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Concerns over Thais farming in northwest

Concerns over Thais farming in northwest

Thai villagers have been ploughing paddy fields in Banteay Meanchey province for more than a month despite repeated interventions by Cambodian villagers and authorities, a commune chief and a rights worker said yesterday.

The O’Beichoan commune chief, Suong Meung, said in the past five days areas in the commune in O’Chrou district had been encroached on by two or three Thai tractors.

“Most of this happened in places where [Thailand] used to cultivate,” he said, explaining that the area had since been deemed a “buffer zone” and farming banned.

“However, they kept clearing . . . and stretched into Cambodia’s territory,” he added.

In 2000, the two governments signed an agreement allowing Thailand to cultivate crops in the area, said Korsum Saroeut, the provincial governor.

“[When] I went to drive them out, the Thai side protested,” he said.

Soum Chankea, the provincial coordinator for Adhoc, urged the Cambodian government to stop foreign cultivation on Cambodian territory immediately.

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