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Complaint Against Sugar Company Withdrawn

Khmer Times Share:

More than 150 residents from Kampong Speu’s Oral district gathered at the Equitable Cambodia (EC) headquarters and the National Assembly on Friday to withdraw their complaints over land against the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, which is owned by magnate Ly Yong Phat.
The villagers came to Phnom Penh after they agreed to receive a minimum of $500-$10,000 per family in compensation from the company, depending on the size of the land in question, last week.
Community representative Cheng Sopheap told the media at the EC head office that 216 families had agreed to take the compensation offered by the company.  Mr. Sopheap said their complaints were submitted in 2014.
“Before we had a land dispute with tycoon Ly Yong Phat’s company, but now we agreed to get compensation, so the villagers must take these complaints back,” he said. Mr. Sopheap added that the company did not force them to agree on the compensation terms.
After he withdrew the complaints at EC, the villagers gathered at the National Assembly to announce the dispute had ended.  
“We also want to tell the National Assembly that our villagers already found a solution, so our dispute will not be continued. It is ended,” he said. Eang Vuthy, the Executive Director of EC, declined to comment, saying his NGO will release a statement at a later date.  
Sin Satha, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, told Khmer Times that it was a mutual, amicable decision by both parties.
“There are many way to resolve this dispute, but we tolerated each other, that is why we reached a solution,” he said.
Mr. Satha said that after his company recounted the residents who were involved in the land dispute, the number of residents increased from more than 200 families to 364 families.
The residents, as part of their campaign, protested against the ANZ Royal Bank, which partly funded the sugar company’s operation worth tens of millions of dollars, to start a new sugar plantation and build a refinery.
However, the relationship broke down over the company’s inadequate response to a detailed project plan developed by ANZ, which was designed to remedy longstanding concerns about the use of child labor, forced evictions and military-backed land grabs.
Those practices were condemned by NGOs in Cambodia and became the subject of media headlines in Australia in January 2014.

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