dispute between villagers in Sre Ambel district and Cambodian People’s Party
senator Ly Yong Phat threatens to erupt as villagers warn they will block the
road if the company clears any more of their land.
said they have lived on the land in Koh Kong province – near the northern
border with Thailand – since 1979 when the Khmer Rouge were thrown out. The Koh
Kong Sugar Industry, owned by Phat, has been clearing their farm land and
killing their buffalo without compensating them, they said.
Kao, a villager from Chhouk village of Chikhor Leu commune, said Koh Kong Sugar
has cleared about 2,000 hectares of villagers’ land.
said the 267 families living there plan to block Road No. 48 from Sre Ambel to
Koh Kong province after the Lunar New Year on February 7 if the dispute is not
filed many complaints to local authorities. We stopped trying to convince them
because they never care about the difficulties of the people,” Kao said on a
February 5 visit to Phnom Penh. “They served the rich and powerful interests.”
Kong Deputy Provincial Governor Bin Sam Ol said the dispute was very complicated
and difficult to resolve but that the number of families still disputing the
compensation was only 20, not 200.
gives me a headache. The people who come to protest are the same faces,” Sam Ol
told the Post.
said the provincial authorities are unable to resolve the dispute and the Ministry
of Interior’s Secretary of State, Nuth Saan, has visited the area twice trying
San, a representative from Koh Kong Sugar, disputed the villagers’ story. He
said the company did compensate about 400 families and that only 20 families
have not been paid.
company does not intend to have a dispute with those villagers,” San said. “Actually
we are very friendly, but a small group of people are provoking them.”
said the company planted sugarcane on about 5,000 hectares and has hired 700
workers from the villages and other districts. He said after the Lunar New Year
the cadastral department will come to demarcate the land in the area and the
dispute will end.
the villager, said 459 families in three villages were displaced by Koh Kong
Sugar but were subsequently forced to take compensation from company of 150,000
riel to 300,000 riel ($37.5 to $75) per hectare.
lost all our farm land, which we used to grow cashew, mangoes, watermelon, and
jackfruit,” said another villager, An Haiya. “We will use our rights to get our
sugar company in mid-2006 was granted a 90-year lease on 9,700 hectares in Sre
Ambel. Another 9,400 hectares in Botum Sakor district was granted to the Koh
Kong Plantation Company. Both companies belong to tycoon Yong Phat.
in Chhuok, Trapaing Kandorl and Chi Khor claimed that, since arriving in late
2006, Koh Kong Sugar Industry has taken land they had occupied since 1979. They
said company security guards had shot their cows and buffalo when entering their
farms. They said they have sent letters to Senate, National Assembly, Prime
Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet, Ministry of Interior and Koh Kong provincial court,
but have not received answers.
Ping, a lawyer at Community Legal Education Center, who represents the
villagers in their court case, said that Koh Kong provincial court had called
company representative and villagers to meet together but the company officials
did not attend.
majority of villagers did not get compensation from the company yet,” Ping