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District governor faces 4 lawsuits

Families affected by land disputes and corruption in Preah Vihear’s Chea Ksan district appeal to Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene
Families affected by land disputes and corruption in Preah Vihear’s Chea Ksan district appeal to Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene in Phnom Penh last year. PHAK SEANGLY

District governor faces 4 lawsuits

MORE than 30 families evicted from a former airport site in Preah Vihear province’s Chea Ksan district have filed four complaints with the provincial court since April against district Governor Sok Hay.

Lor Chan, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said a total of 31 families had filed four complaints to his office, requesting Hay be sued.

“Three lawsuits relate to corruption and another accuses him of destroying property and entering a home without permission,” Lor Chan said.

Tin Sovannara, 41, representative of 25 families, filed a complaint in May after the families were evicted from their homes at the former airport site.

“More than 90 families live in the area, but 18 families were given land, and more than 50 other families are allowed to continue living there,” he said. “Why evict only us?” The last complaint was filed to the court last week by Say Pheary, 28.

Obtained yesterday, the complaint accuses Hay of leading authorities to raid her home for luxury-grade timber.

“We ask for $1,000 compensation and for the offenders to be brought to justice,” the complaint says.

Hay, the district governor, rejected the allegations, saying he had not raided homes and was not corrupt.

“Villagers grabbed and lived on the airport land illegally. Authorities with the court took action against them,” he said.

Long Sitha, deputy chief of the provincial court, said he had received two of the complaints. One had been withdrawn and another given to the Anti-Corruption Unit for investigation.

Families travelled to Phnom Penh in April seeking the prime minister’s intervention.

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