Following a two-day roadblock protest by residents of six villages in Preah Vihear province, district authorities have inspected land allegedly stolen by Chinese sugar cane producer Rui Feng.
Rui Feng was granted 8,841 hectares in a 2011 economic land concession (ELC), but ethnic Kuoy villagers allege that the company has been pushing the boundaries of its ELC and encroaching on their farmland.
Some 200 residents of six Kuoy-majority villages in Chey Sen and Chheb districts on Tuesday began to obstruct a road used by the sugar company, said Luot Sang, a land issues coordinator with NGO Ponlork Khmer, who was present.
Villager Huoth Maly, 35, said 500 hectares of farmland have been bulldozed by Rui Feng since 2013, despite some villagers possessing land titles.
“Some of our villagers’ farmland has a land title, but the company still bulldozes it to plant sugar,” Maly said. “If there is no solution, we pledge to conduct a bigger protest.” An official had threatened to send him to prison, he added.
Provincial agriculture department director Poeng Tryda said he went with colleagues to the site on Wednesday to investigate the claims and promised promising to return with a solution.
Rui Feng spokesman Ing Thing Kong yesterday said the clearing was within the bounds of the original ELC and that the villagers were angling for forest land for their cattle.