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Land encroachment still an issue: Culture Ministry

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
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Sambor Prei Kuk temple. Supplied

The Culture and Fine Arts Ministry says there are still challenges the ministry has to address in order to protect the Kingdom’s culture and heritage sites, despite the work it manage to complete last year.

Ministry spokesman Thai Norak Sathya during an annual meeting said the ministry worked hard to protect the Kingdom’s culture and heritage sites, adding that it managed to complete 608 out of 636 tasks in 2018.

Mr Norak Sathya said despite this achievement, there are still challenges yet to be addressed, such as encroachment at heritage sites and illegal logging.

“At the Angkor site, some people still break in and illegally occupy the site for their own personal use,” Mr Norak Sathya said. “That site is meant to be preserved and protected.”

He said the buying and selling of ancient artefacts is an issue that has to be addressed, noting that many artefacts are sold to unnamed powerful people in Phnom Penh and provinces across the Kingdom to be kept inprivate collections.

Minister Phoeung Sakona said officials must monitor land disputes in order to prevent encroachment.

“Officials must identify land and determine what belongs to who,” Ms Sakona said. “If the land belongs to the state – and is a heritage site – then the land must be protected.”

According to a report by the Apsara Authority, the group worked with local officials to dismantle hundreds of illegally built homes in 2017. It noted that a majority of the homes were built in Siep Reap city’s Bakong, Angkor Thom, Thmar Pouk and Banteay Srey districts.

Full story in Friday’s paper

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