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Protest earns two more years for tuk-tuk driver

CNRP activist Ouk Pich Samnang is escorted into Phnom Penh Municipal Court by prison guards yesterday.
CNRP activist Ouk Pich Samnang is escorted into Phnom Penh Municipal Court by prison guards yesterday. Hong Menea

Protest earns two more years for tuk-tuk driver

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced opposition activist Ouk Pich Samnang to two years in prison yesterday for allegedly driving his tuk-tuk through a barricade and beating six security guards at a protest last October.

Samnang, 52, is already serving an eight-year sentence handed down this July for being one of 11 Cambodia National Rescue Party activists convicted on insurrection charges over a separate protest in July 2014.

The latest charges stem from a protest held in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house on October 20, 2014, by about 100 residents of Preah Vihear who were asking for the premier’s intervention in a land dispute.

During the event, Samnang drove his tuk-tuk full of protestors into a barricade. Six Daun Penh security guards claimed that they were beaten in an ensuing scuffle and sued Samnang, who was arrested on October 25.

Samnang was yesterday found guilty of intentional violence and obstruction of justice over the incident, and also ordered to pay 14 million riel (about $3,500) in fines and compensation to the guards.

While Kim Vutha, chief of the Daun Penh security guards, lauded the court’s decision, Samnang denounced the sentence as politically motivated, saying he was the one beaten and that he would appeal.

“You are a court of criminals,” he shouted, pointing his finger at judge Vanak.

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