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

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided