Phnom Svay prison in the province. Ratanakkiri military police commander Thav Yen told

  • Eight people sent to court over violent protest

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities on Sunday sent eight people to court for blocking National Road 4 and using violence against authorities in a land dispute in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune. Four police officers and two commune security guards sustained injuries when the protesters