Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Authorities to measure disputed land

Authorities to measure disputed land

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A total of 106 families from Sihanoukville’s Mittapheap district on Monday requested that provincial authorities allocate them land. Supplied

Authorities to measure disputed land

Authorities will on Monday inspect and measure the Sihanoukville land at the centre of a long-running dispute between more than 100 families and local leaders, Preah Sihanouk provincial environmental department director Samut Sothearith told The Post on Sunday.

The families claim the land, at Group 18 in Commune 1’s Village 1, was donated to them, despite a 1997 royal decree determining that it belongs to the protected Kbal Chhay freshwater basin.

The families’ representative, Lim Veasna, told The Post on Sunday that they submitted a petition to the governor in November but a solution has yet to be provided.

“The villagers have lived on the land since 2014. The area we live in was a part of the protected Kbal Chhay freshwater area, according to a government decree. The land was donated to us. However, the authorities only [gave land to some families as compensation]. Our group of more than 100 families did not receive any land to build houses on."

“Group 18 chief Chan Vibol destroyed our homes and our crops, and he does not allow us to live on the land without an official letter from provincial authorities."

“He said it belongs to the government and they are merely following orders,” Veasna said.

“Vibol has threatened and intimidated us, and prohibited us from accessing the area to build houses, but his team has invited buyers to come and purchase our land,” the petition says.

It claims that Vibol and real estate brokers have been working to sell plots of land since the decree was issued on November 20, 1997.

‘Ascertain boundaries’

The government issued a sub-decree, the petition claims, offering part of the land in the protected area to people who had been living there.

However, Vibol claims provincial authorities asked him to protect and defend the area, it adds.

“Therefore, to find a peaceful solution, people from the more than 100 families, who live on about 5ha of land, have asked for the provincial governor’s intervention to help in resolving this issue,” Veasna said.

Sothearith told The Post: “[On Monday] at around 8am, provincial authorities will inspect the site, measure the land and review the old boundary in accordance with Sub-decree 116. We will review the boundary based the sub-decree and the land claimed by the villagers."

“However, we did not give the land to the people. I will manage the land in line with the sub-decree. I need to ascertain boundaries, like house boundaries, to determine which land belongs to the government and which belongs to the people.”

You Veasna, who represents communities locked in land disputes in Preah Sihanouk province, told The Post that the villagers have lived in the area for about five years – longer in some cases.

He said some had purchased their land from Vibol.

“I ask the provincial authorities to help find a solution for the people because some of them have lived in the area since 2014. They are all poor. They have no houses. Some have rented houses from other people,” he said.

Provincial hall spokesperson Or Saroeun declined to comment as he was not familiar with the situation, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the