Villagers in Oddar Meanchey province’s Banteay Ampil district have been ordered to vacate their homes by Saturday, after it was determined last month that the area belongs to prominent businessman Kith Meng.
District officials notified the 25 families on May 25 that they had 20 days to move off the land, where some have lived since 2008, said Srey Naren, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc.
“The villagers are poor, and have lived on the land for several years,” Naren said. “But the district authorities ordered them to move out, alleging the land belongs to Kith Meng.”
Banteay Ampil district governor Haing Meng yesterday said that Kith Meng has owned the land since 2006, and villagers are living there illegally.
Meng said refusal to leave will be met with force.
“If they defy the order, we will ask the court to pull their houses down,” Meng said. “We have no land for them, because that land already has an owner.”
Kith Meng was unavailable for comment yesterday.