Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Landowner unwittingly begins clearing ‘ancient spirit forest’




Landowner unwittingly begins clearing ‘ancient spirit forest’

An excavator clears land in Kampong Thom province's Domrey Slab commune last week, which turned out to be a local spiritual forest. Photo supplied
An excavator clears land in Kampong Thom province's Domrey Slab commune last week, which turned out to be a local spiritual forest. Photo supplied

Landowner unwittingly begins clearing ‘ancient spirit forest’

A Kampong Thom landowner was stopped by provincial officials from clearing a piece of land used as a “spirit forest” by local villagers.

Chheng Ku, the landowner, was clearing around 40 hectares of land he bought for use as a paddy field, but received a complaint from provincial officials, who said locals were using the land as a religious site.

“The land [in the past] did not belong to anyone, and we reserved it as a worship place for use by everyone,” said Thiv Vanthy, director of the provincial Agriculture Department.

After Ku was summonsed to court and questioned, he reached a compromise with authorities and villagers to leave 2,500 square metres of the land untouched for locals to use, according to Sen Sopheap, Domrey Slab commune police chief.

“Ku ... agreed to donate 50 metres by 50 metres of Neak Ta Phor Ob because it is a spirit forest, which has been worshipped since ancient times,” Sopheap said, using the local name of the forest.

Seng Sarorn, Sangkum village chief, said the person who surveyed the land probably did not realise there was a small shrine there that people used to pray to the local spirits.

“There is a shrine there and it looks very simple, so the land official did not know there was a Neak Ta there and they included it in the land title,” Sarom said, referring to the forest spirit.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Passing the test: Is Cambodia’s education system failing its people?

    The Kingdom’s education system needs to grow its people but some flaws might stifle​ this growth Coming from the Khmer Rouge occupation, with the loss of many scholars and academicians and a collapsed government, the education system had to be reconstructed from scratch – one

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia