Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Soldiers charged with land grabbing

Soldiers charged with land grabbing

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Preah Sihanouk provincial military police force arrest men over suspected land grabbing. Photo supplied

Soldiers charged with land grabbing

At least 12 people including four soldiers from two “armed gangs” have been sent to Preah Sihanouk provincial court for their involvement in illegal land grabbing in protected areas in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune.

Deputy provincial court prosecutor Kieng Suntharo declined to provide details on Wednesday, saying only that the first group of seven people have been put in pre-trial detention while the other group of four soldiers is being detained for questioning.

District police chief Huor Yai said the two armed gangs had been hired to guard land grabbed illegally by “powerful individuals”.

He said the four soldiers, who claimed to have held land titles since 1999, were arrested on Monday after they backed vehicles used to clear forest in the area. Yai said however that all land titles have been annulled since the area was designated a protected forest cover in 2002.

The four soldiers were identified as Norn Kim Chheng, 48, Nuon Han, 43, Sin Rotha, 36, and Sam Kamsan, 65.

Yai said that some powerful people have continued to use invalid titles to claim land in the area, prompting provincial governor Yun Min to order a crackdown.

The governor told The Post on Wednesday that provincial authorities will take tough measures against land grabbing, which he said has become a chronic issue in the province.

“I have enforced the law by taking action against the perpetrators. On Monday we handled one case and the next day we arrested four more people."

“Some people know nothing [about the law] and use force to abuse innocent people. Not only do they mistreat the people, they even dare to abuse authorities."

“When for instance local authorities make a field visit as part of their duty, they look down on them. So we’ll have to strictly enforce the law,” Min said.

Sun Sophat, a community land representative in the province , said land grabbing involving private companies and powerful people in Prey Nub district’s protected area has continued unabated.

“Land clearing in Prey Nub protected area is mostly done by rich and powerful people."

“They clear the land with [corrupt] Forestry Administration officials behind their back."

“Only the Forestry Administration can verify when or how long people have settled down in the area,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • No ‘Crown Prince’ exists to buy France football club: ministry

    The Ministry of the Royal Palace has denied media reports that a Cambodian “Crown Prince” had purchased the AS Saint Etienne football club of France’s top-flight LIGUE 1 at the cost of €100 million ($117 million). In a press statement on September 19, the ministry stressed that Cambodia