Ministers Tell CPP Lawmaker to Return Stolen Land in Kandal

The CPP-led government has revoked 29 land titles and confiscated nearly 3,000 hectares of disputed land in Kandal province in order to return it to complainants after an investigation found one of its own lawmakers had been selling it illegally.

According to a letter dated Friday from the Council of Ministers to Land Management Minister Chea Sophara, 2,997.92 hectares of land were reclaimed from CPP lawmaker Lork Hour, who was accused of illegally occupying and selling land in Kien Svay and Sa’ang districts.

Ou Chheang, Kien Svay district governor, said a team had already started working on measuring the land to return to the complainants—the exact number of which he said he did not know. He said disputes between Mr. Hour and other landowners had started in 2005.

“Some parts he invaded…and other parts, the owners had no ability to protect their land,” he said, adding that some disputes arose due to Mr. Hour not paying the full amount for the land, or doubling up on selling plots of land.

Different people believed they “owned the same land,” Mr. Chheang said.

Mao Phirun, the governor of Kandal province, confirmed that the land in question was being measured. He said many people were involved in the disputes, but he also did not have the exact figure on hand.

“People are showing their land registration, and that will not finish in just one day,” he said.

Asked if any legal action would be taken, Mr. Phirun said authorities were resolving the problem by redistributing the land to the complainants, and any legal action would be beyond his jurisdiction.

“It is beyond my competency,” he said. “It is not my duty.”

Mr. Phirun said the main disputes were about overlapping land titles and non-payments for land. The land titles, he said, contained irregularities and were not completed in accordance with official procedures, and therefore both the seller and buyer shared the responsibility.

“The one who came for the land titles was wrong, and the one who issued the land titles was also wrong,” he said.

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