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Villagers escape attempted murder arrests

Villagers escape attempted murder arrests

FIVE villagers from Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district fled from their homes after provincial authorities issued warrants for their arrest in connection with the alleged attempted murder of a businessman.

Businessman Sok Koeun said yesterday that he had filed a complaint against 14 villagers for attempting to murder him in 2009.“They used a hooked knife, Samurai sword and axe to [attempt to] hit me because they were envious of me,” he said.

Tau Pao, 43, one of the villagers listed in the warrant, said yesterday that five local residents had gone on the run two days ago, after receiving information from the court that they would be arrested and detained today.

He denied the accusation of attempted murder and claimed that the complaint was instead related to a land dispute between Sok Koeun and residents of seven villages bordering Sampov Loun district and Banteay Meanchey province’s Malai district.

He said that Sok Koeun had sold 4,095 hectares of land in the area to Mean Sambat Company. “[Sok Koeun] secretly sold the land to the company and the villagers protested against the company’s clearing of the land, so the complaint was filed,” he said.

Three village representatives from Sampov Loun district - identified as Sin Choeun, 54, Nol Orn, 54, and Choeun Chet, 24 - were arrested by district police last month on suspicion of the attempted murder.

Sok Koeun denied that his complaint was connected with the land dispute.

Court officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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