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16 Mar 2020

Soth Koemsoeun, The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia: Company accuses four environmental activists of trespassing; Kratie Provincial Court's prosecutor continues questioning them

"Activists alleged to have tresspassed says company", 15 March 2020

Activist Ouch Leng and three members of the Prey Lang forest community were arrested… after Think Biotech (Cambodia) Co Ltd accused them of entering its premises without permission.

Leng – who won the Goldman Prize for his activism and is the president of the Cambodian Human Rights Task Force – Khem Sokhy, Srey Thei and Mein Math are being questioned by the Kratie provincial court after Think Biotech filed a complaint against them.

Protesting in front of the court to demand the release of the activists on Sunday, Heng Sros, also a forest activist, said Leng and his companions were sued by Lach Phanno, a Think Biotech representative.

Sros said the deputy prosecutor has charged them with three offences under Articles 299 and 360 of the Criminal Code and Article 32 of the Law on Associations and NGOs (Lango). This is the first time that Lango has been used to charge Leng, according to Sros…

Kratie provincial deputy police chief Kong Sidorn told … that the four suspects were sent to court … for questioning.

“I received a complaint from the company. According to it, the suspects entered the company’s headquarters to take photos,” he said.

Neither Think Biotech director Lu Chu Chang nor company representative Chea Pov could be reached for comment ...

Following the activists’ arrest, NGOs Adhoc, Licadho, the Cambodian Youth Network (CYN) and the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC) released a joint statement to condemn the company’s actions…