The National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV) announced that the national authorities will work with their provincial counterparts to take action against state land encroachment – of part of protected area two – in the third week of this month.
NAPV director-general Kong Puthikar told The Post on that the NAPV had previously met with local authorities to decide upon solutions to the problem. The meeting participants agreed that the authority should apply to the provincial governor for special support, including from provincial court prosecutors, who would participate in the planned crackdown.
“The provincial authorities fully support the protection and conservation of natural resources in the protected area of the National Authority of Preah Vihear, and have agreed to join our operations next week,” he said.
Puthikar said that he was uncertain about the size of the encroachment, but said he had heard a group of at least ten wanted to clear the forest land so they could plant crops. NAPV officials have warned them twice, but they have not listened.
“This time, we will be accompanied by a provincial court prosecutor, and will be escorted by provincial police officers. We will try to explain the situation to them, and legal action will follow if they heed our warnings,” he added.
He said the ringleaders would be identified and prosecuted if the activity continued.
“We want to establish that they cannot clear protected land, and we want to do it now, before more and more people begin doing it. The more people take part, the harder it is to prevent. The government has made us responsible for this land, so we will protect it as best we can,” he added.