Wuzhishan LS Group, the Chinese plantation company accused of grabbing land from Phnong minority villagers and a Japanese company in Mondolkiri, has also disrupted a Japanese plan to build a hydroelectric dam in the area, officials said Tuesday.
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency had proposed to build the dam, which would provide power to the area, on a two-meter tall waterfall built during the French Protectorate in Sen Monorom district, said third provincial Deputy Governor Nha Rang Chan. “Wuzhishan planted baby pine trees and took the water from that dam to water their baby pine trees,” he said.
Wuzhishan is already believed to have planted pine trees on 7,000 hectares of land originally reserved for a Japanese company proposing a 10,000-hectare rubber plantation.
Nha Rang Chan encouraged the two companies to negotiate their differences. “Mondolkiri has no other land to offer, so please just negotiate.”
Nuth Sa An, Interior Ministry secretary of state, said, “[Wuzhishan] just built a road leading to that area.” The head of an inter-ministerial committee charged with resolving the dispute between Wuzhishan, the villagers and the Japanese entities, he said he was optimistic the Chinese company’s development wouldn’t affect the dam project.
The committee has ordered the Agriculture Ministry to resolve the dispute between the two companies and between Wuzhishan and the Phnong villagers, who allege the Chinese company is stealing their farmland and sacred forests.
Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and JICA officials said they could not comment.