Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rare win for villagers in battle with tycoon

Rare win for villagers in battle with tycoon

Rare win for villagers in battle with tycoon

In a rare siding with villagers, government officials earlier this week rejected a proposal by tycoon Kith Meng to develop the area surrounding Boeung Prek Tub lake in Preah Sihanouk town and instead vowed to issue proper land titles to residents.

Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction spokesman Benghong Socheat Kemro told the Post yesterday that Kith Meng’s proposal to develop the 82-hectare Boeung Prek Tub lake area in commune three had been rejected at an inter-ministerial meeting the day before.

“There is no approval from the state,” he said.

“The people will stay in the same place without any eviction. The state does not intend to put eviction on them.”

Benghong Socheat Kemro said the ministers had decided “not to do anything that would affect the lake” and that the next step in the process would be “the offering of land titles” to residents.

Kith Meng formally asked the government for a 99-year lease to the land last March to build an ecotourism site that would feature a resort.

After the request became public last year, villagers, fearing eviction, mounted nearly a dozen protests, including one last August in which they blocked National Road 4 leading into Sihanoukville.

Provincial director of land management So Sok said yesterday that the government had heeded the villagers’ concerns and had decided to “protect the lake” and “proceed with residents to allow them to have legal land ownership”.

Om Vanna, a resident of Boeung Prek Tub lake, said he was “happy” that he no longer had to worry about being evicted from land that he had lived on for more than 30 years.

He added that he had not yet received information about land titles from authorities, but had heard about the government’s decision.

When asked for comment yesterday, Kith Meng said he was busy in a meeting.


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all