Four representatives of 26 families of former Khmer Rouge soldiers living in Kep province who are currently on the run from encroachment charges briefly resurfaced yesterday to call on Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene in their case.
According to village representative Khut Khean, 44, the families are now asking Hun Sen to resolve the issue nearly 20 years after he first granted the land – 1,000 hectares in Kampot province – to 310 families of Khmer Rouge soldiers in 1994 in exchange for reintegrating with the government.
“In 2005, a group of soldiers came and forced us to leave the 58 hectares,” said Khean. “They . . . cleared and demolished seven houses and all the crops.”
Villagers filed complaints with NGOs and authorities, he added, but a provincial deputy prosecutor accused them of occupying someone else’s property.
After two years of cooperating with authorities, the soldiers sold the land to Hiev Lon, who in turn, renewed the charges, for which Kampot Provincial Court officials issued arrest warrants.
Sok Sarad, administration director for Provincial Hall, declined to comment on the matter, and Sao Sambou, former Teuk Chhou district governor, said he cannot recall the dispute.
“We are calling for Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife to intervene, or we will starve to death,” Khut Khean said, brandishing his member card for the Cambodian People’s Party.