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Kampot families seek time to fight eviction

Kampot families seek time to fight eviction

A LAWYER for 25 families who stand to lose their land as a result of a recent Kampot provincial court ruling has asked that their eviction be delayed until the Appeal Court considers the case, though 10 police officers were deployed to the disputed site yesterday.

The provincial court ruled on June 28 that the 25 families in Teuk Chhou district should be evicted from 58 hectares of land that have been claimed
by Hiev Lun, a businesswoman who says she purchased the land from commune officials in 2005.

According to the ruling, the villagers were to be evicted yesterday.

Pol Lim, a secretary of state at the Interior Ministry, issued a directive the same day as the verdict asking that provincial officials reinvestigate the case. But Chea Hean, a lawyer for the families, said yesterday that the directive had been “ineffective”. He also said an appeal was filed yesterday.

“The provincial court should delay the implementation because the case is still pending at the Appeal Court,” he said.

Sieng Sok, a deputy provincial prosecutor, said 10 police officers along with village and commune authorities visited the site yesterday to enforce the verdict, but that no action had been taken as of yesterday evening.

Long Nhor, the chief of Trapaing Pring commune, where the land is located, said authorities had been trying to evict the villagers – many of them former Khmer Rouge who defected in 1996 – from the land for years.

“I went along with the authorities to apply the verdict, but we didn’t do anything to the land,” he said. “But I do not know if their farmland will be cleared so we can give the land to the plaintiff.”

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