Aten hectare site adjacent to Phnom Penh's Russian Boulevard, south-west of Boeung
Kak Lake, will be developed into a shopping mall and hotels.
About 500 families living on the land will be relocated to a site 15 kilometers outside
the city along Route 4.
Most residents the Post spoke to were unaware of the project until the company fenced
in the perimeter and starting pouring land fill last month.
A CPP MP, Osman Hassan, told the Post that his company will develop the site in a
joint venture with other companies from several Asian nations.
Hassan, who is president of Hassan Cambodia Development Company (HCD), said he had
rented the site for 70 years.
"This will ensure Phnom Penh has new and beautiful buildings rather than keeping
this part as a squatter area," Hassan said. "People should understand that
this is about beautifying the city."
He said the venture involved investors from China, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand
and Japan, but declined to discuss the finances or the project's cost. HCD started
filling the low-lying land with soil early last month, and construction is set to
Hassan said HCD signed a deal to rent the land from the government in 1998, but the
economic crisis and problems with squatters, some of whom have lived there since
1980, delayed the project.
"The investors wanted to be sure that we could relocate the people, and were
also waiting for the land fill to begin," said Hassan. "If we had not started
now, the government would have revoked the contract."
He said the company purchased land four kilometers the other side of Pochentong Airport
to relocate the families. However as some have not agreed to leave, he said, negotiations
were still underway. The company, said Hassan, had offered some building materials
for the new site.
Many are not happy at the thought of leaving Phnom Penh.
Ngy Ny, a 45-year-old housewife and mother of four, said the new land was simply
too far from the school of her children and the workplaces of two others. She said
her family arrived in 1993 and paid around $8,000 for their land.
"[The new site] is too far from their school, and from the market and my family's
workplaces," she said. "I will not move there."