Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NRWPO call for probe into alleged land grab in sanctuary

NRWPO call for probe into alleged land grab in sanctuary

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
NRWPO requested the Environment Ministry order an investigation into an alleged land grab in Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo supplied

NRWPO call for probe into alleged land grab in sanctuary

The director of the Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation (NRWPO) requested the Ministry of Environment on Tuesday order an investigation into an alleged land grab in Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary in Oral district’s Trapaing Chor commune in Kampong Speu province.

NRWPO director Chea Hean said some people, in collusion with local officials and powerful individuals, used machinery to clear hundreds of hectares of land belonging to the wildlife sanctuary.

He said the Kampong Speu provincial administration had already issued a warrant to take back the land.

“My inspection revealed that powerful people used ordinary citizens to clear the land so they could sell it.

“The people involved in the land grab include village and commune authorities and the commune council who are looking for brokers to purchase the wildlife sanctuary land,” Hean said.

He said he had submitted a letter to the Ministry of Environment on Tuesday requesting its intervention. “I am also preparing a document containing all the stakeholders’ names which I will send to the Anti-Corruption Unit next week,” he said.

Kampong Speu provincial governor Vey Samnang said if his administration received a formal complaint, it would investigate and enforce the law.

“We always implement the law when cases are reported. Recently, four citizens’ houses were demolished by an organisation, but I cannot comment fully yet because I have only just ordered the police to inspect the site.

“However, if we consider ethics and morality, the organisation should not have demolished the four houses,” Samnang said, adding however that not all reports about land grabs are true.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said: “Protected land is state public land, and the use or allocation of land within protected areas must be approved by the government.

“Therefore, no one has the right to clear, sell or certify possession of land in protected areas.”

He warned that anyone who is illegally occupying land must stop clearing it and cease any construction work immediately. Otherwise, they would be held accountable under the law.

Pheaktra said that every day, the Ministry of Environment, particularly its 1,220 environmental rangers, carry out the task of protecting 7.5 million hectares of protected land.

But he said the number of patrols would be increased to prevent unlawful land grabbing, illegal hunting and the planting of crops on state land.

Pheaktra said at least 20 people had been detained recently in Preah Sihanouk, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Koh Kong and Kampong Speu provinces.

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Shipments of mango to South Korea poised to begin this week

    Exports of Cambodian mangoes to South Korea will begin this week after Korean authorities gave the nod. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Department of Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements director Ker Monthivuth told The Post on Sunday that after several inspections of

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that