Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Forest clearing’ arrest provokes road closure

‘Forest clearing’ arrest provokes road closure

‘Forest clearing’ arrest provokes road closure

A group of 50 villagers yesterday briefly blocked National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk province as part of a protest demanding that provincial authorities release a 34-year-old woman arrested for allegedly clearing land in the Kbal Chhay forest, which officials had been campaigning to protect.

Em Kunthea, 34, was arrested by police at about 7 or 8am as she took her children to school, said her husband, Pov Veasna, 37. Within an hour of her arrest, villagers had begun to block the road. By 11am, nearly 100 of them were at the door of the provincial police station demanding Kunthea be released.

She remained in custody as of late afternoon yesterday. “I was panicking when I heard that my wife was arrested over clearing forest [land]” Veasna said. “How can she clear the big forest at Kbal Chhay? She just went to pick up wood for cooking, and we have lived here for nearly 20 years.”

Provincial Governor Yum Min, speaking at a hastily assembled press conference, said that officials recently met to discuss stringent measures to protect the Kbal Chhay area.

“There are still villagers from Sihanouk and from other provinces that come to clear that land,” he said. “Authorities must take strict action to combat illegal clearing in this area.”

Cheap Sothreary, a provincial coordinator for Adhoc, said Kunthea’s family had sought the rights group’s assistance, but witnesses are needed to help prove her innocence.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.