The legal battle against lake developers is dashed by the court’s
demanding $39.5 million in taxes to accept residents' complaints
A Boeung Kak resident thumbprints a complaint on Tuesday.
THE lawyer representing Boeung Kak lake
residents who are demanding market-price compensation for their land
said Wednesday that he failed to lodge a case on their behalf with the
Phnom Penh Municipal Court due to the court's demands that he pay a tax
of millions of dollars.
"The tax payment is 50 percent of the money at stake in the lease agreement," said attorney Choung Choungy.
"The 99-year lease agreement between Shukaku Inc and Phnom Penh
Municipality is worth over US$79 million. So the payment would have
been about $39.5 million," he added.
"The demand is too high and is likely to close the way for us to bring
the complaint to court," Choung Choungy said, adding that he will study
the civil code to look for a loophole that will allow him to refile the
A clerk at the court who met the lawyer in the morning said that,
according to the law, the more money one demands, the less tax one
needs to pay to lodge a complaint. "The tax is only one percent
normally," the clerk said.
Lack of resolution
Also on Wednesday, representatives of Boeung Kak villagers, who marched
on City Hall demanding a halt to the reclamation of the lake and fair
compensation for their land met with Sok Sambath, district governor
from the Daun Penh district office.
Protest leader Bun Navy told the Post that the three-hour-long meeting ended without a resolution to the residents' complaints.
"District officials in the meeting still want us to choose options offered by City Hall ," he added.
"Until now 700 families have volunteered to leave the area and decided
to choose one of the two options - relocation or a cash sum," Mann
Chhoeun, deputy governor of Phnom Penh, said. "The third option is for
them to get houses in Boeung Kak after the area is developed."
Mann Chhoeun said that the development company has a set compensation
policy requiring homeowners to give their thumbprint before being
re-located or receiving money. "Homeowners must give their thumbprint
to agree to the deal."
More than 30 families have torn down their homes without seeing any
compensation. Protestors are also worried by rising water levels that
have caused their houses to flood before they've agreed to receive