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.


  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Temporarily laid-off workers to get just $70

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced changes in the allowances for temporarily laid-off garment workers from receiving 60 per cent of the minimum wage to a flat $70 because factories cannot pay, he said. Workers will also not be required to attend training courses after more than 100 factories

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to

  • PM: Law likely next week

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to be approved after the Khmer New Year, though he said there is a slim chance of enforcement given the current