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

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.