Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Land-clearing confusion

Land-clearing confusion

Land-clearing confusion

110530_5
Villagers in Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district gather to prevent who they believe are officials from a private company planning to clear their land on Saturday.

More than 1,000 villagers from Battambang’s Sampov Loun district and Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district mistakenly detained three officials from the Ministry of Environment for five hours on Saturday.

Mom Phalla, an officer at the inspection department of the Ministry of Environment, said yesterday that he and a team were clearing a boundary for the 9,100-hectare Roneam Daun Sam wildlife sanctuary when they were unexpectedly detained by hundreds of local residents.

He added that one official had escaped the mob while he and two colleagues – Sen Vichet and Mom Yannoun – were detained from 10am to 3pm because the villagers thought they were clearing local farmland as part of an economic land concession.

“The villagers carried cleavers and axes to threaten us and they detained us at the place where we were clearing the land, depriving us of food and hitting me many times, but not so seriously,” he said. It wasn’t until local journalists arrived on the scene and cleared up the confusion that the officials were released, he added.

Mom Phalla said he did not plan to file a complaint against the villagers because the incident was purely a misunderstanding.

Heng La, a Malai district resident, said that on May 8, the Sampov Loun district governor had told local villagers that an economic land concession of 4,095 hectares had been granted to the Suon Mean Sambath company, from which villagers believed the environment officials had come.

Sampaov Loun Governor Chum Serb said yesterday that the wildlife sanctuary was state-owned, not private.

“We will educate [the villagers] to understand the land clearing for the wildlife sanctuary boundary,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s