Preah Sihanouk provincial environmental officials and Military Police yesterday dismantled five homes that were built illegally in the Prey Toeksap Kbal Chhay protected area, leaving the inhabitants homeless.
Samut Sothearith, director of the provincial Environmental Department, said five families were instructed on August 14 to tear down their homes after they were told the houses were illegally constructed in a protected area. But after the families failed to follow the order, authorities stepped in and dismantled the structures.
“This morning, during the [dismantling], they asked authorities to offer them a plot of land to live in, but the land they asked for is protected land, so authorities could not give it to them,” Sothearith said.
Sothearith said the same area in the past had experienced illegal clearing from other families for farming. However, he said authorities settled that problem last year.
But three months ago, the five new families came to the protected area and built their homes there as they claimed they had no other land.