Ethnic Kuoy villagers in Stung Treng province have alleged that land brokers working in cahoots with local officials have illegally logged 300 of the resin-producing trees they depend on to make a living.
The villagers have submitted a complaint to rights group Adhoc demanding $75,000 in compensation for lost earnings from the trees.
Chan Sokha, 42, a representative of the 12 families from Thalar Boriwath district who filed the complaint, said the families had depended on the trees since 1996.
But in mid-2013, a land broker that they called Sorn Soth allegedly brought 10 workers into the area and began felling the trees.
“They have machetes, axes, and five chainsaws, and they log every day,” he said. “We tried to stop them, but they threatened to kill us. And they said the commune and village authority had let them log.”
Duong Pov, provincial administrative director, said he wasn’t aware of the case.