Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘At a loss’ over land clearance



‘At a loss’ over land clearance

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Officlas from the fisheries administration destroy a land pole demarcating more than 50ha of mangrove forests in Preah Sihanouk province’s Stung Hav district. Photo supplied

‘At a loss’ over land clearance

The authorities are at a loss over who had cleared and demarcated more than 50ha of mangrove forests in Village I, Tumnob Rolok commune, Stung Hav district, in Preah Sihanouk province.

Kim Hak, who heads the community protecting the flooded Tumnob Rolok forest and the chief of Village I, told The Post on Wednesday that after the land price in the province kept rising, unidentified people went to the area to clear the mangrove forests.

“Mangrove land was illegally cleared, while a working team from the fisheries authority and the mangrove protection community visited the land and removed poles marking its boundary that spanned between 50 and 60ha."

“We are investigating as we are unsure who planted the poles made of concrete and wood in the area where the mangrove forest was cleared,” he said.

Hak said the people who were responsible might be from Preah Sihanouk or Phnom Penh. What is certain, he said, is that they were not from his community.

“People who cleared the forest land planted the poles to mark its boundary, while there are others trying to clear the mangrove forest reserve because its price in Preah Sihanouk province increased by a lot,” he said.

After fisheries authorities inspected the site to remove and destroy the poles, it launched an investigation to seek out and apprehend the intruders.

“We are investigating to identify the offenders so that legal action can be taken against them. The fisheries administration has prepared the case documents and forwarded it [to higher authorities],” Hak said.

Stung Hav deputy governor Tep Mony said: “I led law enforcement officers to destroy the poles that the culprits had planted to mark the boundaries.

“In the past, people planted poles and grew coconut trees in the illegally cleared mangrove land,” he said.

Sun Sophat, who represented the community in Preah Sihanouk province told The Post that many ill-intended people cleared protected land and seized it as personal property, but the provincial authority failed to act in such matters.

“Now, it is happening not only in reserved areas, community areas, and Stung Hav district’s mangrove forests, but the illegal activities have expanded to the Ream National Park."

“Protected forests in Stung Hav and the Ream National Park were illegally cleared, while no one said anything. They not only cleared the forest but used excavators to clear the land too,” he said.

Sophat said heavy equipment was also used to gather the fallen trees. “I believe the clearing work was carried out by wealthy people who hired workers to flatten the mangrove forest,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • One million Chinese Covid-19 jabs to start rolling in from February

    The government has confirmed that Covid-19 vaccines from China are set to begin arriving in Cambodia by February. This came as the Ministry of Health recorded two imported cases of Covid-19 on January 18. While calling on people to remain vigilant against the pandemic, ministry spokeswoman