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Lakeside residents clash with company

ABOUT 60 Boeung Kak lakeside residents have clashed with security guards employed by local developer Shukaku Inc outside the company’s office.

The dispute arose after 16 families were told to leave the lakeside by next week and accept low compensation payments.

Kong Chan Tha, 41, a resident of the lakeside’s Village 24, said about 50 Daun Penh district police watched as security guards from Shukaku assaulted villagers outside the office.

“They hit me on my right shoulder and hit the bodies of other people when we returned from a protest in front of City Hall,” she said.

She said residents decided to protest at City Hall, and later in front of the company’s offices, after 16 lakeside families were told on Saturday by Shukaku guards that the villagers’ homes would be demolished if they did not leave the area by next week.

Leng Chanthy, 34, a resident of Village 22, also claims she was hit by a security guard during the protest as police officials “pretended to look away”.

“Where is the justice?” she said. “Do the police and military police just work for the benefit of the company’s owner, or also for the benefit of the people?”
Village 24 resident Yun Pao, 41, said her family was ordered to leave the area by next week and accept just US$1,500 in compensation.
She said they were offered lower compensation because their homes share a roof and walls, despite hundreds of other families’ being offered about $8,500 each to move.
“They said that they will use excavators to destroy our home next week if we do not accept this payment,” she said.
Yang Phal, another resident of Village 24, said the company tried to bribe her. “They called me to meet them on Sunday and said they would give my family [about $5,500] if we could lead the other 15 families to accept $1,000 and 2 million riels,” she said.
A security guard employed by Shukaku, who asked to remain anonymous, said that guards involved in assaulting residents had acted of their own accord.
“Those security guards will be fired by the company and sent to court for trial if they seriously injured the people because [the guards] provoked the situation themselves,” he said.
Chay Thirith, Srah Chak commune chief, said he had not received any complaints from villagers following the incident, nor did he know how much compensation the 16 families were offered.
Both Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema and deputy governor Tuoch Sarom declined to comment.

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