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“In the past, people held [land documentation] issued by the ministry, but the titles have been revoked.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

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.