Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Borei Keila evictees occupy site

Borei Keila evictees occupy site

Security guards forcefully remove protesters occupying a building near the Borei Keila eviction site in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photo supplied
Security guards forcefully remove protesters occupying a building near the Borei Keila eviction site in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photo supplied

Borei Keila evictees occupy site

Five years after more than 300 families were violently evicted from the Borei Keila community, about 50 former residents yesterday attempted to occupy a dilapidated building at the site only to be thrown out once more by district security guards.

On January 3, 2012, private security guards along with military and district police stormed the community, tearing down 200 homes and forcing out 300 families to make way for a project being developed by construction firm Phanimex.

Phanimex had been contracted in 2004 to develop 10 buildings to house the 1,700 affected families at the site in return for developing the remaining 2.6 hectares. However, the firm only constructed eight buildings and claimed bankruptcy in 2010, leaving 300 families without their promised residences.

Yesterday, about 50 women and children, who now live on the city’s outskirts at the Phnom Bat relocation site, occupied the top floor of a decrepit building at Borei Keila demanding further compensation for being forcefully evicted – evictees say they only received between $100 and $1,000, and a 5-by-12-metre plot.

However, shortly after settling in the vacant few rooms, Prampi Makara district security guards asked them to leave the premises. When the villagers refused, guards started shoving and pushing the women, eventually dragging them out of the building.

“We did not harm them. We just asked to stay but they still dragged us out,” said former Borei Keila resident Ting Vicheka. “I was pushed and hit the wall, and my right hand is hurt.”

Kim Saran, another villager, said they pushed back only after security guards started shoving them, adding that she was slapped by one of the guard for “insulting them”.

“I said to them not to use violence like Pol Pot,” she said. “Then they got angry and insulted me in front of the others and slapped me.”

But, Prak Hak, a security guard, claimed the reverse. He said the guards had politely requested the villagers to move out, but instead they threw insults and fish sauce at the guards.

“She [one of the evictees] scratched me and threw fish sauce on me and the others. They did not listen to our instructions,” he said.

The evictees had come prepared with food and clothing yesterday, vowing to stay on the premises indefinitely. However, four villagers attended a meeting late in the afternoon with district governor Ly Sophea, who assured them that he would try to find a solution with City Hall within three days.

Community representative Khieu Lai said the villagers had proposed two options: $10,000 compensation and improved infrastructure at Phnom Bat, or $5,000 and a one-room house in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district.

“Now, we are preparing to go back home, but we do not really trust what he promised,” said Lai. “If there is no solution in the next three days, we will come back and never leave here.”

Sophea did not respond to a request for comment. Phanimex’s owner, Suy Sophan, could not be reached yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in

  • PM: Workers must train for Industry 4.0

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged the Kingdom’s workforce to seek more technical training and strengthen their skills if they are to avoid job losses resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Hun Sen said the fourth industrial revolution is like a double-edged sword that

  • Huawei applies for OS trademark in Cambodia

    China's Huawei Technologies Co has applied to trademark the “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in a number of countries including Cambodia in a bid to launch its homegrown operating system as a replacement for the Android OS, Reuters has reported. Huawei has applied to trademark the “

  • Kingdom’s dengue cases triple this year

    Within a span of 20 weeks this year, the death toll from dengue fever has risen to 21, while the number of those who have fallen ill due to the disease has reached over 12,000. A specialised official said the figure has risen about three times as much