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Complaint over Kulen clearing

Some 150 families in Preah Vihear’s Kulen district appealed to rights group Adhoc yesterday over the clearing of community-owned resin trees and farmland by a Malaysian company.

Community representative Siek Sin, speaking on behalf of the families, said that Malaysian-owned Cambodian Blue Haven Ltd has, since 2013, been clearing 900 hectares that Sin claims belongs to the villagers.

“The company grabbed our land and they did not talk to us before clearing,” he said.

What’s more, Sin says, the company has cut down hundreds of community-owned resin trees without adequate compensation, offering about $3.75 to $5 per tree.

“The owners of the trees were threatened to sell . . . if not, they [the company] still cuts it, so the owners just accept it.”

Company Representative Keo Vanny denied the accusation yesterday, saying the land was granted to them in 2012 as part of a 9,129 hectare concession.

“The villagers grabbed our land,” he said, adding that a different company, Komly, does the clearing. Komly representatives could not be reached.

Adhoc says they plan to alert the relevant authorities and that the firm had barred them from visiting the disputed land.

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