Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 22 more Boeung Kak families receive land titles



22 more Boeung Kak families receive land titles

Boeung Kak residents hold their new land titles this morning.
Boeung Kak residents hold their new land titles this morning. Pha Lina

22 more Boeung Kak families receive land titles

Twenty-two families who were still protesting their evictions from the Boeung Kak lake area accepted offers from the city today, leaving 10 holdouts remaining more than a decade after the lake was first sold and filled in.

The families, from Village 1, each accepted a 4-by-16-metre plot of land in Village 22, located on the other side of the former lake.

Boeung Kak community leader Chan Puthisak, who was among the 22 who received land titles yesterday, said the win belonged to the villagers.

“We have been negotiating since 2007,” Puthisak said. “If we had not struggled, we would not have gotten it. This is the result of a lot of struggle and a lot of sacrifice. This is the achievement of our hard work.”

The news, announced by officials at Phnom Penh City Hall today, means that the city is close to settling one of the country’s most protracted and high-profile land disputes.

Thousands of families were forcibly evicted from the lake area in the years following its sale in 2007. The evictions spurred years of protests by evictees, drawing the ire of local officials and sparking multiple court cases.

Now, 10 years on, much of the former lake remains a sandy expanse, though high-rises, condos and commercial buildings have begun to take shape.

Read more: Boeung Kak: A disastrous decade

Sand is pumped into Boeung Kak lake on August 16, 2011. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP
Sand is pumped into Boeung Kak lake on August 16, 2011. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP

At a press conference, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mean Chanyada said villagers should “get along” with local authorities.

“When brothers and sisters have problems, they should discuss with local authorities rather than making this issue bigger and seeking help from other people who do not solve the problem for you,” Chanyada said, without specifying to whom he was referring. “Brothers and sisters must know how to keep the peace. This is the key point.”

But Soeung Saran, executive director of land rights NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, said the Boeung Kak protesters hadn’t set out to make trouble.

“What they want is a transparent and accountable resolution for them,” Saran said, pointing to the recently demolished White Building as an example of a speedy and peaceful eviction process.

The Boeung Kak resolution “should not have taken such a long time”, he added.

As villagers milled around City Hall with blue-inked thumbs marking the new landowners, 62-year-old Boeung Kak resident Bou Soychhay said that he was relieved to finally feel the land title in his hand.

“We are receiving a plot almost the same size as our previous land,” Soychhay said. “We were scared and worried when we did not have the land title, but now that we have the papers, we are very happy.”

Updated: 7:10am, Thursday 28 December 2017

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting