Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ugly squatters must make way for zoo, says govt

Ugly squatters must make way for zoo, says govt

Ugly squatters must make way for zoo, says govt

T he homes built by

squatters on the shores of Boeng Kak lake are to be bulldozed to make way for a

zoo and public gardens, a senior Interior Ministry official said.

The

scheme is part of a drive by authorities to make the city more attractive to

tourists, Secretary of State Khan Savouen said. He believes the squatters are a

blot on the landscape which should be removed.

"The government wants to

make the country look good and get people to decorate it. In Sihanouk's time it

looked beautiful, now it's not.

"Back then, people from other countries

wanted to visit. Now only some come but they never want to return because it's

not beautiful and not well-decorated. This will improve tourism for

Cambodia."

Meanwhile Director of Land Titles at Phnom Penh Muncipality

Chhuon Sothy said a stay of execution for the Boeng Kak squatters ran out on

Tuesday (Mar 8). He was unable to say when the security forces would move in to

demolish the several hundred homes, some of which are luxurious by Phnom Penh

standards.

Savouen pledged to investigate squatters' claims that their

belongings were stolen by the security forces when their homes were torn

down.

He called on the squatters to make formal complaints and he added

that if any were substantiated, the guilty officers would be

sacked.

Savouen chairs the five-member Committee to Control Squatters,

which last month ordered the security forces in to tear down huts built on

privately-leased land along a dirt track leading down to the lake.

The

committee has subsequently ordered all squatters and owners of illegally-built

houses throughout the capital to vacate immediately or face forced eviction in

the next few weeks.

"We will push all of them out," Savouen said. "We

have plans which we announced on radio and television in order to let them know

they should move off public land or the government will evict them."

He

said many of them were returnees from refugee camps who were given land by UNHCR

(United Nations High Commission for Refugees) when they left the camps, but

chose to move to the city.

Savouen said, "Some of them sold their land

for money and came to occupy new land. All these people have or had their own

land in the provinces."

He believes the squatters who don't own land

elsewhere are "bad people" who are occupying government land under the

persuasion of Khmer Rouge infiltrators to create problems for the

government.

He added, "It's not only squatters but also people who build huts without

permission who are destroying the beauty of the city. We also plan to take

action against them."

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement