Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials suspected of illegally clearing land



Officials suspected of illegally clearing land

Officials inspect flooded forest land on Friday that was cleared illegally in Kampong Chhnang province. Photo supplied
Officials inspect flooded forest land on Friday that was cleared illegally in Kampong Chhnang province. Photo supplied

Officials suspected of illegally clearing land

A commune chief and his deputy are suspected of involvement in an illegal land clearing case in Kampong Chhnang’s Boribor district after police stopped three people in the act of cutting down flooded forest.

Khuon Saorum, Boribor district governor, said his forces stopped three loggers on Friday afternoon from clearing a protected flooded forest in Chhnok Trou village and released them in exchange for signing a contract promising to stop the clearing.

“The criminals [behind them] will not manage to escape the law,” Saorum said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a commune council member implicated Chhnok Trou First Deputy Commune Chief Long Sokhum, local market fee collector Yem Buntha and another villager.

He added that the newly elected commune chief, Tan Kemsorn, “might be involved”, a charge that Kemsorn denied, saying the clearing happened before he was elected.

Former Commune Chief Samrith Pheng, however, also said the new chief played a role in the clearing. “I believe that [Kemsorn] knows who is involved . . . But I think he might receive some interest [money] from those people as well,” he said, adding that the authorities had put off investigating the case.

Sokhum and Buntha admitted that they had given the orders to clear the flooded forest “for temporary cultivation”.

“At least 10 people [are involved] and 10 hectares have been cleared,” Sokhum said. “We will hand it back to the state when the state wants it.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to