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Russey Keo villagers brace for eviction

Russey Keo villagers brace for eviction

AN EVICTION deadline for 35 Russey Keo district families passed without incident on Tuesday, as villagers expressed frustration that their attempts to seek official intervention had come to nothing and vowed to keep a round-the-clock watch on their homes.

The families, who say they live in Kilometre 6 commune, were given an eviction notice last week by officials from Tuol Sangke commune that accused them of living illegally on land in Boeung Chhuok village. According to the notice, the land belongs to Lao Tong Ngy.

Seng Sna, a representative of the families, on Tuesday said that they were “living in fear of this eviction”, and that they had “no weapons to fight against it”.

“Today, no police came to our homes to evict us,” he said. “But from now on all houses must have at least one person looking after the house at all times in order to guard it and collect information relating to the eviction.”

He added that efforts to seek intervention from officials in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet, among others, had been to no avail.

“Every complaint of ours has gone unanswered, and we feel exhausted from our protests,” he said.

Lim Leang Se, deputy chief of the prime minister’s cabinet, said on Tuesday that he would look into the complaint again.

Though officials declined to specify when the eviction might be carried out, Ly Rosamy, the deputy governor of Russey Keo district, warned Boeung Chhouk residents that resistance could have legal consequences.

“This case is the responsibility of City Hall, and the court will take legal action against those people who do not leave,” she said.

Resident Khiev Chenda, said that her family had been living on the disputed site without incident since 1992. “Only when the land price is high do the rich people come to claim the land,” she said.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Touch Sarom, who signed the eviction notice, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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