The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday questioned and released 18-year-old Ly Bun Heang, whose sister is being detained in Prey Sar prison in relation to his family’s bitter land dispute with developer Khun Sear in Tuol Kok district.
Mr. Bun Heang had been in hiding with his mother Mok Siv Hong since late November, when his father Ly Sreang Kheng, 58, and sister Ly Searminh, 23, were arrested and charged under the country’s Land Law with using violence against a property owner.
The mother and son were wanted by police on the same charges and fled to a relative’s home after the arrests. Mr. Bun Heang said Wednesday that he heeded a summons to appear in court because he and his mother had to “face this problem.”
“The court asked me about whether I used violence against the property owner or not,” said Mr. Bun Heang, who denied the charge. “After hours of questioning, the court decided to put me under supervision.”
Mr. Bun Heang said he was not told the conditions of his release, but expects they will be the same as those of his father, who was released on bail earlier this month.
Mr. Sreang Kheng cannot change his residence without notifying the court, and must appear in court when summoned and check in with police once a month.
Contacted after Wednesday’s questioning, Investigating Judge Ly Lipmeng confirmed that he put Mr. Bun Heang “under supervision” but refused to elaborate.
The family has been locked in a battle with the Khun Sear Import Export Company since they turned down the company’s offer of $15,000 to vacate the plot of land their house stands on more than a year ago.
Since then, the family has been the victim of multiple attacks carried out, they say, by security guards working for the company. In October last year, a sack of venomous cobras was thrown through the window of their home.
“We do not know why the court is trying to help protect the company,” Mr. Bun Heang said Wednesday.