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Families appeal for land titles

Families appeal for land titles

About 100 families living near Prek Tub lake in Preah Sihanouk province’s Leak Bei commune sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, asking for land title recognition as a private company seeks an economic land concession to develop ecotourism projects in the area.

In the letter, obtained by The Post yesterday, the families appealed to Hun Sen to intervene in the dispute and for authorities to offer them land titles amid concern that the development would adversely affect them and force them to relocate.

Local development company Ang & Associates Lawyer Ltd, owned by Cambodian-Australian tycoon Kith Meng, is attempting to obtain a 99-year lease to develop ecotourism projects on 82 hectares of land around Prek Tub Lake.

According to a letter signed by Kith Meng on March 15 and sent to the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, the company suggested purchasing the concession to develop ecotourism by building a garden, hotel and resort.

Youk Samoen, a representative of the villagers, said that some residents had lived in the area since 1979 and villagers were currently pursuing land titles.

“We need land titles to defend our land by law,” said Youk Samoen. “The [authorities] came to measure our land and they released land plot numbers, but they have not yet given us land titles.”

So Sok, director of the provincial department of land management, urban planning and construction, said that the department could not issue land titles to the residents because the land was state-owned, but the department would work to give benefits to the residents.

Kith Meng declined to comment yesterday.

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