Koh Kong’s provincial governor said Wednesday that he has instructed a firm owned by CPP tycoon senator Ly Yong Phat to repay villagers for cattle allegedly gunned down by guards at his sugarcane plantation.
Governor Yuth Phouthang’s request to Ly Yong Phat’s Koh Kong Sugar Industry Company comes a week after villagers involved in a lengthy land dispute with the firm filed a complaint at the provincial court over the alleged killing of the six bovines.
“I told the company to pay the people—they are very poor,” Yuth Phouthang said.
He added that he had asked Sre Ambel district officials to ensure the safety of the villagers in Chhikor Leu commune and to prevent any more of their animals from being killed.
Heng San, a representative for Ly Yong Phat, declined comment on the case Tuesday. Ly Yong Phat could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.
Villager representative Am Hay Ya alleged that six cows and buffalo were shot dead after wandering onto the 20,000-hectare sugarcane plantation late last month. He also claimed that a number of villagers in the district have had approximately 5,000 hectares of land taken from them by the plantation since June 2006.
“We have owned the land since 1979,” he said. “We already filed a complaint with the court and we already have lawyers,” he added.
Licadho, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and the Community Legal Education Center have provided villagers with a team of six attorneys, he said.