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

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not