One hundred and thirty-five ethnic Kouy families from the Brame, Srae Preang and Bos Tom villages in Preah Vihear’s Tbeng Meanchey district gathered on Saturday and yesterday to protest the Lan Feng Company’s alleged bulldozing of their farmland.
Phan Suket, 23, the representative of the 135 families, said that Lan Feng Company employed 10 bulldozers to level their farmland – consisting of one roughly 600-square-metre plot per family – to make way for a sugar plantation.
“Their [the Kouy’s] living is dependent on cultivation, but now the company bulldozed their farmland,” he said. “So how do our next generations survive without farmland?”
Khan Chern, one of the Kouy villagers from Brame village, said that nearly a half-hectare of his farmland was bulldozed and taken without payment, and that the bulldozers only stopped after villagers went to ask local authorities to intervene.
Pich Theara, 42, one of Lan Feng Company’s two foremen who allegedly levelled the area, denied bulldozing any of the villagers’ farmland.
“I was employed to bulldoze the company’s land, an area 20 metres wide and 5,500 metres long, but I accidentally drove the car across their rice field,” he said. “We neither damaged their plants, nor their rice field, because they had not been ploughed or sowed.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at firstname.lastname@example.org