Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Borei Keila eviction, 6 years on

Borei Keila eviction, 6 years on

Sok Srey On recalls losing all her possessions when she and other Borei Keila residents were forced from their homes. Six years on, she says the intimidation and threats persist.
Sok Srey On recalls losing all her possessions when she and other Borei Keila residents were forced from their homes. Six years on, she says the intimidation and threats persist. Hong Menea

Borei Keila eviction, 6 years on

Six years ago yesterday, hundreds of residents in Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila neighbourhood were forcibly evicted and saw their homes destroyed in a single day, a grim anniversary that community members – many of them still awaiting compensation – gathered to mark yesterday.

Speaking after a Buddhist ceremony, held behind the vacant building where residents have taken shelter since being evicted, holdouts asked for fair compensation, claiming that the relocation site in the northwest of the city is too remote and the monetary compensation offered to some not high enough.

The city imposed a December 22 deadline on 11 holdout families to either take the offered compensation or forfeit their right to any compensation whatsoever. Twenty other families, whose claims to compensation had previously not been recognised, were also offered compensation – 10 were offered cash and 10 were offered relocation – after the deadline closed. None, however, have accepted.

The building where yesterday’s ceremony was held – surrounded by trash picked over by cats, dogs and chickens – might soon be demolished after 10 years of conflict with development company Phanimex.

Sok Srey On, a representative of the 20 families who had been offered compensation, said she had vivid memories of the community’s violent eviction.

“I always relive the day. During that time I was very frightened about the force with which they demolished our home,” she said. “They did not give us any information that they would take action, but they simply started early in the morning. We lost all our belongings.”

An exterior view of one of the dilapidated buildings occupied by Borei Keila residents.
An exterior view of one of the dilapidated buildings occupied by Borei Keila residents.

Ngov Nary, a representative of one of the 11 families issued the ultimatum, told a similar tale.

“Early in the morning we went to the market to work and our children went to school. But around 10am, I got a call from our colleague that our home was destroyed. I rushed to my home, but everything was destroyed. I lost everything,” she said.

Srey On said the municipality had only just told them the amount the 10 families who were offered monetary compensation would receive: $3,000. This, she said, was not enough to buy a plot of land, get a flat in the area or live off.

Srey On also alleged that city officials had tried to intimidate the group of 11 families, which she perceived as a threat to herself and other residents. “They threatened that if they don’t accept the resolution then . . . authorities will take armed forces to evict us.”

Long Chandy, a representative of another Phnom Penh community of evictees, also attended the anniversary to express his support. “We request all people in Borei Keila get decent compensation,” he said.

Mean Chhanyada, president of the municipal committee that deals with the case, declined to comment and directed questions to City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey, who could not be reached.
Lim Sophea, Prampi Makara district governor, also could not be reached.

Borei Keila evictee Tim Sak Mony, who was once jailed for more than three months for protesting, said authorities and the company disrespected them. “Why do the local authorities and the company need to evict the poor people to a bad location, and then insult us – the poor people – as brainless?” she said.


  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial