Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Soldier suing Oddar Meanchey villagers over land dispute

Soldier suing Oddar Meanchey villagers over land dispute

Community members involved in a land dispute display documents summonsing them to court in Oddar Meanchey province last week. Photo supplied
Community members involved in a land dispute display documents summonsing them to court in Oddar Meanchey province last week. Photo supplied

Soldier suing Oddar Meanchey villagers over land dispute

A military lieutenant is suing 13 families in Oddar Meanchey for allegedly farming his land, which lies within a protected community forest in Anlong Veng district, local authorities confirmed yesterday.

Four representatives from the 13 families appeared in court for questioning last Tuesday after lieutenant and district financial officer Van Limeng filed the complaint.

“The villagers were sued for affecting land [on] private property,” said provincial prosecutor Koy Kanya yesterday.

The O’Sophy Kiri Prey Srong community forest was established in 2004 to protect over 6,000 hectares of land, according to a report by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.

Srey Naren, provincial coordinator for human rights group Adhoc, said Limeng was granted 75 hectares of the community forest land by local authorities in 2012, and the current dispute has arisen because local villagers are farming on it.

“Why did the . . . authority grant a land title for him if it is a community forest? The court must investigate it clearly,” Naren said, adding Adhoc would also investigate the issue.

Oeun Nak, the community forest chief, said villagers are entitled to 5 hectares of land per family, but never formally requested this land and have farmed beyond that limit.

“The Ministry of Agriculture never [apportioned] the community forest land for anyone,” Nak said.

However, Lomtong Commune Chief Chorn Rak claimed some land was granted to villagers in 2012, but declined to comment further.

Limeng and local villagers could not be reached yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the