Koh Kong Court Frees Village Representative on Bail

The Koh Kong Provincial Court on Monday released on bail a representative of 135 families locked in a land dispute with a company owned by a prominent ruling-party politician, according to a court document.

In August, the court summoned four representatives of the families living in Kiri Sakor district for questioning after CPP Senator Yong Phat filed a complaint accusing them of stealing and damaging tools from his Koh Kong SEZ Co.

The villagers said they had merely been trying to stop construction of a concrete wall around part of a 2,200-hectare tract of land they say residents have been farming since the late 1990s.

Phorn Nol, 48, was called back to court on October 27 and charged with aggravated theft and placed in pretrial detention at the Koh Kong Provincial Prison.

“The court allows the accused person [Mr. Nol] to be released on bail but he must not move his residence without permission from the investigating judge,” the bail order says.

Mr. Nol said that after his release Monday, more than 60 supporters accompanied him to his home.

“I am happy because the court granted me bail after it placed me in prison for 16 days,” he said.

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