Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land activist to be released

Land activist to be released

Land activist to be released

Outspoken land activist Kuch Veng will regain his freedom in 15 days after the Pursat provincial court yesterday handed down a guilty verdict with a one-year sentence, then suspended nearly three quarters of that term.

Veng has been in prison since May 19 on charges of fraud that rights groups and supporters believe to be politically motivated and tied to his activism against developer Pheapimex.

Long Lun, Veng’s lawyer, said the court had insufficient evidence against his client and he was considering launching an appeal.

Veng stands accused of having defrauded a villager of $4,500 in 2010.

His arrest came following a series of protests against Pheapimex, which is owned by Choeung Sopheap, wife of CPP senator Lao Meng Khin.

Thousands in Pursat and Kampong Chhnang have been affected by the company’s vast economic land concessions, and many have accused it of further land grabbing. Veng’s verdict was originally set to be handed down last month, but the judge postponed it after hundreds of villagers camped outside the court in support of the activist.

Only 30 appeared yesterday in the hopes of forestalling further delay, a community representative said.

Lon Serey, a community representative from Krakor district who attended the hearing and verdict decision, said the judge appeared to disregard substantial evidence in Veng’s favour.

“This decision is very unfair,” Serey said.

Rights group Adhoc offered a similar conclusion, saying there had been insufficient proof of Veng’s guilt.

“If we listen to the hearing, the judge did not have evidence to incriminate,” Pursat provincial coordinator Phuong Sothea said.

Presiding judge Mao Sina could not be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong