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

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Capital set to beef up security

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng held the first meeting of the year with heads of armed forces in the capital to review and repair the deficiencies related to gun control, drug crimes, social order disruptions due to alcohol consumption and traffic law enforcement. Municipal