Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Families instructed to remove illegal huts near Phnom Kulen

Families instructed to remove illegal huts near Phnom Kulen

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Siem Reap authorities ordered over 1,000 families to demolish huts they had illegally built on state land near Phnom Kulen National Park. Photo supplied

Families instructed to remove illegal huts near Phnom Kulen

The Banteay Srei district authority in Siem Reap province ordered some 1,000 families to dismantle hundreds of huts they had illegally built to grab state land near Phnom Kulen, in Tbeng Lech village and Srah Khvav village in Tbeng commune.

District governor Khim Finan said on Wednesday that the authority issued a letter to 948 families on October 25, ordering them to immediately stop their illegal activities and demolish the huts within seven days.

“The land issue at the place is ongoing, but in the last few months, they had grabbed more land and constructed hundreds of additional huts.

“Each hut was built with just four small pillars and a few pieces of zinc. People cannot live in such huts because they just built it to grab state land,” he said.

Finan said the authority did not want to take legal action and dismantle the huts but instead ordered them to demolish the huts themselves.

Some people were aware of the announcement, while some were not. Therefore, he said the authority decided to give them another three or four days to carry out the dismantling, otherwise, it will do the job for them next week.

“The authority wishes to solve the issue peacefully and does not want to dismantle them. But if we demolish the huts, there will likely be a confrontation even though the people are wrong. But removing the huts will help prevent further forest crime from occurring,” Finan said.

The grabbed land is partly under the jurisdiction of the forestry administration and partly belongs to the Phnom Kulen National Park.

“If we don’t stop the land grab, it will happen more often. Phnom Kulen is a world heritage site and if we don’t’ prevent land grabs from happening, in the next few months the problem will reach the entrance to Phnom Kulen,” he said.

He noted that some of the land grabbers were locals, while others were land activists from other areas.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said some land grabs were carried out under incitement from land brokers who instructed the people to grow bananas, mango, jackfruits, cashews and corn.

They cleared the land by burning the forest and demarcated it to claim ownership, alleging that they had been working the land for a long time.

“To prevent land grabs at protected areas, the ministry has worked with the relevant authorities to take serious action against such illegal activities,” he said.

Chan Chamroeun, the provincial monitor for right groups Adhoc, said he is investigating the matter.

“I just got information about the authority’s order to demolish the huts and we don’t know if the people will adhere to the instruction or not,” Chamroeun said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a