KAMPONG Speu provincial court allowed two villagers to walk free yesterday after questioning them in a case linked to their ongoing dispute with a sugar firm. Sin Peng, 35, said the court prosecutor asked why he did not respect a land title issued to Kvan Samorn, a soldier who works for the company. He said he was questioned yesterday along with Yuon Nhanh, 35, while Morn Hoeun, 38, and a fourth villager identified only as Sophan did not to appear.
All four have been accused of living illegally on land in Thpong district’s Omlaing commune belonging to the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, a firm owned by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat.
Ouch Leng, a land programme officer for rights group Adhoc, said it was suspicious that Kvan Samorn had only filed a complaint now if he was really the legal owner of the land.
He said that since the year 2000 no one had contested the villagers’ right to the land. Khut Sopheang, Kampong Speu court deputy prosecutor, said yesterday that he did not charge the men, adding that it was just “the first step” of the case.