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Chroy Changvar community representative Chea Sophat leads a protest against OCIC outside the Ministry of Land Management in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Chroy Changvar community representative Chea Sophat leads a protest against OCIC outside the Ministry of Land Management in Phnom Penh yesterday. Hong Menea

OCIC protesters burn tyres, present petition

Residents of Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district yesterday held simultaneous protests against development firm the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC), with one group delivering a petition to the Ministry of Land Management and the other burning tyres at a site where company workers were seen bulldozing.

Among the demands made of the ministry by the 20 protesters present were a halt to OCIC’s ongoing activities on the land and the acceleration of the resolution to their long-standing land dispute after a consensus on compensation for the reclamation of their land by OCIC could not be reached.

According to Chea Sophat, the villagers’ representative, City Hall will either compensate villagers $15 per square metre of land or allow villagers to keep 10 per cent of their total land.

“We cannot take this proposal. It is unjust and lower than the market price,” he said, adding that Chea Sophara, former Phnom Penh City Hall official who is now land management minister, had a good reputation for solving problems concerning land disputes.

An undersecretary of state at the ministry, Tep Thun, told the protesters to “please wait for our intervention. Don’t rush; it is a big case . . . We need a concrete review [of the case].”

Meanwhile, a separate group of villagers burned tyres and protested when bulldozers were spotted clearing land. The protest lasted from about 8am to 4pm.

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