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Kampong Chhnang Families Angered at Suspected Land Grab

Several angry farmers were beaten by police Saturday in the wake of protests for more than 100 families in Kampong Chhnang province who are in a land dispute with three former village chiefs.

Sam Vin, a villager representing 188 families in Kampong Tralach town, told VOA Khmer hundreds of villagers were being duped by local authorities and former village chiefs in a tale that is becoming increasingly common across the country.

The families faced losing nearly 100 hectares of land that has yielded crops since 1979. The land was sold to merchants or factory owners, and the families who once farmed it feel cheated.

Village chiefs have come to survey the land, angering farmers. Those surveys led to suspicions, which led to demonstrations, which led to the five people injured by police, Sam Vin said.

Ad Hoc investigation official Sam Kier said he had requested a speedy solution from national authorities.