Lawmaker Urges Land Dispute Villagers to Go Home

A group of 50 villagers who arrived in Phnom Penh last week to petition embassies and government officials about their land dispute with a firm owned by a minister’s wife say that their CPP representative in the National Assembly visited them on Thursday and asked them to leave the capital and go home.

Villager Oum Sophy said they were approached by CPP lawmaker Ke Chanmuny, and asked to go home to Kompong Chhnang province, but said they had refused.

The villagers have been battling KDC, which is owned by Chea Kheng, the wife of Mines Minister Suy Sem, since 2007 over land claimed by KDC that local residents say they have farmed for years.

The lawmaker, Ms. Chanmuny, who visited the villagers with Kompong Chhnang provincial council chief Dork Sothea, said she wanted the villagers to return home and then try and resolve the dispute.

“We cannot agree with the requests of those people, because this is a court issue and we are not able to interfere with this case,” she said.

Last month another CPP lawmaker, Lor Kheng, also intervened in the long-running land dispute, promising two of the most outspoken protesters substantial compensation if they would abandon their claims to the land.

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