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Koh Kong authorities probe land clearing

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Rain forest has illegally cleared in Botum Sakor district. Supplied

Koh Kong authorities probe land clearing

Koh Kong provincial authorities are on the lookout for intruders who have illegally cleared at least two hectares of mangroves and beach land in Botum Sakor district.

Provincial environment department director Mon Phalla said officials had inspected the area around the Prek Andong Teuk stream in the district’s Andong Teuk and Thmar Sar communes, which are vulnerable to encroachment.

“I’ve assigned a task force to stop illegal land clearing. We inspected specific areas to find out if they can be used [for farming],” Phalla said.

He said individuals, not companies or prominent businessmen, have cleared the land.

“Some cleared it behind our back while some were paid to do it. We are working to collect evidence before taking legal action against them.

Botum Sakor district covers a total of 120,000 hectares. Andong Teuk commune chief Khieng Yin said he was unaware of the issue and that it is under the jurisdiction of environmental authorities.

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