A group of 143 families from Saang district’s Kraing Yov commune in Kandal province have appealed to the authorities for help to recoup land fees owed to them by traders from land deals made last year.
One of the families, who chose to remain anonymous, said they had sold over 100ha of land which they had relied on for their livelihoods since 1992 to a group of unidentified traders at affordable prices.
They agreed to sell the land for $40,000 to $60,000 per hectare. The traders initially paid 20 per cent of the cost in mid-2019, but refused to pay more.
The family said the traders had promised to pay 40 per cent in one month, and the remaining 60 per cent at a later date.
“I don’t know the land traders. They said they represented a very big company and bought the land to build a factory. We agreed to sell it to them right away.
“Now, I don’t know how to demand the rest of the money because I already registered my thumbprint transferring ownership to them. I would like to appeal to the authorities to intervene in our problems,” one of the family members said.
Another resident said many of the contracts with the traders have now expired.
Not only did the traders fail to pay, they told the land sellers they were now only willing to pay $10,000 per hectare, the resident said.
“We are afraid of losing land because traders might take it and sell it to other companies,” he said.
Kraing Yov commune chief Lun Leang told The Post on Thursday that a group of traders are indeed selling over 100ha of land in the area, which includes Toul Ponrey reservoir.
He said although they had been using the land since 1992, authorities never issued land titles to them.
“I will discuss [the matter] with the top level fist, but I don’t know how it will be solved. I once told them not to sell the land to traders or companies from afar.
“Be careful of tricksters, I told them. Selling to locals is better. But if residents want to sell it, the authorities won’t prohibit them. They can sell it, but I don’t agree to issuing hard titles,” he said.
Trapaing Ko village chief Kun Kim said on Thursday that originally, the land was a reservoir to be used in the commune.
In 1990, the authorities dug a canal to the reservoir and handed it over to residents in 1992. There were no transfers of hard titles and residents were expected to buy and sell it to other residents in local areas if they wished.
“I cannot solve the matter for them because the authorities informed them that they should sell it to fellow residents. Don’t sell it to others from afar because we don’t know their hearts, the authorities said.
“I think they sold this land because the traders gave them high prices,” he said.