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Villagers say land was sold illegally

OFFICIALS in Kampong Cham province’s Cheung Prey district are scheduled to hold a meeting today regarding a complaint from 200 families against one commune and one village chief who the families say sold their communal farmland to a private buyer.

Ham Khom, first deputy chief of Sampong Chey commune, where the disputed land is located, said that 196 families had recently thumbprinted a complaint accusing commune chief Mao Kong and village chief Uon Kimheang of selling more than 4 hectares of village land.

“Mao Kong would not receive the villagers’ complaint, and that shows that he has been involved in this case,” Ham Khom said.

Villager representative Suon An said he did not know when the land was sold because the chiefs had made the deal in secret. He added that land-management officials would hold a meeting to discuss the complaint today.

Uon Kimheang dismissed the accusation, saying the disputed area had once belonged to the community, but that local authorities had declared it private property in 1992.

Mao Kong said he had passed the case on to Cheung Prey district officials and the district land management authorities. He declined to comment on the details of the case.

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