Eviction Date Draws Nearer for Koh Kong Villagers

Villagers in Koh Kong province involved in a land dispute with a Chinese company received notice on Saturday that the local government will soon implement a court order kicking them off their land, officials and a villager said.

A group of 47 families in Kiri Sakor district’s Koh Sdech commune have since 2010 been resisting Union Development Group’s plans to develop a 45,000-hectare swath of Botum Sakor National Park into a $3.8-billion tourist destination.

The firm has evicted about 1,000 families from the area, but a group of 47 holdout families are refusing to leave land that they say they legally own.

On Saturday, commune officials gave villagers a copy of a March 4 letter signed by provincial court deputy prosecutor Srey Makny telling them that an order to vacate the land, issued by the court last month, would be enforced within 60 days.

“We just brought the notice of implementation of the court injunction to ask villagers to thumbprint it, and if they do not agree they can complain to the court,” said commune chief Phoeuy Ke on Monday.

Villager Prak Thuok, one of those who received the notice, said all of the 47 families had refused to thumbprint the document and would continue to resist their impending eviction.

“If we agreed to thumbprint it would mean we agree that they take our land,” he said. “I will not leave my land.”


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