Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ampil community asks Svay Rieng court to drop land dispute case

Ampil community asks Svay Rieng court to drop land dispute case

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Some 100 protesters sit in front of the Svay Rieng Provincial Court on Tuesday. Photo supplied

Ampil community asks Svay Rieng court to drop land dispute case

Some 100 protestors stood outside the Svay Rieng Provincial Court on Tuesday as community representatives from Romeas Hek district’s Ampil commune in Svay Rieng province made their case to have charges for “involuntary damage and encroaching on to occupy state private land” dropped.

The charges stem from an eight-year land dispute involving 440 families on 670 ha of property and the NK Venture Company.

NK Ventures said the Ministry of Agriculture granted it a 1,200ha land concession to grow sugar in Ampil and Koki communes in 2010.

The firm said it had transferred land management rights to an unidentified company in the years since the concession was granted.

The unidentified company, NK Ventures said, had accused the community representatives of removing 100 demarcation poles, while the accused – Khieu Saron, Morn Sina, Thoeun Veng and Sam Voeun – claim to have removed only eight.

Veng did not appear in court, having moved to Thailand since the charges against him were brought.

Saron told The Post that nearly 20 police officers had torn down the village’s ceremonial hall to plant demarcation poles and fences during celebrations for the Feast of the Guardians on April 8, 2017.

The villagers protested and removed eight poles, Saron said, but the company filed a complaint accusing them of removing 100 of them.

“I would like the court to drop the charges against us and I also ask the head of the government for help in resolving the dispute for us by visiting to witness our hardship.

“Please do not believe the sub-level authorities too much, we demand to have our lost land back,” she said on Wednesday.

The villagers of Ampil claim that in 2010, NK Ventures Company had cleared some 670ha of cassava crops from the land they have lived on since 1982 without land titles.

Nouth Bopinnaroath, the provincial coordinator for human rights group Licadho, said he believed the charges would ultimately be dropped, but were designed to “to break the spirit of the protesters”.

“As a civil rights organisation, I request the court to drop the charges against the four representatives and do not [bring further] charges [against] them anymore.

“Upon the charges being dropped, leave the responsibility for the disputed land to the relevant departments of the Ministry of Agriculture or the government to find a solution,” he said.

Svay Rieng provincial court spokesman Tep Phalla declined to comment on the case, saying that he was busy on Wednesday.

Keo Samphors, a representative of NK Venture Company could not be reached for comment either.

Svay Rieng provincial court Trial Chamber president Sovann Chankrisna is due to announce the court’s verdict on October 9.


  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • PP residents urged to use public transport

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has urged Phnom Penh residents to use the capital’s existing public transport services rather than private vehicles, as it is leading to increased traffic congestion. He also called for the city’s public bus system to

  • Kingdom calls on Japan to increase number of direct flights to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh

    Cambodia is requesting Japan to increase the number of direct flights from Japanese cities and provinces to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, so as to contribute to increasing cooperation and tourist numbers between the two countries. During the opening ceremony of 3rd Japan Travel Fair