The people of Preah Vihear, Cambodia are currently engaged in a struggle for their land and life. Sugarcane fields are slowly replacing their communities due to the corporate takeover of Chinese conglomerate Guangdong Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co., Ltd.
Hengfu is a Chinese state-owned agribusiness mainly producing diversified sugar products. In Ferbuary 2011, in partnership with Zhanjiang Huada Trading Co. Ltd., it acquired a total of 42,422 economic land concession (ELC) license from the government of Cambodia. It was able to circumvent the 10,000-hectare legal limit for investors through its five subsidiaries, namely: Lan Feng, Rui Feng, Heng Nong, Heng Rui, and Heng You.
The concessions directly impact 25 villages, inhabited by more than 23,000 people including Indigenous Kui, in ten communes.
On 9-12 September 2018, local and foreign investigators joined an International Fact-Finding Mission (IFFM) on the economic land concession (ELC) granted by the Royal Cambodian Government to Chinese-owned company Guangdong Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co.,Ltd. in the Province of Preah Vihear, north of Cambodia. The IFFM was organized by the Ponlok Khmer (PKH), Peoples’ Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), International Indigenous People’s Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP), and Asian Peasant Coalition (APC). It was participated by Cambodian Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA), Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Organization (CIPO), Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Association (CIPA), Coalition of Cambodia Farmers Community(CCFC), Borneo Dayak Forum (BDF), Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand (SPFT), Cambodia Youth Network (CYN) and Youth for Food Sovereignty (YFS).
The group consisted of six delegates from the Philippines, two from Thailand, two from Sabah, and 15from Cambodia. Divided into six teams, they gathered data through key informant interview (KII) and focus group discussion (FGD) for two days(10-11 September) in eight villages – Boh, Breus Ka’ak,Sambo, Chuk Chey, Kalaot, Prame, Srae Preang, and Samraong. Two of the six teams experienced harassment from the local police during data gathering: team Breus Ka’ak and team Sambo-Chuk Chey. The former was only able to visit the Breus Ka’ak village on Day 1, while the latter was not able to complete the FGD in Chuk Chey village on Day 2.
12,280 ha to Heng Nong, Heng Rui 12,815 ha, Heng Yu 13,014 ha, Lan Feng 11,539 ha, and Rui Feng 11,537 ha.