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Eviction deadline imminent

Eviction deadline imminent

Residents near French school have ‘til Monday.

THE Daun Penh district governor has set a Monday deadline for residents living near the Lycee Francais Rene Descartes to agree to government compensation terms for the land or else risk the destruction of their personal belongings, an eviction letter released on Tuesday said.

Many residents were surprised and angry that the eviction date was so soon.

"At least they should delay one month so we can prepare everything.... In such a short time, what can we do?" asked Meak Sina, who has lived in the shadow of the international school since 1979.

She said the government was afraid to negotiate with the whole community.

"When they [the authorities] invited people to a meeting, they just invited one or two families.... They were afraid we would go together and not be afraid of them."

According to the eviction letter, 13 of 37 families have accepted the government's money and a plot of land in Meanchey district. Depending on the length of time they have lived on the land, families will receive US$5,000, $7,000 or $10,000.

But many of the families still want better terms.

"I want justice because I have a lot of family. I want the authorities to pay me $30,000, with a 10-metre-by-20-metre plot of land," Sok Chenda, 54, said. "Now, I am really worried about my situation. I don't have any plans yet, and the deadline will arrive soon."

Hao Sinith, the Wat Phnom commune chief, said residents were still in discussion with the Phnom Penh Municipality.

Sok Penh Vuth, the deputy governor of Daun Penh, said he was too busy to comment.

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