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Group 78 asks if it will be next

Group 78 asks if it will be next

IN the wake of the forced removal Saturday of scores of families from

Dey Krahorm, residents of another riverside shantytown community, Group

78, worry the gaze of urban development will fall on them next.

The city has planned a road through the small neighbourhood as part of its plan for a new bridge spanning the Bassac river.

Eighty-eight families live in Group 78, community representative Lim

Sambo said Wednesday, but "our story is different from the people from

Dey Krahorm", he said.

"Their own community leaders cheated them. We are not a community in the same way, so no one person can do that."

But anxiety prevails in the community, which is less than a kilometre from Dey Krahorm.

Sim Pov said he and his neighbours thought their neighbourhood would be

evicted the same day hundreds of police and workers moved in to

demolish homes in Dey Krahorm.

Tan Khem Ny, 29, said City Hall had offered residents a house in

Trapaing Anchanh village - more than a dozen kilometers outside the

city - as well as US$5,000 to leave, but homeowners demanded $3,500 per

square metre.

With the help of the Cambodian Legal Education Centre (CLEC), residents

have crafted a plan to remain onsite by building and moving into a

concrete building in a corner of their neighborhood, allowing the rest

to be bought and developed by the municipality.

Man Vuthy of  CLEC said Group 78 had already proved an adept negotiator

through  proactive planning. He also said it stood on sturdier legal

ground than did its besieged neighbor, as the majority of its residents

hold multiple documents - including family books, voting cards and

citizen IDs - proving land ownership.

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