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

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.