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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Boeung Kak residents take protest to Hun Sen's house

Boeung Kak residents take protest to Hun Sen's house

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Lawyer representing soon-to-be displaced lakeside villagers says he has been ordered to appear in court Friday over case

Vandy Rattana

Boeung Kak residents dismantling their lakeside home last week.

THE Phnom Penh Municipal Court has issued a summons to the attorney representing Boeung Kak lake residents, requesting his presence to answer questions relating to the injunction filed last week against the filling of the lake by local developer Shukaku Inc.

Dredging firm HSC began pumping sand into the lake August 26 as the first stage in the construction of a 133-hectare commercial and housing development, which is expected to lead to the eviction of over 4,000 lakeside families.

Lawyer Choung Choungy, who represents 120 villagers, said he received a summons Tuesday morning requesting he answer questions about the injunction he filed September 9 on behalf of 14 villagers.

"I will be summoned to the court on Friday to answer questions about the people's injunction," he said. "On the same day, the court will also summon a representative of the developer to be questioned at the court."

Meanwhile, villagers said they will stage a protest at Prime Minister Hun Sen's Takhmao house this morning, claiming earlier complaints to City Hall and to the office of Shukaku Inc had been ignored.

"We have no hope that City Hall will solve the problem, so we have decided to go to the prime minister's house," said villager representative Be Pharom, adding that floods were already encroaching on houses. "I believe only Samdech Hun Sen can help us."

She added that residents will appeal directly to Hun Sen against the reclamation of the lake and to demand fair compensation for their properties from the municipality. "We want to let him know that development must take into account people's livelihood," she said.

Bunn Rachana of the Housing Rights Task Force said that she would monitor the protest, and was expecting around 500 Boeung Kak villagers to be present.

"Going to Prime Minister Hun Sen's house is their last hope," she said.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong said that protesters were free to express their opinion, but that City Hall was still working on their complaints.

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