Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land title claimants need evidence and lawyer

Land title claimants need evidence and lawyer

Land title claimants need evidence and lawyer

Kampong Chhnang villagers who have been hit with a new lawsuit over property that they and the wife of a senior government official both claim said yesterday that coming to court would be impossible, as they did not have a defence lawyer and needed time to locate land titles as evidence.

When asked for a delay, the court agreed and the provincial prosecutor has given the accused only until Wednesday to locate legal representation.

“There is no reason for them to spend a month finding a defence lawyer, because we only spend a few days, and it is also unreasonable to [cite the delay on] finding a document if the land is under their possession,” said Pen Vibol, the provincial prosecutor in Kampong Chhnang.

The dispute ramped up in 2007, when KDC International, owned by Chea Kheng, the wife of Minister of Industry Suy Sem, bulldozed 145 hectares of farmland in Lorpeang village in Kampong Chhnang’s Ta Ches commune without compensating local residents.

Villagers have resided on the farmland for 30 years, according to the rights group Licadho. But the company claims to have bought the area in 1996 from Thai Hy, a Ta Ches commune council member. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The conflict wound its way to the courts almost five years ago, when KDC International accused 13 villagers of defamation and encroaching on the land. A villager is still in jail as a result of the case, and one had to pay a hefty fine.

Afterward, in September of this year, KDC filed a new complaint against village representatives on charges of incitement and destruction of property.

The four summonsed to answer questions about the complaint yesterday are Reach Seima, Om Sophy, Pheng Rum and Seng NGoun.

Rum said the request for a suspension was reasonable and stemmed from a practical need for a good attorney.

“I can’t describe how independent the court is because it works for the well-off person only,” he said, adding that a complaint filed by villagers in 2011 went nowhere, while this is being heard the same month.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at [email protected]


  • 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