Officials reminded of land rental issue

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Authorities in Takeo province yesterday reminded local border officials to pay closer attention to issues surrounding the lease of Cambodian land to Vietnamese farmers.

Deputy provincial police chief Brigadier General Kong Sam Aun said provincial authorities held a meeting with border and local police to check on and ban the leasing of farm and residential land along the border to Vietnamese farmers as the upcoming rice planting season approaches.

He said that four districts share a land border with Vietnam.

“We remind and urge our police forces to keep an eye on the matter along the border,” he said.

“There have been reports of Vietnamese nationals engaging in this illegal practice, but we will take effective measures to deal with the matter.”

Brig Gen Sam Aun added that authorities have previously told all landowners near the border to stop leasing it to Vietnamese farmers.

He said that leasing land to people from neighboring countries would create further complications for authorities, especially for the Cambodian government.

“It will make it difficult to handle problems in the future when they arise,” he said.

In an edict released in November 2015, Prime Minister Hun Sen banned Cambodians living along the country’s border from selling or leasing farmland and residential land to people from neighboring Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

The main purpose of the directive was to help residents use their own land for cultivation, but government officials also said demarcating border posts would be more difficult if foreigners occupied land inside Cambodia.

Mr Hun Sen said farmers along the border should not be allowed to lease their land because the areas lacked official borders on both sides and proper land titles with the correct number of hectares had not been issued for some landowners.

In October 2015, the Interior Ministry sent a letter to every governor of provinces along the border with Vietnam, telling them to stop any residents renting or selling land to Vietnamese nationals, citing reports that farmers were allowing foreigners to cultivate plantations in provinces along the border with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

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