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No complaint filed in violent land dispute: Preah Sihanouk court

No complaint filed in violent land dispute: Preah Sihanouk court

A PREAH Sihanouk provincial court official on Sunday said his office had not received a complaint accusing guards for a Chinese development company and members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces of injuring villagers during a protest last month against land-grabbing.

Representatives of the families in Prey Nob district say they filed the complaint on January 29, three days after four villagers were rushed to hospital following the altercation.

“We did not receive any complaint filed by villagers in Prey Nob district. We have a lot of judges, and none of them received the complaint,” said Kim Eng, deputy director of the provincial court.

But Tak Vanntha, the Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief, confirmed that he had received the complaint from villagers involved in the protest and had passed it on to the court.

“We heard that there were members of an RCAF military unit from Brigade 31 involved, who were using violence [against villagers] with the company guards,” he added.

In a statement issued January 27, the rights group Licadho also accused Brigade 31 of involvement in the standoff between the families and the Yie Chea Company, and called “for an immediate end to the illegal land-clearing and military violence against families in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nob district”.

RCAF officials could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Lam Ra, the father of a 25-year-old man who says that security guards beat him severely during the protest, said he suspected the court had received the complaint but was reluctant to bring the case to trial.

“I think that police have already brought this case to the court, and I don’t know why they are still keeping quiet,” he said.

He said his son, Lam Ravy, had been injured while trying to assist a 68-year-old woman, Chum Heang, who was hospitalised after the protest and also says that security guards severely beat her.

Lam Ra said his family was not seeking compensation and merely wanted to see the guards brought to court.

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