Kandal villagers call for intervention in dispute

Over 100 families hailing from two communes in Kandal have called for justice after claiming two powerful people used their status to grab more than 300 hectares of farmland and sue the residents’ representatives.

The eight residents said they represented 109 families from the Prek Takov and Prek Luong communes, both located in Khsach Kandal district. Yesterday, they arrived at the Phnom Penh Post office in the morning and displayed their land titles as well as pictures allegedly showing 30 police officials arresting and cuffing representative Chheang Ry on Saturday.

The representatives stated that they had been cultivating the land in question since 1994, but two tycoons – Kry Touch and Bun Saravuth – cleared the land for their own use in 2013.

“Kry Touch, who has the title of ‘Your Excellency’, used the prime minister’s wife’s name, and said that he is a relative of the prime minister,” Ry said. “He cleared those lands . . . with the assistance of 40 to 50 soldiers and military police.”

Ry further claimed that the village residents attempted to block the clearing, but Saravuth sued Ry and two others in 2014. Despite village residents filing an appeal, Ry claimed that officers came and arrested him last Saturday, though he was released soon after. Chea Chorn, another resident, said he lost 4 hectares of land as a result of the dispute.

“Please, [Hun Sen], intervene and seek justice for us,” he pleaded.

Touch and Saravuth could not be reached yesterday.