Ethnic Kuoy villagers, who are feuding with two Chinese companies in Preah Vihear province’s Tbeng Meanchey district, held two drivers from the firms overnight but released them on the promise of negotiations.
The group made their move on Monday afternoon. “The companies clear thousands of resin trees and about 10,000 hectares of their [own] farmland already.
But they kept clearing, so we decided to stop it,” said Nuon Mun, 63, a representative of the villagers, all of whom live in Brame commune.
The two drivers were Ouch Thorn, 22, and Phat Phakdey, 29. Reached by phone yesterday, Thorn said they weren’t harmed.
He and Phakdey were released at about 5: 30pm after agreeing to drive the bulldozers to the commune hall. “We were stopped for 24 hours,” Thorn said. Mon said villagers agreed to let the drivers go because authorities promised to negotiate with the company today and find a solution.