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Letter on Vietnam border ELCs reaches PM

Rama Khmer clear land inside a Ratanakkiri ELC owned by the Vietnamese military and Cambodian investors in 2013. Adhoc
Rama Khmer clear land inside a Ratanakkiri ELC owned by the Vietnamese military and Cambodian investors in 2013. Adhoc

Letter on Vietnam border ELCs reaches PM

A letter demanding answers from Prime Minister Hun Sen as to how 40,000 hectares in Ratanakkiri allegedly came under the control of the Vietnamese army has been forwarded to the premier by National Assembly President Heng Samrin, a month after he blocked a similar letter as “groundless” and “context for propaganda”.

The letter, penned by opposition lawmaker Um Sam An, asked why the Vietnamese army received control of the economic land concessions, questioned if foreign armies were based there, and asked if the government planned to confiscate the land.

The letter, obtained by the Post yesterday, was sent on March 4 and forwarded to the prime minister on Wednesday.

From the US, Um Sam An yesterday told the Post if the land concessions were not reclaimed, the territory would be lost to the Vietnamese in the same way as Kampuchea Krom.

“When the Yuon live [there] how can [we] deport them back?” he said via Facebook, using a term for Vietnamese considered derogatory by some. “Granting economic land concessions to Vietnamese armies is seriously dangerous for the nation.”

Earlier this year, Ratanakkiri agriculture department director Soy Sona said that the four concessions – owned by Rama Khmer, Chea Chanrith, Veasna Investment and Dai Dong Duong – had been cut to a tenth of their size in late 2015.

But Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for Adhoc, yesterday said that while the human rights group believed there was currently no army presence, the contracts should be canceled nonetheless.

“We are concerned that the companies are closer to the border. The government should cancel . . . [the] companies’ contracts,” Chhay Thy said.

Spokespeople for the ministries of agriculture and environment could not be reached.

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