K Speu Villagers Complain to ACU Over Land Dispute

Sixty villager representatives from Kompong Speu province traveled to Phnom Penh yesterday to submit a third complaint to the Anticorruption Unit over a land dispute.

The dispute centers around 950 hectares of land in Phnom Sruoch district’s Taing Saraong commune, which was granted by the government to Master International Corporation Group in 2006.

Duong Thary, representing 250 affected families, said villagers’ protests in the affected area had been futile. “We also submitted complaints to the ACU twice before but there was no solution,” Ms Thary said.

District chief Ech Chantha yesterday denied that the villagers’ land was affected by Master International’s potato plantation, because the concession ended “30 meters from their farmland.” “If [the villagers’] land was granted to the company, they would die. We didn’t do that,” he said.

However, commune chief Kong Soeun said villagers had formerly farmed rice on land now claimed by the company. “There is no progress because they lost land and cannot do farming or give it to their children,” he said.

Company director He Lan said that the villagers complaint was “not valid” and that some local villagers now worked on her plantation. ACU spokesman Keo Remy could not be reached yesterday.

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