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Police release rubber thieves – for a price

Police release rubber thieves – for a price

TWO men who were arrested after trespassing on a Kampong Cham rubber plantation were freed after paying local police a US$300 bribe, according to a local rights activist.

Seng Uorn, a 42-year-old farmer, said he and his friend Minh Tum, 31, entered the Long Sreng Rubber Plantation in Stung Trang district’s O’Mlou commune on Tuesday to collect rubber sap, when they were surprised by security guards.

“The guards chased us with the company car and tried to hit us. We tried to get away but my motorbike was hit and I was detained. Minh Tum was shot and seriously injured while he was trying to get away from there,” he said. Seng Uorn added that the guards then tied him to a rubber tree and beat him.

Phuong Sophea, Adhoc’s investigating officer in Kampong Cham, said Minh Tum was seriously injured in the shooting. The pair, who were subsequently arrested, thumbprinted agreements saying they would not sue the guards for their actions. Phuong Sophea added that Seng Uorn also paid Stung Trang district police $300 in exchange for their release.

“I am not a thief,” Seng Uorn said. “I think the company security guards’ actions were very cruel and inhumane.”  

Sam Chanthan, chief of the O’Mlou commune police post, said the company security guard who shot Minh Tum has returned to work.

“The company security guard who shot Minh Tum resumed his work ... after the victims agreed not to sue him,” he said. “The police will not take any legal action against him.”

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