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Officials Will Face Jail for Deforestation: Authority

Any government official associated with clearing the forest for the sale of land faces imprisonment, a land dispute authority said Thursday.

“Any officials, commune chiefs or ‘oknha’ will be punished, even if there is no corruption law,” said Khieu Sorn, a Funcinpec parliamentarian who is also a member of the National Land Dispute Authority.

They will not be allowed to let people destroy the forest, Khieu Sorn said, as a guest on “Hello VOA” Thursday.

A caller to the show, Huot Sambath, from Oddar Meanchey province, said the districts of Anlong Veng and Tra Pearng Prasath were facing mass deforestation for the sale of land.

Cambodia Center for Human Rights investigator Ing Kong Chit, who was also a guest Thursday, acknowledged that land clearing was happening now in many areas, most recently in Koh Kralor, Battambang province.

Khieu Sorn said local authorities have the responsibility to inform people about land certificate and ownership to avoid problems.