Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers file complaint against Union Development Group for razing crops, property

Villagers file complaint against Union Development Group for razing crops, property

Villagers among the burned remains of their crops and small huts last month after security guards for Chinese firm Union Development Group allegedly burned them. Licadho
Villagers among the burned remains of their crops and small huts last month after security guards for Chinese firm Union Development Group allegedly burned them. Licadho

Villagers file complaint against Union Development Group for razing crops, property

Fourteen families in Koh Kong province’s Kiri Sakor district filed a court complaint today against 60 security guards employed by Union Development Group (UDG) for allegedly destroying their crops and small huts on land belonging to the development conglomerate.

The families say they found the empty land in 2015, and planted crops there until they were notified last month that it belonged to UDG.

A few days later, on January 11, 60 security guards allegedly burned their crops and some huts standing on the land.

One of the complainants, 65-year-old Yorng Khun, said the complaint singled out Kem Leng, 36, as the leader of the guards, and demanded more than $20,000 per family for destroying 40 hectares of crops and burning nine small structures.

“If they said that the land belonged to them, we will give it to them, but we file complaint to demand for compensation for destruction of our crops,” he said.

Khun admitted that the group did not have any documents proving they owned the 40 hectares, but said that local authorities had not informed them of its actual ownership.

Uon Sovantheary, spokesman of the Koh Kong Provincial Court, only confirmed that the complaint had been received and that it would be reviewed according to court procedures.

A representative for UDG could not be reached today. The development group has been embroiled in land disputes with hundreds of villagers in Koh Kong, where it was given a 45,000-hectare land concession in 2008 to develop a Chinese-funded resort.

Khim Chandy, district governor of Kiri Sakor, said he had not received any reports of the destruction of crops or the villagers’ complaints.

Licadho provincial coordinator In Kongchit said the company could have allowed the families to clear their crops, and it was unlikely the villagers would win a court complaint against such a sizable foreign firm.

“The court will protect foreign investors rather than protecting Cambodians’ interests under the pretext that the victims did not have documents or lack this or that,” he said.


  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will