Families File Petition Over Land Dispute With Dry Port Company

Representatives for 77 families involved in a land dispute with a company that plans to build a dry port and industrial area in Kratie province petitioned the Interior Ministry and the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on Monday against a court order for them to leave their land, officials and villagers said.

Soy Chuon, a representative for the group from Snuol district, said he and six other representatives handed petitions to the Interior Ministry and the National Assembly to protest a provincial court injunction dated July 2, which orders villagers to vacate the land within 30 days.

Mr. Chuon said the villagers had moved to the site in 1996 from other parts of Kratie and from Kandal province because they had no land or jobs in their hometowns. He said the UBE Development company started to demarcate the land in 2012, and had cleared 20 to 30 hectares since last year.

“We will not be removed because we do not have other land to live on. We will struggle to protest at the site even if the police use force,” Mr. Chuon said.

The company in January offered villagers $300 per hectare, Mr. Chuon said, but the villagers rejected the offer.

“It is not enough compensation to buy land to live, and we do not want to move from our land,” he said.

The court order, which was signed by court director Din Sivuthy, says that Ing Bun Eang, director of UBE Development, requested the injunction on June 29. It states that villagers cannot “sell, rent, transfer, pawn and cultivate” the disputed plot in Pi Thnou commune, and must vacate by August 1.

Mr. Sivuthy said there was no doubt that the land belonged to UBE.

“The site belongs to the company. That company agreed with the provincial hall to invest and they have a land title,” he said.

Mr. Bun Eang of UBE could not be reached for comment.

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