Some 50 villagers representing more than 250 families who fell victim to a state land grab in 2012 brought their protest from Preah Vihear province to Phnom Penh yesterday. Phan Thoeun, a representative of the villagers, was joined by ruling CPP spokesman Suos Yara – a lawmaker for Preah Vihear – in delivering a petition to the Interior Ministry to help resolve the dispute.
‘These 253 families are in worse conditions than animals,’ Thoeun said. ‘After we were evicted, we have had no land to cultivate and no houses because the national conservation authorities and the Preah Vihear provincial authorities pointed their guns at us and forced us to thumbprint documents.’
Sum Sarith, an official from the prime minister’s cabinet who received the petition, and Preah Vihear Governor Un Chanda could not be reached for comment.