The Apsara National Authority (ANA) declared that people can no longer sell or buy land in Angkor Archaeological Park, which is a world heritage site.
It warned that people will face the law if they don’t stop doing so. The announcement came after some people posted on Facebook that they were selling land there.
The ANA on Sunday posted on its Facebook page the Facebook account of Vannchheun Bonjour, who declared to sell a 10m by 20m plot of land near 60 Street, which is under ANA’s management.
The ANA also called for people not to buy land in this area and to contact it if they are curious about land management in Angkor Archaeological Park. This is to prevent damage to the interests of citizens.
“To practice procedure in conserving and developing Angkor Archaeological Park in a sustainable way, ANA calls on the owner of the Facebook account named Vannchheun Bonjour and other people who are announcing to sell land in this area through social media to stop their actions immediately,” its post said.
Rith Vannchheun, the owner of the Facebook account, told The Post on Monday that he admitted his error. He desperately needed money so he decided to post the land he bought from another citizen last year.
He bought it for almost $10,000 with the hope of being able to live there, as the sale was acknowledged by local authorities.
“I will not do it anymore. I have spent almost $10,000 to buy the land, but it ended up illegal and I cannot build any construction [on it].
“I also have taken part to protect the national heritage. I am disappointed as it is hard to earn money. I decided to sell it because I need money.
“I don’t have money to pay my debt to the bank. If I cannot sell this land, I will find other ways to make money. I regret spending money to buy this land,” he said.
ANA spokesman Long Kosal said on Monday that Angkor Archaeological Park has many important antiques which require a high level of protection (Zone 1), and areas that are full of antiques which require the ANA to prevent undesirable land use and development (Zone 2).
He said land in these areas are not allowed to be sold as per a royal decree released on May 28, 1994, on the zoning and management of the Siem Reap-Angkor region, and a decision from the government on November 16, 2004 about the use of land in Zone 1 and 2.
“Local authorities also abused the law because the Siem Reap provincial administration has already released a letter to local authorities to not sign land documents for sale and purchase in those protected areas.
“This is the responsibility under law by authorities in issuing letters on selling land,” Kosal said.
He said there has already been many cases that caused the ANA to file complaints to the provincial court against individuals who sell and buy land that are under the management of ANA.
He expressed hope that the message will warn people not to become victims by buying land in areas belonging to a world heritage site.