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Villagers complain in wake of fishing fight

Villagers complain in wake of fishing fight

FIVE Prey Veng villagers filed a complaint to the provincial court yesterday, requesting compensation from a fishing lot owner whose guards allegedly beat them up during a quarrel on Tuesday.

The five were part of a group of 17 people who went to fish in a private pond in Peam Chor district but were confronted by two district police and Vietnamese security guards. In the mêlée that ensued, the villagers claim they were shot at and beaten by the guards.

Hun Samet, 34, one of the five complainants, said yesterday that his group filed a complaint to the court yesterday, asking for Nguyen Yang Tong, the owner of the fish lot, to cover their medical costs.

He said the group were just fishing for food when Nguyen Yang Tong ordered his employees to beat them up.

Seth Seap, 24, was arrested in the aftermath and still remains in police custody, his father Soy Seth said.

Peam Chor district police chief Suon Savath said the authorities had an obligation to crack down on illegal fishing, and accused the villagers of attacking the authorities first.

He also denied villagers’ claims one of the men was shot.

“I speak as a centrist. I have gone to visit the victim in the hospital, and he was not injured by a bullet, but was injured by solid thing,” he said.

Lay Im, an investigator for local rights group Adhoc, said the five villagers had been clearly wronged by the security guards.

“Police should not use weapons and sticks to shoot and beat people like this. They just fished for food, they were not fishing for sale,” Lay Im said.

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