Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land clearance by Korean firm blocked

Land clearance by Korean firm blocked

Land clearance by Korean firm blocked

SOME 800 people in Kampong Thom province’s Santuk district staged a protest against a Korean rubber company yesterday, claiming that the firm is trying to clear their trees and farmland without offering any compensation.

Villagers demanded that the company, Korean BNA (Cam) Corp, stop the clearing of cashew trees they claim to have been planting since 1984.

Red spray paint reportedly marked the trees on the land facing destruction, but protesters from six villages in Santuk’s Tipor commune stood their ground to prevent the clearing of the land.

The protest was peaceful, according to Pen Chhin, a representative for the villagers, who said protesters simply stood in the middle of the orchard to prevent the destruction of the trees.

“If they are going to clear our cashew trees, how can we survive?” Pen Chhin said yesterday, claiming that roughly 400 families depend on the orchard.

Korean BNA (Cam) Corp received a 7,500-hectare land concession from the Cambodian government in September 2009 as part of a project aimed at developing rubber and cassava crops. The lease for the property was set at 70 years.

“The company officials told us they will not provide any compensation because that land is from the government,” Pen Chhin said.

He added that villagers have filed a complaint to various government departments and have asked the provincial governor to intervene and find a resolution for them before the clearance of the land.

“If the company gets 7,500 hectares of land to develop in this area, where will we live and where will we farm?” said Chan Sea, a villager involved in the protest.

He added that company representatives had arrived just one day prior to the protest, spray-painting red marks on the trees to signal that they would be cut down.

Santuk district governor Pich Sophea said a provincial committee has asked the company to halt its development for the time being to allow for an assessment of its impact.

“We have to look carefully at how the families are affected and then we can find a resolution,” he said yesterday.

Nhem Sarat, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said he had written a letter to the provincial governor asking him to stop the clearing of the land until a settlement is reached.

Bak Byung-kun, head of BNA (Cam) Corp, could not be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters