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Pouk vendors face deadline

WE ASKED FOR THE RIGHT TO SELL HERE FOR A LONG TIME. FOR FOREVER.

Siem Reap Province
POLICE on Sunday told vendors who operate stalls in front of Pouk market in Siem Reap province that they must leave on Wednesday, setting a new deadline for an eviction that was delayed by a protest last month.

Local officials told the vendors in late January that they would need to leave because they were creating a nuisance for customers and vendors with stalls inside the market, and because they had positioned their stalls too close to a national road. But a protest on January 27 led officials to delay the eviction.

Y Kun, a 38-year-old vendor in one of the affected stalls, said four policemen visited the vendors on Sunday with papers for them to thumbprint if they were willing to move to a new site.

“They told us to thumbprint the paper if we wanted to move,” she said. “And if we do not move, after February 10 the vendors will be responsible for the fees of tearing down the stalls.”

She added: “I am worried, but I will have to see what happens on February 10.”

Another vendor, 40-year-old Y Doung, said that he had been approached by police officers on Thursday, and that he and other vendors had refused to thumbprint the papers.

“We asked for the right to sell here for a long time. For forever,” he said.

Nim Sarath, deputy police chief in Pouk district, said he could not comment on the impending eviction because it fell under the jurisdiction of the district governor, Pech Sokhalay, who could not be reached.

Nhong Sakhan, the district cabinet chief, said he believed the deadline had been fixed during a meeting on February 3, despite the fact that many vendors had requested the right to sell at least until after Chinese New Year, which ends on February 16.

He said officials were concerned about how the vendors would be affected by the eviction, but he described this as a “short-term impact”, adding that they would still be able to sell the products if there was sufficient demand for them.

“There will be a serious impact on the roasted chicken vendors during Chinese New Year, but these are only about 10 vendors,” he added.

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