Young Man Killed While Trying To Steal Rubber

A 19-year-old junior high school student was shot dead after trying to steal rubber from a rubber plantation in Kompong Cham pro­vince’s Ponhea Krek district, police said Tuesday.

Yun Vean entered the plantation to collect rubber together with four friends on Sunday even­ing but was spotted by one of the plantation’s armed guards, district police chief Em Sary said.

After firing a warning shot, the guard gunned down Yun Vean in what Em Sary described as “an accidental kil­ling.”

Em Sary said that rubber plantation guard Sem Samnang, 43, has fled the district and that po­lice are seeking to arrest him.

“He is still at large,” Em Sary said, noting that it was not the first time guards from the plantation have shot villagers and that boys in the commune often en­ter­ed the plan­­ta­tion to steal rubber. Accord­ing to local rights group Ad­hoc, at least four people have been killed by guards in the pro­vince’s rubber plantations in recent years.

Chan Soveth, program officer of Adhoc’s monitoring section, said that he did not know if it was illegal for guards at the plantations to carry arms.

Although similar cases have been reported, Chan Soveth said some plantation owners have powerful connections that make it hard for local authorities to solve cases.

“I think that when [the guards] shoot in the plantations it is a serious crime and that the perpetrator should be taken to court,” Chan So­veth said, adding that lo­cal authorities often did not have ac­cess to the plantations.

“The local authorities cannot go inside to investigate. The owners of the plantations do not cooperate,” he added.

Nob Thet, an Adhoc activist in the district, said Yun Vean’s family has demanded 15 million riel compensation, or about $3,750, from the plantation owner, and for the plantation guard to be im­prisoned.

 

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