A land dispute case involving 20ha has been referred to the governor of Kampong Speu after the alleged victims – 156 families who lost their land – petitioned the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction to get involved.
On Wednesday, Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara sent a letter to Kampong Speu governor Vei Samnang asking him to take responsibility for the case.
In the letter, the ministry said that Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation director Chea Hean, who represents complainants Him Horn and Nhek Yuth, asked the ministry to confiscate 20ha from the alleged perpetrators – Chak Sovanara, Thou Khim, Soy Men, Veng Vang, Mok Horn, Men Min and Saing Soeun.
The disputed land is located in Samrong Tong district’s Ramlaing Chak commune.
“The ministry sent the case to Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang so that he can find a solution to the dispute,” the letter, obtained by The Post on Monday, said.
Hean said on Monday the perpetrators are villagers who grabbed the land many years ago when it was sold to other villagers by the village chief. Fearing the perpetrators were backed by powerful individuals, the victims did not dare to claim back the land.
He asked the authorities to solve the issue before the perpetrators have a chance to sell the land, which would further complicate matters.
“The problem started in 2007 when the land was stolen. If the authorities do not solve the issue, the dispute will continue,” Hean said.
Samnang, the provincial governor, claimed on Monday that the authorities have been working on the issue for years, but that due to its complexity, no solutions have been found yet.
“The authorities are exploring new ways of solving this dispute. We are not ignoring the situation. We will be able to solve some of the issues but not all because it is a very complicated case,” he said.
He added that some people grab land simply because even if they are forced to surrender it, they will at least receive some compensation. “We will aim for a compromise that satisfies both parties,” Samnang said.