Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Governor embroiled in K Thom land fight

Governor embroiled in K Thom land fight

Governor embroiled in K Thom land fight

ABOUT 65 families in Kampong Thom province's Baray district have become embroiled in a dispute with the former  district governor over 100 hectares of land that they say the official has stolen from them.

The families say Steng Sen district Governor Uth Sam On, who used to govern Baray district, has seized their land and their cassava harvest.

The governor says the land belongs to him and a group of local businessmen and police, and said he was being falsely accused.

Human rights group Licadho said it was not clear exactly who owned the land.

A representative of the families, Ouch Chanthorn, told the Post Wednesday that the governor had instructed 30 labourers and three policemen to block access to the land in Bak Thnar commune since March 11.

"Now [the labourers] have harvested more than two hectares of our cassava crop worth US$4,000," Ouch Chanthorn said.

Legal options

Uth Sam On confirmed that some police were present, saying they were part-owners.

He said he was the victim in the dispute, adding that he had documentation to prove that as Baray district governor in 1996 he had agreed that 10 people could clear the land and plant crops in exchange for him paying them 150,000 riels ($38).

Uth Sam On said a group of more than 20 people - including military police and local businessmen - had legal title to the site, which he said is 81 hectares.

He also said that only a few families were now farming the land.

"If they try to resolve this peacefully, I will be generous and give them a piece of land to farm," he said. "But if they remain stubborn I will file a complaint in court."

Ouch Chanthorn said the people had filed a thumb-printed complaint to the court asking it to intervene, but that the request had been rejected.

Licadho monitor Ek Sophea said the question of legal title was unclear, but his investigation had shown that the land was cleared in 1995.

Although the people did not have legal title, he said the governor might. He said Licadho would help them file another complaint to ensure the court investigated the case.

Article 30 of the Land Law of August 2001 states that any person who has "enjoyed peaceful, uncontested possession" of state private land since July 1996 or earlier may request ownership title to that land. 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all