Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Poor migrants caught clearing forest

Poor migrants caught clearing forest

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A protected land was recently cleared.

Poor migrants caught clearing forest

The Poutil ethnic community members from Busra commune in Mondulkiri province’s Pichreada district handed two men to district police for further action on Thursday, after they allegedly cleared many hectares of forest in their community.

However, the men have since been released after questioning.

Community representative Srang Soeun said the forest in their community, in the commune’s Buon village, has been cleared for cultivation by migrants from Kampong Cham, Tboung Khmum and Stung Treng.

Before the arrest, community members were patrolling the forest when they found the two – Oul Kosal, 24, and Ream Thy, 27 – clearing many hectares of forest in the community.

“We caught them and seized evidence, including a chainsaw and two machetes, a coil of rope and a motorbike. The men were handed over to district authorities along with the evidence for further action,” Soeun said.

He said the two suspects are migrants from Kampong Cham and Tboung Khmum provinces.

The pair was also previously caught for clearing the community forest. This was last year, but they were only warned against repeating the offence.

Kosal’s brother, Oul Thy, said before clearing the forest they had verbally requested a social land concession from local authorities but had no legal documents or written permission for the logging.

“We just want the land for a house and farming because we are poor and cannot afford to buy land,” he said.

Pichreada district police chief Ton Yen confirmed that the two suspects were arrested by Putil community members for illegally logging the forest.

Buon village chief Chet Chris and Busra commune chief Yoeut Sarin also acknowledged that the pair had asked for a plot to build a house and cultivate crops as they were poor.

“They were caught red-handed while clearing the forest using a chainsaw,” Yen said, adding that after the village and commune chiefs’ acknowledgement, the pair had since been released and had been asked to thumbprint a letter promising to stop repeating the offence.

Poutil community chief Sroe Chheunh said local authorities have no right to cede community forest land to an individual because it is reserved for the next generation of the ethnic community.

“Our community will probe the release of the two suspects to find out whether they really are poor and homeless. They should request a social land concession from the government, not our community forest land,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,