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Chroy Changvar locals reject city’s ultimatum

Residents of Chroy Changvar district protest in Phnom Penh yesterday morning at the site of an OCIC development project.
Residents of Chroy Changvar district protest in Phnom Penh yesterday morning at the site of an OCIC development project. Touch Sokha

Chroy Changvar locals reject city’s ultimatum

About 40 Chroy Changvar peninsula residents yesterday held a press conference rejecting City Hall’s two-month ultimatum to part with most of their land or accept below-market rates to make way for a planned satellite city.

The ultimatum, which was issued on September 14, asked villagers to collect cards from authorities that would entitle them to retain 10 percent of their land or accept $15 to $40 per square metre to relocate. The project is being implemented by prominent developer the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation.

Chea Sophat, a village representative, said residents instead wanted the developer to exclude their land from the firm’s development activities. “[They] take our land and force us to accept it – it is not fair,” he said. “If we own the land illegally, we are ready to go to jail.”

Additionally, villagers said they had documents from local authorities to prove that they owned the land and were paying tax on it as well. Sophat added that the group was willing to negotiate a solution with City Hall.

However, City Hall spokesman Mean Chanyada ignored the call for negotiations, and again asked villagers to pick up the cards that would entitle them to 10 percent of their land. “They know that the land they have bought is not legal and that no titles have been issued since they bought it,” he said.

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