Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry looks into tycoon’s right to 400ha of mangroves



Ministry looks into tycoon’s right to 400ha of mangroves

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Local media reports allege that tycoon Hann Khieng received 28 land titles for the more than 400ha even after the government reclassified it as state-owned private land to be allocated for 26 families in 2017. FRESH NEWS

Ministry looks into tycoon’s right to 400ha of mangroves

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is investigating whether a tycoon has the right to occupy more than 400ha of flooded mangrove forest in the Chrolong community area in Teuk La’ak commune in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nop district.

The investigation follows a series of local media reports alleging that tycoon Hann Khieng, who holds the honorific oknha title, received 28 land titles for the more than 400ha even after the government reclassified it as state-owned private land to be allocated for 26 families in 2017.

Ouch Vutha, director of the Fisheries Department under the agriculture ministry, told The Post on December 15 the ministry had set up a working group to gather documents related to the tycoon’s occupation of the flooded mangrove forest.

“First, I will check the titles to see if they are related to that location and determine whether they affect the mangrove forest. I will also check whether they affect the community. So it is too early for me to comment further on it until the documents are collected and checked first,” he said.

A government sub-decree issued in 2017 announced the deduction of 423.1661ha in Prey Nop district from the protected forestland established in 2002 and the reclassification of it as state-owned private land, the ownership of which was to be granted to 26 families after its division and the assignment of plot numbers.

The same sub-decree does not specify who the 26 families are or whether it was ever divided into plots. The only other detail mentioned in the sub-decree is that another 4.8626ha located in this area was to be kept as state-owned public land.

Oknha Khieng, who stands accused of unlawfully acquiring the more than 400ha, could not be reached for comment.

The Post could not reach provincial Department of Land Management director Cheng Srong for comment.

Provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearum confirmed to The Post on December 15 that a sub-decree had been issued to grant the more than 400ha to the 26 families. But he was not certain whether Oknha Khieng had obtained possession of the land legally, saying it was possible that he purchased it from the 26 families.

Phearum said the provincial administration’s working group will also collect relevant documents to examine and investigate the allegations.

“We see the sub-decree establishing private ownership for 26 families, but it’s possible that the Oknha bought the land from them later. However, he hasn’t provided any information about this to the provincial administration and normally we would expect someone in his position to do so to avoid accusations like this, so we will investigate,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said