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Families to take land fight to PM

A GROUP of 43 families facing eviction in Koh Kong’s Sre Ambel district plan to attend the inauguration of a sugar factory over which Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to preside today, in an attempt to convince senior government officials to intervene on their behalf, a representative of the families said Sunday.

“We are trying to meet the prime minister tomorrow to tell him about our hard situation and the details of the land dispute,” Phaov Nheung said.
A June Supreme Court ruling awarded the families’ land to two businessmen, Sok Hong and Heng Huy.

In October, police officers escorted Koh Kong Deputy Judge Meas Vatanea to the eviction site, where he read aloud the ruling and then marked how the land would be divided, with most going to Heng Huy.

He also ruled that some of the 43 families were living in Chi Khor Leu commune, of which Chhay Vuth is the chief. Many of the families had believed that they were living in neighbouring Chi Khor Krom commune.

Am Sam Ath, technical superviser for the rights group Licadho, said at the time that this ruling was significant because Chhay Vuth was known for being “very sympathetic” to Heng Huy, who has said he plans to convert the land into a cassava farm.

Chhay Vuth could not be reached for comment on Sunday. Koh Kong Governor Bun Leut said Sunday that officials would not try to prevent the families from attending the inauguration ceremony.

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