Ratanakkiri Provincial Judge Yar Narin has issued an arrest warrant for the managers of two of the province’s solidarity groups—former worker collectives that previously ran the Ratanakkiri’s state-owned rubber plantations.
Chhe Chan, co-manager of solidarity group 14 and spokesman for all solidarity group chiefs, and solidarity group 23 chief Bun Tha are now wanted men after they failed to show up at the court to give testimony on Feb 2, according to a copy of the warrants.
Chhe Chan and Bun Tha were charged with attempting to rob and destroy public property in relation to a violent incident on Oct 15 that saw a tanker truck of resin being burned after police prevented the solidarity groups from selling the resin on the free market in Kompong Cham.
The groups were legally obliged by order of the state to sell their resin to the Tai Seng Rubber Plantation Company.
Yar Narin confirmed that he issued warrants to arrest the two suspects after they failed to testify at the court.
“I summoned them to clarify about [the] incident; they didn’t show up. I had no choice but to issue warrants to arrest them,” Yar Narin said.
He added that he would summon another 10 people allegedly involved in the Oct 15 incident. “If they fail to show up, I will issue arrest warrants for them,” he said.
Chhe Chan and Bun Tha couldn’t be reached for comment.
Provincial Deputy Governor Chey Sayoeun said Thursday that provincial officials will meet today in order to plan the recruitment of the solidarity group workers for Tai Seng.
“We will recruit the workers, workers chief since the solidarity groups are no longer in charge of the workers,” Chey Sayoeun said. He added that after Friday’s meeting, the provincial authority will authorize Tai Seng to take control of the province’s plantations.
Chey Sayoeun said that under Tai Seng, workers will receive 85 percent of the market price of the resin they collect, a substantial increase on the 50 percent of market value paid by solidarity group chiefs.