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Land battle leads locals to protest

Land battle leads locals to protest

About 100 villagers in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district who allege two powerful families are trying to push them off their land protested yesterday after workers fenced off more than 3 hectares of the land they claim in Kouk Rokar commune.

Ry Sorphea, 44, a representative of the villagers, said that 10 years ago, the 400 affected families bought the 450 plots of land from local businessman Kheng Song for between $1,000 and $1,600 each. “Song and the . . . authorities claimed that their land was not disputed or state land,” she said.

But another businessman, Keo Bengvoath, has now claimed the land as legally his.

The villagers want to be paid the current value of the land, which they estimate has risen to between $8,000 and $10,000.

Euong Seakkheng, Song’s wife, said the Bengvoath clan had not worked in cahoots with her husband, as the villagers allege.

Bengvoath’s lawyer, who requested anonymity, said that the land had been owned by his client “since 1993”.

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