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Stalls shut down after rent row

Stalls shut down after rent row

THE owner of the Heng Ly Market in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district yesterday shut down the stalls of 44 vendors who refused to pay increased stall rental prices.

Around 100 vendors staged protests twice last month, after the market owner announced that he would be raising annual stall rental prices for about 800 stallholders.

Vendors said rental fees for some of the larger stalls would be raised from US$2,800 per year to $4,320, while prices for some of the smaller stalls would increase from $350 to $450.

Vendor representative Tan Heang said yesterday that there had been a January 1 deadline for the stallholders to agree to the new price, but that 44 had refused, saying they were waiting for intervention from district governor Seng Ratanak, who had pledged to attempt to resolve the issue.

“The Toul Kork authority last Wednesday told us that the market owner promised not to close the market and vendors could still do their business until we reach a solution,” he said.

“We no longer believe in the authority since the market is already closed on Sunday, in contrast to the authority’s claim.”

Seng Ratanak could not be reached for comment.

A representative of the market owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, denied that 44 stalls had been forced to close, claiming that “only about 10” had been shut down.

He said that after discussions with district authorities last week, the market owner had agreed to revise the price increase for larger stalls down from to $4,000, but said stallholders’ demands that rental prices remain the same as in 2010 were untenable.

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