Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kuoy villagers block firms

Kuoy villagers block firms

Ethnic Kuoy villagers gather at a forest camp site in Preah Vihear earlier this year in an effort to stop community land from being cleared for development
Ethnic Kuoy villagers gather at a forest camp site in Preah Vihear earlier this year in an effort to stop community land from being cleared for development. Heng Chivoan

Kuoy villagers block firms

Some 200 ethnic Kuoy minority villagers in Preah Vihear’s Chheb district blocked tractors belonging to a Chinese company from bulldozing their rice crops yesterday, the same day that district authorities received a letter from the Interior Ministry instructing them to broker an agreement between villagers and nearby concessionaires.

In a letter dated February 17 – but received by district authorities yesterday, according to district governor Ung Vuthy – Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak told authorities from the provincial level on down to “find a just solution to the land dispute” between local villagers and Chinese concessionaires Rui Feng International and Lan Feng company.

“The Ministry suggests the authorities examine this case, and report to the Ministry of Interior,” Sopheak wrote.

Meanwhile, villagers gathered yesterday to block two tractors owned by Rui Feng that were intent on clearing villagers’ land despite not having notified villagers, according to community representative Da Ry, 44.

“They never told or informed the residents about clearing the land,” he said. “They cannot do this to our farm without resolution.”

Fellow villager Doung Sokhem, 41, said that villagers had inhabited the land since 1979 and had not committed any violence against the tractor operators.

Lor Chan, a provincial coordinator with Adhoc, said that when the rights group’s representatives arrived on the scene, the company had told villagers that they would resolve to the problem after clearing the land.

“When I heard that, I wanted to laugh, because no one ever clears the land and then finds a solution afterward,” he said.

“In the law, the company has to study the effect [of its activities] and find a solution completely so they can clear the land, [or] it will have a dispute if there is still no solution.”

Contact details for Rui Feng were not immediately available, and an employee at Lan Feng said that she was unable to answer questions about what kind of resolution might be offered. District governor Vuthy confirmed receiving the ministry’s order to investigate, but declined to comment on potential resolution.


  • Hun Sen to ‘step down’ if he loses Sam Rainsy bet over Kem Sokha

    Hun Sen has promised to step down as prime minister while opposition figure Sam Rainsy pledges to turn himself in as forfeits if the long-term political rivals lose a “bet” over the future of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial

  • Record set for world’s longest dragon boat

    Cambodia broke the world record for the longest dragon boat – a title previously held by China, Guinness World Records adjudicator Pravin Patel said on Monday. He verified the record on the east bank of the Mekong river, in Prey Veng province’s Peamro district. “With

  • Analyst: Government appointments ‘a waste of national budget’

    The government has appointed over 200 officials as undersecretaries of state, secretaries of state, assistants and advisers at various institutions since October 1. While senior officials said the appointments were aimed at ensuring higher efficiency at the national level, social analysts said the practice is merely power-sharing

  • Rainsy ‘fallen in own trap’, PM says as Sokha ‘bet’ defended

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has defended his decision to accept a “bet” offered by opposition figure Sam Rainsy involving the “release” of former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Kem Sokha, denying it violated the authority of the courts. The leader of the Cambodia National