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Recently, the ongoing dry spell affecting the coastal part of the country has led to an alarming increase in sporadic bushfires. Pockets and even large areas of bushes and forests have become fire pits which emanates smoke that contribute to the hazy weather of late. These blackened grounds have now become a familiar sight to those commuting along the Lumut Bypass, Seria Bypass, Mumong Bypass and Tutong and Brunei Muara highway.
This annual bushfire occurrences have managed to clear large parts of forest areas which are normally left alone. These areas, now devoid of any thick vegetation, seem to entice prospectors eyeing spots for agricultural activities. In some areas, these activities have slowly began to sprout and are becoming a growing concern to relevant government agencies. With regards to this, the Lands Department would like to remind the public that intrusion into these areas (State Land areas) is an offence under section 32 of the Land Code (Cap 40) of Brunei Darussalam. Any persons without lawful authority found guilty of the offence could be penalized $2,000.00 for the first conviction and $3,000.00 for a second and subsequent conviction or imprisonment for one year or both, and the magistrate may issue a warrant to any police officer requiring him to dispossess and remove such person from the land.
Furthermore, anyone abetting the intrusion is also liable on conviction to receive the same abovementioned penalty. The public are therefore to take heed of this reminder and the officials of the Land Department and officials from the relevant government agencies will continue to monitor development in the affected areas.
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