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

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Delta spreading in Kingdom

    Cambodia has so far detected more than 200 cases of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant, with 109 found on July 31 and August 1. The Ministry of Health has expressed deep concerns that the variant may have already reached communities and be spreading as some of the cases

  • US' Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines arrive

    The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30. They are part of the total 1,060,100 doses the US has pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led (

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four