Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Ministry of Environment calls out encroaching

The Ministry of Environment calls out encroaching

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Authorities gather last year to dismantle houses they claim were illegally constructed in Preah Sihanouk’s Kbal Chhay area. Photo supplied

The Ministry of Environment calls out encroaching

The Ministry of Environment issued a warning on Wednesday against encroachment on protected natural areas following some instances of intruders clearing forest land for personal gain.

It cited examples of encroachment in the Ream, Bokor and Kirirom national parks and the multi-purpose Kbal Chay freshwater basin in coastal provinces as well as the Lumphat and Srepok wildlife sanctuaries in Ratanakkiri province.

Ministry spokesperson Neth Pheaktra said it will take more drastic measures against the perpetrators.

“We’ve seen an increase in forest land encroachment by offenders who then sell the state properties illegally using titles that have already been void. We’re laying out necessary measures to prevent a repeat of the offences,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk provincial environment department director Samut Sothearith told The Post on Thursday that encroachment is also common in the coastal province.

“The provincial committee has been raising awareness among the public so they could help prevent it,” he said, adding that there had been many cases of encroachment on land in national parks.

“In the past, people held [land documentation] issued by the ministry, but the titles have been revoked. The ministry has already issued an announcement to inform them as some were still mistaken they owned the land legally,” he said.

Pen Bonna, a senior land and natural resources officer at rights group Adhoc, said the ministry needs to take more action.

“The ministry must launch a probe into the illegal sale of state land without permission from the authorities,” he said.

Bonna said the Lumphat and Srepok wildlife sanctuaries in Ratanakkiri province had also borne the brunt with some people even having titles to land in the area.

In Koh Kong province, the environment department said unidentified offenders had illegally cleared 12ha of flooded forest land in Botum Sakor district’s Andong Tek and Thmar Sar communes.

Department director Man Phala said the authority is probing the encroachment and will take more action to prevent repeat offences.

“We’re working on it. Some were outsiders who were paid to clear forest land,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in

  • PM: Workers must train for Industry 4.0

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged the Kingdom’s workforce to seek more technical training and strengthen their skills if they are to avoid job losses resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hun Sen said the fourth industrial revolution is like a double-edged sword that

  • Huawei applies for OS trademark in Cambodia

    China's Huawei Technologies Co has applied to trademark the “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in a number of countries including Cambodia in a bid to launch its homegrown operating system as a replacement for the Android OS, Reuters has reported. Huawei has applied to trademark the “

  • Kingdom’s dengue cases triple this year

    Within a span of 20 weeks this year, the death toll from dengue fever has risen to 21, while the number of those who have fallen ill due to the disease has reached over 12,000. A specialised official said the figure has risen about three times as much