Local authorities have blocked the construction of new homes for 25 Preah Vihear province families, saying they are illegally located on state land in Chheb district, not in Tbeng Meanchey as the villagers claim.
Khom Rany, said yesterday that her family has had lived on the land since 1995 and have legal documents validating their claim to it. Rany said the villagers began constructing more permanent homes on the land this month, before being confronted by armed officers.
“The authorities told us that land is in Chheb district”, she said, adding that they have no other land to live on.
“The state regards us as a dog or cat, that’s why this land is state land,” she said
Soksan Dara, Chheb district governor, said the land had previously been forestland that had been cut from an economic land concession for local residents, who had been issued proper titles. Those now building houses, he maintained, were newcomers who had “come to grab” the land.
Ung Vuthy, Tbeng Meanchey district governor, confirmed that the land is located in Chheb.
He said that the involved authorities will meet to settle the dispute.