Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Alleged land grab in Phnom Oral area

Alleged land grab in Phnom Oral area

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chea Hean has claimed that Kampong Speu authorities colluded with a village representative to grab land in the Phnom Pral area. FACEBOOK

Alleged land grab in Phnom Oral area

Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation director Chea Hean requested Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang to take back 243ha of land in Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary as state property.

Hean claimed that local authorities colluded with a village representative to grab the land for sale.

The letter to Samnang dated December 9, which was accepted by the provincial hall on Friday, complained to the governor about issuing land titles to El Sara, a representative of 25 families who allegedly grabbed 243ha of land in the protected area.

They prepared the land for sale for $1,900 per hectare, causing a wildlife sanctuary to lose part of its land, which was gazetted by a 1993 royal decree.

“[I] asked the governor to investigate and annul any letters sent to the ministries of Environment and Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction or the cabinet [through the governor] to help obtain the land in Doung village, Oral district's Tasal commune and revoke it for state property,” wrote Hean in the letter.

Hean told The Post on Sunday that according to the law, no one can be authorised to grab land in a wildlife sanctuary. But, in this case, the people and village and commune authorities [allegedly] colluded with help from environment and land officials to grab land for sale.

"They persuaded the people to thumbprint documents to possess the land so that the government would cut it for them on the grounds that it is their plantation.

"The decision to cut the land came about because the officials did not know that it was located inside the wildlife sanctuary as they only saw the documents with thumbprints sealed by the village, commune, district and provincial authorities," he claimed.

“First, they planned to issue land titles for the villagers, and then transfer ownership from them to others. They could directly grab the land, but used the people to get land ownership documents to send it to Prime Minister Hun Sen,” he claimed.

According to a letter on the land trade, it was sold to a broker for $1,900 per hectare on February 28. Now the broker is attempting to sell the land for $3,500 per hectare when he gets the land titles from the people, Hean claimed.

“Next week, authorities will issue the land titles for them and anyone who disagrees can file a complaint. So, as an NGO director [and to protect the land], I wrote [to the governor] to revoke it,” he said.

Provincial Department of Environment director Em Sokun denied the allegations, saying that Hean had just made accusations without evidence, affecting other people's rights.

“There is no cutting of land in the wildlife sanctuary for the people. It’s just defamation … no one has the right to grab state land for sale,” he stressed.

Samnang said he had not yet seen the letter from Hean, but that any attempt to possess land in a wildlife sanctuary is not permitted.

“I haven’t read the complaint letter yet, so I don’t know what to say [about the case],” Samnang said.

Hean also said he would file another letter to the provincial court to seek legal action against people who had colluded to grab the land.

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.