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Clash erupts in Dey Krahorm

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

A young Dey Krahorm resident peers through a water jar broken during an argument with employees of developer 7NG on Thursday.

DEY Krahorm community members faced off Thursday with workers from developer 7NG, whom they accused of destroying residents' property  and trying to tear down a neighbourhood dance club in the latest clash in the disputed slum.

Villagers said 7NG staff arrived at the site Thursday morning, deliberately smashing a large stone jar used by the residents for storing water while removing fences from around the dance club.

"[The workers] wanted to remove our club, where children come to learn dancing, but we prevented them when we saw the group," said resident Cheng Srey Vann.

"We just celebrated Human Rights Day, and we want to tell the company that they are violating our rights."

She  added that company staff deliberately smashed the water jar with a rock.

"They are cruel," she said. "They said that the club has been sold to the company already, but we did not sell it because it is not ours - it is for the whole community and no one has a right to sell it."

Community representative Ly You Leng said the company intended to scare people into leaving the area immediately.

"They intimidated us," she said.

The incident followed a December 1 clash between 7NG workers and hundreds of community residents refusing to leave their homes.

The company says that it has purchased the land and has tried to buy out the remaining residents.

Company managing director Srey Sothea said he did not know what had happened at Dey Krahorm on Thursday.

He added that the company had temporarily stopped buying houses from villagers because they were asking for too much money.

"We offered one family US$18,000, but they demanded up to $30,000. We don't have enough money to pay that," he said.

On October 6, Dey Krahorm villagers submitted a complaint to the National Assembly, requesting its intervention to prevent their eviction.

Two days later, Assembly President Heng Samrin asked Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema to aid the villagers, city officials said.

But Ly You Leng said that, instead of helping, Assembly officials have only urged them to leave their homes.

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