Suspected activists in Pursat return home

Two village representatives in Pursat province returned home yesterday after spending three days in the wilderness to evade police over their role in a protest against a local developer.

Heng Pai and Bi Born said they returned to Sangkum Thmey village, in Veal Veng district, after a local rights group said they wouldn’t be arrested for their suspected role in the organisation of a protest against the MDS development firm.

Heng Pai said that 40 police officers arrived at his home earlier this week, and accused him of “persuading the residents” to protest on Monday against the company. Out of fear, he and Bi Born fled for three days.

Heng Pai said that the development firm’s encroachment would affect 85 families and up to 950 hectares of land, and that the firm was planning on building a casino and potato factory.

Chhin Ly, a deputy governor of Veal Veng district, said that authorities would “negotiate with the company over whether the affected families must be displaced or not”.

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