Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police arrest 23 for illegal land clearing

Police arrest 23 for illegal land clearing

Police arrest 23 for illegal land clearing

Twenty-three villagers were arrested on Monday in Kratie province’s Prek Prasap district by district and provincial officials for clearing destroyed forest land for plantations.

Villager Vi Reak said that the 23 villagers had arrived recently in Prek Prasap commune from Kampong Cham province.

“Villagers who clear the land for farming to feed themselves face arrest, but when powerful people clear over 100 hectares to sell to a private company, nobody takes action,” said Vi Reak.

Vi Reak said that the villagers had seen district officials, the provincial governor and an official from Phnom Penh clearing the land to sell it to businesses.

“It is unjust for the poor,” said Vi Reak. “Our villagers dared not help them because they are newcomers.”

Provincial Police Chief Choung Seang Hak said the villagers were arrested by the district governor and provincial environmental and forestry officials.

“This case did not involve us,” said Choung Seang Hak. “We just accompanied them to avoid violence.”

Prek Prasap District Police Chief Soum Sokhim, said that the villagers had been sent to provincial police headquarters.

“I don’t know why they were arrested,” said Soum Sokhim. “I just got unclear information that they cleared the forest to take the land.”

Prek Prasap First Deputy Commune Chief Ben Born said that the government had granted the land as a social concession for villagers in Prek Prasap.

“I don’t know whether those villagers are mine or coming from elsewhere,” said Ben Born, adding that he did not know what was behind the arrests.

Provincial prosecutor Mak Tany declined to comment, saying that he had not yet receive the case.

Provincial Forestry Administration officials could not be reached for comment.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all