The Phnom Penh municipal administration has issued a press release in relation to recent events at the Boeung Samrong Lake Development Project in Prek Pnov district, rejecting accusations that the local authorities beat and detained protesters.
It was responding to allegations from Khmer Rise party president and Supreme Council for Consultation member Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung who claimed violence ensued at the fish farm, leading to injuries and arrests.
It said the municipality is constructing dams around the lake to build a public park and walking path. Alleging discrimination against the poor, local fishermen have attempted to block efforts to clear the lake for development.
The municipal hall rejected the allegation.
“The Phnom Penh municipal administration has already compensated fish farmers – around 322 families. We have spent at least 960 million riel [$236,000] in compensations,” the press release said.
It said local authorities had detained 10 protesters but did not use violence.
Vathana Sabung said he will continue his mission to find out what violations the 10 people are charged with.
He said he is collecting information on the case and will submit his findings to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Samrong commune chief Yin Im said there was proper notification about the fill-in. He claimed the protesters did not respect the notification and obstructed the local authority, resulting in a confrontation.
“This is just a trick by the people. We tried our best to protect everyone and tried not to use any force. They tried to fake fainting spells. No one used any force. We just tried to prevent them from blocking our work,” he said.
The project is about 70 per cent complete and Im said only a few families have continued protesting.