Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Boeung Kak villagers call on PM to intervene in land case

Boeung Kak villagers call on PM to intervene in land case

Boeung Kak villagers call on PM to intervene in land case

ABOUT 60 people from communities surrounding the city’s Boeung Kak lake gathered in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house in central Phnom Penh on Wednesday morning to demand titles for land they say they are likely to lose to a planned real estate development project.

Villager Seav Kheng said the residents had decided to protest in response to maps released February 26 by Chhay Rithy Sen, the municipal director of land management, showing that their properties are set to be impacted by the controversial project.

“We don’t want to oppose the government development project, but we want fair compensation – we can’t accept US$8,000,” he said, referring to City Hall’s offer to villagers.

Sim Lida, who also took part in the protest, said: “We would like to ask Prime Minister Hun Sen to help us get our land titles, because we have been [at the lake] since 1979. If the company needs to develop on our land, they can buy it at the market price.”

Another Boeung Kak resident, Huon Navy, also said she wanted a resolution from the government, one way or another.

“Now we live as if in a prison. We have no right to do anything: even if we want to repair our houses, we can’t do it,” she said.

After the villagers arrived at Hun Sen’s house near the Independence Monument, district police moved them to nearby Wat Botum while they discussed the issue with the prime minister’s Cabinet.

In February 2007, City Hall signed a 99-year lease agreement with local developer Shukaku Inc, owned by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin and his wife, to develop the Boeung Kak area. In August 2008, local firm HSC began filling the lake with sand dredged from the Tonle Sap.

More than 4,000 families are expected to make way for the 133-hectare housing and commercial project. Last month, the Post reported that a succession of Chinese companies had been linked to the project, but the current status of foreign involvement remains unclear.

When contacted on Wednesday, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Sok Penhvuth said local officials were merely fulfilling a “government directive”.

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Cambodian women diving deep, going far

    There is a saying in Khmer that “women cannot dive deep or go far”. The meaning is that women should not stray too far from their traditional gender roles. But when Menno de Block, an entrepreneur from the Netherlands, took a good look around his