Villagers accuse firm of overreach

By: Chhay Channyda

Villagers from Tbong Khmum’s Trapaing Pring commune blocked an excavator yesterday that was allegedly intent on clearing land that they said is being illegally grabbed by a Chinese company.

On Tuesday, around 20 villagers filed a complaint to the National Assembly, accusing the firm of clearing more than the agreed-upon 300 hectares that 175 families in Dambe district sold in 2011, and accusing district authorities of allowing the land grab.

“We got $500 per family in 2011, but we only sold them half of our lands and the other half, we did not sell . . . but the company tried to grab our entire plantation and rice fields,” said resident Chim Yim, 61.

Sok Din, chief of Bosnor village, one of the most affected areas, said he supported the villagers’ complaint.

“The authorities said that they were prohibiting the clearing, but the firm did not listen. But still, the authorities did not take any action,” Din said.

Chan Cheng, a lawmaker from the National Assembly’s commission on human rights, said the commission will be investigating the complaint.

District governor Neat Ravuth could not be reached for comment.

SOURCE: THE PHNOM PENH POST