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Court summons villagers in land dispute

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:

Svay Rieng Provincial Court has summoned eight members from a group of 200 villagers who occupied land at the centre of a long-running dispute with a development company on Wednesday.
The villagers from Ampil commune in Romeas Hek district have been ordered to clarify their actions in court on June 8.
The four men and four women are accused of illegally occupying state land in a stand-off with police that lasted three hours.  
The group occupied the land because they are angry with the company NK Venture.
The government granted NK Venture special permission to build a sugar plantation on the 670 hectares in 2010, but the land remains empty.  Local representative Tiev Saron, 36, said the villagers resorted to occupying the land after protests at Ampil commune hall on Monday and in Romeas Hek district on Tuesday got them nowhere.
On Wednesday, more than 200 villagers went to to occupy the land but police stopped them.
Theng Savoeun, a representative of the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community, denounced the court summons as a threat to poor farmers.
“Instead of making an effort to find a solution for the villagers, the authorities are accusing them in court,” he said.
Ms Saron said villagers would not be intimidated by the authorities.
The four men that have been summoned are Thoeun Veng, 43, Ros Savon, 43, Prum Sot, 48, and Chea Souen, 53.
The women are Hong Yorn, 63, Ouk Sokhum, 60, Sa Reoung, 55 and Chea Saran 43.

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