The authorities will soon put an end to coastal land encroachment in Prey Nub district in Preah Sihanouk province as the area is earmarked for a tourism development project.
Prey Nub district governor Sar Kakada said he will come hard on those who violate the rules and continue to acquire land illegally.
“The land belongs to the Neakareach Tourism Development project in Preah Sihanouk province, and the authorities prohibit the building of new houses, sale or transfer of property rights."
“And authorities do not issue land title as well, especially since I became Prey Nub district governor. I have never issued land titles or permitted anyone to build new homes in the area,” he said.
The governor issued the warning after a wealthy family fenced a large plot of land along the coastal land at Poy Machov area, located in Korki village, Prey Nub district and eventually considered it as their private property.
Villagers are also unhappy as many living in the area for decades are not able to obtain land titles.
Kakada acknowledged that a family has acquired the plot of land and authorities are investigating the case and the identity of the landlord.
According to Phay Bun Vannak, Preah Sihanouk provincial deputy governor, the land is considered a forest cover and not many people live in the area, and authorities do not permit land clearing or sale of land there.
Last year, Poy Machov coast was included in the Neakareach Tourism Development project and any development is strictly disallowed, he said.
Vannak also acknowledged that two other families have taken possession of some plots but his officers prevented them from carrying out any construction.
“According to our inspection, three families have built fences and have land titles issued in 1999, 2006 and 2014 and the permission [to fence] was issued by Preah Sihanouk provincial governor in 2017. However, we asked them to stop it temporarily,” he said.
According to the property title issued in 1999, Peng Chea owns nine hectares, Vech Hong owns 20ha under the property title issued in 2006 and Lov Sokun owns 49ha under his title given in 2014.