The Vietnamese embassy fired back yesterday at opposition party leader Sam Rainsy’s claim that Vietnamese companies granted economic land concessions in Prey Lang forest are turning the area into a Vietnamese “colony”.
On Wednesday, Rainsy visited the forest and claimed that CRCK, a Vietnamese firm granted a concession within Prey Lang in Kampong Thom’s Sandan district, had done nothing but de-forest the area.
“If we still allow this company to continue its activities here, this company would clear more and more deeply and they will finish all of Prey Lang,” he says in a video posted to his Facebook page, standing in what appears to be a razed forest area.
“People told me that workers, experts and managers were brought in from yuon country. They have established yuon villages, allowing yuon to enter and live in Khmer land. This area has become a yuon colony,” he continues, using a term for Vietnamese seen as derogatory in some quarters.
Tran Vanthong, spokesman at the Vietnamese embassy, told the Post the Cambodia National Rescue Party leader was twisting the facts.
“This [investment] has interests for both sides. Vietnamese companies that are investing in Cambodia also help to find work for thousands of Cambodian labourers,” he said, adding that Vietnamese firms have no ambitions to take Cambodian territory and were legally investing in the Kingdom. “We are not quite interested in this twist [of the facts]. [We] don’t know why [the CNRP] twists like this.”
CRCK was granted a 6,155- hectare land concession within the Prey Lang forest in 2010 for rubber plantations.
In May, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights said they had observed at least 15 trucks hauling loads of 30 to 50 tonnes of luxury timber from CRCK’s concession to the Vietnamese border.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday that the CNRP leader’s allegations were a political attack and stressed that the government’s development plans would “increase income and solve social problems”.
CRCK could not be reached for comment.