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Villagers say VN rubber concession grabbed land, burned cashew trees

Less than two months after staffers at a Vietnamese rubber concessionaire were charged over setting homes aflame during a land dispute, the company has been accused of burning and bulldozing more than 900 cashew nut trees and eight hectares of plantation land in O’Chum district, according to an Adhoc complaint.

Five families filed the complaint on Saturday, requesting intervention after CRD staffers named Saing Chantha and Vork allegedly burned down 930 cashew nut trees and illegally grabbed eight hectares of land in O’Chum district on June 13.

“The plantation was measured by Hun Sen volunteer youth, who issued legal documents already, but the Vietnamese firm still grabbed it and planted rubber trees,” said Mean Promony, Adhoc provincial investigator, yesterday.

Promony added that the villagers came to Adhoc after authorities ignored their request for intervention. Adhoc plans to forward the complaint to the provincial court today.

O’Chum District Governor Sak Sun said he wasn’t aware of the land grab, but said “if it happened, it is illegal”.

“Please come to me with documents so I can solve the problem,” he added.

The Cambodian government granted CRD 7,591 hectares of land in three districts in 2011 for rubber development, but the firm has since faced multiple accusations of malfeasance.

CRD could not be reached for comment.

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