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Villagers cry foul on land sale

Farmers from Kampong Thom province’s Baray district filed a complaint to the authorities yesterday accusing a village chief of signing off on the sale of their land to a local businesswoman.

Deap On, 50, a spokesman for the villagers, said in 2008 they were given 339 hectares of farmland to cultivate rice, but they later discovered that about 60 hectares had been sold to the businesswoman.

“We were shocked when we saw that some of the villagers’ land was sold by the village chief, Real Ron,” he said.

Attempts to reach Ron for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.

Another resident, Ngek Real, 48, said villagers received the land from the authorities to live on and farm.

“Why did [Ron] sell some parts of the land?” Real said.

Mak Mong Hoat, Baray district hall governor, said he had received the complaint and the authorities were examining the dispute’s history, which he said was complicated by a change in village chief since 2008.

“We are examining the local administration’s affairs to find a solution to this issue,” he said.

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