Accused P Vihear Squatters Submit Petition to Gov’t

Around 100 people marched from Phnom Penh’s Samakki Raingsey pagoda to the Interior Ministry on Thursday to submit a petition requesting intervention in their long-running land dispute with a CPP lawmaker in Preah Vihear province, a community representative said.

The hundred residents from Choam Ksan district’s Kantuot commune, who have been housed for more than two weeks in the pagoda, are part of a group of 300 families who have been battling with lawmaker Suos Yara for the past five years.

“We submitted a petition letter with the Interior Ministry today to ask this institution to return the old village to the people because we are now homeless and there is no land for cultivation,” said community representative Phan Thoeun, adding they would remain in the capital until a solution to the dispute was found.

A ministry official confirmed that the petition had been received and said it would be sent to the National Authority for Land Dispute and Resolution.

The dispute began in 2010 when CPP lawmaker Suos Yara allegedly demanded 500 square meters of the land the villagers were living on.

They claim that when they refused, they were evicted on the grounds that they were infringing on the Unesco World Heritage site surrounding Preah Vihear temple.

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