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Try Pheap loggers sued

More than 200 families filed a complaint with the Preah Vihear provincial court yesterday against two employees of logging tycoon Try Pheap who allegedly cleared 15 hectares of community forest late last year before being stopped by villagers.

Huon Kino, 39, a representative of the 203 families from Romny commune’s O’Pur village in Rovieng district, said that he had filed a complaint with the court and with rights group Adhoc against Hun Rattana and Sou Vibol, employees of Try Pheap Import Export company.

“We did not know [they were logging] until they had already logged and cleared 15 hectares. They had dug holes to build fences, but they stopped after we protested,” he said.

According to Kino, more than 100 resin trees were logged by the company for luxury timber.

The families are asking for $100,000 in compensation to be used to replant trees, which the families rely on for their livelihoods, he added. “We demarcated the boundary of the communal land, but the company cleared it all to grab the land.”

Ratanna yesterday rejected the accusation that the company had logged 15 hectares of community land. Instead, he said, they had cleared five hectares to build a school and pagoda for the community.

“The company has done nothing to affect the villagers. We do things based on the land granted by the government,” he said.

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