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Thailand explains land deal

Thailand explains land deal

THE Ambassador for Thailand has released details of the land transaction for the

site of Thailand's new embassy in Phnom Penh.

The Embassy became embroiled in a dispute with a neighboring village when it closed

an access road for the village which the embassy said ran across its land.

The villagers protested against the closure on Friday, June 2, and a bloody battle

erupted between them, police, and hired thugs who appeared to be acting on behalf

of the authorities.

George Cooper from Legal Aid Cambodia, who has been working with villagers, said

the Embassy had no right to own land in Cambodia because the constitution banned

the sale of land to foreign entities.

He said Legal Aid Cambodia would be pursuing the matter through the courts.

However Ambassador Asiphol Chabchigrchaidol rejected the claims that the embassy

had no right to land, saying the current site was obtained in 1992 through two separate

arrangements.

He said the first part of the embassy compound was bought from 64 families living

there for $450,000. He said the land title number was 194. The second half of the

compound was Government land that was gifted to them by the Cambodian Government

as part of a reciprocal deal in which the Thai Government gave land to Cambodians

for their embassy. He said such reciprocal arrangements were standard practice for

diplomatic missions and were entirely proper.

The Ambassador said the land was properly surveyed in 1993 in accordance with the

law and a temporary land permit was issued to the Embassy.

Then in 1996 the Council of Ministers gave permission for the Embassy to begin building

on the site.

He said they kept the road open even though they were not obliged to but once they

moved the chancellery in, they wanted to close the road for security and to enable

construction within the embassy to be completed.

He said that given the solid legal footing they had, the matter was one to be resolved

by the Cambodian authorities.

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