About 150 ethnic Kuoy villagers gathered outside Preah Vihear Provincial Court yesterday to protest the questioning of eight villagers and an NGO staff member for allegedly inciting villagers in Tbeng Meanchey district to destroy 36 tonnes of sugarcane.
The sugarcane is owned by Chinese land concessionaires Rui Feng International and Lan Feng Company, which sued for damages in April.
Lut Sang, 28, an officer with local rights organisation Ponlok Khmer, said “the company accused us of inciting the villagers to pull out 36 tonnes of sugarcane. I said it wasn’t true; I only went there as part of the organisation’s staff to monitor the event.”
Sang said that some 100 villagers pulled out less than a tonne of sugarcane because they were angry with the companies for clearing their farmland.
Sreng Vuthea, provincial deputy prosecutor, said no villagers have been arrested as “it is just the first step of the investigation”.