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Cambodia: Evictees in land dispute claim Thai company made them sign compensation agreements they can’t read – includes company comments

Author: Aun Pheap & Zsombor Peter, Cambodia Daily, Published on: 27 October 2014

“Evictees Sign Payout Deal They Can’t Read”, 27 October 2014

Some of the families in a protracted land dispute with a pair of Thai-owned sugar plantations in Koh Kong province say they were pressured…into signing compensation deals with the firms they could not read, because they were written in Thai, and without their lawyers present…Five of those families are among 200 involved in a class-action lawsuit filed in London against…firms that bought sugar from the plantations for two years—Tate & Lyle Industries and T & L Sugar…Thananot Tuaprakhon, a section manager for one of the plantations…initially told a reporter…that the documents were provided not only in Thai, but also in Khmer and English. However, when told that the villagers who took the cash claimed otherwise, Mr. Thananot said he was no longer sure...Thanakorn Burintarachart, the plantations’ general manager, invited the European Union and several rights groups to observe the payouts…Leigh Day [counsel of the villagers in the UK lawsuit] sent Mr. Thanakorn a letter asking him to hold off, so that the law firm and the Community Legal Education Center, a local NGO helping the families, could consult with and counsel their clients…But Mr. Thananot, the plantation section manager, said the meeting went ahead because KSL was eager to win back its U.K. buyer…

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Related companies: American Sugar Refining Khon Kaen Sugar Tate & Lyle Tate & Lyle Sugars (part of American Sugar Refining)