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Villagers protest at land clearing

Villagers protest at land clearing

Villagers in Kandal Province’s Kandal Stung district said a local development company has cleared their rice fields for several days, while military police prevented them from speaking with the company.

Huot Ung, a village representative in Ampov Prey commune, said workers for Heng Development Company had bulldozed at least 20 hectares of land this week.  “The company has deployed military police, not allowing us to get near [the company’s workers].”

The Heng Development Company and Kandal Stung district villagers have clashed over land since 2005. According to rights group Adhoc, Kandal provincial court has twice sided with nearly 300 district families, saying the company had no right to clear land in the disputed area.

However, So Sokhim, a representative of Heng Development Company, claimed the firm bought the land from villagers between 1993 and 1996 and had every right to deploy military police to the scene.

“[The protestors] don’t have land and they are newcomers trying to grab our land,” she said.

Seang Chan Heng, general director of Heng Development, told The Post in December that the company would build a hybrid car-manufacturing factory on 20 hectares of land in Kandal Stung district during the first half of 2011.

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