Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vietnamese military-held ELCs in R’kiri slashed according to government

Vietnamese military-held ELCs in R’kiri slashed according to government

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Workers from Rama Khmer clear land inside a Ratanakkiri ELC owned by the Vietnamese military and Cambodian investors in 2013. ADHOC

Vietnamese military-held ELCs in R’kiri slashed according to government

Four Vietnamese military-controlled land concessions in Ratanakkiri province were downsized to a fraction of their original acreage as part of a government audit of land leased to private companies, officials said yesterday, amid opposition criticism of the concessions.

The economic land concessions, all joint ventures between the Vietnamese military and Cambodian investors, originally covered almost 40,000 hectares of Cambodian territory.

But Soy Sona, director of the Ratanakkiri provincial agriculture department, yesterday said that the four concessions – Rama Khmer, Chea Chanrith, Veasna Investment and Dai Dong Duong – were cut to a tenth of their size in late 2015.

In May 2012, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued Directive 01, which prohibited the issuance of new concessions and began a nationwide audit of existing ones. An initial inspection of the concessions by volunteers was followed up by an Agriculture Ministry assessment late last year, Sona said, which led to the cuts.

“After direct inspections, we found the four companies have only planted on 4,000 hectares. So most of the land was confiscated at the end of 2015,” Sona said, without commenting on whether the cuts were made before or after the fact of their military ownership was made public.

The Rama Khmer concession was cut from more than 6,000 hectares to 900; Chea Chanrith’s was slashed from over 5,000 to 778; Dai Dong Duong’s was cut from nearly 5,000 to 800, and Veasna Investment’s was cut from more than 5,000 to about 1,500, he added.

Transferred over 2011 and 2012 to the Vietnamese companies, the four ELCs near the O’Yadav border checkpoint are reported to be linked through their chairmen to the Vietnamese Army’s Corps 15.

Amid ongoing tension over the border issue, opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy has said the concessions effectively meant that Cambodian territory had “been turned into a military zone under the control of a foreign country”.

Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, welcomed the decision to scale back the concessions.

“It would be better if the government cancelled the contract, because recently the government said that it is illegal to rent land along the border to foreigners,” he said.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which