Thai firm Koh Kong Sugar meets with Cambodian families who allege company illegally took their land

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27 October 2014

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

“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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11 November 2013

Thai Sugar Firm Meets With Koh Kong Evictees

Author: Peter Zsombor & Chansy Chhorn, Cambodia Daily

Koh Kong Sugar has offered to settle its yearslong dispute with Cambodian families who accuse its plantations of stealing their land, but the farmers remain wary of being able to secure a fair deal. The firm, a subsidiary of Thailand’s Khon Kaen Sugar Industry Limited (KSL), made the offer during a meeting Saturday in Bangkok with community representatives and the NGOs helping them. The 200 families say the loss of their farms to KSL’s two sugarcane plantations in Koh Kong province has driven them into poverty, and they want the land back. But Teng Kao, a representative of the families, said the firm preferred to pay them off…Koh Kong Sugar’s general manager, Thanakorn Burintarachart, who represented KSL at the meeting, did not respond to a request for comment.

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26 June 2013

Case profile: Koh Kong sugar plantation lawsuits (re Cambodia)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre case profile for lawsuit against Tate & Lyle and T&L Sugars Limited (a subsidiary of American Sugar Refining) in the UK. The plaintiffs maintain that they remain the legal owners of the land on which the Koh Kong companies grew sugar, and are claiming compensation for the profit from selling the sugar.]

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