Almost 700 Families Voluntarily Move from Angkor

A total of 689 families who were illegally living in the Angkor area have volunteered to relocate as part of a clampdown by authorities.
Tourists climb up temple ruins in Siem Reap province. Kiripost/Chhorn Raksmey
Tourists climb up temple ruins in Siem Reap province. Kiripost/Chhorn Raksmey

More than 680 families living in illegal structures in the Angkor area have volunteered to relocate to Run Ta Ek Natural Village without compensation as part of a clean-up of the protected area.

A total of 689 families with illegal residences in the Angkor area are willing to live in Run Ta Ek Natural Village, said Seng Lot, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC), at a press conference.

“They [MLMUPC] give land, no compensation, they move from there by themselves, and the people get all this information and they volunteer for compensation as an additional policy, there is none,” he said.

“I visited with my team. I met and listened to the opinions of the people. When they had a solution, they were happy because of the new location and they prepared,” added the director-general of General Department of Administration at MLMUPC.

Lot said the visits enabled people involved in the Angkor area to understand the reasons behind the relocations. He added illegal residents must leave and hand over the land to the state voluntarily.

There are 234 families in Taksin Tbong village and 455 families in Trapeang Ses village, who settled in the Angkor area, according to a release by MLMUPC.

Am Sam Ath, of human rights group Licadho, said that when relocating people to a new area, authorities should study and prepare the infrastructure in advance. He added there is reluctance to relocate to an area with few people as this makes it difficult to live and there should be charities to support them.

“If there is an agreement between the authorities and the people, not a forced agreement, it is good if people are wrong, and they know what to do. But if they are not wrong, it will affect their interests. What should the authorities do with these people?” he said.

MLMUPC Minister Chea Sophara said last week there are more than 8,000 cases of illegal construction inside the Angkor resort. In the last three months, a total of 398 cases of illegal construction have occurred, of which more than 200 cases have been dismantled.