Court Tries to Link CNRP, Tuol Kok Land Dispute

Two Tuol Kok residents embroiled in a long-running land dispute with real estate magnate Khun Sear were questioned at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday for accusations of damaging company property and using violence.

During questioning of the pair, court officials attempted to link their alleged actions to two CNRP officials, asking whether the Boeng Kak I residents had been incited by lawmaker-elect Real Camerin and activist Suong Sophorn, according to those questioned.

“The prosecutor Chet Khemara asked me if I knew Real Camerin and Suong Sophorn; I told him that I did not know them,” said Ly Sivming.

“[He asked] if Real Camerin and Suong Sophorn used to encourage me to put a fence on the disputed land. I told the court they never encouraged our family during this land dispute or even met us,” she said.

Mr. Camerin was among six CNRP officials charged Wednesday with insurrection for their alleged roles in a violent protest on Tuesday.

Three families who have been locked in a dispute with Mr. Sear have repeatedly accused his guards of a campaign of harassment, attempted arson and threats of violence.

Ms. Sivming and her brother were questioned after the Khun Sear company filed a complaint alleging the pair had damaged company property and were trying to erect an illegal fence on the disputed land.

The prosecutor, Mr. Khemara, confirmed he questioned the pair, but declined to explain why he tried to link their dispute with the CNRP.

“I questioned Ly Sivming and her brother Ly Bun Heang. The case isn’t finished yet,” he said.

Mr. Sophorn said he was unaware of the case, but had previously advocated for other families caught in land disputes.

“It’s a political game of the CPP, and they want to arrest the CNRP by using the courts,” he said.

“I am happy to be questioned or jailed if they summons me or sentence me,” he said. “All I have done is defend the poor.”

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