AUTHORITIES in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district have informed 35 families that they are living illegally on private land in Tuol Sangke commune’s Tuol Kork village and must relocate next Tuesday, residents said.
A notice addressed to residents in the village, dated May 12 and signed by Russey Keo district Governor Khlaing Huot, states that the 35 families are living on land owned by Lao Tong Ngy.
“The households you are living in have been grabbed, building has been anarchic, and you are living on private land. It is illegal possession and violation of another’s property,” states the notice, a copy of which was obtained by the Post.
Resident representative Khiev Chenda said that an eviction notice addressed to residents of Tuol Kork village had been posted outside her house, but that she and the other 35 families who had received the notice were residents of Kilometre 6 commune’s Boeung Chhouk village. “I don’t know who Lao Tong Ngy is,” she said. “I will not move.”
Sia Phearum, secretariat director of the Housing Rights Task Force, said the residents filed a complaint with him Monday. “Villagers had not seen or heard of Mr Lao Tong Ngy, until they received the notice,” he said, and added that the people had been on the land for more than five years, which means that they are legally entitled to live there.
Sok Khim, the Kilometre 6 commune chief, said Lao Tong Ngy was unknown to him, but that he bought land in 1990, and that the area would be developed for housing.
He acknowledged that there was some confusion over whether the disputed land was in fact Tuol Kork village or Boeung Chhouk village. “It is confusing to me, but Phnom Penh authorities recognise it as Lao Tong Ngy’s land” he said.
Lao Tong Ngy could not be reached Monday.