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Villagers from Koh Kong’s Chi Khor Leu commune march toward the National Assembly yesterday where they delivered a petition over a land dispute yesterday.
Villagers from Koh Kong’s Chi Khor Leu commune march toward the National Assembly yesterday where they delivered a petition over a land dispute. Hong Menea

Koh Kong community petitions government, EU in land dispute

Seventy-four people representing 147 families from Koh Kong yesterday handed petitions to the European Union and three national institutions asking that their land be returned or that they be paid proper compensation regarding a years-long dispute over an economic land concession (ELC).

In 2006, a 2,239-hectare ELC in Sre Ambel and Botum Sakor districts was handed to the Koh Kong Sugar Industry Company, at that time part-owned by CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat.

Yesterday’s group represented a portion of the original families affected, and claim ownership of 782 hectares of land. Community representative Phav Nheoung said she submitted petitions to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Land Management, the National Assembly and the EU.

“We are faced with food shortages as we have lost our land,” said Nom Vannary, another community member. Ministry of Land Management spokesman Cheam Sophal Makara said the ministry’s working group would study the issue and offer a solution within a week.

The group said it would not leave Phnom Penh until their problem was solved.

The sugar company could not be reached for comment.

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