Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tempers flare over market marching orders

Tempers flare over market marching orders

Tempers flare over market marching orders

tempers.jpg
tempers.jpg

The 1,150 market stall holders at Sihanoukville's Psar Leu say they will go on

strike today for three days in a protest at government attempts to persuade them

to relocate to a new market at higher rents.

Vendors mill around Sihanoukville's Psar Leu after receiving their eviction notices on May 14.

They received eviction

notices last Friday, May 14, along with invitations to apply for leases at the

new market.

An angry crowd marched to the deputy governor's office the

next day.

He told them he can do nothing, that the municipality has a

committed contract with the Chinese owners of the new market, Psar Leu Thmey

(which some have dubbed Psar Thom, or "big market").

A delegation of 10

vendors will travel to Phnom Penh and attempt to ask Prime Minister Hun Sen to

intervene.

"If we can't see him we will talk to anyone who is prepared

to listen to us. We are very angry and we want the government to resolve the

situation," said watchmaker Khim Sony.

Sony said the 1,150 stalls

represented an estimated 3,000 vendors.

Most stallholders are attracted

by the prospect of a new, well-drained, purpose-built market, because

government-owned Psar Leu is said to become a pigsty when it

rains.

However, they say their businesses are very small and do little

more than keep food on the home table. They maintain the Psar Thom rents are

unaffordable for most.

According to Sony the upfront cost of a 50-year

lease at Psar Thom is $2,940 for a 2m-by-2m stall and up to $18,000 for the

larger ones.

Discount terms are being offered for payments spread over

four months, starting with a 60 percent downpayment, and nothing more to pay for

12 months.

The Psar Leu vendors also say Psar Thom has only one road

entrance and stalls near the entrance will have an unfair advantage over all

others.

The Post contacted First Deputy Governor Chhun Sirun to ask how

he intended to deal with the vendors' concerns, but he said he was too busy to

talk about it, and that he didn't discuss such matters by telephone

anyway.

Psar Thom has a checkered history. Recognising that Psar Leu was

reaching the end of its useful life without major upgrading, the muncipality

four or five years ago encouraged a Korean investor to build a new

1,200-lockup-stalls market 200 meters away,

However, after the building

was finished, there was a change of Governor. The market owner declined to pay

new government fees and taxes, and decided to sell out to a Chinese investor,

who has spent some months sprucing the place up.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National