Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry looks into tycoon’s right to 400ha of mangroves

Ministry looks into tycoon’s right to 400ha of mangroves

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Local media reports allege that tycoon Hann Khieng received 28 land titles for the more than 400ha even after the government reclassified it as state-owned private land to be allocated for 26 families in 2017. FRESH NEWS

Ministry looks into tycoon’s right to 400ha of mangroves

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is investigating whether a tycoon has the right to occupy more than 400ha of flooded mangrove forest in the Chrolong community area in Teuk La’ak commune in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nop district.

The investigation follows a series of local media reports alleging that tycoon Hann Khieng, who holds the honorific oknha title, received 28 land titles for the more than 400ha even after the government reclassified it as state-owned private land to be allocated for 26 families in 2017.

Ouch Vutha, director of the Fisheries Department under the agriculture ministry, told The Post on December 15 the ministry had set up a working group to gather documents related to the tycoon’s occupation of the flooded mangrove forest.

“First, I will check the titles to see if they are related to that location and determine whether they affect the mangrove forest. I will also check whether they affect the community. So it is too early for me to comment further on it until the documents are collected and checked first,” he said.

A government sub-decree issued in 2017 announced the deduction of 423.1661ha in Prey Nop district from the protected forestland established in 2002 and the reclassification of it as state-owned private land, the ownership of which was to be granted to 26 families after its division and the assignment of plot numbers.

The same sub-decree does not specify who the 26 families are or whether it was ever divided into plots. The only other detail mentioned in the sub-decree is that another 4.8626ha located in this area was to be kept as state-owned public land.

Oknha Khieng, who stands accused of unlawfully acquiring the more than 400ha, could not be reached for comment.

The Post could not reach provincial Department of Land Management director Cheng Srong for comment.

Provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearum confirmed to The Post on December 15 that a sub-decree had been issued to grant the more than 400ha to the 26 families. But he was not certain whether Oknha Khieng had obtained possession of the land legally, saying it was possible that he purchased it from the 26 families.

Phearum said the provincial administration’s working group will also collect relevant documents to examine and investigate the allegations.

“We see the sub-decree establishing private ownership for 26 families, but it’s possible that the Oknha bought the land from them later. However, he hasn’t provided any information about this to the provincial administration and normally we would expect someone in his position to do so to avoid accusations like this, so we will investigate,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement