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Vathana Sabung to refile land dispute report to PM on behalf of villagers

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Supreme Consultation Forum member Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung said 225 families had filed a complaint with him regarding the 12ha disputed land, prompting him to refile his report. SOK SOVANN VATHANA SABUNG VIA FACEBOOK

Vathana Sabung to refile land dispute report to PM on behalf of villagers

Supreme Consultation Forum member Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung will file a second report to Prime Minister Hun Sen in a bid to resolve a land dispute concerning 225 families in Roka Khpos commune, Sa’ang district, Kandal province.

Vathana Sabung, who is also Khmer Rise Party president, said he was acting on behalf of the alleged victims after they claimed to have bought property from Gem-Camb Investment Co Ltd only to have a high-ranking Lok Chumteav (an honorary title often conferred upon senior women officials) claim it as her own.

“The people are demanding justice [regarding] the land, which they bought from the company with approval from the authorities, but the land is controlled by a Lok Chumteav,” he said.

Vathana Sabung said 225 families had filed a complaint with him regarding the 12ha disputed land, prompting him to investigate the matter before sending the first report to Hun Sen.

“They only possess the documents which were signed by the authorities, but the authorities are not responsible for it [the land sale],” Vathana Sabung told The Post on Tuesday.

He said he was waiting for a response from the prime minister regarding the previous report he filed.

Nheab Duong Chay, one of the alleged victims, said she bought part of the disputed land in 2008 from Gem-Camb but a fence was erected around her plot in 2016, preventing her from accessing it.

She told The Post that she and the other victims had appealed to authorities of all levels for help but to no avail.

“I believe that [Hun Sen] will not ignore this case when it reaches him because he doesn’t allow anyone to grab other people’s land like this. It’s our land and I will [maintain that it is mine] forever, so that [Hun Sen] acknowledges that we are the rightful owners of the land,” Duong Chay said.

Roka Khpos commune chief Chhoeung Chhou said the families and the company had privately reached an agreement over the sale of the land and only then did they ask the authorities to sign a document acknowledging the deal.

“It does not involve me. Earlier the company owned the land,” he said.

Neither the Lok Chumteav nor representatives of Gem-Camb could be reached for comment.

Provincial Governor Mao Phearun identified Bun Chan Krishna as the owner of Gem-Camb in an interview with The Post. He said Chan Krishna had bought the disputed land from another person but failed to pay the seller, prompting the original owner to seize the land back.

“The people demanded a resolution but we could not provide them with one because it is beyond our jurisdiction since it concerns fraud,” he said, adding that officials were waiting for the court to resolve the matter.

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