Siem Reap Official Denies Accusations of Land Encroachment

2 min read
A photo of Banteay Srei district governor Khim Finan posted on his Facebook page.

A businesswoman has sued a district governor in Siem Reap province for violating a court decision and allegedly beginning to encroach on a 200-hectare plot of land.

In her February 14 complaint to the Siem Reap Provincial Court, businesswoman Ly Oum Eng said Banteay Srei district governor Khim Finan is mobilizing people from other areas to build fences around 148 hectares of land in the district that Eng says is hers.

Explaining her case against the official, Eng said she’d filed because Finan had violated a protection order for the land won by her through a 2013 lawsuit with the Forestry Administration.

“He did it illegally because my land has a court verdict and a protection order, and there’s a fence around it,” she said. “It has been cropped for 19 years already.”

Finan denied the trader’s allegations and said the lawsuit against him was not in accordance with the principles of law. He also said the allegation he’d mobilized people to encroach on private land was not right, disputing Eng’s claim to the property.

“Actually, this is a disputed land on state land. It isn’t private land and there’s no order from the court to hand over the state land to private individuals,” Finan said. “The Kingdom of Cambodia’s law doesn’t allow such a form.”

Eng’s complaint states the district governor had mobilized people in January to fence land in the 200-hectare parcel, which the trader says she’d purchased in pieces since 2003 from different villagers in surrounding Romchek commune. After purchasing the land, Eng’s complaint states she transferred it to her daughter Ly Send Chhay. The complaint also states Eng had grown crops on the land, as well as built her own fence and road.

Eng said the governorship of Banteay Srei district has changed seven times since she’d purchased her land, but that she’d had no problems with the land until Finan had taken office.

VOD could not reach the Siem Reap Provincial Court’s prosecutors’ office.

This story was edited on February 23 to correct a spelling in the headline

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