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Millions in damages sought

Debris covers the floor of Ekreach Clinic
Debris covers the floor of Ekreach Clinic on Saturday after it was ransacked during violent riots on Veng Sreng Boulevard. Scott Howes

Millions in damages sought

In the aftermath of violent clashes between authorities and demonstrators last week, business owners in the area have lodged 20 complaints with Por Sen Chey district police, collectively claiming millions of dollars in damages.

In their complaints, owners of factories, shops and other businesses along Veng Sreng Boulevard and near Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, where clashes occurred, blame protesters for the destruction and demand those responsible compensate them for their losses, Por Sen Chey district police chief Yim Sarann said.

“We are working on this and checking on the complaints filed now, before sending them to Phnom Penh Municipal Court for further review,” Sarann said.

At least 30 businesses in Por Sen Chey were damaged during last week’s unrest, Sarann said. While 20 complaints have been filed, there are still owners of property in the area who are currently outside Cambodia and have not yet filed complaints, Sarann added.

The damage occurred on Thursday and Friday, when protests supporting a garment worker strike turned violent, with authorities beating and shooting at demonstrators with automatic weapons. Dozens were injured and 10 people arrested at a Thursday demonstration at Yakjin (Cambodia) Inc.

At least four people were killed with dozens injured and 23 arrested after authorities opened fire on protesters on Veng Sreng Boulevard on Friday, a day after a peaceful demonstration devolved into rock throwing and looting.

All 23 arrested were charged in Phnom Penh Municipal Court with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and intentional damage with aggravating circumstances. If convicted of both crimes, each person could receive a maximum of five years in prison and fines from $1,000 to $2,500.

Dr Lim Mesa, vice director of Ekreach Clinic, an independent medical facility on Veng Sreng, filed a complaint with police on Sunday, two days after demonstrators broke windows, gutted the building and threw medical supplies onto bonfires they set in the street.

“The violent protesters destroyed my clinic,” Mesa told the Post in a telephone interview yesterday.

“They threatened to kill my medical staff and completely looted all our material.”

Mesa claims $230,000 in damages for equipment destroyed, which includes a scanner and an X-ray machine.

“I demand compensation from the protesters and ask the court to strongly punish them,” Mesa said.

Chiv Keng, president of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, yesterday said he has not yet received the complaints.

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