Families Protest Eviction by Chinese Company

Forty-two families from Preah Vihear province’s Chheb district on Sunday held a demonstration to protest their pending eviction in favor of a Chinese company that plans to establish a sugarcane plantation on the land the families have occupied for almost three years.

Local authorities have told the families living in M’lou Prey I commune that they have one week to move off the land that they are occupying illegally, according to Lim Sokhim, 44, who moved from Kompong Cham to Chheb district in 2011.

“The Chinese firm came along with a translator and one military police officer with a rifle a month ago, telling me to remove my house because this is the company’s land that was granted from the government,” Mr. Sokhim said.

District governor Ung Vuthy said that the families started to settle along the roadside in 2010, around the time the Chinese firm, Rui Feng (Cambodia) International, acquired 8,841 hectares of land to build a sugarcane plantation, a sugarcane processing factory and a petrol station.

“We have no solution for all of those people, because they are living on the roadside which is on the company’s land,” Mr. Vuthy said.

Human rights group Adhoc said that it had collected thumbprints from the families living in the concession area, who are petitioning for the government to resettle them.

“I know that they have lived there for three years, but the authority should find another plot of land for them rather than forcing them to evict without [resettlement],” said Adhoc’s provincial coordinator, Lor Chan.

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