Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ex-CNRP commune official arrested

Ex-CNRP commune official arrested

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ouk Chetny (second from left) and his father-in-law Sam Sun (beside him) are photographed outside the provincial court. Photo supplied

Ex-CNRP commune official arrested

A former Cambodia National Rescue Party commune chief and his father-in-law were put into pretrial detention on Tuesday in Preah Sihanouk province for allegedly encroaching state forestland.

Environmental rangers and military forces in the province’s Kbal Chhay area arrested Ouk Chetny and his father-in-law, Sam Sun, 58, on Monday. They were sent to the provincial court the following day.

Lim Bunheng, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court prosecutor, said Chetny and Sun were charged with logging, burning and clearing the forestland for private ownership.

Sam Pheak, Chetny’s wife, said her husband and father were arrested by soldiers while they were clearing forestland for farming and cultivation, which, she claimed, her family had bought last year from a local resident.

She said the arrests were unfair because many families were clearing the forestland for planting crops at the time as well, but the soldiers only detained them.

“If they find them guilty, the authorities should issue a public warning or create contracts to stop people from committing the crime again as the land has no sign that says it belongs to the state. I even bought the land from other villagers,” Pheak said.

The provincial Environment Department director, Samut Sothearith, said that any individual who violates a sub-decree involving protected areas will be punished. “The forestland there is a protected area of the state and our officials regularly conduct patrols. Therefore, we have to enforce the law if there is a violation,” he said.

Chieb Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the organisation is monitoring the case.

“I have not studied the land matter yet, but the court was too hasty in its decision to detain them. It should free them on bail and launch a more thorough investigation because there are many irregularities in the case,” Sotheary claimed.

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • Chinese firms to build new PP airport

    Three enterprises, all Chinese-owned, have been chosen to build the new airport that will service the Cambodian capital, the company in charge of the project said. Cambodia Airport Investment Co Ltd said a total of five companies had entered the bidding process. Yee Con Long,

  • Shipments of mango to South Korea poised to begin this week

    Exports of Cambodian mangoes to South Korea will begin this week after Korean authorities gave the nod. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Department of Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements director Ker Monthivuth told The Post on Sunday that after several inspections of

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Jica seeks to turn PP, towns into smart cities

    Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) representatives have sought support from Siem Reap’s Apsara National Authority (ANA) to transform the ancient capital into a smart city. The call was made in February last year after the government approved three cities to join the Asean Smart