Hundreds of Cambodian Villagers Displaced by Land Grabs Protest in Phnom Penh

Around 1,000 villagers from three Cambodian provinces blocked the road leading to the Land Ministry in Phnom Penh on Monday to demand government help in resolving disputes over land taken by private companies and politically connected businesspeople, sources in the country said.

Protesters from Koh Kong, Svay Rieng, and Tbong Khmum provinces held up photos of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife, and Cambodian King Sihamoni and the Queen Mother, as they launched their appeal, but were refused assistance by Ministry officials and left at the end of the day with no promises of help.

Yee Kunthea, a representative of dispossessed villagers in coastal Cambodia’s Koh Kong, said her group had never received compensation for farmland that over 1,000 families in three districts had lost to a sugarcane company owned by Ly Yong Phat, a senator belonging to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), to another company owned by businessman Heng Huy, and to Chinese company the Union Development Group (UDG).

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