Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t cancels public claims of ownership in sanctuary



Gov’t cancels public claims of ownership in sanctuary

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Environmental officials inspect Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary in Sandan district, Kampong Thom province​ in 2020. Environment Ministry

Gov’t cancels public claims of ownership in sanctuary

The government has repealed all previously issued letters certifying sales, purchases, transfers, occupation or ownership of any land within the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary.

The decision was made following an investigation into land disputes between 188 families and environmental officials in Kampong Thom province.

The disputed land is located within the Tabok and Dey Krahom area of Sandan district’s Sochetr commune.

A letter from the Council of Ministers permanent secretary of state Hing Thoraksy informing the environment minister and provincial governor of the repeals was seen by The Post on January 28.

The letter said Reaksmey Khemara Party delegates had provided evidence as to the rightful owners of the land in a dispute between the 188 families and Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary rangers.

The letter further states that the government had allowed the provincial administration, along with the Sandan district and Sochetr commune authorities, to repeal all letters certifying the status of any land within the sanctuary.

The letter also instructed the provincial and Sandan district administrations to look into the background of Hien Toy Company to determine the identities of the owners and employees in case they are found to be encroaching on land in the sanctuary so that legal action can then be taken.

According to the letter, the environment ministry in cooperation with the provincial and district administrations has inspected the area and determined the boundaries of the disputed locations in the commune.

The letter goes on to specify that land will be allocated to those people who have been relying on it for their livelihoods or occupying it continuously for a long period of time, and new letters to certify ownership will be issued to them once the allocations are made.

Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra declined to comment on the matter.

Provincial governor Sok Lou declined to provide details, saying he had not received the directive issued by the Council of Ministers.

“I haven’t seen the letter yet so I don’t have a grip on the current situation,” he said.

Reaksmey Khemara Party vice-president Hem Braseur said now that the Council of Ministers has issued this latest directive he expects that the disputed land in the Tabok and Dey Krahom area will be returned to the families who were living on it.

“I hope that the land will be returned to the people and that no one will encroach on the land further,” he said.

Citing claims by those living in the disputed area, he said they have lived and relied on the land for their livelihoods as far back as 2007.

He said there are more than 180 families living on over 1,850ha prior to it being designated as part of the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Back then, it was not yet designated a wildlife sanctuary. The people lived there and occupied the land for many years and grew cashew and rubber trees. You can see that the trees they planted have grown quite large now.

“But then the government issued a sub-decree designating the area as Prey Lang [sanctuary]. It may be marked on the map as Prey Lang, but the truth is that it isn’t a part of Prey Lang and never really was,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American