AROUND 250 Boeung Kak residents marched on City Hall Monday, demanding that officials provide them with a list of registered properties in the lakeside area.
Protestors said they made the request to Phnom Penh authorities after Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cabinet sent back a community appeal lodged on March 11 seeking the premier’s intervention to secure land titles for the residents.
“We do not come to protest with the municipal authority, we want to know where our [registration] letters are and how officials will respond to us,” said Sam Vanna, a Boeung Kak representative.
“We will continue to protest until the authorities agree to register our land for us.”
Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema and Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun, could not be reached on Monday.
The protest is the latest in a long-running conflict between the Boeung Kak communities and City Hall, which has leased 133 hectares of the land for a controversial housing and commercial project. More than 4,000 families are expected to lose their homes to the project, by local developer Shukaku Inc.
Sam Vanna said that despite the involvement of the World Bank in the government’s Land Management and Administration Project, which sought to systematically issue land titles across the country, lakeside residents have not been able to receive land titles. “The authority did not register land for distribution to us, even though the World Bank supported this project – they forced us to relocate to Choam Chao commune, about 25 kilometres from downtown,” she said.
Boeung Kak resident Soy Kolap, 54, said villagers “do not oppose the government’s or the state authorities’ development plan”, but merely wanted to stay in homes they claim to have occupied for 30 years.