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Running land disputes set off protests in Phnom Penh

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People from Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district gathered to protest at the Ministry of Land Management yesterday. Pha Lina

Running land disputes set off protests in Phnom Penh

Some 50 people from Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district gathered to protest at the Ministry of Land Management on Monday over a dispute with the Overseas Cambodia Investment Company (OCIC).

Chea Sophat, 63, who led the group representing some 100 families, said they were protesting because, since 2011, OCIC had cleared their land for its developments after receiving a concession from the government.

Sophat asked the Land Ministry to intervene and make OCIC return their land.

“Our last position is a demand for only 50 percent of our land that’s in conflict with OCIC, and the remaining 50 percent of the land we will give to the company and the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall because today, we are in trouble over this issue,” he said.

He said the group had sought solutions from relevant institutions and companies, but they said the responsibility lay with Phnom Penh Municipal Hall, which has so far only granted each family 10 percent of the land they are claiming.

An OCIC representative, who declined to be named, also said the compensation was the responsibility of Phnom Penh Municipal Hall, because they were the ones who granted them the land concession for their developments.

Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesperson Met Measpheakdey declined comment on the case.

Separately, some 20 people, representing 53 families from Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Tralach district, protested outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cabinet over a similar dispute.

Led by Oum Sophy, they submitted a letter of complaint to the Cabinet over their dispute with KDC International Company, which is owned by Chea Kheng, the wife of the Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem.

“We are not asking for huge compensation like we did before. Now, we just want the company and government to give us back some of the 121 hectares of our land. I call on the government and relevant authorities to provide a solution for us,” Sophy said.

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