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Ministry Hopes to End Old Dispute

Khmer Times Share:
Villagers from Koh Kong province were blocked from delivering a petition last week. Officials from the Ministry of Land Management have now gone to Koh Kong to try to resolved the dispute. KT/Mai Vireak

A working group from the Ministry of Land Management yesterday went to investigate a land dispute between 147 families and the Koh Kong Sugar Industry and Koh Kong Plantation on 782 hectares in Koh Kong province.
 
The move to resolve the land dispute was made folowing ministry promises to go there after nearly 100 people appealed for intervention from the ministry in Phnom Penh last week.
 
Tep Thon, an undersecretary of state and head of the ministry’s Working Group for Land Dispute Resolution, said the group went to identify people from the 147 affected families in Sre Ambel and Botum Sakor districts, while an additional 392 families from the same districts also requested intervention.
 
He said the next step for the working group would be to meet with the companies to help the two parties resolve the dispute.
 
However, he said: “It’s complex and difficult to understand these people’s documents. We are trying to help bring this dispute to a close. We don’t want problems like this to occur anymore.”
 
Citizen representative Phav Nherng congratulated the ministry for intervening as promised, but she urged the ministry to end the dispute as it has been ongoing for 10 years.
 
“We’re happy they came to get information, but they didn’t ask which individual filed a complaint to which company. This puts pressure on the people because they [the companies] took our land. We ask the authorities to help us and solve the problem as we’re victims,” she said.
 
She also asked the ministry to resolve a land dispute involving 15 families on 62 hectares in Sre Ambel district with the Heng Huy Company, which received economic land concessions from the government. They demand authorities help resolve the dispute, return their land and compensate them for damage to their crops, which were cleared by the companies in the past.
 
Representatives from Koh Kong Sugar Industry and Koh Kong Plantation could not be reached for comment.
 
Koh Kong provincial Licadho coordinator In Kongchit congratulated the ministry for investigating, but said the intervention was too slow. He urged authorities to reach a solution and return the land to the people.

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