The Loei Provincial Court dismissed charges against 6 community-based human rights defenders of Khon Rak Ban Koed (KRBK) for a civil lawsuit that was filed by Tungkum mining company in 2015. Members of KRBK had hung a banner in front of the village gate that read “This Village Doesn’t Want Mining” which the mining company felt negatively affected their reputation. The company was seeking the KRBK members pay 50,000,000 Baht ($1,401,912 USD) with 7.5% interest. The case was dismissed on 30 March 2016 with the court citing that the villagers have in fact been affected by the mining operations and they have a right to take a stand for their environment. The verdict was cheered by the 60 villagers who gathered at court to support the KRBK members.
The mine has not operated since 2013, though Tungkum company is requesting permission from authorities to renew the mining concession in the area. Conflict between the company and the villagers of Wang Saphung has been ongoing for years. Tungkum has filed 19 lawsuits against the KRBK, withdrawing some after reconciliation.
Read more background on this case here.