The Koh Kong Provincial Administration is building a case against a man who allegedly forged documents claiming to represent nearly 1,000 families making requests to clear land in conservation and nature reserve areas in Koh Kong and Botum Sakor districts.
The move came after provincial deputy governor Sok Sothy called a meeting on June 4 regarding the claims made by Mey Chit, who had sought registration and certification for over 3,000ha supposedly on the families’ behalf.
Sothy said the provincial authorities had rejected the request, saying Chit was not actually authorised to represent anyone.
“This is just an individual who used people’s names without permission to claim to be their representative in order to request allocation of state land for private ownership. But this person has no documents of authorisation and no residents in the province have requested land title through him either,” he said.
Sothy said anyone requesting a land title or land allocation must apply to the provincial administration or through the village and commune authorities. The provincial hall will then follow procedures to inspect and prepare the land registration for them according to the law.
“Chit’s action is fraudulent. He is falsifying documents, stamps and people’s medals to make illegitimate requests to Prime Minister [Hun Sen], his cabinet and the provincial administration for land. When we checked the documents [we could see that] this person was a scammer,” he said.
Sothy added that the provincial administration is currently preparing a case file to submit to the provincial court to investigate and prosecute Chit for fraud.
According to Sothy, Chit does not live in Koh Kong but actually hailed from Battambang province. He said the over 60 thumbprints that Chit had attached to his requests are not those of residents in Koh Kong province either.
During the meeting, Chit claimed that he represented 298 families trying to register land and obtain certification for more than 2,800ha in Koh Kong district.
Chit also claimed to represent 674 families in Botum Sakor district seeking more than 600ha.
However, after Sothy asked the commune chief and a deputy district governor who attended the meeting whether they knew Chit and could verify that he represented people in their commune and district, they said they had never heard of him.
The Post was unable to obtain contact information for Chit on June 6.
Koh Kong provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc Thong Chandara said he knew the community representatives in that area, but he did not know Chit.
“After the government issued Sub-Decree No 30, which handed over the land to the provincial administration for management, opportunists who pretended to be people’s representatives came to request thousands of hectares of land for ownership.
“I know all of the people’s representatives for all of the communes. We are worried that all of the land will fall into the hands of those who are committing fraud and the residents will end up without any,” he said.