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Court Detains 3 Journalists in Connection to Protests on Tonle Sap Land

KAMPONG CHHNANG: Five people, including three journalists, have been charged and detained by the Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court in connection with inciting residents to protest for flooded forest land in three areas in Kampong Leng district, Kampong Chhnang province.

The three detained journalists are reported to be Saing Chanthorn (46) from MCTV, Ouk Parady (34) from Crane Hot News, and Keo Hour (54) from SBT Post. They were arrested and brought to Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court on Saturday, along with two other people. All five of the detained have been charged with inciting to commit crimes in three areas of Kampong Chhnang province.

In a Facebook post made by MCTV on 1 January, the news company published the protests of more than 457 families asking the government to give them the land they used to live off in Tonle Sap Lake Area 3, Kampong Leng district, Kampong Chhnang province, and to let them continue living off the lake area after the state confiscated the encroached upon land late last year.

Previously on 28 November, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the relevant authorities to investigate and crack down on perpetrators of land encroachment around the Tonle Sap Lake and to assign sentences and open an investigation in the Anti-Corruption Unit. He issued these measures after receiving a report from the President of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, Sok Touch, regarding the encroachment and clearing of the Tonle Sap Lake in Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom and Banteay Meanchey provinces.

On 16 December, during a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to the protection of the Tonle Sap Lake by continuing to take measures to prevent and crack down on illegal logging of the flooded forest and core areas of the Lake and the encroachment of state land in the floodplains of the region and the Tonle Sap, as well as the recapture of illegally occupied floodplains.

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