Villager Says CPP Lawmaker Reneges on Deal

A prominent representative from the embattled Lor Peang village in Kompong Chhnang province Tuesday accused a CPP lawmaker of cheating him out of promised compensation by blocking the cashing of a check she had given him in exchange for an end to his activism.

Reach Seima was approached by lawmaker Lork Kheng in June, when she gave him $500 and promised to pay another $10,000 if he stopped protesting against KDC, a development company owned by Chea Kheng, the wife of Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem.

Reach Seima poses Tuesday with a bounced check he says was given to him by CPP lawmaker Lork Kheng. (Lauren Crothers/The Cambodia Daily)
Reach Seima poses Tuesday with a bounced check he says was given to him by CPP lawmaker Lork Kheng. (Lauren Crothers/The Cambodia Daily)

But when he went to cash that check in Phnom Penh on Friday, a teller at the First Bank branch on Norodom Boulevard told him the account was empty and he would have to have the check reissued and properly signed.

Mr. Seima said Tuesday that he met with Lork Kheng again on Monday after being contacted by her bodyguard.

“Lork Kheng told me that she blocked the check because I kept protesting against KDC, even though I have not done so,” he said.

He said he originally agreed to a total compensation of $20,000, to be shared between Lork Kheng and Chea Kheng, because he was found guilty in court of defaming Chea Kheng and felt pressured into doing so.

“Now a senior CPP lawmaker has cheated me, so I am preparing to file a complaint with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court accusing her of fraud,” he said.

Mr. Seima said later in the day he filed the complaint, along with a request to nullify a contract he made with Chea Kheng last month for compensation of lost land.

Lork Kheng declined to comment Tuesday and Chea Kheng could not be reached.

However, Sin Khim, an employee of KDC working in Lor Peang village, said the claims that Mr. Seima never stopped protesting were verifiably true.

“I don’t know about the two checks that [he] got after making a deal with [them], but there’s concrete evidence proving that Mr. Seima drove a tractor to load villagers to protest and petition in Phnom Penh,” Mr. Khim said.

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