MEMBERS of 35 families from Russey Keo district’s Kilometre 6 commune gathered at the district hall Wednesday to protest against eviction notices accusing them of illegally inhabiting land in a different commune.
The eviction notice, issued by officials in nearby Tuol Sangke commune and obtained by the Post on Wednesday, accuses families from Boeung Chhuok village of illegally living on land in Tuol Kork village that belongs to resident Lau Tong Ngy.
Se Sna, a representative from Boeung Chhuok village, called on Russey Keo district governor Khlaing Huot to explain the notice, which could lead to an eviction next week.
Khlaing Huot, who signed the notice on May 12, declined to meet the protesters and refused to speak to reporters on Wednesday.
Addressing the protesters, Kilometre 6 commune chief Sok Khim said he had no intention of evicting them. He also contradicted a comment he made on Monday, when he said Lau Tong Ngy had purchased the land in 1990.
“I will not evict you, and I have never known Lau Tong Ngy as the owner of the property [in question],” he said, and added that the villagers should bring their concerns to Tuol Sangke commune officials or directly to the district governor.
But Se Sna said Soy Kosal, Tuol Sangke’s commune chief, had also refused to meet the protesters, instead referring them back to Khlaing Huot.
The villagers say they have identity documents – including family books, identity cards and birth certificates – that prove they are long-term
occupiers of the land in question, but they do not have land titles.
Yeit Yann, 75, said some villagers have lived in the area since 1992.
“We’ve lived here ... for about 20 years, so why are the authorities trying to evict us from our land?” she said.