Dying for land in Lao?

Reports recently surfaced revealing that 69-year-old Thitphay Thammavong had been arrested in Lao last month on 16 September. His crime? According to his family members, he had refused to sign papers that would give up control of his 1.5-hectare plot of land near Viengkham village in Bolikhamsai province’s Pakkading district so authorities could build a health centre on it. Thitphay Thammavong’s family members say the land has been in his family since 1965.

Authorities, on the other hand, have denied the family’s claims and said that the land belongs to the state.

“This lot of land belongs to the state, contrary to what the family claims. The state reserved this land for economic development since 2001. Since then, nobody encroached on it until 2009,” an official of Pakkading district told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

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Sheith Khidhir