Municipal officials said yesterday that they would take steps to combat what they said was the unlawful occupation of portions of Boeung Trabek lake, which the city hopes to clear out to restore its ability to hold rainwater and reduce flooding.
“Many parts of the northern Boeung Trabek reservoir, which is eight hectares, and the southern lake of 18 hectares have now been occupied by businesspeople; the rest has been divided and occupied,” City Governor Pa Socheatvong wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.
In order to prevent the situation from worsening, City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said yesterday that the municipality is taking immediate steps to halt further land deals on the lake and to stop local authorities from filling in any more of the body of water while the city continues to determine how best to restore the reservoir.
Om Keo, a resident who has balked at past government compensation offers, said that in addition to houses, multi-storey buildings had been erected in some of the banned areas around the lake.
Community representative Khut Bun yesterday acknowledged that while he didn’t have an official title, he and other residents had documents establishing their claims.
“We have family books, residential certificates, ID cards and everything. These should mean that they accept that we live there legally,” he said.
Dimanche, however, said that none of the residents had a legal claim to the land and that they would ultimately have to decide between paying the city or accepting a buyout to leave.