Three working groups assigned by the Kampot Provincial Administration are currently inspecting and identifying land in Koh Touch and Boeung Touk communes of Teuk Chhou district after more than 160 families complained about a public notice of judgment regarding title to the land.

The 160 families claimed they have legal rights of possession for some of the land located there.

According to an announcement on March 2, provincial governor Cheav Tay has assigned the working groups to inspect and identify whether the land there belongs to the complainants, and if so which portions belong to which families.

“If those persons who filed the complaint fail to follow up on this matter and don’t respect the fact that this needs to be resolved in a timely manner we won’t be responsible for any losses of benefits or any resulting declarations refusing to recognise that the land belongs to them,” the announcement read.

Leng Vibol, head of the first working group in charge of land inspection in Prek Chek and Kilometre 12 villages of Koh Touch commune, said 91 families have complained about the public notice of titling judgement.

Vibol said the team is working with the villagers there to sort it out and find a solution.

“As of March 3, the inspection date, these people don’t have any plantations there. The working group will continue to follow standard procedures and try to assist these people, but at the moment I’m not really sure how,” he said.

Ouk Chandina, head of the second working group assigned to inspect land in Rolous and Kep Thmey villages of Boeung Touk commune, said 24 families there have filed complaints. Among them, 10 families are in Rolous village and 14 in Kep Thmey village.

Chandina said that during the first day of verification, about 10 families had shown up and the team has determined that none of them were involved with the public notice.

“What we found so far in today’s inspection was that these people’s land was nearby but not related to the environmental [protected] land at all,” he said.

Im Bonna, head of the third working group assigned to inspect land in Toteung Thngay village of Boeung Touk commune said 50 families in the village had complained, but most of the complainants were not involved with the land included in the public notice.

“They actually live outside that area, but they were worried about it anyways so they filed complaints. Believe me, we checked – it’s got nothing to do with any of them. So we tried to explain . . . to them and told them to go home,” he said.

Seng An, a resident of Rolous village, said he filed a complaint against the public notice because he has a cashew plantation in that area.

“I have only 2ha of land over there, but I have benefited from it for many years, since 1992,” he claimed.

Yun Phally, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said he had not received any information on this and would look into it.