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Villagers waiting for payment

Residents of two villages in Kandal province say police are threatening to arrest them for filing a complaint about a company they accuse of failing to fully pay them for land allegedly bought from them almost 15 years ago.

Kuy Chanthorn, a resident of Kakab village in Ponhea Leu district’s Chhvang commune, said 134 people had thumb printed the complaint accusing Lay Heang Company of failing to pay them for 155 hectares of land it bought in 1997.

“I received only US$100 as a deposit after the company bought my land in 1997,” he said, adding that three villagers had been jailed over the land dispute and the provincial court had issued arrest warrants for another six people.

Chhuon Kan, a resident of Svay village in Chhvang commune, said that she had also received no payment besides an initial $100 deposit for the sale of two hectares of land.

Kuy Chanthorn said that when villagers complained to local authorities the authorities sided with the company and threatened to have them arrested if they tried to pursue their complaint.

Lay Heang Company could not be reached for comment yesterday. Chhvang commune and police officials declined to comment.

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