Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Six arrested for land clearing

Six arrested for land clearing

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Military Police inspect land that was allegedly unlawfully cleared by villagers in Preah Sihanouk province. Photo supplied

Six arrested for land clearing

Six villagers were arrested and sent to court on Monday for allegedly clearing land belonging to a tycoon in Preah Sihanouk.

The six are part of 56 families embroiled in a land dispute involving 85 hectares with Oknha Tan Tat in Village 4, Otres commune, Stung Hav district, according to a villager and local rights groups Adhoc.

Tat brought a complaint to the provincial Military Police about villagers clearing forest on their land, according to Adhoc provincial coordinator Chieb Sotheary.

Military Police arrested them on Sunday and detained them overnight, Sotheary said.

“The villagers were sued in a criminal case of violence [committed] on the legal land of the property owner,” she said, adding that they were living on the land. “They clear the land because they have the land documents too”.

The villagers had farmed the land since 1992, she said, and were given ownership titles recognised by local authorities in 2003. However, Tat was also granted a land title for 85 hectares in the same area in 1995, she said. She said the villagers were sent to the provincial court on Monday for questioning, but court spokesperson Yim Bonareth said he was unaware of the case.

Hy Ra, 36, the son of Luch Choch, one of the arrested villagers, said he was told the land was owned by someone else and the people were prohibited from cultivating.

“I have lived on the land since 1992. How can it have another owner? I asked them to meet, but they have not come and met yet, so we just cleared the grass and forest behind the house,” he said. “They started deploying the Military Police forces to arrest them,” he said.

Heng Bunty, provincial Military Police commander, declined to comment. The Post called Tat on a mobile phone number registered to his company, but the respondent denied he was Tan Tat.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At