Land Dispute Protests to Persist Continue Protest

More than 60 people from Kom­pong Cham province have vowed to protest outside the National Assembly until the government returns about 330 hectares of land they claim has been taken by local authorities.

The group, which gathered Friday on the roadside across from the National Assembly—many bearing hand-written signs asking the government for help—said they represent 88 families from the province who have been involved in a land dispute with about 170 families from another village.

Mao Pirun, deputy governor of Kompong Cham province, decided earlier this month the 88 families did not have enough evidence to prove they could claim the land. That decision was backed by Minister of Con­struction Im Chhun Lim, who also heads the National Land Dispute Committee.

In May, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered 2,000 hectares of land given back to 389 families in the area. Until a meeting earlier this month between Mao Pirun and Im Chhun Lim, only 1,500 hectares had been returned. The remaining 500 hectares were claimed by both the 88 families and those from the other village.

“I have no hope on the provincial level, that’s why I moved to Phnom Penh,” said one protester, Heng Cheng Hong. “We are going to wait until we get results.”

Heng Cheng Hong produced 16 land title certificates she said proves the families should get the land. She said Mao Pirun is ignoring these documents be­cause he may get some land out of the dispute if he favors the opposing 170 families.

Mao Pirun could not be reached Friday for comment. Kompong Cham province Police Chief Suon Chheangly said Friday he was unaware of the dispute.

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