Families say firm cleared land, graves

Families say firm cleared land, graves

More than 100 families in Rattanakkiri’s O’Chum district are demanding a solution after a Chinese company allegedly bulldozed their land and nearby family graves to create a rubber plantation.

According to community members and rights group Adhoc, Swift Rubber Ltd cleared land surrounding the houses of 102 families in O’Chum commune between Sunday and Monday.

“The company has cleared about 300 graves,” said Kroeng ethnic group representative Kham Brang.

The villagers are demanding compensation of $75,000 to be split among affected families.

Adhoc provincial coordinator Chhay Thy said the company didn’t stop the clearing until villagers protested on Sunday and threatened vehicle operators.

Swift Rubber representative Ngin Borin, however, said that they have received permission from the government to develop the new rubber plantations on the old plantations in the area.

“What the people are doing is not right in due form of the law,” Borin said. “They want to grab the state [land] and control it privately.”

He added that the company and authorities plan to find a solution to the issue today.

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