Local authorities in Svay Rieng province filed a lawsuit against Sam Rainsy on Tuesday, alleging incitement and the destruction of border markers with Vietnam last month.
Officials allege the opposition leader prompted villagers to pull six boundary markers from rice fields in Chantrea district on Oct. 25. The villagers had said the markers were an indication of encroachment by the Vietnamese.
“Chantrea district authorities sued Sam Rainsy for damage of public property and inciting race discrimination because he uprooted six temporary poles for Marker 185,” said Var Kimhong, head of Cambodia’s border committee.
Svay Rieng Governor Chheang Am confirmed the lawsuit, and Korm Chhean, chief of the provincial court, said officials there had received it.
Sam Rainsy, meanwhile, has appealed to the former king, Norodom Sihanouk, saying villagers had lost dozens of hectares of rice fields to border encroachment.
“After the villagers cried with suffering the loss of their rice fields, they pulled a few poles for border markers out in front of me, for justice,” he wrote on Nov. 7.
Sihanouk then sent letters to Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting that they “examine” information provided by Sam Rainsy.