Three villagers including a teenager were arrested yesterday on allegations that they destroyed the fence of a company they accuse of trying to steal their land in Phnom Penh.
The families of the trio from Tuol Kork district’s Boeung Kak 1 commune – Ly Srey Kheng, 70; his daughter Ly Bun Heang, 16; and Hing Chan, 24 – have denied the accusations they destroyed Khun Sea Development Group Ltd’s property.
Srey Kheng’s daughter, 21-year-old Ly Siv Ming, accused the firm of initiating an almost daily campaign of intimidation against three families, including lighting metal drums on fire outside their houses, after they rejected offers of $15,000 for their homes earlier this month.
“In fact we did not destroy the company‘s property. It is not true. The company is the one that ordered a group of men to disturb our lives, to [try to] force us to sell our house. Right now my sister and father have been arrested,” she said.
Police officials declined to comment on the arrests yesterday and calls to the company went unanswered.
Hing Chan’s mother Sok Khouch, 48, said her family had lived in their house since 1982, yet her son had been sent to court simply because they refused to leave.
“We did not agree to sell our house because [the amount offered] is little. We would not be able to buy another house. I am worried about my son who was arrested,” she said.
Khun Sea is listed by the Ministry of Commerce as the chairman of the firm and a raft of other companies including Khun Sea Co, Ltd, Khun Sea Import Export Co, Ltd, Victerny Sea Import Export, Victory Days Co, Ltd (VD) and Pingu BV Korea Entertainment Co, Ltd.
Khun Sea Import Export was granted an 8,200 hectare economic land concession in Oddar Meanchey province’s Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in June last year.
When the Post called Khun Sea’s number listed by the Ministry of Commerce yesterday, a man who picked up the phone said it was the wrong number.
On Ly, a legal official at the Housing Rights Task Force, said the villagers were sent to court after police arrested them over the company’s complaint but were yet to be charged.