Dredging Complaint Thumbprinted by 389 Villagers

Three hundred eighty-nine villagers in Svay Rieng province have thumbprinted a complaint in protest of sand dredging activities in Romeas Hek district that are causing parts of the banks of the Toekvil river to collapse.  Nuth Bopinaroth, Svay Rieng provincial coordinator for rights group Licadho, began collecting thumbprints after villagers from Ampil, Koki, Kompong Trach and Doung communes filed complaints with Licadho and Adhoc, another rights group, last week, he said.

Mr Bopinaroth said that he would take the complaint to provincial governor Chieng Am early next month. “The villagers told me there are about 40 to 50 boats and each boat has a dredging machine,” he said. Mr Am said that many villagers were working on the dredging boats, and that if the company did not stop dredging on its own, he would stop it. “The villagers already sold the land that is collapsing to the dredging company,” he said.

But Nom San, Trapang Skun village chief, said that the villagers did not sell the land. “There were only two families who received compensation from the Vietnamese owner of a dredging boat after their land collapsed, about $50 each,” he said.

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