Tuoi Tre News
June 8, 2013
Shortly after Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group and the Vietnam
Rubber Group (VRG) were accused by London-based environment watchdog
Global Witness of being involved in deforestation activities in Laos and
Cambodia, local authorities of the two nations have voiced their
support for the companies.
HAGL, a property developer and multi-sector corporation, current
operates several rubber projects in Laos and Cambodia, and was alleged
by the Global Witness to have destroyed the forests there to make space
for the plantations.
HAGL and VRG are also accused of having acquired more than 200,000
hectares of land through a series of deals with the Lao and Cambodian
Governments that lacked transparency, according to the Vietnam News
During a reception of Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Ngo Anh Dung on
Friday, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly asserted that the
Vietnamese investors in Cambodia, including the rubber firms, have
contributed greatly to the economic development of the country.
The Deputy Prime Minister completely rejected the false information of
Global Witness and the Radio Free Asia that the VRG and HAGL have
destroyed the environment and claimed land plots from the locals in
Cambodia, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
The Vietnamese firms in general, and the rubber companies in
particular, have strictly adhered to the Cambodian laws, respect the
local customs and traditions, and protect the environment during the
process of their projects, he pressed.
He also criticized that Global Witness used photos taken during the
regime of the Khmer Rouge to accuse the Vietnamese rubber firms of
The organization also created false witnesses to allege that the
Vietnamese companies have violently prevented local residents to work on
their land plots.
The Global Witness accusation is also deemed illogical by Laotian
authorities, according to the June 3 report by the Vietnam News Agency.
[Global Witness]’s allegation is groundless argument made towards the
VRG and HAGL -- enterprises that have hugely invested in Laos, Sithong
Chitnhothinh, head of Press Department under the Lao Foreign Ministry
told reporters at a press briefing on June 3.
No force can ruin the special friendship, solidarity and comprehensive
cooperation between Laos and Vietnam, Sithong Chitnhothinh was quoted by
newswire Vietnam+ as saying.
A story on Pathet Lao newspaper on May 21 also said that the Vietnamese
firms have greatly contributed to socio-economic development in Laos by
generating jobs and enhancing living conditions for local people.