The latest attempt to resolve the now nine-year land dispute between KDC International and the residents of Kampong Chhnang province’s Lorpeang village appears to have stumbled at the first hurdle after villagers and company representatives failed to reach an agreement at a parliament-mediated meeting yesterday.
The National Assembly’s human rights commission invited 16 of the 43 families at loggerheads with KDC to the capital on Thursday. Once there, each family was offered compensation packages between 1.5 and 6 million riel (about $375 to $1,500) by the development firm.
After the meeting, Om Sophy, a representative of the Lorpeang villagers, said KDC’s compensation offer was insufficient for them to build new houses.
However, KDC’s attorney, Phat Povseang, said of the package, “The villagers should be happy with that and accept it because the company has bought the land from the legal owner and it cannot buy it again”.
The company, whose co-owner Chea Kheng is married to the Mines and Energy Minister, maintains that the disputed land was sold by the villagers in 1997 and subsequently sold on to KDC in 2007.
The villagers have vowed to resume protests and plan to march on Phnom Penh to petition the relevant institutions.