Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Encroachers vacate state land in Oddar Meanchey

Encroachers vacate state land in Oddar Meanchey

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A woman gives her thumbprints on a contract for the return of 16ha back to the state in Oddar Meanchey province on December 23. SUPPLIED

Encroachers vacate state land in Oddar Meanchey

With potential action by law enforcement officers and the possibility of court cases looming, a family in Pongro commune of Oddar Meanchey province’s Chongkal district has returned more than 16ha of land they had illegally occupied to the state.

Forestry Administration officials have been warning of legal action against those who defy the law and continue to occupy state land.

Provincial Forestry Administration director Im Savarith said on December 26 that the family in question had been encroaching on the land for some time now.

It was previously reserved for the placement of a broadcasting tower and the Pongro Chongkal forest rehabilitation station.

Savarith said the Forestry Administration previously instructed all parties involved in encroachment on the land to leave. Some families, he added, have now withdrawn but some have been stubborn and held out because they were cheated by others who sold the land to them without authorisation.

He said his administration will send those cases to court unless they voluntarily withdraw and sign a contract agreeing to stop using state land.

“We have initiated legal proceedings so we’re not in the education phase anymore because they are aware of what the government requires of them. But if they begin to act like responsible citizens before their time runs out, we can ask the leadership to dismiss their cases and remove their names from the list of offenders,” he said.

According to a contract signed by villagers identified as Ros Bun Thong and his wife Ham Poeut – both residents of Banteay Thmey village in Chongkal commune – the family was using and occupying state land because they thought they were the legitimate owners after another party claiming to own the land had fraudulently sold it to them.

“My family was cheated by a crook and lost thousands of dollars, but we don’t want to be targeted with legal action. Therefore, we are voluntarily giving control of the land back to the state,” the contract reads.

Panh Khan, chief of Pongro commune, said on December 26 that some people had grabbed state land to grow crops there. In the past, the commune authorities had also informed and advised the people doing so that it was illegal and they had no claims to ownership.

However, he said, those people claimed they were just using the land for agriculture for the time being and that they would not cause any problems and would leave whenever the state needed to use the land.

He said that over 60 families were now depending on the land set aside for the broadcasting tower and forest rehabilitation station, which covers an area of more than 100ha. He noted that some of the families occupied 5ha and others occupied 10ha or however much they were able to put under cultivation over the last two or three years.


  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • PM to open new Siem Reap int’l airport December 1

    Prime Minister Hun Manet and Chinese leaders would jointly participate in the official opening of the new Chinese-invested Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport on December 1. The airport symbolises a new page in the history of Cambodian aviation, which will be able to welcome long-distance flights to

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former

  • Minimum wage set at $204, after Sep 28 vote

    The minimum wage for factory workers in the garment, footwear and travel goods industries for 2024 has been decided at $204 per month, with the government contributing $2. Following several negotiation sessions, the tripartite talks reached an agreement during a September 28 vote, with 46 of 51 votes supporting the $202 figure.