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Provincial Court Rejects Land-Theft Complaint

Sixty-one families from Kampong Chhnang province denounced the denial of a land-grab complaint by the provincial court on Wednesday, saying a clerk of court refused to receive it.

The families say they tried to file a suit against a private company, KDC International, for the theft of 80 hectares of rice fields and homes.

The families say they have filed suit multiple times since 2006, but the court has failed to take action.

Nhim Nhoeun, a representative of Lor Peang village, in Kampong Tralach district, said court clerk Heng Saman rejected the complaint.

Heng Saman declined comment, and KDC representatives could not be reached for comment. KDC has accused villagers in the past of stealing its land.

In January 2008, KDC bulldozed villagers’ houses on one plot of land, and more than one month later Kampong Chhnang provincial court sentenced two representatives of Lor Peang to prison following a suit filed by KDC.

One of the two villagers was sentenced to prison for up to 10 years on several charges stemming from the suit.

Toth Kimsroy, coordinator for the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee in Kampong Chhnang, who helped prepare the villagers’ suit, said he planned to help villagers forward a complaint to the Ministry of Justice early next week.