Preah Sihanouk authorities are searching for a mastermind they say has been inciting people to grab land in the province after hundreds of families illegally moved onto plots in Prey Nop district’s Bit Trang commune.
Preah Sihanouk Governor Yun Min said yesterday that the land grabbing in Bit Trang commune had sparked many land disputes, prompting the authorities to deploy forces to stop the invasions.
He appealed to the public to stop the illegal land grabbing.
“I have seen many cases of land grabbing so we are taking action to prevent it,” he said. “We are also looking for the mastermind or those inciting people to grab land.”
Provincial authorities late last month deployed coalition forces to remove illegal constructions erected by more than 200 families in Bit Trang commune.
Tin Meong, one of those who grabbed land in the commune, said he and the others who went there had nowhere to live and saw that the land was empty.
“We followed other people to grab the land because we have nowhere to live. The authorities said the land already has an owner and they deployed forces to stop people from entering,” he said.
“The authorities should have told us earlier because we do not know the law.”
Preah Sihanouk deputy provincial governor Srun Sroan urged poor people with nowhere to live to apply to the provincial administration for land.
He said officials would examine their cases and provide them with plots where possible.