Authorities in Banteay Meanchey province on Sunday arrested three people accused of inciting villagers to occupy state land slated for use by retired armed forces members.
Thmor Pouk district police chief Ouk Sophanith said that the three accused were caught re-handed as they visited villagers and attempted to persuade them to build homes on state land in Thmor Pouk, Svay Chek and Phnom Srok districts.
“This morning, we sent them from the district police office to the provincial police office,” he said yesterday.
“Their offence is related to the incitement of people to occupy the state land slated distribution to veterans.”
“If we don’t prohibit this, others will follow suit,” he added. “The occupied land is 2,222 hectares in size. They created a village with more than one hundred houses, so according to the government, this land must be taken back for soldiers and their families.”
Mr Sophanith said the association of veterans in Banteay Meanchey province, led by Phlon Dara, would take over possession of the land and ensure it was transferred to veterans.
He identified the three arrested as Preap Phe, 55, Duk Moeun, 50, and Horm Hun, 34.
Mr Dara, the association director, could not be reached for comment.
However, he said in a National Police report that the villagers occupying the land were told it was a social land concession for veterans and went on to build homes nonetheless.In Banteay Meanchey, the families of more than 300 veterans are eligible to settle on the land, Mr Sophanith added.