PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Two Cambodian employees accused of participating in an alleged land grab by a Chinese company have been released from detention by ethnic minority villagers, an official and an activist said Wednesday.
The pair, bulldozer drivers for the Chinese firm, were held late Monday while they were trying to raze farmland claimed by the Kuoy ethnic minority villagers in Preah Vihear province.
Several hundred villagers armed with farm tools including axes surrounded the bulldozers and took the men captive – but released them late Tuesday, a district official said.
“We are now working with the villagers to avoid future violence,” said Ung Vuthy, governor of Tbeng Meanchey district.
The Kuoy, one of the largest ethnic minority groups in southern Cambodia, say they have lived on the land since the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.