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Apsara Authority puts up signs to foil land grabs

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Forest area in Angkor archaeological park. KT/Mai Vireak

The Apsara Authority has been installing boards informing the public on the prohibition against buying and selling land in Siem Reap province’s Angkor area, following recent Facebook posts of land sales in the world heritage protected site.

Apsara Authority spokesman Long Kosal on Thursday said it has come across announcements of unsanctioned sale of land in Zone 1 and Zone 2 of Angkor.

“Residents, please do not believe the rumours created by people that some land in the Angkor area can be used for construction,” he said.

Mr Kosal said to foil any illegal activity, the Apsara Authority installed about ten information boards on the prohibition in the city, including in Nokor Thom, Kok Chark, Toek Vil and Sra Nge communes and also planned to install more in places where land sale activities have increased.

“We request residents to participate in preventing and preserving our ancestral heritage,” he said. “What we are doing is for the common interest of the nation, not for any private interest of the Apsara Authority. We also call on those trying to buy or sell land to stop their illegal activities immediately.”

Trek Marlin, a resident in the province, said he supports the action to install the boards, but asked the authorities to put up more posts to mark the heritage site’s boundary in order for protection to be more effective.

“Most people do not know the boundaries of Zone 1 and Zone 2 and some have unknowingly bought land there,” he said. “So the authorities should put up more boundary posts for the benefit of people and the Apsara Authority.”

The government declared Zone 1 and Zone 2 of the Angkor World Heritage Site as state public land, which the Apsara Authority has to manage, maintain, and develop.

People who have lived in the area for a long time are allowed to continue living there without eviction, repair old houses or build new houses, with permission from the Apsara Authority.

They also have the right to manage their land such as transferring the inheritance to their relatives or selling their property to other villagers. However, they are prohibited from selling the land for the construction of hotels, restaurants or KTVs.

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