Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Preah Vihear locals in court over arson accusations

Preah Vihear locals in court over arson accusations

Preah Vihear locals in court over arson accusations

A Malaysian company demanded compensation from 12 Preah Vihear villagers for intentional property damage in a provincial court hearing yesterday, a charge stemming from an ongoing land dispute which saw a fence set ablaze during a protest roughly two years ago.

FP Co Ltd first brought the villagers to court in 2014, following an incident in which the company’s wooden fence was burned down during a protest in Kulen district’s Srayong Cheung village. Some 67 families claim that the government sold the area they live on to the agri-business company as part of an economic land concession, threatening their livelihoods.

FP has demanded $7,500 in compensation from the defendants.

According to prosecutor Sreng Vuthea, the 12 villagers acknowledged that they were in attendance at the protest, but denied burning down the fence, he said.

“We’re poor, so we protested when we lost the land,” said Huon Chan Thoeun, 52, who appeared in court yesterday. “We cannot afford to pay this compensation.”

Thoeun and his family had lost more than 10 hectares to the company, he added.

The company could not be reached for comment yesterday.

A verdict will be handed down on May 17.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,