S’ville Guesthouse Owner Gets $30,000 Fine

A woman who co-owns a Siha­noukville guesthouse with Hun San, a brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, was found guilty of “de­stroying the environment in a de­veloping area” by Siha­nouk­ville municipal court, her lawyer said Monday.

Leena Kriel, co-owner of Och­heu­­teal Beach’s Malibu guesthouse, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment and fined $30,000, said her lawyer, Tep Mo­ny­­cheat.

Referring to an ongoing land dis­pute between Leena Kriel and land developer Oknha Kong Triv, Tep Monycheat said that his client bought the land legally from government and commune of­ficials.

“She is a victim,” he said. “The trial is unfair, out of legality.”

Sihanoukville Court Director Huon Manny could not be reached for comment Monday. Presiding Judge Tak Kimsea re­fused to comment by telephone Monday, stating: “If you want to know, come to my house [in Si­ha­noukville].”

Leena Kriel said she has al­rea­dy lodged an appeal, a move that has stayed her prison sentence and fine. “I am absolutely determined to fight,” she said by telephone.

Leena Kriel also accused Kong Triv of bulldozing three plots of bush land surrounding her property on Saturday—an accusation supported by several witnesses and residents in the area.

However, Kong Triv said Sun­day that he knew nothing of the bulldozing. “I did not order the bulldozing. I do not have the power to do so,” he said, speculating that the land may have been cleared by authorities working within the confines of the law.

Deputy police Chief Sean Kosal said Sunday that he did not know of any land that had been cleared over the weekend. He also claimed that Hun San has withdrawn his complaint against Kong Triv and sent a letter to the court stating that he does not own any land on Och­heu­teal Beach.

Hun San, who in recent months issued stern warnings against individuals who attempt to appropriate his beach property, could not be reached for comment Sun­day or Monday.

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