The Damnak Chang’aeur district Unified Command Committee on Tuesday demolished a concrete fence that was illegally built to encroach on flooded forest land in Angkorl commune’s Angkorl village in Kep province.

Damnak Changaur district governor Kim Channy told The Post that while the authorities at all levels were busy launching a campaign to educate citizens about measures to halt the Covid-19 pandemic, a handful of opportunists had illegally planted markers and erected a stone fence surrounding state-owned- land.

“Now, police forces are going down to demolish the markers and the fence that was built to encroach on the land. The police issued a letter informing the builders to come in and resolve these problems after the Khmer New Year,” he said.

He said erecting the markers and constructing the fence was an attempt to occupy state property as privately-owned. It wasn’t the first time. Last year, soil was used to fill in a mangrove forest and markers were planted to surround it. But the authorities stepped in to take preventive measures.

Damnak Chang’aeur Fisheries Administration head Chak Sineath told The Post on Tuesday that a technical committee is now measuring and verifying the size of the land damaged by the planting of the markers and the fence to build a case to be referred to the provincial Fisheries Administration for review and further legal action.

“For now we have still not summed up the size of the land that was occupied by some villagers and traders. The case of planting the markers and erecting the fence happened in separate places,” he said.

However, he said that some property owners had collaborated with specialists and local authorities to gradually demolish and adjust their markers protruding into state land.

Concerning the move to tear down the illegal fence, Kep provincial governor Ken Satha said on Tuesday that the provincial authorities would take the strictest legal action.

“We have to take measures to demolish all illegal construction, especially the erecting of stone fences surrounding this state land,” he said.