Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Firm accused of grabbing indigenous community’s land in Stung Treng

Firm accused of grabbing indigenous community’s land in Stung Treng

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
More than 30 families from the Kreung indigenous community in Talat commune’s Rumpat and Talat villages in Stung Treng province’s Sesan district claimed that a private company had cleared their plantations. Photo supplied

Firm accused of grabbing indigenous community’s land in Stung Treng

More than 30 families from the Kreung indigenous community in Talat commune’s Rumpat and Talat villages in Stung Treng province’s Sesan district claimed that a private company had cleared their plantations.

SK Plantation (Cambodia) Pte Ltd – which has received investment rights from the government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to develop agro-industrial crops – has also allegedly threatened to evict the villagers from the land they claimed to have live on for more than 20 years.

Sin Dao, 42, a representative of the Kreung in Rumpat village, told The Post on May 3 that the company now used security forces to stop locals using the land.

"They have used bulldozers to clear more than 30ha of our holy forest and crops. They have demolished three of our villagers' houses and wouldn’t allow us to build new houses and grow crops," he said.

Klim Yoeung, 75, an elder and the chief of Rumpat village, said: “In the past, both parties [SK and relevant authorities] had met and agreed to allocate our community’s collective land for the agro-industrial development project of this company.”

But the company suddenly sent a representative named Sambath to stop villagers building and planting, claiming the land as its own.

Yoeung called on commune, district, and provincial authorities as well as relevant units to intervene to find a solution to this case.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

The Post tried to contact SK Plantation several times, and a man who identified himself as Sambath, the company's regional manager, said briefly that the firm was developing agro-industrial crops as planned.

"I can only say this, if you want to know more, please ask the ministry or the agriculture department – a professional body in charge of monitoring the development," he said.

Chea Konara, Kon Mom district Forestry Administration director in Ratanakkiri province, told The Post that the government had granted more than 6,500ha of land concessions to SK Plantation in two districts – Kon Mom and Sesan in Ratanakkiri and Stung Treng provinces respectively – to grow agro-industrial crops.

"Before registering for transfer of ownership to the company, a group of experts headed by the agriculture ministry decided to clear the collective land of all indigenous people.

"However, land disputes continue to occur everywhere. In some places, the villagers are abusive while others are abused by private companies,” he added.

Konara suggested that the villagers submit a request for intervention to local authorities or state land management committee at the district and provincial levels and other relevant institutions.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’