Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers register in land dispute

Villagers register in land dispute

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Members of Kampong Speu’s Oral district community talk to the media in 2016 after retracting their previous complaint about Phnom Penh Sugar’s land compensation payments. Heng Chivoan

Villagers register in land dispute

The Kampong Speu provincial authority said on Wednesday that its task force has completed registering thousands of families in Oral district who have been locked in a long-running land dispute with a sugar plantation owned by a well-connected tycoon.

Provincial governor Vy Samnang said the registration is meant to find out the origins of villagers in the area and comes a week after a third field visit by officials from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“We are identifying how many families are original landowners and outsiders coming through civil society organisations. We are working on it. There are families that came to settle down there through NGOs and then claimed the tycoon grabbed their land,” he said.

Samnang said each family was required to bring their legal documents such as identity cards and land titles to prove their original ownership.

“There are not many ethnic families. However, we discovered many families that came through civil society organizations and are distinguishing between them and the outsiders. We are verifying their documents and have asked them to submit their documents,” he said.

The dispute began in 2010 when more than 1,500 families were evicted from land they had cultivated since the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 to make way for a mega-sugarcane plantation by Phnom Penh Sugar, a company owned by prominent tycoon Ly Yong Phat.

Last week, OHCHR officials visited the community to monitor a resolution process initiated by the company.

OHCHR Representative Simon Walker said in an email on Tuesday that the rights organization had been monitoring the resolution process between the communities and the company.

“During OHCHR’s visit to Kampong Speu last week, we received information about parallel resolution initiatives organised by the company. Affected communities indicated to OHCHR that they were confused by the parallel processes,” he said.

Samnang said the sugar company had not been engaged in the registration process, though it had dealt directly with the communities to work out a compromise.

“The company said it had sought a solution concerning compensation for some communities. Now it needs to verify the process,” he said.

Simon said OHCHR would continue to monitor the land dispute.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the