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Borei Keila deal taken by some

A woman carries household belongings to Building 9 at Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community in February
A woman carries household belongings to Building 9 at Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community in February. Vireak Mai

Borei Keila deal taken by some

Fifty families who have lived in squalid conditions at Borei Keila in the capital’s Prampi Makara district since they were evicted and their homes destroyed have accepted City Hall’s offer of temporary shelter at the site, their representatives said yesterday.

Evictee Sar Son said the 50 families had accepted the promise of shelters on land that city officials began measuring in February, while 106 families continued to refuse the offer.

“I think that now I need a safe home to live in temporarily, because I can’t put up with living on the pile of garbage and sewage,” she said.

Many of the families have endured such conditions since they were violently evicted from their homes on January 3, 2012.

When officials began marking out plots last month, families were outraged that each one measured only three-by-four metres – half the size of the four-by-six-metre plots promised.

Government security forces cracked down on families who occupied a building at the site in protest on February 14, injuring several people.

Community representative Pich Limkhoun said he was one of the scores of people who had rejected the offer.

“We need a real solution – which is proper flats, not temporary shelters,” he said. “How can we believe [we won’t be evicted again] when the authorities and Phan Imex have constructed only eight buildings after signing a contract to build 10?”

Under that contract, signed in 2003, developer Phan Imex pledged to build high-rise housing for more than 1,700 families. When the firm failed to construct the final two buildings, hundreds were left homeless.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has ordered Phan Imex, which has claimed bankruptcy, to repay a Korean company $2.7 million over a failed land deal at Borei Keila, a decision it has appealed.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said he was unable to comment because he was about to board a plane.

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