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Families make plea to city governor for titles

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Representatives of more than 500 families who fear eviction from Trapaing Chhouk village in Sen Sok district’s Teuk Thla commune appealed to the Phnom Penh governor yesterday to issue them land titles.

Meng Kimlong/Phnom Penh Post
Sok Heng, of Trapaing Chhouk, speaks to reporters.

Sao Sopheap, 50, one of 11 village representatives who travelled to city hall to lodge the request, said families were concerned that an unknown company planned to evict them in exchange for about US$2,500.

“I am very concerned to move, because we all just recovered from a fire and we still have debt,” she said.

Hundreds of houses burned down at the site, which is officially public land, in 2008.

Authorities blamed careless use of lamps, but no one was deemed responsible for the blaze.

Families endured months of living in tents and have since borrowed money to rebuild their homes, Sao Sopheap said.

Part of the low-lying area the villagers live in was used as a water reservoir since before they arrived in 1984 until 2007.

The families, who have been lobbying for land titles for many years, believe authorities want to reclaim the land to pump water into in case Phnom Penh floods.

Village representative Sok Heng said that Kiet Chhe, deputy municipal chief of administration, had told them city hall had no plans to evict them.

“But he said there was a company that wants to develop this area we live in,” she said.

Kiet Chhe said the authorities “cannot give them land titles because they live on state land”.

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