Local authorities and specialists in Koh Kong province have given a 30-day ultimatum to three people who used soil to fill in an area of sea in Kiri Sakor district. The offenders have been warned to remove the soil or face the law.
The ultimatum was given after soil was used to fill part of the sea, affecting the beauty of sea, mangrove forests and the environment.
Deputy provincial governor Sok Sothy held a meeting on February 26 concerning the incident and mangrove forest logging and the building of bridges and cottages in Kiri Sakor district. The meeting was attended by local authorities and specialists.
He said that the incident took place in Prek Khsach village, Prek Khsach commune in the district. Three people including Huot Khean and Huot Nget and Chhim Chandy were involved in the incident.
“Concerning the case, specialists went to measure soil used to fill in the sea, so that they will remove the soil. It will take at least a month to remove all the soil,” he said.
Sok Sothy added that the three men had also attended the meeting and admitted their wrong doing. They were willing to remove the soil from the sea. Having been informed, authorities took action immediately. However, some people said it didn’t take a lot of time to do the work.
“Putting the soil in the sea didn’t take a long time. It only took a few days. When they had completed their work, we stopped them immediately,” he said.
Provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc Thong Chandara said that this case is collusion with local authorities because using soil in this way was large scale, not small.
“It is collusion with local authorities because this process is large scale. A lot of soil was used and people knew about it. The province has measures in place to act but nobody does. More importantly, it is the local authorities that do nothing. If a crime is committed, it should be reported at the district or provincial level. For natural resource crimes, the provincial authorities sometimes never try to find the people responsible,” he said.