Land Dispute Case Involving Minister’s Wife Is Heard

The Court of Appeal on Monday heard the case of a land dispute between a 70-year-old woman from Kompong Chhnang province and a company owned by the wife of the Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy over a 3,000 square meter parcel of land. 

In May 2012, the Kompong Chhnang provincial court ordered Chat Batt, a farmer in Kompong Tralach district’s Ta Ches commune, to pay $2,500 in compensation to KDC, a development firm owned by Chea Kheng, the wife of Suy Sem.

Ms. Batt said in court yesterday that she possessed the legal right to stay on the land, as she had been living there for more than 30 years.

“I lived on that land and have been farming it since 1979 and I never sold it to anyone,” she said. Cambodia’s Land Law states that if villagers have been living on undisputed private land for more than five years prior to 2001, they have legal right to receive a binding land title.

Phat Pouv Seang, the lawyer representing KDC in the dispute, said that the land belonged to Ms. Kheng because she had acquired legal titles to it and 145 additional hectares of disputed land in the area in 2007.

Presiding Judge Pak Chandambo said that the verdict would be issued on May 7.

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