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Dispute brings tears

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About 50 villagers from Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community gathered yesterday to pray for justice in their housing-rights dispute with property developer Phanimex. In 2003, Phanimex agreed to construct 10 buildings on two hectares of land in Borei Keila to house more than 1,700 displaced families in exchange for the development rights. So far, however, the company has built only eight of the 10 apartment buildings required. “The company and authorities cheated us. When we went to ask them, they said we lack documents to get homes and we have to wait,” resident Sok Choeung, 50, said yesterday.  Prampi Makara district governor Som Sovann said yesterday  the protesters were “newcomers” and therefore “had no right to get homes”. Ouch Leng, head of the land program at rights group Adhoc, said Phanimex and the government should provide these residents with the housing promised.

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