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Evictees seek more help

Evictees seek more help

A lawer representing 42 families evicted from their homes last month, following a 2007 court order awarding the land to then Funcinpec minister Khun Haing, said yesterday he will file a complaint to the National Assembly and the Senate urging them to intervene.

Lawyer Keo Savin said he would file a complaint tomorrow calling for the return of the land in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district to the 42 families and compensation for their homes, which were destroyed when about 200 military police evicted them on March 31 this year.  

“I think that these 42 families are victims of these demolition activities [that take place] in Cambodia and the local activities are very bad and inhumane for them,” he said, adding that the total value of land lost was about US$5 million.  

As part of a sustained legal effort since April 12 to lobby politicians to intervene, Keo Savin said he had already submitted similar appeals to King Norodom Sihamoni, Prime Minister Hun Sen via the Council of Ministers, the Supreme Court and the Anti-Corruption Unit.

“I would like to ask the eight top national institutions, and especially Prime Minister Hun Sen, the King, National Assembly and Senate, to find justice for us,” he said.

Evictee Ngeth Botra, who is a representative of the families, said he had bought his land from a businessman in 2004 and constructed a $1 million villa with the permission of commune and Phnom Penh district officials.

“We have now become homeless in Phnom Penh and our homes and properties were demolished by the authorities,” he said.

The 6,000 square metres of land, in Tuol Sangke commune’s Tuol Kork village had been the subject of a see-sawing legal battle between the wife of former Preah Vihear provincial governor Meas Savoeun and Khun Haing, now a member of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Evictees say they bought the land from Meas Savoeun in 2004, but Khun Haing has previously argued the land was stolen from him and offered  $1 million to any villager who produced a legitimate land title.
In 2007 the Supreme Court awarded the land to former Minister of Religions and Cults Khun Haing.

He was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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