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Rik Reay holdouts accept govt offer

Rik Reay holdouts accept govt offer

THE last nine families from Phnom Penh’s Rik Reay community to hold out for more compensation agreed to the government’s eviction terms on Monday, citing fears of violence and legal penalties.

“We changed our minds to accept because we are afraid the authorities will use administrative measures on us,” said Pen Thai, a Rik Reay community representative, citing concerns about the violent evictions that were the fate of the Group 78 and Dey Krahorm communities earlier this year.

The last nine families agreed to the same package accepted by 24 families earlier this month: US$20,000 from the government and $3,000 from Canadia Bank, which is financing the acquisition of the site by land developer Bassac Garden City.

Bassac commune Chief Khat Narith said the nine families demanded higher compensation only because they had already sold their plots of community-owned land to others.

After a January 30 eviction announcement, all but 54 of Rik Reay’s 219 families agreed to leave in exchange for $10,000 and a home in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district.