The governor of Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district on Thursday delayed the measurement and registration of an 18ha plot of land in Trapaing Krasang commune after a protest by more than 50 families who also laid claim to the land.
District governor Hem Darith told The Post on Thursday that the measurement and registration was made on the request of Seng Siheng, who he said had proper documentation including a court verdict to prove his ownership. Darith said the district authority would now refer the case to the municipal hall.
“We just followed procedures and also issued an announcement before [the proposed measurement]. But if the people continue to protest, we will forward the case to the Phnom Penh municipal hall for a decision,” he said.
Trapaing Krasang commune chief Hort Rotha declined to elaborate, saying only that the case is complicated due to overlapping titles. He said the land had been sold to one person after another over the years, leading to a long-running dispute.
According to local media reports, the 56 families in the commune’s Prey Daun Ok village had protested and submitted a series of petitions to relevant institutions for a solution since 2011.
The villagers claimed to have lived on the land since 1979. In 1987, the 56 families and authorities agreed to loan part of the land to the Hokkien Chinese Association for “occasional” traditional Chinese ritual purposes.
In 2011, the association dismantled graves on the compound and returned the land to the villagers. But Siheng then laid claim to the land, saying he represented the association though his name was not included in the loan agreement. The families then filed a complaint to court.
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said on Thursday that he had not received a report from the district authority.
“We will look into it once we receive the report. Then we will decide what measures to take and make it public,” he said.