Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mondulkiri police summon two in land dispute




Mondulkiri police summon two in land dispute

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Commune police in Mondulkiri summoned two men after they reported a land occupation on a Facebook post. Supplied

Mondulkiri police summon two in land dispute

Sre Ampoum commune police in Pech Chreada district, Mondulkiri province, summoned two members of an ethnic minority group on Wednesday to clarify a land dispute after they published a Facebook post claiming the land is illegally occupied.

One of the residents is Chroes Meus, who lives in the commune’s Pou Radet village.

Meus told The Post on Tuesday that another resident who lives in Pou Kroch village was also summoned by the police because of the Facebook post concerning land loss in Pou Radet village.

The land officially belongs to the state and is registered and recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

“I don’t know why the police summoned me to make a statement. But I wrote the Facebook post showing a map of where the loss of land occurred in Pou Radet village. The forest was logged completely and I only posted proof of the loss,” Meus said.

An announcement issued by the ministry in 2013 said that community forest land in Pou Radet village covered 132ha.

Meus claimed that the area in question was cleared and occupied by private owners in February.

But the deforestation stopped when environmental officials travelled to the area and prohibited it.

At that time, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries transferred the land to the Ministry of Environment for management.

Meus said residents had reported the case to the commune authorities in the past, but it did not act on the complaints.

He said now, most of the land is occupied privately. Markers are planted on it and kiosks built along the water’s edge. Meus said it seems to have been established as a resort area.

In the past, Meus said residents of Pou Kroch, Pou Radet and Pou Kreng villages had foraged in the forest for products such as mushrooms and resin.

Commune police chief Meas Vey said the summons was unrelated to the land dispute, but he didn’t give an alternative reason for calling the two in for questioning. “I’m not in charge of the land,” he said.

However, commune chief Chhoy Bunloeun said police wanted to know the location of the land because the two residents had not reported it to officials. “The summons was to inquire about the land’s location,” he said.

Provincial Department of Environment director Keo Sopheak said his officials had not reported any land grabs in the protected area to him. “If they make a report [to us], we will investigate,” he said.

Forest activist Kroeung Tola said according to information he had received, some people were cheated and incited by brokers to sell the land to land traders.

He mentioned the involvement of a powerful Oknha and said all levels of authorities, from village to province were involved in the sale.

Tola said his officials are looking for legal assistance to re-possess the land as state property.

“We are planning to file a lawsuit soon because the law states that we can file a complaint to get the land back within 15 years [of the land grab],” he said.

If the land was encroached on, Tola said he will report the case to the top levels of authorities to request intervention.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.