B Kak Factions File Competing Lawsuits Over Clash

Rival factions in the increasingly bitter dispute over land in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak neighborhood filed lawsuits against each other at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday over a clash late last month.

The two sides, in what once was a unified front against the neighborhood’s forced evictions at the hands of CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin, clashed on June 28 near a plot of land in Boeng Kak where district military police have started building a new base. 

One faction, led by anti-eviction activist Tep Vanny, went to protest at the site because they believe it sits on land that Prime Minister Hun Sen set aside for Boeng Kak families in 2011. The other faction, including some of their former allies, met them there and accused them of pulling out stakes demarcating their own land beside the new base.

Each accuses the other of starting the clash, which included pushing and rock-throwing. Nget Khun, who sides with Ms. Vanny, filed a lawsuit against Tol Sreypao, accusing her of throwing a rock at her head and demanding 50 million riel, about $12,500, in compensation.

“I filed a lawsuit against Tol Sreypao for intentional violence,” said Ms. Khun, who bore a wound above her right eyebrow. “I have evidence that she threw the rock. If I do not hear anything from the court within a week, I will go to protest in front of the municipal court again.”

Ms. Khun and about 30 supporters protested briefly at the court but were pushed to the other side of the street by district security guards.

Ms. Sreypao, meanwhile, said she also filed her own lawsuit on Thursday against Ms. Khun, Ms. Vanny and two others, demanding about $12,500 from each. “I have photos and injuries to show the court that they pushed and pulled me,” she said.

Ms. Sreypao admitted she threw rocks, but insisted it was in self-defense.

“I threw a rock, but I don’t know if the rock hit [Ms. Khun],” she said. “At the time, people saw Tep Vanny and [Ms. Khun] trying to hit me, so we threw the rocks at them.”

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