Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Borei Keila families protest

Borei Keila families protest

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Twenty families protested after a they learned a building where they had taken shelter for nearly 10 years would be demolished. Hong Menea

Borei Keila families protest

Nearly 20 families from the Borei Keila neighbourhood in the capital’s Prampi Makara district protested on Wednesday after the authorities brought two bulldozers that the families claim will be used to demolish the vacant buildings where they have taken shelter since being evicted in 2012.

The protesters were among hundreds of families who were evicted in January 2012 to make way for a large-scale construction project overseen by Phanimex, a development company owned by prominent tycoon Suy Sophan.

The families are demanding compensation to end the matter, while a civil society organisation has urged the authorities to find a peaceful solution.

The families’ representative Taing Kim Sroy said the Phnom Penh municipal authorities had, on Sunday, sent two bulldozers and 30 police officers in preparation to destroy buildings under dispute by 14 families.

Five other families that have received compensation also came to stop the bulldozers because they say the amount they have been given is insufficient. They had requested between $30,000 and $400,000.

Kim Sroy said the company has persecuted the families for nearly 10 years, driving their living standards down until some of them had been reduced to beggars.

They have been forced to sleep on pavements, she said, and some have resorted to prostitution. “If the company or the government does not offer us proper compensation, we will not allow our buildings to be bulldozed.

“We would rather die in the buildings because we have nowhere else to stay,” Kim Sroy said.

She said some time ago, the municipal authorities had called in the remaining residents for talks. But the authorities had failed to meet their demands or offer a compromise and only said they would contact them at a later date.

Another evicted resident, Toem Sak Mony, who remains homeless, said they had not refused compensation, but the $3,000 to $4,000 provided by the authorities was not enough to buy land or a house.

“We will not leave our houses. If security forces come, let them come and kill us all. If they want to have the buildings, why don’t they buy them at the market price? Why evict us forcibly?

“If the company does bulldoze the buildings, we are determined to let the world know about the wicked acts of the company, and the authorities too,” she said.

Sak Mony said the Borei Keila site was sold by Phanimex to a local company, but now the land had been sold to two companies, one Chinese and one Taiwanese.

She said the two companies were excavating soil and laying a foundation to construct buildings behind the old Borei Keila buildings.

Phnom Penh deputy municipal governor Mean Chanyada declined to comment on Wednesday and referred questions to municipal hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey.

The Post was unable to contact either Pheakdey or Prampi Makara district governor Lim Sophea.

However, a police officer who patrols the area said on the condition of anonymity that the bulldozers were ready to demolish the buildings whenever the order is given, but because of the ongoing tension, plans had been suspended for now.

“I don’t know exactly when I have to bulldoze the buildings because I’m waiting for the order from the top. So, I don’t know at all,” he said.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of monitoring at human rights organisation Licadho, said the authorities had tried and failed to solve the Borei Keila conflict and he did not want to see any physical violence.

“Using violence to solve the land dispute instead of finding a peaceful resolution is not at all desirable, so we would like both sides to solve it peacefully and find an agreeable resolution,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted