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Officials refuse Rik Reay demands

Officials refuse Rik Reay demands

090520_04.jpg
090520_04.jpg

One meeting is cancelled, while a second fails to provide solution to ongoing land dispute.

Photo by:
SOVANN PHILONG

A girl plays in the sand pumped under her family home by Bassac Garden City on Tuesday in the Rik Reay community in Phnom Penh.

AFTER one aborted meeting and another unsuccessful one, residents of the Rik Reay community remain no closer to resolving conflicts with local developer Bassac Garden City.

In January, the government told the community's 219 families to vacate the site to make way for a new development and has offered them two compensation options: US$10,000 and a house in Dangkor district, or on-site housing.

About three quarters of the community agreed to the government's terms, but 54 families are still holding out for more money, residents say.

The Tonle Bassac commune chief, Khan Rith, said he invited the 14 families from Rik Reay who are demanding between US$35,000 and US$150,000 for their houses to a meeting on Tuesday morning.

"But they brought their lawyer," Khan Rith said, "It shows they don't have confidence in the authorities."

He added: "They made the meeting room chaotic and noisy, so I cancelled the meeting," he said.

But he gave a different reason for cancelling the meeting to Rik Reay residents, the community's lawyer said.

"[Khan Rith] decided to cancel the meeting because he said he was afraid one of us would bomb the meeting room," said Jin Savat, a lawyer from the Community Legal Education Centre who is representing Rik Reay residents.

A lawyer was allowed to attend an afternoon meeting with a second group of Rik Reay families. But residents went home disappointed after Bassac Garden City refused to discuss money and instead demanded that five families be removed from the compensation list, residents said.

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