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Protesters demand solution to old land dispute

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Protesters gather to highlight their decades-old land dispute. KT/Chor Sokunthea

More than 50 people representing 330 former roof tile makers protested yesterday in front of Wat Botum Pagoda to raise awareness of a land dispute they claim needs solving by the prime minister.

The protesters say that between 1979 and 1993, the 330 workers were employed at a plant run by the state in Chak Angre Krom commune.

During that time, the workers say they had their salaries cut for three ponds to be dug on the land and for the proceeds to be shared among them.

Chea Eng, a former worker, said several years after the workers were laid off, the land and its ponds were sold to Lim Sina, cutting the workers off from the ponds’ resources.

Ms Eng said the former workers want the ponds back, or to be paid compensation for their loss.

“We would like to request Prime Minister Hun Sen and the state to find a solution for us and help us,” she said.

“We worked since 1979 and then they stopped us in 1993 without cause. We don’t care about the cause for our job loss, but we want a solution for this collective land that was lost.”

“We would be happy to get the land back, or receive compensation,” she added.

So Sim, another former worker, said $4,000 per worker would suffice as compensation.

Ms Sina could not be reached for comment.

During the protest, secretary of Mr Hun Sen’s cabinet Kong Chamroeun urged the workers to file the appropriate complaint forms to relevant institutions to seek a solution.

“Such cases have to be written in a document,” he told them.

The protesters agreed to follow his instruction and file a formal complaint to Mr Hun Sen’s cabinet.

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