Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kampong Speu rangers dismantle 22 cottages, reclaim 299ha

Kampong Speu rangers dismantle 22 cottages, reclaim 299ha

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rangers dismantle huts built without permission in a protected area in Kampong Speu. Chea Hean

Kampong Speu rangers dismantle 22 cottages, reclaim 299ha

In the first five months of this year, Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary rangers demolished 22 cottages and reclaimed 299ha as state land.

Sanctuary head Hul Mara told The Post on May 20 that from January 1 to May 20, rangers were constantly finding illegally built structures and land encroachment.

“Nobody was arrested and sent to court. We are constantly cracking down on offences because when a cottage was demolished in one place, offenders would move to another location,” he said.

Chea Hean, director of the environmental watchdog Anti-Corruption, Natural Resource Protection and Civil Rights Protection, said the sanctuary and Kirirom National Park suffered daily deforestation and land grabbing although rangers regularly patrolled the areas. Offenders always changed locations to disguise themselves as poor people.

“This is not encroachment by poor people. These cottages are built by traders who used the poor as a front. At first sight, the cottages look like they were built by poor people. In fact, they are not – traders grab the land for sale,” he said.

Hean urged the authorities to enforce the law more strictly.

“If we enforce the law and arrest offenders, the crimes will end. But the authorities and specialists remain lenient, only making them sign a letter promising not to repeat their offence and then set them free. This would only embolden offenders,” he said.

In response, Mara explained that specialists could not arrest offenders because they had fled before officers arrived at the scene.

“The offenders do not dare come near us. When we go to a place, they flee, leaving the cottages behind. We burn the structures and reclaim the land for the state,” he said.


  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished