Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration yesterday ordered more than 20 families who are squatting on state land in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune to leave.
In a notice signed on Tuesday by Governor Kuoch Chamroeun, the provincial administration ordered 23 families living in the Phnom Trangorl area in the commune to vacate the area and hand over pieces of land they have encroached upon to the Ministry of Environment.
It said if they failed to do so, they will face legal actions.
“In case of refusal to leave the area, the provincial administration will take legal action against those 23 families,” it said.
The notice said the Phnom Trangorl area, which the families have encroached on, is protected by a sub-decree, noting the area is a multi-use area or Prek Toek Sap.
The notice warned that those caught encroaching, burning and clearing state forestland will be subjected to five to 10 years in prison.
Van Kan, a villager in Bit Trang commune’s Chamnort Ream village, said those families have recently moved in the area.
“We do not know where they have come from, but they have illegally built small houses on the state land, affecting public order,” Kan said, adding he supported legal action against them.
On July 28, provincial authorities and park rangers dismantled more than 40 illegally-built huts and arrested four people suspected of clearing forestland in Prey Nop district, Ream national park.