Yet another resident of Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district came forward yesterday to join “Crocodile Grandmother” Chhin Sokoutheary in accusing city and district officials of issuing a false sub-decree to acquire land in the vicinity of Pong Peay Lake in Phnom Penh Thmey commune.
Chea Savean, 62, a retired education official who is now the vice-president of the Cambodian-Asean Engineering and Technology Academy, said that despite assurances to the contrary from deputy district governor Chea Khema, Sen Sok and Phnom Penh municipal authorities included his land – which he maintains he bought with the knowledge of the government, and inhabited since 1989 – in a sub-decree that unlawfully reclassified it as state land.
According to Savean, on October 20, 2012, an excavator hired by Sen Sok district authorities cleared a 35 by 70-metre swath of his 100 by 100-metre plot. When he asked them to stop digging, he added, Khema made a contract with him, saying authorities were simply digging for a dam on Pong Peay Lake, and that the diggings would be reburied upon its completion.
“However, after the completion of their digging activities on my land, Sen Sok district did not respect its contract with me,” he said. “Instead, it has continued to occupy my lands, under the reasoning that my land was related to the sub-decree delimiting Pong Peay Lake as state’s properties, dated 10 July 2012.”
Though he has not filed an official complaint, he said, he is still awaiting compensation from municipal authorities, who have either ignored or forgotten his case.
District governor Chea Saveth said yesterday that authorities had “no policy to solve [Savean’s] demands” because the land in question was state property, as expressed in the sub-decree.