Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bulldozers will not move us, families insist




Bulldozers will not move us, families insist

Provincial authorities discuss Union Development Co Ltd’s 99-year land lease with villagers in Koh Kong province’s Botum Sakor district in 2012.
Provincial authorities discuss Union Development Co Ltd’s 99-year land lease with villagers in Koh Kong province’s Botum Sakor district in 2012. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Bulldozers will not move us, families insist

More than 100 families living in Koh Kong’s Kiri Sakor and Botum Sakor districts are on the clock, with an official government decree demanding they vacate their land in less than two months or face the bulldozers of the Chinese firm slated to build a new hydropower dam in the area.

Required to permanently relocate by September 20, residents were notified in mid-July that Union Development Co Ltd’s preliminary development of the area is scheduled to start on October 1.

In an official notice signed by representatives of a government inter-ministerial committee, governors of Botum Sakor and Kiri Sakor are instructed to clear residents off the land by the late September date.

“If residents do not vacate the company’s land following this announcement, the committee takes no responsibility for the destruction or loss caused by the arrival of company-owned bulldozers,” the letter states.

Phan Eng, 57, a resident of Botum Sakor, says he won’t move.

“The company only gave us three months to move and no compensation for our farmland,” Phan Eng said.

Considered by many to be unlivable, the land allocated for the relocated communities lies three kilometres from Phan Eng’s village, devoid of any public infrastructure and covered in forest.

“How can we live in a wild area? We have been using our farmlands to support our families and housing since 1998. We filed complaints in our provinces and Phnom Penh, but there is no solution,” he said.

Botum Sakor district governor On Phearak confirmed the mandatory relocation, saying that most families had already left.

And yet, monetary compensation has yet to be distributed, said resident Lai Kean, 53.

“I will not move until the company compensates me. My family has 10 hectares of land here,” Lai Kean said, adding that no student volunteers had measured her land.

Residents dealing with land disputes have been filing complaints with Licadho since 2010, provincial coordinator Kong Chet said.

“The remaining residents are struggling to defend their land,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,