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Lake residents to demonstrate

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Children from the Boeung Kak lakeside participate in a protest against Shukaku Inc and a Chinese company involved in the development of the lakeside during a rally at Freedom Park last month. Photo by: Heng Chivoan

Boeung Kak residents are planning further protests at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park in an effort to secure compensation from the lake’s developer and open a dialogue with City Hall.

Nearly one month after staging a series of demonstrations in the capital, lakeside residents said their appeals to the Phnom Penh Municipal Authority have gone unanswered. Huot Muthdy, a representative for the lakeside villagers, said yesterday that Boeung Kak residents wanted to meet with Shukaku Inc, the lake’s developer, to discuss compensation.

“If we are not invited to negotiate compensation with transparency, we will stage a protest again,” said Huot Muthday. “We want the developer to pay our land compensation in square metres, with a price of US$1,500 per square metre”.

Village representatives said the proposed protests would take place some time this month.

Shukaku Inc, which is headed by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin, acquired a 99-year lease to develop the lakeside in 2007, and will use the 133-hectare concession for residential and commercial purposes.

A Chinese company, Inner Mongolia Erdos Hungjun Investment Co, is involved in a joint venture with Shukaku to develop the lakeside.

Lao Vann, a representative for Shukaku, said yesterday that villagers should not demand compensation negotiations with the developer.

“The price negotiation is not the developer’s business,” he said.

Residents from Village 1 claim that compensation payments have been shirked by Shukaku and Toll Royal Railways, an Australian/Cambodian joint venture that will refurbish and run the Kingdom’s railway system. TRR has denied any role in compensation or resettlement practices.

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