Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rural development director implicated in clearing




Rural development director implicated in clearing

State-owned forestland that was allegedly cleared by a Mondulkiri official illegally for his own farming purposes.
State-owned forestland that was allegedly cleared by a Mondulkiri official illegally for his own farming purposes.

Rural development director implicated in clearing

The director of Mondulkiri’s rural development department stands accused of clearing about 50 hectares of state-owned forest for his own farming purposes, authorities said yesterday.

Provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak said a working group had investigated allegations brought by a local forest community and on February 7 determined that the land had been illegally cleared.

“The land he claimed did not have any document [authenticating ownership] and he had it illegally. It’s located in [Keo] Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, which is managed by the community,” Sopheak said.

Rural department director Yun Saroum yesterday said that while he had no proper title, he had purchased the land about seven years ago before planting cashews, pepper, banana and potatoes.

“I bought it from an indigenous minority group … I recognise there is no legal document when I bought the land, but if this land belongs to the state, why didn’t they tell me, since I have used it for seven years?” Saroum said.

He added if his land was confiscated, other nearby farms should be as well.

Sok Ratha, of rights group Adhoc, said Saroum should have known the people had no right to sell it and that he should face the legal consequences.

Sopheak said the case was still under investigation but expected it would be sent to the provincial court. He said the land had been confiscated and would be given back to the state and managed by the Phnong community to help them make a living.

Sopheak said authorities had only recently discovered the illegal clearing with the aid of land management data.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.