Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Preah Vihear families making way for development




Preah Vihear families making way for development

Preah Vihear families making way for development

HUNDREDS of families living at the bottom of the ridge on which Preah Vihear temple sits began moving last week to a government-provided relocation site some 30 kilometres away, and only about 100 remain, officials said Wednesday.

“Most people are leaving the old village, and have been settling in the new village since last week,” said Hang Soth, director of the Preah Vihear National Authority. “There are about 100 families still at that place.”

Plans for the move date back to July 2008, when fighting first broke out near Preah Vihear temple after its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Officials said at the time that the 473 families living in Kor Muoy village would need to be moved because of safety concerns, and because they wanted to develop the area as a “cultural heritage site”.

Hang Soth said Wednesday that he hoped all of the families would be cleared out of the village “very soon”.

“I hope that they will all leave here in May, so we can bulldoze it and clean it to plant trees, and to make a garden and restaurants for tourists,” he said.

Sok Hai, the governor of Choam Ksan district, said the process of building homes for the families at the new village – which has been christened Thamacheat Samdech Techo Village (Samdech Techo Nature Village), a name that incorporates part of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s honorific – was not yet completed.

“The house construction for the people is going very fast, and we never stop even for one minute because we need people to live in this place for development,” Sok Hai said.

He added that local officials had dispelled rumours that some of the families would not be allowed to relocate to the village, which is in his district.
In February, a group of 50 families claiming to be longtime residents of Kor Muoy said they had been left off the list of families eligible for relocation housing.

Government officials said at the time that they could not confirm why the families had been left off the list, but some Kor Muoy residents said they were convinced the move was a form of retaliation for their support of opposition political parties.

In a speech that month near the temple, Hun Sen dismissed speculation that some families would not be allowed to settle in Samdech Techo Nature village.

“Even if you did not vote for me, it is still my duty to resolve the problem for you, and I would like to confirm that in the long term the area around Preah Vihear will become a development site,” he said.

One Kor Muoy villager who has since relocated, and who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday that many of the families had ultimately agreed to move because their requests for other forms for compensation – including separate plots of land and materials with which to build their own homes – had been rejected.

“Most people have left here because their demand is hopeless,” the villager said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15