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Families face eviction from Pineapple Island

Families face eviction from Pineapple Island

One of five families facing eviction from their island home off the coast of Koh Kong province has written to the provincial governor, urging him to intervene to stop a Chinese company developing their land.

Village representative Chea Bun Eang, said the families of Peam Kay village on Koh Mnas, also known as Pineapple Island, were being treated unfairly.

He had written a letter to the governor asking them to re-measure the five families’ 19 hectares of land, which the governor had measured in August at only 9 hectares, Chea Bun Eang said.

“We cannot accept their small amount of compensation. We would like to live on our land,” he told the Post yesterday.

The five families have lived on the small island, which is about 80 kilometres from shore, since 1960.

They grow cashew, coconut and jackfruit trees, Chea Bun Eang said.

He said Sok Nang, the deputy-secretary general of government agency the Council for the Development of Cambodia, had forced villagers to accept $3,500 compensation per hectare of land, which would be seized and given to an undisclosed Chinese company.

“We want to know which Chinese company will develop on that land and what they want to develop, but Mr Sok Nang said that I don’t need to know,” he said.

If the government wanted to take villagers’ land, its officials would have to show them documents that clearly explained the company’s proposed developed project, he said.

Sok Nang declined to comment yesterday.

In Kong Chit, provincial coordinator for rights group Licadho, said deputy governor Soun Nara had told him two companies – Coast Development Company and Pineapple Island Development Group – were set to develop on the island.

“If the companies want to take over villagers’ land, they have to provide fair compensation for them because they have lived there for a long time.”

Soun Nara declined to comment about the proposed island development.