Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers demand $250 payout for land grab



Villagers demand $250 payout for land grab

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Villagers blocked National Road 2 in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district yesterday to demand $250 payout for land grab. Supplied

Villagers demand $250 payout for land grab

Some 1,000 villagers on Tuesday blocked National Road 2 in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district, each demanding compensation of $250 from the provincial authority for communal land they claim a former commune chief sold to a well-connected developer without their knowledge in 2008.

Sun Khemara, the protesters’ representative, told The Post on Tuesday that the 245ha of communal land involved more than 8,000 villagers from Ampov Prey and Boeung Khyang communes. While some villagers from Ampov Prey have accepted compensation of $100 each, those from Boeung Khyang have demanded $250.

He said former Boeung Khyang commune chief Kong Nov sold the land to Heng Development, owned by prominent tycoon Sieng Chan Heng, in 2008.

The protesters also requested the removal of security forces deployed at the commune hall to deter them from protesting and asked the provincial authority to forward the case to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“We are protesting because on December 20 the provincial authority tried to call our bluff, telling us to find another company that could offer each villager $250 for the 245ha communal land, compared to $100 offered by Heng Development."

“But when we managed to find one firm known as Borey Morodok, the authorities backtracked and insisted on the $100 offer. They asked the villagers to thumbprint an agreement so that a land title could be prepared for Heng Development,” he said.

Khemara said the villagers are still the rightful owners of the land and therefore can sell it to anyone as no land title has been issued to Heng Development.

Deputy provincial governor Kong Sophorn said the authority could not afford to pay more than $100 in compensation. He claimed on Tuesday that 3,000 of the 8,400 villagers have so far accepted the offer.

He added that the provincial authority is acting in accordance with the December 20 agreement with the villagers.

“Only a small number of people came to protest, claiming the company [Borey Morodok] offered them $250 each and promised to pay them on January 1. But until now, nothing has happened."

“The villagers should not have protested because there has been an agreement [between us] and if they decide to block a national road like that, it’s their business. As an authority, we’ll seek a peaceful solution,” he said.

Neither Heng Development nor Borey Morodok could be reached for comment on Tuesday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of