Thirty-four families in Kampong Cham province’s Prek Kak commune embroiled in a long-standing land dispute with three local businessmen are seeking Prime Minister Hun Sen’s intervention to get back 80 hectares of a rubber farm they say they have lived on and worked since 1957.
Representative Sos Roni, 72, said he would submit a thumbpinted letter to Hun Sen’s cabinet after the Water Festival, seeking a return of land the families claim was illegally grabbed in 2002.
“They destroyed all the rubber trees and our crops,” Roni said.
A 2002 court complaint was rejected on the grounds the families had insufficient documentation of their occupation of the land, Hul Sophal, director of local NGO Vigilance, said.
“Hun Sen said that when citizens control and work land for between 10 and 15 years after 1979, the land becomes theirs,” he said.
Prek Kak commune chief Eath Kimleang said that after the plantations were sold to private companies, the government compensated the villagers.
Villagers deny this.
To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at [email protected]