Father Suing Rubber Firm for Beating His Three Children

The father of three children attacked with wooden sticks and steel poles by employees of well-connected DM Group in Ratanakkiri province has filed a lawsuit against the firm, and is asking for tens of thousands of dollars in compensation.

Ry Saron’s three children, in­cluding a 14-year-old boy presently awaiting surgery in Vietnam to clear a life threatening blood clot in his head, were beaten along with a neighbor on Saturday while trying to stop employees of DM Group from clearing their farmland.

The provincial court has charged the four employees with intentional violence but released a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldier, Colonel Srey Thoeun, who was at the scene, on the grounds that he did not take part in the beatings.

Mr. Saron and a witness to the beatings claim that Col. Thoeun protected the DM Group workers by threatening to shoot anyone who attempted to stop the clearing.

Mr. Saron said Tuesday that he was suing the firm for $40,000 in compensation.

“I want to complain about these people because they committed violence against my sons and daughter,” he said.

Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for human rights group Adhoc, said he helped Mr. Saron file the suit with the provincial court Tuesday morning.

“I filed the complaint with the provincial court today after the victims’ father came to my office the day before to ask for help,” he said.

Mr. Saron said he was also preparing to ask local authorities to endorse the land certificate he was recently issued for the farm his children were protecting when they were attacked in order to secure a $2,000 loan to pay his son’s hospital bills in Vietnam.

He said doctors there had scheduled his operation for Saturday.

Ven Vibol, a spokesman for DM Group, could not be reached for comment. On Sunday, however, Mr. Vibol attributed Saturday’s altercation to a misunderstanding because the firm’s employees were “not clear” about who the land belonged to.

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