More than 200 markers planted illegally in Mondulkiri’s O’Raing district have been removed, with provincial authorities now on the lookout for those responsible for the crime.
O’Raing district governor Siek Mony told The Post on Saturday that some 10 police officers went to Sen Monorom commune after receiving reports that about 200 markers had been planted around a 100ha plot. The perpetrators who are still unidentified, he said, had aimed to encroach on state land for personal gain.
“We are searching for those that planted the stone markers so that they can work with local authorities to resolve the matter. If they have hard titles or another type of acceptable documentation, we will proceed to assist them according to the law,” he said.
He said it was not the first time people illegally planted markers in the area. Two similar cases were reported previously. In each of those cases, the authorities removed the markers, but no one came forward to claim responsibility.
This time, Mony said, the authorities are looking for the perpetrators so that they can be held accountable.
He said a company owns a pine plantation adjacent to the affected land. However, that company’s land is not registered because it overlaps with state land. A working group is scheduled to visit the area soon to determine the boundaries of the land owned by the company.
O’Raing district deputy police chief Thai Vannak said his forces joined Saturday’s operation to remove the markers.
“We went down to remove the markers. Unfortunately, I don’t know who the land belongs to, or if it has been sold,” he said.
Adhoc provincial coordinator Eang Mengly said he was aware of the case, although he has not been to the site, and applauded the authorities for intervening.
“If we allow this to happen, more cases will take place and it will make things very difficult. We have to search for those trying to encroach on state land. The fact that this is the second or third time it happens means the authorities are not implementing the law strictly,” he said.