Daughter of Land-Dispute Family Questioned Over Cobra Attack

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday questioned the jailed daughter of a family locked in a bitter land dispute with tycoon Khun Sear over a complaint alleging that the businessman’s company was involved in an attack in October 2013, when a canvas bag containing three venomous cobras was tossed into the family’s home.

Earlier this week, a lawyer for the family said a judge at the court had verbally informed him that the family had 30 days to leave their home or file an appeal against the court’s decision to award the disputed land in Tuol Kok district to Mr. Sear.

Ly Sreang Kheng, 58, the father of the family, was arrested along with his daughter, Ly Seav Minh, 23, in November following a scuffle with the company’s security guards, whom the family blames for a series of violent attacks against them. Mr. Sreang Kheng was released on bail in December.

Ms. Seav Minh, who was denied bail and has remained in provisional detention, was questioned on Friday by Investigating Judge Mong Mony Sorphea, according to the judge’s clerk, Lun Sitho.

“The court questioned her as she is one of the plaintiffs that filed a complaint against unknown persons over an attempt to murder her family by throwing snakes into her house,” Ms. Sitho said.

Judge Mony Sorphea declined to comment on the case.

Mr. Sreang Kheng and his family have defiantly held their ground against Mr. Sear as the tycoon has sought to secure a plot of land next to a building that once housed local government and CPP offices, which he acquired from the municipality in a land swap approved in 2010.

Despite his lawyer saying that the court intends to give the land to Mr. Sear, Mr. Sreang Kheng said he thought Friday’s questioning of his daughter was a positive sign.

“I think that the court’s new director will find justice for my family,” Mr. Sreang Kheng said, explaining that he had filed a request for the case to be reviewed following the ouster last month of former municipal court director Ang Mealaktei.

Mr. Sreang Kheng, along with his wife, son and daughter, is set to go on trial on March 19 over charges of violence against a property owner stemming from their run-in with the security guards last year.

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