Families Call for Chief’s Ouster Over Land Sale

More than 160 families in Banteay Meanchey province’s O’Chrou district filed a complaint on Monday with local officials calling for the removal of their village chief, whom they blame for the loss of 835 hectares of farmland to a rubber plantation.

Ouk Taing, 73, a resident of Thnol Bot village in O’Beichoan commune who signed the complaint, said the families accuse village chief Tha Tun of plotting with a land dealer, Sam Phannarith, to sell their farms to a local company, Sea Hongheng.

“We have filed a complaint with commune and district authorities on Tuesday to ask for the removal of the village chief because he conspired with businessman Sam Phannarith and sold the land to the company,” he said.

Mr. Taing added that Sea Hongheng employees recently started clearing their farms, claiming that the land now belonged to the company.

District governor San Seahu said he had received the complaint and ordered his officials to investigate the case, which he learned of for the first time Monday.

“We are not yet able to make a decision whether or not to fire the village chief because we need more time to investigate the case and find the truth,” he said.

Mr. Tun could not be reached.

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