Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Protest over giant land concession

Protest over giant land concession

Protest over giant land concession

ABOUT 40 families from Ansar Chambak commune in Pursat province’s Krakor district protested yesterday against the clearing of forest and farmlands for acacia and cassava plantations, villagers said.

One protester, Ny Norn, said that villagers may soon resort to drastic measures to halt the clearing, part of a 315,028-hectare economic land concession held by Pheapimex Group.

“If we still don’t get a resolution, we’ll lead our cattle onto National Road 5 and take our beds and sit in the middle of the road for half a month. Will the authority still evade finding a deal with us?” he said.

He added that 12 residents had received court summons in the last month in connection with complaints from the company, which has accused them of inciting protest and destroying property after protesters barred the company from clearing the community’s forest and farmland.

The Pheapimex land concession, which spans Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provinces, was granted to the company in January 2000.

The firm, owned by Choeung Sopheap, the wife of Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin, has come under fire because its concession far exceeds the legal limit of 10,000 hectares.

Krakor district governor Im Sarith said it was important to note that Pheapimex has received a concession licence from the government.

“Our authority does not have capacity to solve the problem, besides coordinating with the residents,” he said yesterday.

Ty Kimtong, Pheapimex’s provincial representative as well as Pursat’s deputy governor, declined to comment on the issue yesterday.

Nget Theavy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said national-level authorities should resolve the issue if the protests do not end, adding that if the plantations did not affect people’s land they would not resort to such actions.

“To the residents here the farmland is their lives. If they lose their land, they have nothing to depend on so they have to rally,” she said.

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

  • 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

  • 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