Family Convicted of ‘Violence’ Over Land Scuffle

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday convicted a couple and their daughter of using violence against a property owner, although the plaintiff dropped his complaint against them last month.

Ly Srea Kheng, 58, has battled tycoon Khun Sear and his eponymous import-export company over a plot of land in Tuol Kok district for the past five years, enduring a campaign of intimidation—allegedly waged by thugs hired by Mr. Sear’s firm—for refusing to accept compensation and move.

In November, Mr. Srea Kheng, along with his wife, daughter and son, were charged with using violence during a 2013 scuffle with the company’s security guards.

After his daughter spent just over five months in jail, Mr. Srea Kheng finally accepted compensation—a $180,000 deal that also saw the company withdraw its complaint against the family over the scuffle.

Contacted Sunday, however, Presiding Judge Svay Tonh said he convicted Mr. Kheng, his wife and their daughter on Thursday and handed each of them a six-month suspended sentence, while dropping the charges against their son.

“I cannot give you more detail,” Judge Tonh said.

Ly Seav Minh, 24, Mr. Kheng’s daughter, said the verdict was a final injustice against the family, who vacated the contested plot earlier this month and moved to Sen Sok district.

“I have a broken heart because we did nothing wrong, but the court still convicted us,” she said.

Ms. Seav Minh said the deal with Mr. Sear was finalized on May 28, with both sides agreeing to drop complaints against the other.

“We decided to leave the land because we received better compensation to create a new life, and we wanted to end this complicated problem,” she said.

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