Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pursat sanctuary encroachers given final warning

Pursat sanctuary encroachers given final warning

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A settlement set up by a group of encroachers in Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary on June 19. PURSAT ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT

Pursat sanctuary encroachers given final warning

At least 200 out of 500 people who built shacks and cleared land in Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary in Pursat province’s Veal Veng district have agreed to leave after a warning from authorities.

The provincial Department of Environment announced on June 19 that the 500 – who were tricked by alleged conmen into moving onto the land – must dismantle their structures and vacate the protected area immediately. One of the alleged ringleaders was taken into custody on the same day.

The sanctuary covers an area of nearly 3,000ha, and its dense forests are home to a wide range of wildlife.

The announcement was made after local authorities investigated the settlement and identified the four ringleaders who convinced people from other provinces to clear forest, plant, crops and build more than 180 shacks at Stung Khiev point, at the foot of Phnom Khmoch in Chamkar Chrey Khang Tbong village of the district’s Anlong Reap commune.

Sanctuary deputy director Phan Sophearin told The Post on June 19 that in May, the provincial administration had issued a notice informing the migrants to dismantle their shacks and leave, but they had not obeyed.

He claimed that four individual were responsible for establishing the temporary community.

“The actions of these people are illegal. They have cleared protected forest in the sanctuary, which is one of the state’s natural resource protected sites,” he said.

According to Sophearin, a provincial joint force has arrested one of the four ringleaders and referred the case to the court for further action.

“At present, about 200 of people who tricked into moving onto the land have taken down their shacks and moved on,” he added.

He instructed the people who have not yet demolished their shacks to do so and return home immediately, saying they are in breach of the 2001 Land Law and the 2008 Protected Areas Law.

District governor So Sa Hong told The Post that this is not the first time that land has been cleared or occupied in the area. This kind of thing has been going on for years, he said, despite the authorities regularly conducting outreach educational programmes and crackdowns.

“They are hoodlums who do not respect the law or the instructions of the authorities. They should be fined or punished without exception,” he said.

According to Sa Hong, most of the 500 people who cleared the land in Phnom Samkos sanctuary area are from Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Kratie or Kampong Cham provinces. There were very few locals involved, he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,