A family outside their house in Tonle Bassac's Village 14, also known as Sambok Chab, or the Birds' Nest.
bout 1,500 families living in Phnom Penh's Tonle Bassac Village 14, who are squatting
on land deemed to belong to Suor Srun Enterprises (SSE), will be removed in March
to a site in Dangkor district, a company representative said.
Khui Chhor, assistant to Suor Pheng, SSE's owner, said the company had bought a 10-hectare
plot of land in Dangkor district, is bulldozing the land and expects to finish next
Chhor said the Dangkor site - 17km outside of Phnom Penh - already has water and
electricity and the company will build toilets and roads and will consider building
a school at a later date. Each family will receive a plot 4 meters by 12 meters on
which to build a house.
"We have reached an agreement between the company and the people in the community,"
Chhor said. "I don't think there will be any change; we have accepted all their
He said the Phnom Penh municipality had set up a committee and would call the villagers
within a week for a meeting to divide the land and ask for their final decision.
Hing Sophanara, deputy chief of the Bassac squatter community in Village 14, also
known as Sambok Chab, or the Birds' Nest, said the community and company representatives
met last week; 80 percent of the squatters had agreed to move to the Dangkor location.
He said two big local companies wanted to buy the land from SSE for development,
but were waiting for the squatter community to be moved.
Sophanara said community leaders had visited the land in Dangkor district, west of
Chumpo Voan High School, many times and wanted SSE to buy the land and give it to
the inhabitants of Village 14.
"The people here [in Sambok Chab] want to leave soon," he said. "They
don't want to live in fear as they do at the moment. But, he added, "According
to the number of people in the community, SSE needs [to buy and distribute] at least
15 hectares of land."
SSE's Chhor denied the Bassac land was being transferred to any other company. He
said SSE had asked the other companies for help in removing the people from the slum
because the companies had previous experience.
Mong Reththy, General Director of Mong Reththy Group, told the Post last month that
he had plans for the Sambok Chab land, and had talked with SSE's Suor Pheng. Later
he learned that it was very complicated because of the squatters, so he changed his
Reththy said he had heard that the land had been transferred to Kith Meng, president
of the Chamber of Commerce and owner of Royal Group and Mobitel companies. When contacted
by the Post Kith Meng declined comment.
Mea Sopheap, chief of Sangkat Tonle Bassac, said the people in the community were
waiting for city hall to call them to a meeting, because the people had accepted
the SSE's proposal and the company had already prepared the land.
Pa Socheatevong, deputy governor of Phnom Penh municipality, said the city had not
yet scheduled a meeting.
He said the squatters could not continue to live illegally on somebody else's land,
but it was the city's principle that SSE should find appropriate alternative land
"The company cannot force them to leave without anything," Pa Socheatevong
said. "They [the company] should find a suitable site that the people can accept."