A commune chief and nine villagers accused of trespassing on development firm Phan Imex’s land in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district have been summonsed to appear in the provincial court.
The complaint filed to Kandal province prosecutor Vong Bun Visoth calls the family representatives to appear in court between July 21 and July 24 over allegations they are occupying land legally owned by the company.
Ponhea Leu commune chief You Phat said the summons included other allegations.
“The summons reads that I am a suspect. [Owner] Suy Sophan filed a complaint and accused me of occupying other people’s real estate, refusing to recognise a land title issued by a provincial cadastral authority [in favour of] the company, and of using violence,” Phat said.
Phan Imex, owned by tycoon Sophan, who could not be reached yesterday, gained international notoriety after the public and violent eviction of residents of the Borei Keila community in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district.
The court complaint was originally filed at the end of April, when villagers blocked nearby National Road 5 in response to the company erecting markers on the land,
The company then presented villagers with documents it said proved ownership of the land, but the villagers claimed one was a forgery and two others were land titles for other areas in the district.
In March, members of the 10 families sold 3 hectares of the land, prompting Phan Imex to pursue legal action, according to Kum Saret, 66, who was one of those summoned.
He denied the charges.
“We did not sell other people’s land. We only sold our land. The company has 6 hectares of land adjacent to National Road 5, while our land is 50 metres away from the national road,” Saret said.
Phay Bunchheoun, Kandal provincial governor, said that he would try to negotiate a settlement between the company and villagers.
“Once I receive the documents in my hand, I will take action by calling … Suy Sophan and the commune chief to settle the dispute,” he said.