Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fire ravages land dispute site

Fire ravages land dispute site

26 houses in the community of Boeung Chhouk were razed by a fire
Corrugated iron sheets litter the ground in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district yesterday after 26 houses in the community of Boeung Chhouk were razed by a fire on Saturday evening. Pha Lina

Fire ravages land dispute site

At least two people were injured over the weekend when a wildfire swept across a Phnom Penh community that has been entangled in a land dispute for more than a decade.

The fire ripped through the capital’s Boeung Chhouk village in Russey Keo district’s Kilometre 6 commune early on Saturday evening, Khiev Chenda, a representative of Boeung Chhouk villagers, said yesterday.

“The blaze [only] lasted for an hour, but it destroyed 26 houses,” Chenda said. “Two men were seriously injured and more than 50 families lost their homes.”

Chenda said villagers believe the fire started in a grocery store because of an electrical malfunction. Fire department officials are still investigating, said Prom Yorn, director of Phnom Penh’s Municipal Fire Fighter Unit.

Members of the Cambodian Red Cross and local authorities have provided affected villagers with food, money and medical supplies, community representative Mor Savet said yesterday.

Just over a month before the flame devoured homes in the village, Russey Keo Governor Khlaing Huot issued an order for villagers to move out of their homes to make way for seven planned roads. The November 14 order says authorities will take down houses of villagers who do not comply. It does not offer compensation.

Since the fire, villager Touch Chamnan and his family are now increasingly anxious about being evicted from their home, he said yesterday. His land certificate from 1990, family book and all forms confirming his identification and ownership of the land were destroyed.

“Now we are concerned about the eviction from our land, where we live, because we cannot prove [our ownership],” Chamnan said. “The authorities want us to move from our land without any compensation, so they can build the road.”

The dispute over land ownership dates back to 1998, when government officials began saying the commune land was private property.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival draws to close

    Cambodia's 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival wrapped up successfully on November 28 after a four-day run, with the film “Voice of the Night” awarded top prize for 2022. Sum Sithen, the organiser of the short film festival, told The Post that the number of attendees to the