October 22, 2020

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NGO asks interior minister to lend a hand in K Speu forest land protectionPhnom Penh Post

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Chea Hean (not pictured) has said traders are selling more than 150ha in the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary. CHEA HEAN VIA FACEBOOK

Anti-corruption, Natural Resource Protection and Civil Rights Protection (ACNCIPO) director Chea Hean said on Monday he is requesting help from Minister of Interior Sar Kheng to protect more than 150ha in the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary.

Hean said traders are selling the forest land.

He told The Post on Monday that he is preparing to send his letter on Tuesday. He is requesting intervention to assist the Kampong Speu provincial administration with confiscating the property from a woman named Sieang Samen, the wife of Ou Samrech Chesda, a well-known military official.

The land is located in Sre Kin village in Oral district’s Trapaing Chor commune in Kampong Speu province. Samen is accused of conspiring with authorities to sell the land two weeks ago.

Hean said Samen had people clear the land in 2018, but he had notified the Kampong Speu provincial administration to confiscate it.

Hean said Samen recently sold 150ha in violation of the Kampong Speu confiscation warrant.

“I request the Ministry of Interior to investigate those behind the sale of forest land in the conservation area in Sre Kin village.

“I would like to sue based on the illegal possession and sale of land in that area. This forest land must be kept as State property and the trees should be replanted. The perpetrators must be punished according to the law on protected areas,” Hean said.

Trapaing Chor commune chief Tep Nem said on Monday he had seen a letter of sale and transfer of land title signed by Sre Kin village chief Im Sorn.

However, he did not sign for acknowledgement or allow the sale, leaving the letter at the Trapaing Chor commune administration.

He said the land in the area is protected by a royal decree and there is also a confiscation warrant from the Kampong Speu provincial administration.

“I did not allow buying or selling because it is State land protected by a royal decree and there was a confiscation warrant from the province. I did not dare sign any document to buy or sell that land,” Nem said.

Sorn said on Monday he was aware of the buying and selling of forest land in the Oral Mountains in 2018, but recently he did not sign for Samen to buy or sell land in the area.

“In 2018, I knew they were buying and selling land, but not now. I do not dare sign because it is protected by royal decree,” Sorn said.

Samen could not be reached for comment on Monday.

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