Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials demolish 49 illegal huts in Siem Reap

Officials demolish 49 illegal huts in Siem Reap

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The authorities dismantled 49 of some 1,000 huts which had been built illegally on forest land in Siem Reap’s Phnom Kulen National Park. Supplied

Officials demolish 49 illegal huts in Siem Reap

After the authorities on Friday and Saturday dismantled 49 of some 1,000 huts which had been built illegally on forest land in Siem Reap’s Phnom Kulen National Park, Banteay Srei district governor Khim Finan said on Sunday that a hunt was on for a group of activists who have been inciting people to commit forest crimes.

He said the huts were demolished because the villagers had failed to obey an ultimatum demanding they remove the illegal structures themselves.

After the huts were demolished, the authorities made a second announcement on Saturday giving the remaining families five more days to remove the structures.

Finan said people had not demolished the huts because they were encouraged by a group of land activists to erect more of them over the Water Festival.

“People saw us removing the huts, now some of them have begun dismantling them by themselves. But some people are still refusing to do so because a group of land activists has told them not to. Now we’re searching for the activists,” Finan said.

After being made aware of the land grab, in Tbeng Lech and Srah Khvav villages in Banteay Srei district’s Tbeng commune, the authorities ordered the people to remove the huts and prohibited any further construction in the area.

“The law is the law. Illegal land grabs must be cracked down on whenever they happen. People gathering to protest will not legitimise illegal acts,” Finan said, adding that legal homes belonging to permanent residents were not affected.

He said the authorities also never leave people homeless and always attempt to find an appropriate solution for them.

Chan Chamroeun, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, confirmed that he was aware the huts had been demolished. He said as of Sunday afternoon, no one had filed a complaint with the organisation.

He acknowledged that the authorities were only following the law, but said they should find people who were genuinely poor somewhere to live.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the land grab was the result of incitement by land brokers who violated the law and destroyed natural resources under the pretext of growing crops. They attempted to make it appear that they had lived on and owned the land for a long time.

He said the ministry was working with relevant authorities to take strict action against offenders to prevent such land grabs.

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They