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Authorities accused of threatening over land

Authorities accused of threatening over land

Threatening leaflets were thrown into the homes of four people in Banteay Meanchey’s Thma Puok district, with victims saying they believe officials involved in a local land dispute are behind the intimidation campaign.

Borinchhean Prakpha, first deputy chief for Kouk Kathin commune, said he sued former commune chief Pat Seum and Chab San, a soldier, in the provincial court in June for allegedly faking documents to appropriate almost 500 hectares of land in the area.

Prakpha said that he began hearing rumours his life was in danger after going to Phnom Penh to file complaints about the dispute with various government institutions.

“Ten days after I heard that rumour, the leaflets were thrown into my house,” he said.

The leaflet was addressed to Prakpha and two other commune council members, Seang Samnang and Moun Vanny, along with Prak Chheong, a representative of the villagers involved in the land dispute.

“We are telling the four of you that [you are] extremely envious, exploitative and ruthless, and that you’ve exaggerated enough already,” a copy of the leaflet read. “From now on, whether you sleep, walk, stand, sit, talk, laugh or cry, please be very careful.”

Chab San, the soldier named in Prakpha’s original complaint, could not be reached for comment, but Pat Seum, the former commune chief, who is now a district council member, refuted the accusation.

“I don’t know anything about that leaflet. I was in Preah Sihanouk on that day. I will file a complaint on Friday suing for defamation,” he said.

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