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Long-running land dispute in Siem Reap settled out-of-court

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The parties to the dispute sign off on a settlement in Banteay Srei district of Siem Reap province. Khim Finan via Facebook

Long-running land dispute in Siem Reap settled out-of-court

A longstanding land dispute between Borey Angkor Landmark and a businesswoman known as Ly Um Eng in Siem Reap province’s Banteay Srei district that has been ongoing since 2019 was recently settled, according to district governor Khim Finan.

Finan said he hoped to see the other long-running disputes in the district to be resolved through similar methods.

“Finally, a big dispute in the district between Borey Angkor Landmark and Ly Um Eng that went on for years has ended with a hand shake and the sale of the land in a resolution acceptable to both parties,” Finan said in a Facebook post on December 28.

Finan commended the parties for softening their attitudes and withdrawing all complaints from court and opting for a win-win solution instead.

“As the head of the district’s administration, I do hope that this case will become a measuring stick for solving all other cases by applying a similar formula and I call for other parties involved in land disputes to soften their stances and to negotiate to find solutions and avoid wasting time travelling down dead-end roads,” he said.

“Ending disputes using such methods can enable people to get more value from their land and open the way for investment from the private sector for economic benefits,” he added.

Borey Angkor Landmark and Um Eng became locked in the land dispute back in 2019. Both parties filed counter lawsuits at the provincial court, with Um Eng claiming that the company used a cheque that bounced to buy hundreds of hectares of land in the district from her.

The firm then countersued, accusing her of not following their contract which stated that any land sold to the company must be legally owned and not part of any dispute or under the Apsara National Authority or have environmental conservation status.

Um Eng and the company’s representative, Tous Saphoeun, gave thumbprints on a mediation letter dated December 17, agreeing to end their dispute.

Neither Saphoeun nor his lawyers could be reached for comment on December 29.

Hun Pesith, a lawyer for Um Eng, confirmed on December 29 that the dispute over the 205ha of land in Khnar Sandai commune was resolved through negotiated settlement. He said the two parties accepted the solution without being forced to and he hoped that other disputes involving his clients would be solved in a similar way in the future.

“For this case, they ended by coming to an agreement with each other so that the company can continue to develop the land and my client was paid money for the land that she can invest into her other businesses,” Pesith said.

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