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Forest felled illegally, trio tells court

Three villagers in Mondulkiri’s Sen Monorom district appeared in court yesterday after filing a complaint against a land concessionaire for illegally bulldozing community forest.

The three represented more than 160 Phnong villagers in allegations that the provincial deputy governor’s company cleared 30 hectares of community forest and more than 360 resin trees last October.

“The court asked us one by one about our lawsuit against Villa Development owned by [deputy governor] Yoem Luch,” said Ki Ngeav, 42, one of the three representatives.

The villagers are demanding $250 for each of the felled resin trees.

Luch said his company worked on only the 5,000 hectares granted to it by the government.

Last week, villagers filed a complaint against three men for illegally logging and transporting timber inside the community forest. A tractor and 43 pieces of luxury wood were confiscated as evidence.

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