K Speu Police, Military Police To Bring Charges Over Clash

Police and military police in Kom­pong Speu province plan to bring assault charges against at least 10 men after 13 officers were injured, three seriously, during a clash with land protesters last week.

Judge Khlaut Pich, president of the provincial court, said yesterday that officials had told him of their plan to lodge a complaint but said he did not know how many suspects would be named.

“These competent forces claimed they would sue the attackers, but I don’t have the exact figures of how many will face criminal charges,” Mr Pich said, referring questions to provincial prosecutor Khut Sop­heang, who could not be reached. Provincial police chief Keo Pisey was also unavailable.

Chan Da, deputy commander for the provincial military police, de­clined to comment.

Penalties for “intentional violence” range from a year to five years in prison.

Last week, more than 500 police, military police and RCAF troops led by Mr Sopheang confronted more than 400 land protesters in Odong district’s Phnom Touch commune in a second attempt to enforce a December 2009 Supreme Court verdict awarding 65 hectares of disputed land to Taiwanese businessman Chang Kuo Sheng.

The 15-minute clash left at least seven protesters, two police officers and one military police officer seriously injured.

Yin Soeurng, Phnom Touch com­­mune chief, said the men the police want to see prosecuted were from neighboring Damnak Raing commune.

Protester Han Ny said many representatives were in hiding, fearing arrest after hearing that police were trying to identify suspects.

An attempt to enforce the May 2010 verdict resulted in confrontation and charges brought against six villagers by 22 injured police officers, said Rath Thavy, provincial investigator for Adhoc. But one of the people charged, Hai Mao, did not at­tend that protest, Mr Thavy said.

“We’ve seen an innocent villager charged for last year’s confrontation, so we are worried the court will deliver criminal charges against other innocents for last week’s clash,” he said.


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