Chinese-owned company Union Development Group has transported hundreds of posts to a disputed area it plans to develop in Botum Sakor district in Koh Kong province, exacerbating fears among villagers that the company will demarcate land they claim is theirs.
Villagers said on Thursday that the company brought demarcation posts and an excavator to Prek Kha’chong, Tuol Pur, Bak Roneas and Tanoun villages on Tuesday. “Hundreds of concrete posts are being transported in ... near our disputed land. This makes us very worried about losing land, because we’re afraid that the company demarcates to grab our land,” said villager Kun Sao.
One person who requested anonymity said they bought 118 hectares of land in 2006 and 2007. The company’s posts were laid at the border to their land, and the source said they would stop the company’s workers if they demarcated on their property.
Ninety-three families from Tanoun commune sought the intervention of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet in January, claiming that authorities and the company had broken its promise of giving them $8,000 per hectare of land lost in compensation. Authorities started collecting information on the compensation received earlier this month.
Tanoun Commune Chief Vaing Vireak declined to comment. Tou Savuth, Botum Sakor district governor, said he had ordered Vireak to investigate the purpose of the demarcation posts. “We will stop the company if their demarcation affects the villagers’ land,” he said.
UDG could not be reached.