A National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution working group is set to investigate a case between resident Chan Hoeu and tycoon Lim Tea Leng in Battambang province.
Hing Thoraxy, a secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, on Wednesday sent a letter to Chea Sophara, Land Management Minister, and the chairman of the National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution asking to investigate the land dispute at the request of Khmer Rise Party president Soksovann Vatanasabung.
“The land dispute case, which involves distortion of facts to detain and torture an individual in Kors Kralor district’s Preah Phos commune, was raised by the president of Khmer Rise Party [and] the government has agreed to hand [it] over to the National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution to check and resolve,” the letter said.
NALDR yesterday in a statement said that the land dispute dates back to 1997, when the military forces in the 5th Military Region handed over 600 hectares of land to Mr Tea Leng in exchange for oil and other materials for the development of Kors Kralor district.
However, Ms Hoeu then filed a complaint demanding 159 hectares of the land, claiming that she had bought the land gradually from 1997 until 2000. She said she used a two-wheel tractor to clear the land to grow potatoes.
NALDR said that in 2014, the Battambang governor set up a commission to resolve the land dispute and verified the documents to confirm that Ms Hoeu had only about 120 hectares of land.
Meanwhile, Mr Tea Leng agreed to hand over about 200 hectares of land to people living on it, including giving 23 hectares of land to Ms Hoeu to end the dispute.
However, Ms Hoeu did not accept the land and complained to the Land Management Ministry and other institutions in order to demand for 526 hectares, it said.
“The National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution has assigned the working team to Battambang province to cooperate with local authorities and relevant forces to check and investigate in detail on this case from August 5,” NALDR said in the statement.
Land Management Ministry spokesman Seng Lot could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mr Vatanasabung, who is also a member of the Supreme Council of Consultations, yesterday lauded NALDR’s move to investigate the case.
“We will monitor the implementation of the law by the National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution on this case,” he said.
Mr Vatanasabung said NALDR has found that Ms Hoeu’s land overlapped Mr Lim Tea Leng’s. However, other evidence suggests that Mr Tea Leng’s land is nine kilometres away from Ms Hoeu’s land.
“So, we want to see justice for this case because we have seen that this land dispute has become violent; Ms Hoeu was arrested and chained, which are a serious human rights violation that we can’t accept,” Mr Vatanasabung said.
Ms Hoeu, who claims that she and 38 other families are victims in the land dispute, has asked the NALDR and relevant institutions to investigate and find justice. She added that she was detained twice, which was unjust.
Mr Tea Leng could not be reached for comment yesterday.