Preah Vihear province’s Kulen district administration is investigating a land dispute in Phnom Tbeng II commune’s Kdak village after a provincial court deputy prosecutor, Vuth Savy, was beaten while leading a force to stop forest encroachment in the area on March 24.

Kulen district governor Pang Yeak said he could not comment as he was not present at the scene, but he confirmed that he instructed his officials to investigate the case.

“The problem concerning forest land is very complex. Some said the problem was like this while others said it was like that. I don’t dare interpret this particular issue. Let my working group investigate the history of the land.

“As for the violence inflicted on the prosecutor, it is in the hands of the court. That’s all I know,” he said.

Kulen district police chief Lahn Ly Sivleng said he was also unaware of the case. Based on accounts from local police who went there, the prosecutor just told them to return to the station.

“When the incident happened, the prosecutor called police who went looking for him. We don’t know for sure what happened. When the police arrived, the prosecutor had returned to his car. Then our forces withdrew from the area,” he said.

Provincial Forestry Administration director Nuon Sokhom said suspects had used machinery to clear 7ha of forest land, which is under the authority of the provincial administration.

He said his officials had the identities of the suspects behind the offence. He sent a case file to court on March 29, but declined to elaborate on the incident.

Deputy prosecutor Vuth Savy also declined to comment and referred questions to Chak Sambath, Preah Vihear Provincial Court spokesperson who could not be reached.