The Koh Kong Provincial Court summonsed 23 villagers from Chikor Leu commune to present themselves – and any relevant documents – at a July 12 hearing with representatives of the two sugar companies that bulldozed their farmland and evicted them from their homes in 2006.
“Our stances are to demand the court give our farmland to us, because Ly Yong Phat grabbed more than 1,400 hectares of our land,” said village representative Kong Song.
The hearing, he said, would be the first since last September to examine their complaint against Koh Kong Sugar Industry Co and Koh Kong Plantation Co, which were granted a roughly 20,000-hectare land concession and are reportedly owned in part by Senator Ly Yong Phat.
In Kongchit, Licadho’s provincial co-ordinator, credited the villagers’ protests with spurring the court to set a date for the hearing, but said that protests alone wouldn’t reverse the concession.
“This time, the villagers and the company representatives must face each other at the court, so the judge must decide to omit the contract or [let it] continue,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]