Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mangrove ‘bulldozed for rubber plantation’

Mangrove ‘bulldozed for rubber plantation’

Mangrove ‘bulldozed for rubber plantation’

Some 1,200 hectares of flooded mangrove forest in two communes of Kampong Cham province have been bulldozed and filled in, robbing more than 700 families of the long-standing source of their livelihood, villagers there said yesterday.

Villagers in Tuol Snuol commune in Kroch Chhmar district and Rokap Pram commune in Tbong Khmum district said that the land had been filled in on the orders of Sim Kosal, a representative of Tabao Rubber Plantation, which local authorities insist was given the land legally.

“The villagers will be arrested if they log in the flooded area, but no one dares to react against Mr Kosal,” said villager Chhean Chany, 49, from Rokap Pram, adding that locals depend on the forest for watering their cattle.

Fellow villager Met Sarmun, 60, maintained that his village chief, Uk Pang, and two community leaders, Nam Sean and Chim Sreang, collected thumb prints from villagers to ask their permission to build a small dam to create a reservoir for irrigation and fishing.

“Using our thumb prints, they said we agreed to allow Mr Kosal to clear the forest,” Sarmun said. “Now the people who do not have land to grow crops and depend only on fishing, they are jobless.”

Leng Lang, 30, a villager in Tuol Snuol commune, said that the clearing “stopped for a moment before the national election, but after that they continued”.

Hul Sophal, director of the NGO Vigilance Organization in Kampong Cham province, said that he had explained to villagers the legal procedures of lodging a complaint to authorities, but they had yet to file one.

Kosal and Tabao Rubber Plantation could not be reached for comment yesterday, but village chief Uk Pang maintained that the land was granted legally, and that villagers were unaffected.

“It is flooded land where no one does work,” he said. “The farming land of the villagers is above that area. It does not affect anyone.”

As for the small dam, he said, the company is currently building a four-kilometre dam that is halfway to completion.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports