Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Families instructed to remove illegal huts near Phnom Kulen




Families instructed to remove illegal huts near Phnom Kulen

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Siem Reap authorities ordered over 1,000 families to demolish huts they had illegally built on state land near Phnom Kulen National Park. Photo supplied

Families instructed to remove illegal huts near Phnom Kulen

The Banteay Srei district authority in Siem Reap province ordered some 1,000 families to dismantle hundreds of huts they had illegally built to grab state land near Phnom Kulen, in Tbeng Lech village and Srah Khvav village in Tbeng commune.

District governor Khim Finan said on Wednesday that the authority issued a letter to 948 families on October 25, ordering them to immediately stop their illegal activities and demolish the huts within seven days.

“The land issue at the place is ongoing, but in the last few months, they had grabbed more land and constructed hundreds of additional huts.

“Each hut was built with just four small pillars and a few pieces of zinc. People cannot live in such huts because they just built it to grab state land,” he said.

Finan said the authority did not want to take legal action and dismantle the huts but instead ordered them to demolish the huts themselves.

Some people were aware of the announcement, while some were not. Therefore, he said the authority decided to give them another three or four days to carry out the dismantling, otherwise, it will do the job for them next week.

“The authority wishes to solve the issue peacefully and does not want to dismantle them. But if we demolish the huts, there will likely be a confrontation even though the people are wrong. But removing the huts will help prevent further forest crime from occurring,” Finan said.

The grabbed land is partly under the jurisdiction of the forestry administration and partly belongs to the Phnom Kulen National Park.

“If we don’t stop the land grab, it will happen more often. Phnom Kulen is a world heritage site and if we don’t’ prevent land grabs from happening, in the next few months the problem will reach the entrance to Phnom Kulen,” he said.

He noted that some of the land grabbers were locals, while others were land activists from other areas.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said some land grabs were carried out under incitement from land brokers who instructed the people to grow bananas, mango, jackfruits, cashews and corn.

They cleared the land by burning the forest and demarcated it to claim ownership, alleging that they had been working the land for a long time.

“To prevent land grabs at protected areas, the ministry has worked with the relevant authorities to take serious action against such illegal activities,” he said.

Chan Chamroeun, the provincial monitor for right groups Adhoc, said he is investigating the matter.

“I just got information about the authority’s order to demolish the huts and we don’t know if the people will adhere to the instruction or not,” Chamroeun said.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,