Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pailin village chief is grilled over land grab in Battambang

Pailin village chief is grilled over land grab in Battambang

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The land in Samlot district’s Santepheap commune was divided into smaller plots for sale. The Ministry of Environment

Pailin village chief is grilled over land grab in Battambang

The Battambang Provincial Court on Wednesday continued to question a village chief from Pailin province who was arrested for allegedly grabbing and selling state land located in a protected natural area.

Provincial court spokesman Heng Luy said Long Vuthy, the Phnom Tambang village chief in Pailin town’s O’Tavao commune, was sent to court on Monday.

He declined to provide further details. “The questioning is not yet finished,” he said.

Battambang provincial environment department director Kort Boran told The Post on Wednesday that police arrested Vuthy while he was hiding at a relative’s house in the province’s Sampov Loun district.

He said Vuthy was accused of forging documents to sell the land.

“The court is questioning Vuthy and other people who have been implicated in this case. We are searching for more evidence to ascertain the truth,” he said.

On Tuesday, he said, nearly 100 people from Pailin province who claimed to have bought the land from Vuthy gathered there to demand an explanation, but then agreed to leave after being told about the legality of the transaction.

The Ministry of Environment on Tuesday confirmed that Vuthy had illegally occupied the 49,600sqm state land in Samlot district’s Santepheap commune before dividing them into smaller plots for sale. It said the land is located in a natural area that is protected by a Royal Decree issued on November 1, 1993.

“Grabbing state land for private ownership is a criminal offence that can result in a prison sentence,” the ministry said in a statement.

Boran said the protesters, who had bought 60 plots from Vuthy, have now filed a complaint to the Pailin Provincial Court.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • No ‘Crown Prince’ exists to buy France football club: ministry

    The Ministry of the Royal Palace has denied media reports that a Cambodian “Crown Prince” had purchased the AS Saint Etienne football club of France’s top-flight LIGUE 1 at the cost of €100 million ($117 million). In a press statement on September 19, the ministry stressed that Cambodia