Petition delivered by farmers who say Vietnamese firm stole their land

Source: Phnom Penh Post

Community members gather in Phnom Penh yesterday to demand government intervention to resolve a land dispute in Svay Rieng province. Photo supplied

Around 200 farmers from Svay Rieng province petitioned Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet in Phnom Penh yesterday claiming that a Vietnamese company had grabbed their land only to turn around and accuse 10 of them for grabbing company land.

Around 1,700 farmers from Romeas Hek and Svay Chrum districts claim Vietnamese-owned NK Ventures took around 975 hectares and threatened locals with legal action if they continued to try to get the land back.

Community representative Khiev Sarun said police in Romeas Hek had attempted to prevent them from coming to Phnom Penh, forcing them to take a detour across rice fields.

“We ask the government to seize the land from the company and hand to the people to cultivate, because this is their livelihood and they are poor.”

He added that people had lost their land because they were never given titles, while others were affected by irrigation canals built by the company or simply evicted.

Ol Sok Yos, of the Ministry of Land Management, said the ministry’s technical land committee would look into the complaint. NK Ventures could not be reached.

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