Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Commune chief accused of clearing state forestland

Commune chief accused of clearing state forestland

Tractors sit on an area of illegally cleared forestland in Kampong Thom province's Sandan district. Photo supplied
Tractors sit on an area of illegally cleared forestland in Kampong Thom province's Sandan district. Photo supplied

Commune chief accused of clearing state forestland

A Forestry Administration official said yesterday that authorities have filed a court complaint accusing a commune chief in Kampong Thom province of clearing protected state forestland for private sale.

Sao Vanny, chief of the Forestry Administration for Sandan district, said that two tractors were seized during a crackdown on illegal forest clearing on Friday, and that authorities had also found about 3.5 hectares of forestland cleared for sale.

“After a few days of investigation, authorities realised that both tractors belonged to Huot Chheang, the chief of Sroeung commune,” Vanny said. “The authorities have made a case to charge him with secretly clearing reserved forestland of the state.”

Reached yesterday, Chheang denied that the area cleared was state-owned, claiming that a cashew farmer named “Heang” rented 5 hectares to his son.

“Before clearing, I asked for permission from the district governor . . . and [he] told me that clearing a five-hectare farm can be decided by the commune authorities if the land is private,” he said.

“Therefore, I decided to allow my son to take the job.”

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,