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Villagers seek premier’s aid

Nearly 300 families from three communes in Kampong Speu province’s Thpong district have filed an appeal to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking for help in blocking the confiscation of land they have sold but are still waiting to be paid for.

Villagers from the Omlaing, Ya Ang and Prambei Mom communes sold 423 hectares of land to the Phnom Penh Sugar Company in December 2011, but have yet to be paid.

The 273 families used certificates signed by the commune chiefs and district governor as proof of ownership, said Kong Sitha, Omlaing deputy commune chief.

But early this month, provincial governor Kang Heang threatened to confiscate the land sold and turn it into a social land concession, Kong Sitha said.

Men Chanthy, one of the villagers who sold his land, said company representatives had told villagers they would not be compensated if the provincial governor confiscated the land.

The petition, issued by villagers early last week, includes the signatures of the district and commune authorities, and appeals to the prime minister to prevent the confiscation by providing land titles irrevocably proving that the villagers owned the land.

Chheang Kimsoun, a Phnom Penh Sugar Company representative, confirmed that the company would not pay the villagers if the land was confiscated.

Provincial governor Kang Heang and deputy governor Pen Sambou could not be reached for comment.

Lim Leang Se, deputy chief of the Prime Minister’s cabinet, said yesterday that he had not received the complaint and would check with his officers.

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