Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Koh Kong land dispute solved, ministry says




Koh Kong land dispute solved, ministry says

Representatives of 375 families from two communities in Koh Kong involved in two longstanding land disputes were offered a solution by the Ministry of Land Management on Thursday morning.
Representatives of 375 families from two communities in Koh Kong involved in two longstanding land disputes were offered a solution by the Ministry of Land Management on Thursday morning.

Koh Kong land dispute solved, ministry says

Updated: 1pm, Friday March 23, 2018

The Ministry of Land Management on Thursday said it has resolved two long-running land disputes between communities in Koh Kong’s Sre Ambel and Botum Sakor districts and two sugar companies owned by tycoon and ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat involving more than 800 hectares of land.

The announcement, made at the ministry in the presence of both Yong Phat and Minister Chea Sophara, declared that the two companies – Koh Kong Sugar Industry Co Ltd and Koh Kong Plantation Co Ltd – agreed to cut out 825 hectares of land from their economic land concessions and hand it to villagers, some of whom also received additional monetary compensation.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Sophara declared that by accepting the solution, villagers had to sign away their right to protest over their land in the future.

“I do not want to see another 100 families come and protest again on the solved case after I have offered the solution for the 175 families. Therefore,

as I do not want such a situation, I ask for the victims of the land dispute to sign the contract to end the protests from now on,” he said.

One such contract seen by The Post read: “I promise with my thumbprint not to protest anymore after I got my land from the ministry officially and I will withdraw any complaint letter from [relevant institutions].”

The dispute involving a community of 200 families in Botum Sakor’s Kandorl commune began in 2003, and the one involving 175 families in Sre Ambel’s Chi Khor Leu commune began in 2005.

Prum Khum, a representative of the community in Kandorl, said he and his fellow villagers were happy with the solution, which provided each family with 1.5 hectares.

“We now have a chance to work and have a new living standard,” he said. “Now we have a right to build a home on our land.”

Since the land granted to villagers is different from where they had previously inhabited, Khum said he would like to see the government invest in building infrastructure and public services such as a road, school, health centre and pagoda in the new location.

Meanwhile, the families in Chi Khor Leu received 3 hectares and $2,500 each. Community representative Phav Nheung also welcomed the ministry’s decision and echoed Khum’s demands for infrastructure for her community as their new land was also not at the location of the old village.

“The government offered the land to the people in the remote area, which is far from their former village, and there is also no public service,” she said.

Vong Kosal, coordinator of the NGO Forum, welcomed the solution but noted that land disputes are seldom solved without an order from high levels of government, such as from Sophara himself.

Indeed, Koh Kong Provincial Governor Mithona Phouthorng said it was thanks to high-level ministry officials and the involvement of the EU that the case was resolved “smoothly” after more than a decade of waiting.

Senator Yong Phat, a Koh Kong native, maintained he had been unaware of the years-long disputes.

“In fact, I am not involved with the sugar companies [dispute], but previously, I brought [the companies] here [because I] saw that in my homeland, no one invests. So I tried to persuade them to come and then, they came . . . I have done my best to help them,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15