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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Arrest of protester prompts more lake residents to depart

Arrest of protester prompts more lake residents to depart


The trickle of departing Boeung Kak residents quickens to a flow

following the arrest of a man claimed to be the protest 'ringleader'


A Boeung Kak resident peers out from her home as other dwellings are torn down.

MORE Boeung Kak villagers are packing up

and leaving the lakeside area, saying it is useless to stage further

demonstrations against their eviction following the reported arrest of

a local protest leader Wednesday.

Chan Theany, a resident from Boeung Kak's Village 4, said that she has

joined several protests with other villagers, but that it now seemed

"hopeless" to demand market price compensation for forfeited land in

the face of continuing municipal inaction.

"I will be evicted from here," she said. "I think our protest will only delay the time when we have to leave Boeung Kak."

She added that villagers started to feel frightened Wednesday morning

when a man was arrested in Village 4 after allegedly collecting

villagers' thumbprints that he planned to submit to the local commune

office demanding greater compensation for evictees.

"He has been accused of being the ringleader and inciting people to

protest," she said, adding that the people in Village 4 had started

leaving quietly one by one.

Nget Srey Leap, who rents a property in Village 4 and witnessed the

arrest, said that the man was detained at around 10:30am. "He was

escorted by a few policemen into a police car," she said. "Our renters

are mostly illiterate so we asked him, rather than the Boeung Kak

residents, to help write down the names of protesters."

She added that renters in her village planned to protest at the local

commune office and the office of Boeung Kak project developer Shukaku

Inc  Wednesday afternoon to ask for better compensation for villagers

who have been renting houses in the Boeung Kak area since the 1980s.

"But now we are afraid of protesting," she said.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said Friday that "protest is

not a solution for the people" because the authorities had already

worked things out for people, offering cash compensation, replacement

housing in Damnak Trayoeng village in Dangkao district, or on-site

housing for those evicted from the lakeside. Mann Chhoeun added that

300 families had accepted replacement housing and nearly 90 had

accepted the cash.

I think our protest will only delay the time when we have to leave boeung kak.

Chhay Thirith, Srah Chak commune chief, said that the company is now

constructing more houses in Damnak Trayoeng for people who volunteer to

move to the area. "There are only 270 houses there. We are now building

more houses because we know more of the [residents] will agree to

accept houses," he said.



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