Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land clearing alleged in Samlot forest area

Land clearing alleged in Samlot forest area

Land clearing alleged in Samlot forest area

Settlers and rangers have cleared 200 hectares of Samlot Protected Forest in Battambang and Pailin provinces, according to local authorities and staff of the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which is helping to protect the area.

An authority in Krachab Krom village in Pailin’s O’Tavao commune, who did not wish to be named, said that newcomers have been clearing land near six villages and planting crops such as cassava and corn on the cleared land.

“They are not local people, but migrants, and we do not know where they come from,” he said.

He added that forestry officials working in the area also clear the land, to a greater degree than simple villagers.

“The destroyer is the protector,” he said. “The environmental officers usually clear and grab dozens of hectares.”

An operational officer from the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, who also asked not to be named, said that since August, more than 10 hectares of forest have been cleared and two houses have been built.

A foundation spokesman was unavailable for comment.

Thorn Kimhong, director of the Samlot protected area, said he is taking legal measures against the land clearers, having inspected some of the newly erected houses last week.

“I forwarded a lawsuit to the court recently. Now, I am tracing another clearing case,” he said. “They rampantly clear the land. I will investigate whenever the land clearing occurs.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the

  • Royal Group's Koh Rong luxury hotel officially opens

    The Royal Sands Koh Rong hotel on Monday marked its official launch as the first luxury resort on Cambodia’s most visited island. Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the inauguration of the hotel, which has been open since December, and features rooms priced at