More than 50 residents from Kampot province protested in front of the National Assembly Monday against alleged land grabs by authorities.
Most of the protesters came from the Trapaing Krachet village in Kampot and accused the commune chief there of stealing nearly 60 hectares of land.
Villager Vao Than, 55, said he and others came to ask the government to return the land to its rightful owners.
He said authorities took his land, promising to build a village for displaced and refugee families, but no such activity ever took place. Instead, he said, they sold the land to local businessmen.
“We want our land back for survival. This is injustice for us,” Vao Than said.
Protester Um Siv, 40, said getting her land back is critical for the survival of her 10 children. “The commune chief took our land and sold it,” she said.
The commune chief couldn’t be reached for comment Monday, but Kampot District Chief Khuy Sean denied the allegations. He said the dispute was not between villagers and the government but instead between old villagers and new villagers.
“As long as I have researched this case, there are no officials involved in it,” he said.
Khuy Sean said he sent the case to his provincial superior for a ruling. “Let’s leave this case to the court to make the judgment.”