EVICTEES from Romeas Hek district in Svay Rieng province were outraged when police threatened further use of excavators to clear away 100 former residents who have returned to harvest cashew and cassava fields seized by a rubber company, villagers said Tuesday.
Pang Sreng said excavators charged at residents on Monday. “If we did not run away, maybe a lot of people would have died because they were coming at us very fast,” she said. “From December 21 until today, they have destroyed 20 hectares of unharvested cassava and cashew, and when we went to complain we only got threats from the police.”
Kong Chanly, deputy police chief of Romeas Hek district, said: “Our police came to protect the company’s land about two years ago, but I don’t know of any police threatening to arrest or kill anyone yet.”
About 400 families from Tras commune accuse the Peam Chaing Rubber Company of seizing their farms before they could be harvested. About 100 families filed a complaint to the Romeas Hek district governor on December 21, and a protest is being planned.