About 40 families living in Andoung Toek commune in Botum Sakor district in Koh Kong province decided to move their homes from the Botum Sakor National Park, which is state land, after authorities threatened to take action against them.
However, they asked the authorities to provide them with a social land concessions to live on and to make a living from.
On January 5, authorities went to inspect Botum Sakor National Park and found 40 families living there illegally in Andoung Toek commune. The land is earmarked for conservation only.
Andoung Toek commune resident Choun Chanthoeun, 37, said yesterday that in the last few days authorities and an organisation working on the environment went to remove more than 20 houses and crops.
They also warned other citizens who had not left to leave, otherwise machinery would be used to remove then and they would also face legal action.
“Now we are removing our houses by ourselves without knowing where to live yet,” she said. “If we do not leave, [the authorities] will use the machines to cut down our houses.
“So we have to accept it, although we refused to leave, as they has already said that those who refused to leave will be handcuffed.”