Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Plot thickens for evictees

A woman carries household belongings to Building 9 at Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community
A woman carries household belongings to Building 9 at Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community yesterday. Vireak Mai

Plot thickens for evictees

Scores of families in Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community tore down a corrugated metal fence and took up temporary residence in developer Phan Imex’s unfinished Building 9 as anger over smaller-than-promised relocation plots boiled over yesterday morning.

The occupation began after local and municipal authorities came to the site yesterday to measure plots of land for displaced families embroiled in the long-running land dispute. The plots became a point of contention, however, when it was discovered they were only three-by-four metres – half as big as the four-by-six-metre plots residents were promised, Borei Keila resident Chher Phan said.

“This is the reason behind our action, and we decided to live temporarily in Building 9 while we wait to live in the temporary settlement that Phnom Penh municipal authorities will build for us as we wait for resolution based on the 2003 and 2004 [resettlement] agreement” with developer Phan Imex, said Phan, who is occupying a room with her three children and another seven-person family.

At about 11am yesterday, the Borei Keila families could be seen making themselves at home in Building 9, sweeping out the building’s dusty one-room apartments and laying down floor mats for seating. Some gathered to chat in the open-air portions of their newly claimed flats.

Chhay Kimhorn, who also claimed a room in Building 9, said that even though the building was incomplete – many rooms sported uneven concrete and gravel floors rather than tiles – the occupiers would hold out until an agreement was reached, “even if there is a violent crackdown”.

Development at the site has been stalled for years after Phan Imex declared it had run out of money, and yesterday building occupier Chum Ngan said that if the development was bankrupt, the building should go to the community.

Phan Imex chief Suy Sophan could not be reached for comment yesterday.

There were no police in sight for the better part of yesterday’s occupation, but Prampi Makara district governor Sorm Sovann called the action a “serious offence”, brought on by a small group of rabble-trousers.

“We are sorry that they believed the incitement by a small group of people and broke the law by breaking into the building without permission,” he said. “We will take administrative measures when we get orders from our superiors.”

Municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said yesterday that authorities had called for a handful of community representatives to come to City Hall today for talks, but residents were adamant yesterday that the entire community accompany them in the interest of “transparency”.

And while Dimanche also said that yesterday’s action “is against the law, obviously, and interrupts the resolution-finding process”, he would not say how authorities planned to deal with the break-in.

However, after Veal Vong commune chief Keo Sakal visited the building around 4pm yesterday counting occupants and asking them not to stay the night, occupier Has Chenda said that she was “afraid of security” evicting them at night.

“Maybe they will come to take us away,” she said.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Sochua free

Deadlock broken, CNRP pols released

The longest parliamentary impasse in Cambodian history looks to have ended with the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party agreeing to take their seats in parliament exchange for political concessions from the gove

Rainsy returns again

Rainsy returns to political turmoil

Seven of his party's lawmakers-elect are in jail, more may be soon to follow and the negotiations to end Cambodia's near year-long political deadlock have come to a grinding halt.

This month 20 years ago...

1994-07-15 07:00
Gun mart reopens after raid
1994-07-15 07:00
Police Blotter: 15 July, 1994
1994-07-01 07:00
Investment law ready for NA approval
1994-07-15 07:00
CIA moves in on Lao market
1994-07-15 07:00
Editor jailed despite pleas
1994-07-01 07:00
Green light for Rotary