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Protest over Boeung Kak project met with confusion

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A protest over the Boeung Kak lake development has raised quesions over the nationality of developer Shukaku Inc

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

Boeung Kak residents protest outside the South Korean embassy on Monday.

AROUND 70 Boeung Kak residents protested Monday outside the South Korean Embassy over what they believed was a Korean company's involvement in the development of the residential lake.

Protesters told the Post they were wanting to deliver a letter to the Korean Ambassador, Shin Hyun-suk, stating that they have sent many complaints to offices of government expressing their anger over their forced eviction, but "no action has been taken".

The residents said they had decided to protest when they learned from local media reports that Shukaku Inc, the company filling in the lake for redevelopment, was a South Korean company.

But embassy officials told protesters that the company was not South Korean, and presented a one-page document describing Shukaku as a company from Japan.

However, an official from the Japanese embassy, who declined to be named, told the Post by phone that she did not know if the company was Japanese.

"We are now searching for the company's name [to see] if Shukaku Inc is a company from Japan," she said, adding that Shukaku is not likely a Japanese word.

Pa Socheatvong, deputy governor of Phnom Penh, told the Post Monday that the 99-year-lease agreement between the government and Shukaku Inc signed in February 2007 proved the company was in fact Cambodian.

"In the agreement, the signatory is Cambodian, so we now know that it is a local company," he said.

The project, which will develop the 133-hectare lake into a business and cultural center, will see an estimated 4,250 families evicted from the area.

Dozens of police officers were at the protest, as well as officials from Shukaku who declined to talk to the press. 

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