Fed up with rent hikes, hundreds of sellers packed up their fluorescent halter
tops, glittering barrettes and low-slung jeans Dec. 16 and streamed out of Sorya
Market in protest.
Angered by rising rents, vendors at the Sorya Shopping Center shut down stalls and walked out en masse Thursday afternoon.
Waiting in clumps outside Phnom Penh's largest mall
Thursday afternoon, they said they wouldn't reopen for business until the
center's owner agreed to negotiate with them.
When the Post went to
press on Thursday, staff from Sorya said management representatives had begun
discussions with vendors and they hoped people would go back to work "very
Bourn Sopheakna, who rents a beauty shop in Sorya, said the
sellers had already talked to the owner six times since October 27 to prevent
rent increases that ranged from 5 to 35 percent.
But she said the owner
refused to meet their demands, raising the cost of rent on shops when their
annual contracts expired. Sellers said they did not know why the owner had
"We waited for a solution for more than one month," she
said. "We could not wait anymore. Our patience is limited."
vendors began shuttering their shops just after lunch and the movement
snowballed, with a hurried exodus out of the mall around 2:00 p.m. Groups
outside held signs demanding the shop owner lower costs while guards locked the
Heng Vuthy, who rents a clothing shop, explained that sellers
could not survive with such high rents. He said that most people come to Sorya
just to see the modern market, and they don't necessarily buy many products
Plus, seasonal challenges had made this a particularly difficult
year for vendors, he said.
"Our selling is not the best this year because
people in the provinces are facing drought," he said. "They have no money to buy
things with high prices."