Pursat provincial authorities on Friday let off with a caution more than 80 people who illegally grabbed land in Krakor district’s Svay Sor commune last week.
Provincial Governor Mao Thonin yesterday said the 84 villagers had been cheated by brokers and agreed to return to their home provinces after being informed that their action was illegal.
He said they were told that the state land in the commune was free for occupation and had set up tents in the area.
“We explained to them that the land belongs to the state and they did not have the right to grab it,” Mr Thonin said. “We let them off after they agreed to go back to their provinces and promised not to illegally grab state land in the future.”
He noted that the 84 people from nine provinces were duped into occupying land which the state had granted to Pheapimex Company to cultivate cassava at Dambok, 100 in the commune’s O Chan village.
“The authorities did not arrest, detain, or fine them,” Mr Thonin said. “We gave them a first warning and made them promise not to come and grab land illegally again.”
He also said that he had sent a list of their names to the governors of their respective provinces requesting that they be given land to prevent them from trying to grab state land in other provinces again.
According to a Krakor district police report, the 84 people comprised 54 villagers from Battambang province, 15 from Prey Veng, seven from Pursat, two from Kampong Cham and one each from Pailin, Kampong Thom, Tboung Khmum, Phnom Penh, Svay Rieng and Kandal provinces.
“They are from other provinces and came to Pursat province to grab state land,” it said. “They told the authorities they did not have land to live on or cultivate but agreed to leave after being informed their action was illegal.”
Last week, the Environment Ministry reiterated a warning against land grabs in protected forest areas or state land in the Kingdom, urging those who had done so to return the land to the government or face legal action.