Kampot provincial authorities have warned some 100 families who have settled on land within Bokor National Park to leave or face eviction.
In a letter, the authorities say the families are living illegally on state land in Chhouk district’s Decho Aphivat commune that is part of the national park. The document requests the group leave voluntarily or face legal action.
Speaking yesterday, Kampot’s Deputy Governor Sim Vuthea said the residents claimed they were ex-soldiers belonging to the Cambodian Veterans Association and were permitted to live at the site.
However, Vuthea said this was not the case, saying the 3,000-hectare area claimed by the 100 families was separate from a nearby social land concession for soldiers, which has also been the source of a land dispute.
“The Bokor National Park is a conservation area to protect trees and animals of the state,” he said.
“The area is not for veterans groups to live, but the residents make the excuse that they are from the veterans group.”
Lay Tith, a 55-year-old villager from Decho Aphivat commune, said most of the families – who the Post was unable to contact – were migrants from other provinces.
He said locals were worried there would be trouble if authorities took action. “We are afraid of violence if the authorities come to clear them if they don’t move,” he said.