Sre Ambel & Botumsakor Districts
In August 2006, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (MAFF) awarded two economic land concessions (ELCs) in BotumSakor and SreAmbel districts of Koh Kong province to Koh Kong Plantation Co. Ltd (KKPC) and the Koh Kong Sugar Co. Ltd. (KKSI) for industrial sugar production. 2 Both companies were formed out of a partnership between KSL Group of Thailand, Ve Wong Corporation of Taiwan and Senator Ly Yong Phat. 3 KSL currently holds a controlling 70 percent ownership stake in both companies 4 and Ve Wong Corporation holds a 30 percent stake. 5 Ly Yong Phat reportedly sold his shares to KSL in 2010.
The concessions cover 9,400 ha and 9,700 ha respectively for a duration of 90 years. While the concessions were technically issued to two separate Cambodian legal entities, KKPC and KKSI, the concessions are located side-by-side and have been developed into a single sugarcane plantation with a total area of 19,100 ha. The concessions are therefore in breach of Cambodian law, which prohibits the “issuance of land concession titles on several places relating to surface areas that are greater than [10,000 hectares] in favor of one specific person or several legal entities controlled by the same natural persons.”6
The concessions that were granted to KKPC and KKSI included land that was owned by local farmers in Chi Kha, TrapaingKandaol and Chouk villages of Chi KhaLeu Commune, SreAmbel District. According to the Cambodian legal aid organization, Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), which is providing legal representation to the affected villagers, 456 families were dispossessed by the concessions. 7.
The villagers hold documentation that attests to their possession rights under the 2001 Land Law. The private ownership of land inside the concession was also recognized by an inter-ministerial working group led by MAFF, which carried out a study of the land requested by the two companies in April 2006. The study states that, “the land requested by the two companies overlapped protected areas, development zone protection forest, concession forest, concession land and the land of local people.” 8
After forcibly seizing the villagers’ land in KSL opened a sugar-processing factory in SreAmbel in January 2010. Six months later, Cambodia’s first shipment of sugar in four decades, valued at roughly 3.31 million USD, left Koh Kong for the United Kingdom. 9 The 10,000 ton shipment was delivered to UK sugar giant Tate & Lyle.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koh_Kong_Province#/media/File:Cambodia_Koh_Kong_locator_map.svg. ↩
- Agreement for Plantation of Sugar Cane, and Processing Factory of Sugar Cane Between the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Koh Kong Sugar Industry Company Ltd (KKSI ELC Agreement), 02 August 2006; and Agreement for Plantation of Sugar Cane, and Processing Factory of Sugar Cane Between the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Koh Kong Plantation Company Ltd (KKPC ELC Agreement), 02 August 2006. Available at:http://www.opendevelopmentcambodia.net/company-profiles/. ↩
- AraneeJasmin, “KSL Joins Partners in Cambodia Venture,” Bangkok Post, Aug. 7, 2006. ↩
- KSL, “Annual Report 2011,” p. 16. Available at:http://www.kslsugar.com/contents/files/annualreport/annualreport-en-30042012-130902-686498.pdf. ↩
- “Ve Wong response to alleged human rights abuses and seizure of land by sugar companies in Cambodia,” 18 July 2012. Available at:http://www.business-humanrights.org/media/ve-wong-response-re-cambodian-sugar-18-jul-2012-en.doc. ↩
- Kingdom of Cambodia, Land Law (2001),Art. 59 . ↩
- United States State Department, ”US National Contact Point Public Statement: CLEC/ERI and ASR,” 20 June 2013. Available at: http://www.state.gov/e/eb/oecd/usncp/links/rls/210970.htm ↩
- Kingdom of Cambodia, “Minutes on the inspection of the location of concession land of Koh Kong International Resort Club Cambodia and Duty Free Shop Company at the total amount of 20,000 hectares for investment in planting agro-industrial crops (sugarcane) and construction of processing (white sugar) factory,” 12 April 2006 (unofficial English translation). ↩
- NguonSovan, “Kingdom gets back on track with overseas sugar exports,” Phnom Penh Post, 10 June 2010. ↩