Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vendors protest at parliament

Vendors protest at parliament

Vendors protest at parliament

091231_04
Vendors from Serei Pheap market protest at the site of their former stalls after receiving eviction orders from Phnom Penh police on Wednesday.

ABOUT 200 vendors from Phnom Penh’s Serei Pheap market held a demonstration in front of the National Assembly on Wednesday to protest the market’s impending court-ordered demolition, which they say contravenes the prime minister’s policy on new markets in the capital.

“We are demanding that the authorities stop their plan to close the market. Prime Minster Hun Sen banned all further developments of markets in the city in order to make it easier for us to do business,” said vendors’ representative Lay Silo.

“In addition to the prime minister’s decision in June, we still have our lease. We took out a 25-year contract with the market owner, but have only been open about 13 years.”

In a letter dated June 15, Hun Sen asked City Hall to halt the development of new markets in the city in order to assure vendors that they should continue investing in their businesses. After the Council of Ministers released the letter on June 16, the city’s vendors sent a letter of thanks to the prime minister, Phnom Penh governor and district governor.

Lim Leang Se, Hun Sen’s deputy cabinet chief, said that vendors went on Tuesday to ask the premier for help, but that the case was out of his control.

“We cannot help them, but the vendors can still file a complaint to the Supreme Court,” he said.

About 200 vendors at the market say they signed a 25-year lease with market owner Lim Kimpheng in 1996, but Som Sovan, Prampi Makara district governor, said the vendors’ lease had elapsed.

“The court order only affects about 30 to 40 vendors in the market,” he said. “Those with businesses along Street 137 may remain open, but the market itself must close. The owner has a land title, so he can get it back to develop it when he wants.”

Lim Kimpheng was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen to ‘step down’ if he loses Sam Rainsy bet over Kem Sokha

    Hun Sen has promised to step down as prime minister while opposition figure Sam Rainsy pledges to turn himself in as forfeits if the long-term political rivals lose a “bet” over the future of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial

  • UAE prince seeks to invest in Cambodia

    The UAE has expressed interest in Cambodian oil and gas exploration. Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem said this was the result of his discussions with Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmook bin Juma al-Maktoum, a member of the royal family who visited him on Wednesday.

  • Smith calls for ‘release’ of Sokha as visit ends

    At a press conference to conclude her 11-day visit to Cambodia, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith on Thursday called for treason charges against former opposition leader Kem Sokha to be dropped and for him to be released from “restricted detention”.

  • PM denies ‘nepotism’ claims

    Prime minister Hun Sen denied on Thursday that nepotism was involved in the recent promotions of the children of senior government officials. He said they had been “trained” and were entirely capable of carrying out their duties while being open to “punishment” like anyone else.