Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
TAIWANESE mining company Hong Tung Resource has been ordered to pay Cambodia’s Nim Meng Group, a firm linked to a two-star general, US$200,000 in damages for breach of contract.
The case, heard on Friday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, pitted Nim Heng Group – a mining company owned by Lay Sineang, the wife of RCAF major general Nim Meng – against its former business partner Hong Tung Resources.
Both sides claimed breach of contract after they began working together last July on a copper mining project in Siem Reap province’s Chi Kraeng district.
According to a draft complaint by the Taiwanese firm, Hong Tung accused Nim Meng Group of abruptly terminating the joint-venture contract, neglecting to pay back loans and seizing imported mining equipment. Hong Tung also claimed that Nim Meng Group had been illegally exporting copper out of the Ream military port in Preah Sihanouk province using Cambodian naval vessels.
Hong Tung is seeking US$96 million in damages in a case that is still pending.
Nim Meng Group, meanwhile, has alleged that Hong Tung planned to sell off its mining licence to another company in violation of the agreement and had failed to offer promised loans.
In that case, the court ruled in favour of Nim Meng Group on Friday, with judge Oeung Seang ordering Hong Tung to pay $200,000 in damages after being found to have not abided by the contract.
“I am pleased the court has found the justice for my clients,” Chea Sok Chan, a lawyer for Nim Meng Group, said yesterday.
Kouy Thunna, a lawyer for Hong Tung Resources, said yesterday he could not comment on the decision and was waiting for feedback from his clients.
Nim Meng Group has also sued Hong Tung for defamation after the Taiwanese firm aired its allegations over the failed joint venture in the media in April. A decision in that case is also still pending.