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Boeung Trabek residents resist offers

Boeung Trabek residents resist offers

Residents of Phnom Penh’s Boeung Trabek area yesterday balked at the options to either pay the government for land certificates or sell their land to the municipality during a forum attended by local authorities, area inhabitants and housing rights officials.

City officials earlier this year said they planned on evicting those living in the area in an effort to restore the lake, whose capacity they say has been diminished by encroaching houses. Lake restoration, they said, will reduce flooding in the capital.

The approximately 50 people attending the meeting yesterday were told that current residents would have the option to buy the land they occupy there from the government at $500 per square metre, or sell it to the city for $250 per square metre.

Om Koe, a community representative, said the prices offered by the municipality will likely be deemed unacceptable by most of the 637 families who live north of Boeung Trabek and the 99 families who live south of the area.

“Boeung Trabek is in the middle of the city; nowadays real estate prices are high in that area,” Koe said yesterday. “Some nearby areas sell for $3,000 per square metre . . . How could we sell to the state for $250 per square metre?”

Most residents who attended the forum were against the deal, Koe said.

The situation seems reminiscent of other land disputes in Phnom Penh, such as the continuing Boeung Kak Lake and Borei Keila debacles, said Nan Ony, a legal officer for the Housing Rights Task Force. After attending the forum yesterday, he said he hoped the situation in Boeung Trabek would not escalate to violence like other land disputes.

“The state must be careful about how they carry out their solution,” Ony said. “I hope it does not result in violence, like with Boeung Kak and Borei Keila.”

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