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

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Fish, frogs to boost local food supply

    The government has disbursed more than $4.5 million to boost aquaculture production and domestic market supply amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon told The Post on Monday that in boosting agricultural production, the ministry has received financing from development partners

  • Planning ministry hands out cash to 420,000 poor families in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Planning has identified 20,000 more poor families in the country, bringing the total to over 580,000, while over 420,000 of them have received the government’s cash assistance. In the meantime, many social security cards from families not deemed to be poor have been revoked.

  • Nature in focus at inaugural film and photo festival

    The first Cambodian Wildlife Photo and Film Festival – an event celebrating the conservation of nature through the eyes of wildlife photographers, nature enthusiasts and conservation experts – is scheduled for July 18-26 at Fauna in Focus’ Nature Discovery Centre in Siem Reap. The festival will be