Villagers in Koh Kong province were sent back to the drawing board yesterday, when the Court of Appeal upheld the provincial court’s decision that about 62 hectares of land belongs to Heng Huy Co.
The land in Sre Ambel district’s Chi Khor Krom commune has been the subject of controversy between Heng Huy and 15 families, who say their land was taken in 2010, villager representatives said in court yesterday.
“The complaint is wrong,” Appeal Court judge Plang Samnang said, explaining that villagers had no proof the land ever belonged to them. “They can file again, after they ask the [provincial] court to confirm it is their land, and confirmations are certified by the authorities.”
Community representative Keu Pov yesterday expressed disappointment, but said villagers would continue their legal battle to regain their land. “The court [favours] the company,” Pov said after the ruling.
“We unprivileged land owners cannot get justice, but we will discuss the matter, borrow money and file a new case soon.”
Heng Huy, the company’s owner, could not be reached yesterday.