The Bati district administration in Takeo province has instructed people who illegally planted stone posts to occupy state flooded forest land in Tnort commune to remove them immediately. If they fail to comply, the district administration will remove the posts and collect them as evidence for referral to court.
District governor Phuon Chhim told The Post on January 27 that many families had planted illegal boundary markers to encroach on several hectares of flooded state forest land in the commune’s Anhchek village.
“All villagers know that the flooded forest land in this area belongs to the state, but they have encroached on it by planting thousands of posts to illegally claim it. The Bati district administration will take administrative action without exception if they are not removed,” he said.
He added that the district administration had given 15 days from the January 25 notice for the posts to be removed before legal action would be taken.
“In case of obstruction of law enforcement through any inappropriate activities, the Bati district administration will prepare files for referral to court,” he added.
Chhim said he had ordered Tnort commune chief Ouk Sambo to post the notice at residents’ houses so that they would be aware of the deadline to remove the posts.
Sambo told The Post that in the past two days, five families have removed more than 50 posts from the land, while some people have not yet done so.
“We held a meeting with the local people, and in the past two days, some people have come to their senses and removed the posts,” he said. “Our team told the villagers that the district administration has only given 15 days, otherwise, when the joint committees come to investigate and find out who is involved, they will find themselves before the courts.”
Sambo added that there is more than 100ha of state flooded forest land in the area. It is a large grassland area in the dry season, where most locals bring their livestock to graze. In the rainy season, the flooded forest area becomes an important reservoir for reducing flooding, but in the last hundred years, some villagers have illegally planted markers to claim more than 30ha.