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Seven villagers charged in Kampong Thom land dispute

The Kampong Thom provincial court on Friday charged seven villagers on connection with damaging properties belonging to a developing company and a security team.

“We have charged the seven men of damaging public and private properties,” Men Sarath, the court prosecutor, told VOA Khmer. He said that there will be more charges against an alleged ringleader, whom he did not identify. If found guilty, the men face up to three years in prison.

Human rights advocates, however, decry the charges and insist the men should be educated instead.

“These men should not be charged as they do not understand the law,” said Nhoung Samoeun, coordinator for local human rights group Licadho.

Kampong Thom police chief Phan Sopheng said 20 additional people might be arrested while others will be rehabilitated and informed about the law.

“Some villagers should be educated, but for those brutal men, we can’t be patient with them,” he said.