Three held over state land clearing

Source: Phnom Penh Post

One of the three men arrested in Kampong Thom on Tuesday for encroaching illegal state land. Photo supplied

Authorities in Kampong Thom province’s Santuk district arrested three men yesterday, accusing them of being among a group who had allegedly encroached illegally on state land.

Kampong Thom Provincial Forestry Administration director Teb Nhata said police detained the trio and seized two bulldozers allegedly used to clear 46 hectares of forest in Boeung Lvea commune near Prey Lang forest.

He said the men – Yat Pisei, Sem Rom and Kin Sopheak – were among at least 10 people who had come from another province looking for land on which to live and farm. “That area belongs to the state. No one has the right to clear it without permission,” Nhata said.

Prey Lang activist Seng Bun Thoeun said though authorities should clamp down on people clearing forests, they should also better address the problem of landless migrants by organising a social land concession if the group had nowhere to live.

Meanwhile, a similar case in Kampot in which authorities had threatened to evict families living in Bokor National Park, has been resolved, with the group heeding the warnings and leaving, Kampot Deputy Governor Sim Vuthea said yesterday.

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