Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Apsara Authority gives families two days to remove illegal buildings

Apsara Authority gives families two days to remove illegal buildings

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Illegal buildings were deemed to violate building regulations in Trapaing Hephka dam in Siem Reap province’s Chriev commune. Supplied

Apsara Authority gives families two days to remove illegal buildings

The Apsara Authority on Tuesday gave three families two days to remove buildings deemed to violate building regulations in Trapaing Hephka dam in Siem Reap province’s Chriev commune.

Apsara Authority’s General Department director-general Hang Pov had initially sent letters in early October to Chhit Sodaing, Yun Sokhorn and Pum Sokunthea, instructing them to remove their offending buildings.

The authority warned that if the three failed to comply with the order they would be subject to administrative measures, including the possibility of sending the case to court.

Apsara Authority spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on Wednesday that after a recent meeting with the three families, they each requested a further two days to comply with the order to remove their buildings.

“In the meeting, the families accepted what they did was wrong and illegal, and they also showed their willingness to participate in the maintenance of [Siem Reap’s] cultural heritage.

“They asked us to give them two days, deciding that they would remove the structures themselves rather than face court action,” he said.

However, Kosal said that when the initial deadline arrived they refused to remove the buildings. Consequently, he said, the Apsara Authority set a final deadline of Thursday before legal proceedings would be brought against them.

“On Thursday we will know what they will do, and we will implement our work [filing a complaint to court] without any delay. We will also remove the illegal buildings,” he said.

Trapaing Hephka dam, located in Bos Kralanh village, is one of the province’s many areas designated as ancient.

The Apsara Authority is responsible for ensuring the protection and conservation of Cambodia’s national heritage in these ancient areas. It regularly cracks down on all unauthorised construction, digging and changes to the landscape.

Sokhorn, the owner of one of the illegal buildings in question, told The Post that he will remove the structure himself, though he claims it is situated on ancestral land.

“We will remove the building as required in order not to affect our honour and reputation, as I have also done good deeds like building roads. It is a difficult situation to resolve, but we will try to do so following the law.

“Though it is our ancestral land, if they [designate] it as an ancient area, then we have to comply,” he said.

Sun Socheat, the Apsara Authority’s legal representative, told The Post that his lawyers had already prepared documents, should the residents once again fail to comply with the order.

Should the case go to court, he said, the Apsara Authority will cite articles from the Land Law and the Law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage to get the buildings removed and have the offenders punished.

MOST VIEWED

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will