Adhoc Workers Say They Were Targeted by Driver

A provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc claimed Thursday that a representative of a company the group was investigating attempted to crash his car into him and two of his colleagues in Mondolkiri province.

Sok Ratha said he had received a complaint in December about a company called Villa Development clearing land in Sen Monorom district, and he and two of his colleagues, Bun Chantha and Lea Kao, had traveled by motorcycle Wednesday with nine other local community leaders to investigate the clearing of the villagers’ land.

When they reached the site, they were not stopped and entered through an open gate, Mr. Ratha said, but about 200 meters inside the gate, a car traveling at high speed came toward them and attempted to run them off the road.

Mr. Ratha said the community leaders were able to identify the driver as a worker for Villa Development.

“I think that it is attempted murder, and I filed a complaint with the police,” Mr. Ratha said. “We are concerned about our security when a thing like this happens to us.”

Contact details were not available for Villa Development on Thursday.

Mondolkiri provincial police chief Nhem Vanny confirmed Thursday that he received a complaint from Adhoc on Wednesday.

“We received the complaint and police are investigating this case,” he said.

Adhoc’s Mr. Ratha said a community representative told him that 728 hectares of land in Sokhom commune, which included land belonging to villagers, was cleared by Villa Development. Some of the cleared land belongs to provincial Deputy Governor Yim Luch, he added.

When contacted Thursday, Mr. Luch said that all the land belonged to Villa Development, and that he had nothing to do with the firm, which intends to establish a rubber plantation.

“This land does not belong to me,” the deputy governor said.

Adhoc on Thursday issued a statement condemning the alleged actions against its workers.

“We condemn the attempted murders…[in] Mondolkiri province,” the statement says. “They went there by motorcycle, and a company car tried to hit them, but fortunately it missed them.”

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