Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers getting ready for DM Group hearing

Villagers getting ready for DM Group hearing

Villagers getting ready for DM Group hearing

The Ratanakkiri Provincial Court has issued letters to 11 ethnic Tampuon villagers from the province’s Lumphat district, instructing them to prepare for a hearing over
accusations of using violence on the property of rubber company DM Group.

The letters – dated February 26 this year but received by villagers only this week – were meant to tell the villagers that “the time for questions and investigations were over and to prepare themselves for the hearing”, said investigating judge Loch Lao, who did not mention when the hearing would be held.

Tven Vev, a 40-year-old villager from the Batang commune, received one of the issued letters a few days ago.

“The letters say we are being accused of using violence on [DM Group’s] properties. But I have done nothing wrong,” said Vev. “This is a form of intimidation to threaten us so we would not demand our land back.”

DM Group first began setting up rubber plantations in the district in 2005 and have been steadily acquiring land in three communes occupied by indigenous Tampuon

For five years now, villagers have been protesting the concessions, saying the company wrangled over 300 hectares of land from them with unfair compensation.

In January, two Adhoc activists and a radio reporter accused of inciting these villagers to violence in 2009 had their charges dropped after prosecutors found there was a lack of evidence.

Chhay Thy, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, agreed the case was being used to scare the villagers into submission.

“The court does not have anything to pin on the villagers besides a few photos of felled rubber trees,” added Thy.

Thy went on to challenge the court: “If the court has any evidence it should go ahead and sentence them.”


  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the

  • Royal Group's Koh Rong luxury hotel officially opens

    The Royal Sands Koh Rong hotel on Monday marked its official launch as the first luxury resort on Cambodia’s most visited island. Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the inauguration of the hotel, which has been open since December, and features rooms priced at