Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers in Kampong Chhnang win land back

Villagers in Kampong Chhnang win land back

Villagers in Kampong Chhnang win land back

Prime Minister Hun Sen has reclassified 4,158 hectares of a massive land concession owned by the wife of Senator Lao Meng Khin from his own party for displaced families in Kampong Chhnang province.

A jubilant representative of the 4,506 families who have long battled against the 315,028 hectare concession granted to Cheung Sopheap’s Pheapimex Group and now stand to benefit thanked the prime minister.

“Now we are very happy after Prime Minister Hun Sen’s voluntary youths re-measured the land for us, but we are still concerned about what will happen in the future,” said Chea Sophon, a representative of villagers in Tek Phos district.

He thanked the premier for taking their difficulties into account and said the victory had come because villagers had exerted themselves through every channel.

In a document from the Royal Book signed by the premier on October 26, 547 plots were granted to 184 families for actual cultivation while 484 hectares was demarcated as a community forest.

In total, 8,200 families have been affected since the 2000 granting of the giant Pheapimex concession to develop plantations across parts of Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provinces.

Chan Soveth, a senior investigating officer for the rights group Adhoc, heaped rare praise on the goodwill of the government for seeking to find a solution to Cambodia’s endemic land disputes.

“It is a good activity, but on behalf of civil society, I still insist the government spread its policy and mission across the entire country because the land dispute between the villagers and the companies granted ELCs has been pervasive nationwide,” he said. 

Soveth said ELCs should only be approved with consideration of the impacts they will have of social stability.

In May, Hun Sen placed a moratorium on the granting of new economic land concessions and in June announced a nationwide land titling scheme in which thousands of students were dispatched as surveyors.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Government denies claims former Thai PM Yingluck issued Cambodian passport

    Government officials on Thursday denied claims that a Cambodian passport was issued to former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who reportedly used it to register a company in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based English language South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday reported Hong Kong

  • US’ Cambodian ambassador appointment blocked

    The US Senate returned the nomination of Patrick Murphy as Ambassador to Cambodia back to US President Donald Trump on Thursday, as the American government shutdown entered its third week. The US Senate website announcement said it returned Murphy’s nomination as ambassador as his

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million