Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Migrants at park to be moved

Migrants at park to be moved

Authorities tear apart a dwelling
Authorities tear apart a dwelling yesterday morning in Siem Reap’s Kulen National Park after cottages there were deemed illegal. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Migrants at park to be moved

Police and forestry officials over the past two days razed more than 200 makeshift huts, which they said were illegally built at the foot of Siem Reap’s Phnom Kulen National Park by migrant residents who logged the protected forest.

“They logged the state‘s forest and then built cottages illegally to live there at Phnom Kulen, which is a conservation area, so we must follow our forest law,” said Tea Kim Soth, Siem Reap’s Forest Administration Department chief.

Authorities demolished a total of 208 poorly built shelters at Banteay Srey district’s Tbeng commune during a nonviolent two-day campaign, district police chief Muy Nom said.

Some of the nearly 200 affected people, who originally came from provinces including Banteay Meanchey, Pursat and Battambang, are currently displaced, while others are living with nearby households, Kim Soth added.

“Now, at that area, some villagers are living legally and some are living illegally,” said Tbeng commune community representative Doung Derm. “Most of them are migrants from other provinces and were living there illegally.”

Police are not searching for the villagers, but the Siem Reap Provincial Court has issued a warrant to arrest more than four “ringleaders” who allegedly persuaded residents to live in and log the protected area.

Kim Soth was unable to give the suspects’ names, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, but said that police are searching for the perpetrators.

The residents refused to give comment.

Also within Siem Reap, 20 families living in the Angkor Wat complex are gearing up to relocate to an eco-village set up by the Apsara Authority after they were found to be overcrowding parts of the World Heritage site.

The families, who were chosen through a lottery, will move before the end of the month to the Run Ta-Ek village, which was constructed in 2010 to house past residents of the temple complex, Apsara spokeswoman Kerya Chau Sun said.

They will mark the first group from the 107 families that applied for the lottery and which Apsara recommended be relocated in an effort to limit housing growth.

“Each family will get land, wood and some materials and tools for building their houses for free,” Chau Sun said.

The new residents will each receive a plot of land where they can build a 15 by 25-metre house and a one-acre (0.4 hectare) farm.

According to Run Ta Ek commune chief Kuy Vey, the Angkor villagers were previously concerned that they will be evicted without compensation.

“But they’re no longer worried . . . since Apsara is not forcibly evicting them after complaints and has provided homes and plots for them,” Vey said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Bumpy road for local ride apps

    Ride-hailing services seem to have grown into a dominant player in the capital’s transportation sector. Relatively unknown and little used in the Kingdom at the beginning of this year, services like PassApp, Grab and ExNet are now commonplace on Phnom Penh streets. However, the

  • Hun Sen lays out party’s platform

    Caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday credited liberating Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge as among the reasons why people will vote for his ruling Cambodian People Party (CPP) in the July 29 national elections. Hun Sen, who has held the reins of power in Cambodia