15 Lorpeang villagers who are facing in a long-running land dispute with KDC in Taches commune, Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Tralach district, dismissed the allegation that the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) had been involved in their controversial land dispute.
During a press conference organized by ADHOC on 22 May 2015 in Phnom Penh, five of the villagers attended the event and confirmed that the allegation made by Suy Sem, the Minister of Mine and Energy, on 12 May 2015 against ADHOC is not true. On the contrary, the villagers accused the Minister of influencing local authorities during their land dispute with KDC, which his wife Chea Kheng owns.
In an interview with VOD on 12 May 2015, Suy Sem husband of KDC owner Chea Kheng alleged ADHOC and a political party of supporting villagers that staged protests against his wife’s company.
“We were not encouraged or incited by any organization to protest and file a complaint against the company,” said Um Sophy, who had lost her teaching position due to her presence during protests against the company. She added, “Our houses and crops were destroyed by the company.”
“We had already submitted our complaints to different public institutions and authorities; however, no actions were taken on our behalf. To the contrary, we had been beaten and illegally imprisoned,” said Sieng Heng, 34, who has been shortly imprisoned in the provincial prison due to his presence during protests against the company.
The villagers asserted that they had already agreed to a compensation with the company, which would be paid in the form of a cheque. However, to this day they have not received any money. “The company provided a fake compensation by giving us a blank cheque,” said Reach Sima, 34, who has been charged with incitement of protests, jeopardizing business of and using violence against the company.
Since 2001, there has been no agreement found in the land dispute, which involves 108 families from Lorpeang community, who had been the victims of land grabbing by the company. Within over a ten years span, the number of protesting villagers has decreased from 108 to 90 families.///