The Koh Kong Provincial Court yesterday postponed the first hearing in a long-running land dispute between dozens of villagers from Chikor Leu commune and sugar companies believed to be partly owned by ruling-party senator Ly Yong Phat.
A representative of the villagers, Kong Song, said the companies’ lawyer was unable to attend, “so they asked the court officials to delay”.
The hearing was tentatively rescheduled for July 26.
The villagers have been pushing back against the companies since 2006, when security forces carried out a violent eviction that reportedly wounded two villagers as bulldozers razed properties.
In May, more than 200 villagers took to National Road 48, passing out leaflets outlining their cause and threatening to block the road if their situation was not addressed.
The hearing would be the first appearance since September, when the court questioned villagers about the complaint against Koh Kong Sugar Industry Co and Koh Kong Plantation Co, which were granted a 20,000-hectare concession.
Ly Yong Phat reportedly controls part of the companies.
Touch Chhay, a lawyer for the companies, could not confirm if he would appear on the rescheduled date.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthea[email protected]