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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Boeung Kak lawyer fails to file appeal due to court tax

Boeung Kak lawyer fails to file appeal due to court tax

The legal battle against lake developers is dashed by the court’s

demanding $39.5 million in taxes to accept residents' complaints

HENG CHIVOAN

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

documents.

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

compensation.

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