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29 Charged After Battambang Violence

Battambang provincial court charged 29 people with destruction of property and assault on police Thursday, following a night of New Year’s violence in Kamreang district.

The 29 men face sentences of up to four years if convicted on both charges. They were arrested as suspects in a group of 60 people who threw stones at the main building of a Thai-owned Tang Nasy casino on the border early Tuesday morning.

The stone-throwers had been angered by an earlier fight between New Year’s revelers at a concert on the Thai side of the border, according to police.

Prosecutor Sar Yos Thavreak told VOA Khmer the defendants allegedly brought their own truck full of stones to the Tang Nasy compound and began hurling them at the building. When provincial and military police arrived to stop them, members of the crowd began throwing stones at them, injuring three and damaging police vehicles, he said.

The 29 defendants, who are being held in Battambang prison, are so far without legal representation, due to the New Year holiday.

Yin Meng Ly, a Battambang rights advocate for the group Adhoc, said he would begin investigating the case on Monday.

“I’m concerned that the police have made arrests without serious investigation,” he said. “If they’ve done so, it’s a violation of human rights.”