Phnom Penh municipal authorities yesterday measured plots of land for five displaced Boeung Kak families who have refrained from long-running protests, prompting criticism from activists, at least one of whom accused the city of giving Boeung Kak land to strangers.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Khuong Sreng said that the five 4-by-18-metre plots demonstrated City Hall’s commitment to solve the Boeung Kak dispute.
However, some of the families for whom the land was measured said they were still unhappy, but had accepted the plots because it was the best offer they would get.
“I did not agree [when I was evicted in 2011] and wrote a letter demanding intervention,” said Va Kheang, who said he lived on his former plot since the 1980s. “But having no options, we told them we would accept the solution, because it was better than nothing.”
In November, municipal officials measured land in villages 6, 22, 23 and 24, promising to give land titles to 32 families.
Those titles are yet to be issued and yesterday’s demarcation prompted anger among villagers still awaiting a resolution.
Nget Khun, a Boeung Kak activist in her seventies who has spent time in Prey Sar prison for protesting evictions, queried why City Hall had measured land for families she has “never seen at protests before”.
“We suspect they added these people to the list to take advantage of the 12.44 hectares in our community,” she said, referring to the land sliced from developer Shukaku’s concession in 2011.
But Sreng, the deputy governor, said such accusations only “made people more and more fired up, and Phnom Penh municipal officials would not be stupid” enough to do that.
Eleven of the 32 land titles from November’s demarcation had already been finalised, he added.