Complaint Filed Against Koh Pich Residents

Phnom Penh municipal Gover­nor Kep Chuktema and Canadia Bank officials met on Monday and agreed to file a court complaint against residents of Koh Pich, Sar Heng Van Sak, De­puty chief of Ton­le Bassac Com­mune, said Tues­­­day.

Koh Pich residents have been embroiled in a fight over their land since City Hall issued an eviction or­der on Dec 6 that said they must leave their homes within 30 days.

Deputy Governor Pa Socheat­e­vong said Tuesday that the complaint has not been filed but that “ac­tion will be taken according to the law” against those who do not vacate the island.

“Don’t forget [the villagers] live il­­legally. No one can have ownership,” he said.

Calls to Kep Chuktema and De­pu­ty Governor Mann Chhoeun were unsuccessful on Tuesday.

The Public Interest Legal Ad­vo­ca­cy Project, which represents the vil­lagers, said the municipality’s le­gal action would be counter­pro­duc­tive to the ongoing negotiations.

“We do not believe that such an ac­tion would be productive and re­main committed to the negotiation process,” said PILAP technical ad­vi­ser Brian Rohan.

Hampering the months of negotiations is a disagreement over the size of the land the villagers claim to own.

PILAP is questioning a land mea­surement report given to them by municipal officials on May 4.

“From PILAP’s perspective we have some genuine questions about government sponsored surveys on the island,” said PILAP law­yer Ouk Kimleng. “Therefore, we’re doing our own thing,” said PILAP lawyer Ouk Kimleng.

PILAP has hired a firm to conduct a survey of the land and has in­vited City Hall and Canadia Bank to participate.

“In a settlement like this, obviously the amount of land each of our clients owns is crucial to calculate compensation,” he said.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.