Cambodia: Communities provide fresh evidence to the Phnom Penh Court in a litigation battle with a company over land ownership

Author: Savi Khorn, The Phnom Penh Post, Published on: 8 February 2019

"Villagers provide fresh evidence in 14-year dispute", 8 February 2019

Forty-five families in Kampong Chhnang … attended the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to submit additional evidence with regard to a 14-year-long land dispute with KDC International.

The villagers, …, submitted evidence confirming to the court that the families never received proper compensation from the company, according to community representative Im Sophy.

Sophy stated …, KDC called many of the illiterate villagers among the group to provide a thumbprint to receive compensation, but failed to read them the terms of the agreement.

In the agreement, the company had added a clause stating that the money was a gift for New Year’s celebrations and not compensation for the land dispute. Once realising the problem in …, villagers filed a complaint to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court requesting to cancel the compensation agreement.

Sophy said the villagers were coerced into accepting the agreement, while the company intentionally hid the full terms of the agreement from the literate villagers…

The submission of additional evidence came after Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Sam Bunpov issued an order … to two Lor Peang villagers to provide evidence within three weeks of their claims that would invalidate the agreement…

In response, Kheng’s lawyer Phat Pov Seang … that KDC owns 500ha in the Lor Peang area, which it bought … from the real landowners who have possessed the land title … and were able to present ownership documents.

He said Chea Sophara, Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, had already recognised the company’s land ownership…

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Related companies: KDC International