REPRESENTATIVES of an estimated 500 families near Boeung Trabek lake in Chamkarmon district said local officials refused to meet with them yesterday to discuss an eviction order set to be carried out later this month.
Suos Namy, 30, a resident of Phsar Doeum Thkov commune, where the families live, said the order – signed by Chamkarmon district governor Lo Yuy – was received last Friday, and that representatives of five villages went to the commune office yesterday to seek more information, including specifics on what areas would be affected.
Upon their arrival, he said, commune officials turned them away, saying that they needed to draft a formal letter requesting a meeting.
“Local authorities should explain clearly about which areas will be impacted” by work on the drainage system in the area, he said.
He added that residents were concerned because of the looming September 27 deadline, and because construction machinery was already standing by.
Lo Yuy’s letter indicates that they have good reason to be concerned.
“If they don’t move away by the deadline, the authorities will take measures through the law, and we won’t be responsible for any destruction or loss of their property,” the letter states.
Resident Om Yorn, 61, said the deadline did not allow residents enough time to relocate.
“I am not against the authorities’ practices, but they should offer the residents proper compensation because citizens living here are poor and unable to move immediately,” she said.
Thong Chhorn, the chief of Phsar Doeum Thkov commune, said he had told community representatives “not to worry” because there would be no “use of force” to remove residents from the lakeside. “The authorities have only asked those living near the lake to move in order to fix the drainage system and avoid flooding,” he said.
He said that at least 150 families were living in “anarchic buildings”, and added that about 500 families would be affected in total.
Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor for the rights group Licadho, said authorities should meet with the representatives and also “pay the necessary compensation to the people”.
Chamkarmon district governor Lo Yuy could not be reached for comment yesterday.