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Kampong Thom Residents Upset at Authorities for Land Sales

Nearly 200 families on a main road in Kampong Thom were angered this week when they requested land but were refused by local authorities.

Villagers say they were denied rightful land in favor of those with money and power, such as high-ranking government, police and military officials.

Villagers from 188 families asked their local commune chief to set aside land on a 1,500-meter corridor for home construction and gardens, but he refused. The land, which could have been given in small 25-meter-by-50-meter or 25-meter-by-100-meter plots, could have been used to build homes and gardens on, villagers said.

"I came to get the land like everybody else, because it is near the market," a family representative named Song said.

Instead, the local commune committee gave the land to civil servants with "money and power," Song said.

Commune chief Kim Sy said the charges were unfounded and that biased villagers were accusing him of corruption.