Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Leader in Koh Kong land dispute is jailed

Leader in Koh Kong land dispute is jailed

Leader in Koh Kong land dispute is jailed

Heng Sok, who represented 50 families in a land dispute with Oknha Ly Yong Phat was sentenced to 18 months in jail and fined two million riel ($500) by the Koh Kong Provincial Court on Tuesday, on a charge of “using violence on a property owner”.

Sok, 48, is said to have put up posts in February, demarcating 103 hectares of disputed land with the aim of negotiating with Yong Phat. Chan Nakry, a manager at the Ly Yong Phat company, filed a complaint against Sok on February 23.

Mean Prom Mony, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the decision to detain Sok is unfair as he represented families who cultivated the land in question before the company received a government concession for the same.

“We would like to call for his release so that he can participate in solving the land dispute peacefully,” he confirmed.

Um Teng, 65, Sok’s mother-in-law said on Tuesday that it is very unfair for a man to be detained for trying to help negotiate the matter.

She said villagers had sought help from provincial officials in the dispute, but they instead called for Sok’s arrest.

“It is unfair on the people. We think this company does not develop or help people escape from poverty,” she said and called for her son-in-law’s release as he has a wife and two young children he needs to provide for.

According to Prom Mony, Yong Phat’s businesses hold sway in the province.

“All complaints filed by his company are worked on immediately and the case always reaches the court which often detains the arrested person.”

Un Sovan Theany, the provincial court’s spokesman, refused to comment on the case, saying he was busy with personal matters.

Nakry said he was unaware of the verdict as he was busy in Phnom Penh. However, he claimed that Sok had encroached on the company’s land, despite the firm explaining its claim to him several times.

“The land does not belong to them because the company has a licence issued by the government and the boundaries are set . . . what we do is based on legal procedures,” he said.

The tycoon’s company came to the province’s Prek Ksach commune in 2005, but tensions rose in February 2016 when it brought environment officials there to demarcate land in Samrong Takeo village.

Within the demarcation were plots that 50 families claim belonged to them.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old