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Lake development blamed for fatality

RELATIVES of a man who was electrocuted while standing in floodwater are blaming the death on flooding caused by the massive Boeung Kak lake real estate development.

Biv Thuong, 61, died while he was repairing a neighbour’s home in Srah Chak commune’s Village 3.

The village, which sits on the southern end of Boeung Kak lake, has been inundated with floodwater this year – an occurrence that many in the village have blamed on the controversial land development, which has seen the lake gradually filled with sand since 2008.

Chau Kheang said he and Biv Thuong had been hired to change mouldy wooden support beams under a neighbour’s house on Tuesday. The task required the two men to wade through knee-high floodwater on the ground level of the house.

When Biv Thuong tried to remove a lamp, the circuits started sparking, sending an electric shock through both men’s bodies, Chau Kheang said.

“I rushed out from the ground floor of the wooden house after me and my partner were shocked,” he said. “I am very sorry. I could not save him.”

The village’s 339 families had designated Biv Thuong to lobby on behalf of the village on flood-related issues.

The man’s wife, Uk Savin, yesterday blamed her husband’s death on the real estate project that she believes caused the flooding. “If they did not fill land in the lake ... my village would not flood and my husband would not have been electrocuted,” Uk Savin said.

Municipal officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, Chhay Thirith, the chief of Srah Chak commune, blamed the death on Biv Thuong.

“He has an overbearing attitude and was careless,” Chhay Thirith said. “He handled an uncovered electricity line when his legs were standing in water.”

The house’s owner, Taing Phuong, said she turned the power off before the men started working.

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