T HE original Olympic Market vendors say they remain as commited as ever to their
demand they be given free stalls.
They claim that they are not making
money at the old market, and cannot pay for stalls at the new one.
for the 1,951 registered traders in the old market has been set aside for weeks,
with the rest left for newcomers.
Finance Minister Sam Rainsy has backed
the "old" traders demands for free stalls and King Norodom Sihanouk advised the
Royal Government to accept Rainsy's proposal.
"All of the traders
vigorously follow the King, and the price of the stalls should be free," a woman
said, speaking for a large group of the traders gathered around her.
male vendor asked: "If you meet Hun Sen. Please ask him whether he follows the
King or not."
Vendors interviewed at the old Olympic Market said that
none of them had made commitments to rent space in the new market. The Royal
Government gave the Thai Boon Rong Company approval on June 15 to open the new
"This decision of the government is very bad. It makes the
reputation of the government very bad. They use dictatorial methods.
"Ask Hun Sen: Do you like Thai Boon Roong Company better than the
Cambodian people? The government has given the right to TBR to do what they
"Hun Sen has liberated us from Pol Pot regime, but why does he
make a decision to kill the traders like this? The government seems to be happy
when they see the people killed."
"We want to know whether this country
is a dictatorship or a democracy."
A woman vendor said: "When you see
Samdech Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh, tell them that we would like them to
re-examine the King's decision. If the Co-Prime Ministers don't follow the
King's decision, the people will not believe in the government anymore. And we
will not want to be Cambodian anymore. We want to be another race, we want to
The vendors claim that they make very little at the old
market and they don't expect to earn much at the new one. "We spend very much,
but we get very little from our shops. We lose more than we earn," a vendor
said. Others around him nodded. One said, "In one month, I get no
But Chim Chheng Ly, a government appointed security chief at the
old market disagrees.
He said: "If they didn't make money, they wouldn't
be here selling."
Chhim said: "In the past the [Thai Boon Roong] company
has made many concessions to the traders. In my opinion they have been fair. The
money for renting the stalls is for the new building.
"Now they are in
wooden stalls [but there] they will have secure concrete buildings to store
their goods and to sell them.
"If they take the money which they use to
transport their goods from home to the old market and home again at night,
perhaps 4,000 riel to 8,000 riel per day, they could pay for the stalls at the
"In my opinion, in the negotiations, the traders don't move
forward, they move backward. They may not make money, but at least they do not
lose money," he added.