Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers in a drawn-out land fight summonsed

Villagers in a drawn-out land fight summonsed

Villagers in a drawn-out land fight summonsed

Five Tumpuon villagers have again been summonsed for questioning by the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court in a lengthy dispute after private firm Ly Sokim Co Ltd accused villagers of destroying its property.

In the latest summons, dated July 30, villagers are warned that failing to show up will result in an arrest warrant. One man has been summonsed to appear on Friday while four others are requested to appear next week.

“The defendants are being monitored by the court for intentionally inciting violence,” the summons states.

One of the five villagers, Klas Tiv, 56, has already been questioned by the court several times and will appear to answer more questions on Friday.

“We feel anxious and worried because the [land] dispute is still unsolved and authorities have already questioned us several times,” Tiv said.

The dispute stems from the company’s purchase of 22 hectares of land from eight villagers, who owned and cleared the area, prosecutor Ros Saram said in early June.

But more than 30 other families also claim legal rights over the contested area.

Villagers maintain that after clearing the land, compensation was never offered and forced eviction is guaranteed once the company begins development.

“We cleared the land so we could live here and have been cultivating it for years,” Tiv said.

In March, villagers waged a protest and allegedly kicked company reps off the land after they showed up with building materials

The court plans on questioning over 20 people while investigating “incitement of violence” charges, according to the court summons signed by Judge Loch Loa, which makes no mention of any inquiry into the villagers’ claims of ownership.

Villagers say they sought government intervention, even raising $1,500 in February for a man claiming to be an adviser to the National Assembly who ended up defrauding them.

This was just the latest example of provincial courts utilising legal summons as a form of intimidation, said Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc.

“The court is acting illegally and has no jurisdiction over land disputes,” Thy added.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does