Authorities yesterday destroyed more than 20 homes in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nop district, claiming they had been illegally constructed on state land or private property.
Provincial Hall official Ee Thearin said yesterday that authorities destroyed 20 small houses, wooden frames and two tents with corrugated tin roofs in Bit Trang commune’s Bot Koki village.
“The action to remove the tents and small houses was because those citizens built on land that already has owners,” he said.
Srun Sroan, deputy provincial governor, said the homes had been illegally built recently even though authorities had banned the practice several times.
“The provincial working team will continue to implement this work by clearing all illegal buildings on state land. We will also implement it if there are any illegal buildings in other locations,” he said.
Late last year, provincial authorities also warned people who had incited more than 200 families to grab land illegally to build houses in Prey Nop district’s Bit Trang commune.
During that time, forces were also deployed and three people were arrested for grabbing state land illegally.
Villagers whose homes were destroyed yesterday could not be reached for comment.
Cheap Sotheary, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said some people grabbed private land as their own, including some officials who conspired with each other to divide the land into plots and sell it to unsuspecting buyers.
She asked provincial authorities to check those cases carefully and punish any corrupt officials. Large billboards should also be placed on private property to make people aware it is illegal to stay there, she added.