THE 21 families whose houses were demolished in an eviction in Preah Sihanouk last Tuesday have said that they plan to come to Phnom Penh this week to seek the prime minister’s help in getting their land back.
One of the Prey Nop district residents, Khoun Sitha, said that since the group’s homes were abruptly torn down by heavy machinery and armed officials last week, they have been living without shelter.
“This week, we will go to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to ask him to help us,” he added.
Last April, the provincial court upheld an order for families to vacate their houses and surrender the land to tycoon Cheam Phen, who owns Leo Beer in Cambodia.
Villagers appealed the decision and the case is now pending at the Appeal Court. Their lawyer, Ing Sothy, has told the Post that authorities did not have the right to act on the provincial court’s verdict while the case was still pending.
On Friday, the villagers rejected an offer of compensation from Phen – he offered each family monetary compensation, a 20-by-30-meter plot of land and a house.
But villagers say this is far short of what they were originally living on. “We want him to pay us compensation, return us the 30 hectares for our village and our 352 hectares of farmland,” said Sitha.