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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rifle shots provoke complaints

Rifle shots provoke complaints

Villagers in Ratanakkiri province filed complaints to the provincial court and rights group Adhoc yesterday, claiming three security guards patrolling former state forest in O’Chum district threatened them and fired an AK-47 rifle to scare them away.

Kreung ethnic villager Travinh Khambon, 37, of La’ak commune’s Kam village, said yesterday that he and his family had been on land awarded to the CRD company as an economic land concession when one of the security guards, who he believes were from Vietnam, fired into the air.

“We used to depend on the natural resources in this forest,” he said.

“We entered yesterday without knowing it was company land, but we were threatened with death. We were so scared and ran away to seek help.”

The court complaint says that Khambon and two others were collecting small pieces of wood when they were confronted by three security guards.

One of them, in military attire and armed with an AK-47, shot into the air, the complaints adds.

A CRD spokesman who gave his name only as Huy said the guards were not employees of the company.

“Many people enter that area to hunt wild animals,” he said.

“I know villagers do not like the company, so they make allegations against us without evidence.”

CRD has been granted more than 7,000 hectares of land in Ratanakkiri province to develop for rubber plantations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at channyda.chhay@phnompenhpost.com

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