Land protesters take disputes to the top

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
An official coordinating with demonstrators. KT/Mai Vireak

Representatives of 187 families in Kampong Chhnang province and Phnom Penh gathered at the Land Management Ministry and the Prime Minister’s cabinet office yesterday seeking help to resolve their years-long land disputes.

Um Sophy, a representative from Lor Peang village in Kampong Chhnang province, said they had returned to petition again at the cabinet office to ask Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene to end their case with KDC company, which has lasted more than 10 years.

“We filed complaints in the past but there has been no solution for us, so we asked Prime Minister Hun Sen again to help resolve it for us,” he said. “If farmers do not have land, how can we live?”

The dispute between the Lor Peang community and the company involves 83 on 182 hectares of land. However, there have been continuous resolutions and compensation, leaving only 53 families left protesting.Phat Pov Sieng, a lawyer for KDC, has said in the past that the people had sold the land in 1997, but continued to cultivate it. In 2006, the land owners sold land to the company with proper land titles.

Kong Chamroeun, Mr Hun Sen’s cabinet secretary, declined to accept the petition of the people and asked them to re-arrange it with clear objectives and proper attachment of legal documents for officials to check and find solutions.

After receiving this instruction, protesters returned to their homes to correct the petition.

Also yesterday, more than 20 people representing 134 families locked in a land dispute with OCIC’s Chroy Changvar satellite city development gathered in front of the Land Management Ministry to monitor the petitions they submitted last week.

Representative Chea Sophat said the ministry required them to prepare a new petition in order to meet Land Management Minister Chea Sophara.

“I came to the ministry to wait for information,” he said. “I hope that when we finish making a new petition, we will meet the senior minister.”

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