Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ratanakkiri minorities say land stolen

Ratanakkiri minorities say land stolen

Ratanakkiri minorities say land stolen

Ethnic minorities in Ratanakkiri province have accused local authorities of selling community forest land to a provincial court official and threatening to put them in jail, according to a complaint filed yesterday.

The complaint was filed to the provincial office of rights group Adhoc by five community representatives on behalf of 190 ethnic Tampuon families from Lumphat district’s Batang commune.

Svin Vev, one of the representatives, said that village chief Theng Main sold 2 hectares of community forest to an outsider, who then cleared out another surrounding 10 hectares and sold them to Ratanakkiri provincial judge Eng Samnab.

In total, the lost land has grown to about 20 hectares, which Samnab is using for a cashew plantation, Vev said.

The community complained to the provincial Forestry Administration, but to no avail, causing village representatives to collect thumbprints for a petition.

However, village chief Theng Maing seized copies of the petition and threatened to send the protesters to jail, the complaint states.

Maing yesterday denied the accusation that he sold forest land but acknowledged seizing the petition, saying it was “illegal”.

Commune chief Ket Chem confirmed that he approved the sale to judge Chamnab “three or four” years ago, but said the community had already cleared it by that time.

Judge Eng Samnab, who said he invested tens of thousands of dollars into the plantation, echoed Chem’s rebuttal.

“If it was community land, the authorities would not have signed for me,” he said.

Adhoc coordinator Chhay Thy said the group will send the complaints to provincial court.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said