Nearly 50 villagers representing 50 families who live in Phnom Penh’s Por Senchey district went to the Ministry of Land Management yesterday to protest against a man allegedly trying to grab 13 hectares of their land.
According to the villagers’ petition letter, the 50 families have lived on the land in Trapeang Krasang commune since 1979 and in August 1987, the Hokkien Chinese Association asked to use the land for traditional praying ceremonies.
The letter added that the association stopped using the land in 2011. But in the past few years, a man named Seng Siheng appeared, claiming to be the owner of the 13 hectares.
Bun Kai, a representative of the villagers, said villagers asked the ministry to not give a land title to Mr Siheng.
“We suggested that the ministry not give the land title to him because that land does not belong to him. The villagers came to live here in 1979. He came to grab our land,” the 55-year-old said.
Seng Laut, spokesman of the Land Management Ministry, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
However, during the villagers’ protest, ministry officials came out to take their petition and promised they would examine the situation.
Contact information for Mr Siheng could not be found.
Last week, Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng issued a letter in an attempt to find a solution for the villagers.
“Those 13 hectares of land are in dispute between villagers and a private person, so local officials cannot issue a land title yet,” he said.