Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers want ELC revoked

Villagers want ELC revoked

Indigenous village members inspect a lumber mill in Ratanakkiri
Indigenous village members inspect a lumber mill in Ratanakkiri’s Andong Meas district earlier this month in an ELC belonging to Jing Ly Investment Company. ADHOC

Villagers want ELC revoked

Hundreds of indigenous families from Ratanakkiri’s Andong Meas district have demanded the government cancel the economic land concession of a Vietnamese rubber company that they say is illegally prospecting for gold.

About a dozen people representing 384 families handed a petition to CNRP lawmakers yesterday requesting Jing Ly Investment Co’s ELC be scrapped.

In the letter, organised by the rights group Adhoc, the group accused the company of clearing 150 hectares of some 784 hectares of forest reserved for the indigenous communities.

As well as logging since 2011, the company has breached the terms of its contract by grabbing protected “common areas” and searching the region for illegal gold mines, according to Adhoc’s Ratanakkiri provincial coordinator Chhay Thy.

However, Angdong Meas Governor Norng Darith called the allegation false, saying the company – which was granted 1,900 hectares to plant rubber in 2010 – had only cleared its allocated plot.

“The community was not granted a plot of land by the government,” he said.

“The government granted the land to the company, so if they don’t clear the site, how can they plant rubber?” he said.

He said the company had not looked for gold.

“That was another company exploring for a gold mine legally,” he said.

The region is home to indigenous Tampuon and Jarai communities who have lived in Kahol and Jarai villages, respectively, since 1979. They rely on the forest and rotating traditional farms to survive.

The communities – who have asked the CNRP to pass their petition on to the prime minister’s office – say the company’s logging of dense and lakeside forests had impacted their water supply.

Mam Phan, 44, one of 12 community representatives to add a thumbprint to the petition, said their communities and culture were being ruined.

“The company security guards ban us from entering and taking what we need from the forest,” he said. “Those who dare to log timber for building their homes are threatened.”

A representative of Jing Ly Investment Co could not be reached yesterday.

Thousands of locals and migrant workers are suspected of engaging in illegal mining in Ratanakkiri.

After a recent official inspection tour of the province, Meng Saktheara, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, called the practice rampant, saying that everything from metal to precious gems, gold and sand for construction was being sought in the great rush.

Saktheara said crackdowns were difficult because sites were often remote and miners often returned after raids.


  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of