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Community reps claim ministry rejected sugar ELC petition

Serng Sokhom, a farmer from Kampong Speu, voices his concern yesterday at a press conference in Phnom Penh about land compensation offered by Phnom Penh Sugar Company.
Serng Sokhom, a farmer from Kampong Speu, voices his concern yesterday at a press conference in Phnom Penh about land compensation offered by Phnom Penh Sugar Company. Hong Menea

Community reps claim ministry rejected sugar ELC petition

Representatives from communities in four provinces evicted to make way for sugar plantations alleged during a press conference yesterday they were barred from delivering petitions to the Ministry of Land Management.

The representatives from Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong communities told media at Phnom Penh’s Meta House that they went to the ministry yesterday morning to deliver the petition calling for their land to be returned.

However, they were turned away and told to return with four separate petitions.

Oddar Meanchey community representative Hoy Mai said the petition was not the first that had been rejected. “Many times we sent petitions and they said they were too busy,” she said.

Ministry spokesman Seng Lot declined to comment on the allegations and insisted yesterday all petitions were accepted.

The petition named Kampong Speu Sugar and Phnom Penh Sugar, three subsidiaries of Thai-owned Mitr Phol, four sister companies in the Chinese Rui Feng group and Koh Kong Sugar as companies that had stolen the communities’ land after being granted economic land concessions by the government.

Sre Ambel district community representative Teng Koa yesterday said Koh Kong Sugar had been shooting evictees’ cattle or taking them and demanding $100 fines for their return. Koh Kong Sugar representatives could not be reached for comment.

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