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Vendors threaten further protests

Vendors threaten further protests

About 50 phone vendors from the Tuol Sangke market in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district protested yesterday against an increase in rental fees proposed by the market’s owner in a new contract.

Four market representatives met with officials yesterday and have agreed to submit a letter today to Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema in order to find a resolution to the dispute.

Pich Nary, 43, a vendor representative, said on Wednesday that the phone vendors are demanding to know why rental fees and what they describe as “tea money”, or informal additional fees, have  increased, adding that some of their stalls are being forced to close because of the increase in cost.

She added that the issue arose when vendors asked the market owner about renewing contracts after they were informed of the changes on February 22. The fees increased from $80 a month per stall to $100, and additional fees increased from $200 to $500.  

“The fees the market owner is demanding are [unfair] to the vendors and it could be [involved with] corruption also,” she said.

Eng Loeurn, head of Tuol Sangke market, said yesterday that he had no plans to find a solution to the problem despite the protest, before declining to comment further.

Vendors warned that if there is no resolution found soon, they will continue to gather to protest in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Hall and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house.  

Huy Hean, chief of Tuol Sangke commune, said on Wednesday that he will send police to prevent the vendors from protesting again and that the market owners and vendors will have to reach a solution soon.

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