Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Families request delay in national park dispute

Families request delay in national park dispute

Families request delay in national park dispute

ROUGHLY 60 families involved in a land dispute with a company in Preah Sihanouk province’s Ream National Park asked the provincial court to postpone their hearing so they could find legal representation.

Village representative Prum Vinh, 53, said villagers in the province’s Prey Nob district were issued a court summons in relation to a land dispute with the local Oeung Sisruon Company, which is developing infrastructure for drinking water in the commune.

“They issued a court summons to us on August 11, ordering us to appear at the court to clarify why the company has accused us of living on private property,” he said. “They requested us to appear on August 24, but that is too soon for us to find a lawyer.”

He said the 60 families had lived on the disputed 1.7-hectare plot of land since 2004, but had not been aware the land belonged to anyone.

“The villagers have lived here with no land titles,” he said. “But this land does not belong to anybody, because we lived here when the land was covered in forest.”

He said the company first filed a complaint against the villagers in 2006. “At first I didn’t know the land was Ream National Park, but if anyone wants to come take our land [that person] must provide fair compensation.”

However, Ream commune chief Lin Sarin said villagers living there had been doing so illegally. “The government granted an economic land concession to Oeung Sisruon in 2007, to develop clean water on the land,” he said.

Cheap Sotheary, Preah Sihanouk provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said both parties were abusing a national park that had been certified since 1993.

“The court can process this case as long as the plaintiff owns the land title,” he said.

“We hope the judiciary in this case will use suitable procedures.”

However, deputy provincial court prosecutor Kem Eang said he had not yet heard about the case involving the villagers. “We have a lot of prosecutors and I don’t know who will cover this case,” he said.

Representatives of the Oeung Sisruon Company could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Deputy district governor Buon Huor also declined to comment, saying he did not know about the case.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • China-Cambodia tourism forum held

    The Cambodian tourism sector must be prepared to welcome a growing number of Chinese tourists, as they lead the globe in the number of outbound travellers and were responsible for the most visitors to the Kingdom last year, the country’s tourism minister said on