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Lake residents protest over money

Lake residents protest over money

090519_04.jpg
090519_04.jpg

Boeung Kak evictees ask government to halt filling of lake until compensation is agreed upon.

Photo by:
HENG CHIVOAN

Boeung Kak resident Soy Kolab, 53, talks with reporters Monday outside the Court of Appeal.

MORE than 30 residents from Boeung Kak lake protested Monday, handing official letters of complaint to the National Assembly and the ministries of interior and land management, pleading with them to intervene in the filling of the lake until a fair compensation package could be worked out with those who would lose their homes.

In August, Shukaku Inc, a development company, began pumping sand into the lake, slowly filling the popular tourist site. Since then, hundreds of families have been forced from their homes.

Soy Kolab, a representative of the lake community, said that Cambodia's ministries and lawmakers were their last chance for help, but that Cambodian law was on their side.

"Cambodia has laws to protect its people," she said. "I want them to delay pumping sand into the lake and to negotiate suitable compensation for us. I am not against the government's development plan, but any development in which the poor have to be evicted without proper compensation will only benefit powerful people,"

A lawyer representing the community, Choung Choungy, said only a small number of the 4,252 families living at Boeung Kak have agreed to the municipality's compensation offer of US$8,000 cash, or replacement housing on the outskirts of Phnom Penh with $500 cash. He said the residents did not want to be relocated far from their children's schools and their livelihoods.

Residents have already appealed to courts, protested in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen's house and sent complaints to City Hall.

CPP lawmakers Cheap Yeap said the National Assembly would push the government to solve this problem in accordance with the Land Law.

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