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Preah Vihear land returned after high-level meeting

A screenshot from a Mother Nature video, in which Yem Phart accuses gold-mining company Delcom of land grabbing. MOTHER NATURE
A screenshot from a Mother Nature video, in which Yem Phart accuses gold-mining company Delcom of land grabbing. Mother Nature

Preah Vihear land returned after high-level meeting

A woman in Preah Vihear province who in a video by environmental group Mother Nature alleged she had been victim of a land-grab by a gold mining firm linked to the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit was given most of her land back after a high-level meeting last week, an official said yesterday.

In the July 10 video posted to Facebook, Yem Phart said that the mining firm Delcom had taken land from her and others, was involved in illegal gold mining, and that its representatives claimed to have connections to Hing Bun Heang, commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Personal Bodyguard Unit.

Soum Moth, chief of Romtom commune, said that a meeting to resolve the issue took place on Friday, with Provincial Governor Oun Chenda, representatives of the bodyguard unit and officials from the Land Management Ministry, as well as the district governor, district police and soldiers in attendance.

“There were about 100 authorities who came that day to solve the disputes,” Moth said.

He said the company agreed to pay her $50,000 for her land but that Phart had wanted $300,000, and so turned down the offer. He said she would get part of her land back, and $2,000 in damages.

Phart confirmed that authorities gave her a title for 12 hectares of the 15 hectares she had held. “They made us suffer for three years, and the $2,000 is not enough for that,” Phart said.

Neither the Ministry of Mines and Energy nor Bun Heang could be reached for comment.

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