Koh Kong provincial governor Mithona Phuthong has reclaimed more than 76ha of land in Andong Teuk village of Botum Sakor district’s Angdong Teuk commune as state private property. The provincial administration will also annul all associated land titles and other documents which have been used by the villagers.
According to a decision signed by Phuthong on September 21, the land is located in two areas, one of which is 283,915sqm in size and the other is 477,549sqm. The land will become state-owned private property under the management of the provincial administration.
Provincial deputy governor Sok Sothy told The Post on September 22 that the land was confiscated to preserve state forest and for reforestation.
“In the past, people claimed the land, but after a sub-decree on protected areas was issued, people stopped occupying it, adding that the confiscated land has not been privatised for any company.
The decision states that all land ownership, property rights and other documents issued illegally in this village will be annulled.
“The Botum Sakor district hall and Andong Teuk commune administration must cooperate with specialised units to plant and maintain trees on the confiscated land managed by the provincial administration,” he said.
Thong Chandara, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, requested that the provincial administration carefully investigate before confiscation to avoid reclaiming land rightfully owned by people in the village, which is home to about 30 families.
“Some people have been living in the area for a long time and some have bought land in the area, so the provincial administration has to make sure that the confiscation does not affect those people’s legal land ownership,” he said.
Chandara said the land in Andong Teuk village is part of Botum Sakor National Park. Many years ago, people started to farm the land after finding it vacant.
“Immediate revocation could affect people who have lived in the area for a long time. Therefore, if there is an impact on the people who have lived in this area for many years, the provincial hall should compensate in any appropriate way for the people so that they can continue to live,” he said.