Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Apsara set to pursue legal action against resident over construction

Apsara set to pursue legal action against resident over construction

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The constructions have encroached on cultural heritage land in two locations of the Trapaing Hephka irrigation dyke area. Supplied

Apsara set to pursue legal action against resident over construction

The Apsara Authority will dismantle constructions that have encroached on cultural heritage land in two locations of the Trapaing Hephka irrigation dyke area and forward one of the cases to court because the owner refused to follow the authority’s instruction.

In early October, Apsara Authority’s General Department director-general Hang Pov sent a series of letters to three individuals – Chhit Sodaing, Yun Sokhorn and Pum Sokhunthea – ordering them to dismantle the constructions.

The constructions have encroached on the southern part of the area in Bos Kralanh village, Chreav commune of Siem Reap province.

The Apsara Authority has also taken administrative action, including building a case file to be referred to the court as the residents had failed to cooperate.

Apsara National Authority spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on Sunday that after a series of negotiations, one resident agreed to dismantle the construction on his own, but two others still refused to cooperate with the authority.

The Apsara Authority will proceed to take the cases of the two owners to court so that they would be held responsible for encroachment on national cultural heritage land and refusing to follow the authority’s instruction.

“The illegal constructions will be dismantled, but we still cannot set a timeframe. Residents who fail to follow instructions will face legal action.

“Chhit Sodaing agreed to dismantle it on his own, but Yun Sokhorn still refuses to do so. We haven’t met the other resident but we will not allow him to continue with such violation anymore,” Kosal stressed.

Apsara Authority’s legal representative Sun Socheat said that if the authority submitted a complaint to court, the residents would take legal action under articles of the Land Law and the Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage.

Sokhorn told The Post on Sunday that he did not object to dismantling his construction. But he requested the authority reconsider his case and enforce the law equally. He claimed that there are many other constructions in the area, but the Apsara Authority didn’t require them to be dismantled.

“[There is] no law to destroy the properties [construction]. This case is unfair and is a threat against residents,” he claims.

Expressing his dissatisfaction, Sokhorn said he would submit letters to the provincial governor and Prime Minister Hun Sen asking for intervention in the case.

Bos Kralanh village chief Pheach Phong told The Post on October 24 that there are more than 20 families who are all indigenous people in the area. The Trapaing Hephka was only incorporated as an archaeological area in 2015, but the residents have been depending on the area for their livelihood since 1979.

If the Apsara Authority wanted to evict the residents and dismantle the construction, it should be done through more lenient means. They should not be taking legal action against the residents.

“The Apsara Authority is doing it hurriedly. I have asked for enforcement action to be delayed in my case. We should review the situation comprehensively first before enforcing the law.

“As I said, there are only three families who have been ordered to dismantle the construction. We should delay it for discussion and explore all possible solutions first because the residents have lived in the area for a long time,” he said.

Trapaing Hephka was designated an archaeological area and the Apsara Authority is obliged to protect and conserve it as a property of national cultural heritage.

All activities of clearing, building new constructions, digging, destroying, changing the appearance of the archaeological area without permission is akin to destroying national cultural heritage, according to the Apsara Authority.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen