Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials blocked from probing land clearing

Officials blocked from probing land clearing

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Environmental officials talk to neighbours of a plantation owner who may have illegally cleared land in Kampong Speu province. Photo supplied

Officials blocked from probing land clearing

A group of conservation NGOs and officials from the Ministry of Environment on Monday were prevented from inspecting 51 hectares of land in Kampong Speu province’s Phnom O’ral Wildlife Sanctuary that is said to have been illegally grabbed.

National Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation director Chea Hean accused a plantation owner of preventing him and government officials from surveying the land that is apparently being cleared and seized in Oral district’s Sre Kin village.

But the supposed landowner claims the group was out to get his money.

Hean claimed that Sieng Samen and her husband Ou Samrech Chesda ordered the group of seven off their land before locking a gate and screaming threats at the officials.

He said due to the landowners’ reaction, the group drafted a report to be sent to Environment Minister Say Sam Al, requesting his intervention to inspect the property.

“The request serves to ensure that any illegally cleared land is seized as state property, apart from seeking reforestation and punishment based on the law of protected areas,” Hean said.

Countering Hean’s claims, Samrech Chesda said that the former had a reputation for causing land-based disturbances in the area, and had previously trespassed on his property.

Samrech Chesda claimed his land is 50 hectares which were bought from villagers years ago and none of the forest lands was illegally cleared.

“The organisation and environment officials have no legal documents and my workers told them that they are not permitted to go on the land unless they have legal permission,” he said.

Kampong Speu provincial environment department deputy head Nov Nak said on Monday that officials weren’t allowed on the property because the owners were not present.

On July 23, Hean filed a complaint with Justice Minister Ang Vong Vattana, to intervene over the matter against Sieng Samen and her associates.

His complaint alleged in part that there was “logging and clearing of the wildlife sanctuary protected by Royal Decree and causing chaos”.

Until today, the Ministry of Justice has not provided any information in regards to the case.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio