Kandal provincial authorities on Sunday attempted to measure wetland in Sa’ang district’s Roka Kpuos commune but were stopped by about 100 villagers who said the measurement overlapped with their flooded land.
District governor Nhem Vandin said authorities had begun measuring the wetland in Roka Kpuos commune but had to postpone it until the flood water receded. Villagers in the area expressed concerns that the authorities might encroach onto their land.
Vandin said the villagers had been locked in a dispute with a private company over the 100- hectare plot.
He said authorities were inspecting the land to identify the owners. The land, he said, is situated near a reserve lake owned by the state.
“We cannot do anything as yet because the water is deep. It’s hard to measure so we will wait for the water to dry first. We were attempting to measure it because there were complaints and requests for inspection [from the company],” he said.
Roka Kpuos commune chief Chhoeung Chhuo said authorities did not measure the villagers’ land. “I just follow the order from the higher-ups. I don’t know about any other things,” he said.
An August 16 letter from Vandin ordered deputy district governor Mao Dara to oversee the measurement of the land in dispute with a company owned by tycoon Kun Sea.
Sun Hak, one of the protesters, said in some areas the water was two metres deep.
The land has not been demarcated, making measurement difficult. While authorities were using a global positioning system to measure the land, villagers threatened violence, causing them to retreat.
“Villagers stopped the authorities from measuring the land because they feared encroachment,” he said.