Residents of Lor Peang village in Kampong Chhnang province finally got a chance yesterday to begin telling judges their side of a long-running land dispute with a company owned by the wife of a minister.
Dem Chan, 32, told the court he owned 1.5 hectares, had lived and farmed on it for 13 years, and submitted a letter from local authorities confirming his statements.
“I really never did sell to the company, and I did not receive any money from it, not even one riel,” he said. “I know I own my land in my heart.”
Three more village residents will testify next week, after five did yesterday, in a civil suit against KDC International, which they claim grabbed 145 hectares of land from residents of the village in the province’s Kampong Tralach district.
The company is owned by Chea Kheng, wife of the minister of mines and energy.
Villagers and rights groups have accused the courts of being biased.