More than 55,000 people have joined an online petition set up by a pair of French nongovernment groups urging the European Union (E.U.) to immediately launch an investigation into local sugar plantations accused of illegally evicting hundreds of Cambodian families. At the center of the dispute are a pair of Koh Kong province plantations jointly owned by Thai and Taiwanese firms accused of stealing land from local farmers, sometimes violently. U.K. firm Tate & Lyle has been importing the sugar duty free under the E.U.ís Everything But Arms (EBA) trade scheme, and the Koh Kong families want the benefits from
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