Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minister to address claims of land grabs in Angkor Archaeological Park

Minister to address claims of land grabs in Angkor Archaeological Park

Culture Minister Phoeurng Sackona speaks at the ministry’s annual meeting in February.
Culture Minister Phoeurng Sackona speaks at the ministry’s annual meeting in February. Heng Chivoan

Minister to address claims of land grabs in Angkor Archaeological Park

Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona yesterday said she would address in writing allegations that Apsara Authority officials have been extorting money from villagers, allowing land grabs in the Angkor Archaeological Park and leasing land to a company.

The Apsara Authority is also being asked to explain how the agency spends its budget, which went from $15 million to $25 million between 2010 and 2014, according to a letter signed by National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Son Chhay.

Chhay couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday. Villagers building in areas where construction is allowed were asked for money by officials, while construction in prohibited areas wasn’t being halted, the letter says. The letter also claims authority officials leased 23 hectares of land to Sok Kong for a 99-year term for $9.66 million. Kong couldn’t be reached for comment.

“How is the minister going to take measure on these bad officials?” the letter reads. Sackona said she will send a letter to the National Assembly clarifying the issues that have been raised.

“It is up to Apsara,” she said of how soon she could respond. “They are looking into it.”

Chau Sun Kerya, spokeswoman for the Apsara Authority, acknowledged some of the claims were serious but declined to discuss them yesterday, maintaining Sackona would address them. She also maintained the 99-year lease to Sok Kong was legal.

The authority was recently transferred under the Ministry of Culture after the passing of late deputy prime minister Sok An.

MOST VIEWED

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai

  • Over 100 Chinese nationals to be deported for online scam

    The Ministry of Interior is planning to deport 128 Chinese nationals after they were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an online money extortion scam. Y Sokhy, the head of the Department of Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime, told The Post

  • More than 800 people test positive for HIV in 2018

    The National Aids Authority (NAA) said more than 800 people tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) last year, joining over 76,000 others aged between 15 and 49 in the Kingdom already infected with the virus. The spread of HIV/AIDS in the Kingdom is showing few signs of

  • Rainsy vow to return on Nov 9 dismissed as ‘political warfare’

    An announcement from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that its “acting president” Sam Rainsy would return to the Kingdom on November 9 was dismissed on Sunday as “political warfare”. The CNRP made the announcement on Friday after a permanent committee meeting chaired by