No justice for Indigenous community taking on a Cambodian rubber baron

The mood outside the Kampong Thom Provincial Court had grown tense on the afternoon of July 26. Some 12 residents of Ngon village, an Indigenous Kuy community in Kampong Thom province’s Sandan district, waited for the judge’s verdict.

The group had spent roughly $200 traveling the 75 kilometers (47 miles) to the provincial capital, a substantial sum for the subsistence farmers, to show their support to Chan Lay Phiek, daughter of the community’s second deputy chief, Heng Saphen.

Lay Phiek had been summoned by the court as part of a long-running land dispute between the Kuy community and Sambath Platinum, a Cambodian rubber company that was given a 2,496-hectare (6,168-acre) land concession within Beng Per Wildlife Sanctuary in December 2011.

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Gerald Flynn, Vutha Srey