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People watch a community building burn next to a sugar plantation belonging to Thailand’s Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation in Oddar Meanchey after authorities set it ablaze during a 2009 eviction. Photo supplied
People watch a community building burn next to a sugar plantation belonging to Thailand’s Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation in Oddar Meanchey after authorities set it ablaze during a 2009 eviction. Photo supplied

Mitr Phol evictees vow homecoming

More than 100 villagers evicted to make way for a Mitr Phol sugar plantation have vowed to return to their land in a week after they were snubbed by the Oddar Meanchey provincial governor yesterday, according to community leader Hoy Mai.

Forced at gunpoint in 2008 to vacate land they say had been in many of their families for generations to make way for three economic land concessions granted to Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol, the evictees filed a petition in February asking for their land back.

However, when they went to meet the governor at his office yesterday, they were told he was away in Phnom Penh.

In his place they were greeted by a deputy provincial governor, who Mai said did not give his name, and Un Sopheak, mayor of provincial capital Samroang.

“They received land and money, so we don’t know why they still make demands,” Sopheak said. “Now they’ve come again, so we will go to find a solution for them.”

However, Mai said only 14 families had been offered land previously and none cash compensation.

“If there is no solution in a week, we will go back to our land,” Mai said.

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