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

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • EDC tackles power shortfall

    Electrcite Du Cambodge (EDC) on Monday issued a statement updating the public on its efforts to tackle insufficient electricity supplies during the ongoing dry season. Reductions in electricity prices have resulted in a steady increase in consumers in the Kingdom, while local and international investors

  • African swine fever spreads to VN-Cambodia border

    African swine fever has spread to parts of Vietnam that border Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri and Kratie provinces, a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official said on Friday. Tan Phannara, the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production director-general, told a Phnom Penh workshop that