Gov’t Settles Land Dispute After Hun Sen’s Visit

Just two days after Prime Minister Hun Sen promised to resolve a 20-year-old land dispute in Siem Reap City, the government on Friday issued a subdecree that divides 115 hectares of the contested plot between more than 700 families.

The decision, signed by Mr. Hun Sen, said the government had resolved to grant 747 families in Slakram commune a total of 115.41 hectares that will be taken from a concession awarded to the Apsara Authority two decades ago.

“The government has decided to offer a plot of Apsara’s land to the provincial land management [department] to divide into different plots for the families in Slakram commune,” the decision says.

A total of 1,120 families had been feuding with the Apsara Authority—a government body that oversees the Angkor Archaeological Park—since 1995, when the Council of Ministers awarded it a 1,070-hectare plot for tourist facilities.

Commune chief Khieu Sort said Sunday that some of the families were furnished with land titles prior to Mr. Hun Sen’s visit to the area on Wednesday, but that he could not recall how many.

Long Kosal, deputy director of the Apsara Authority’s communications department, said the Authority would comply with the new subdecree.

Deputy provincial governor Bun Tharith said that he and provincial governor Khim Bunsong, along with officials from the Apsara Authority, visited the families on Saturday.

“We met the people…and told them to prepare legal documents so they can officially occupy the land in Slakram commune,” he said.

Mr. Tharith added that 255 families in Ampil commune, which had been fighting with the Apsara Authority over a separate piece of land, would also be granted a plot cut from Apsara’s concession.

“We have measured the land and we will offer it to the families after receiving a subdecree from the government,” he said.

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