Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - We're ready to fight: vendors

We're ready to fight: vendors

We're ready to fight: vendors

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090114_02.jpg

Sellers at Phnom Penh's Serei Pheap market say they refuse to be kicked

out of the market - slated for an apartment development - without a

fight.

Photo by:
Sovann Philong

Saleswoman Chear Ngoav, 39, at Serei Pheap market in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

VENDORS at Serei Pheap market in Phnom Penh said Tuesday they are ready to fight the owner if any attempt is made to close the market, vendors told the Post Tuesday.

Lim  Kimpheng, the owner of Serei Pheap, has said he is going to break his contract with the vendors to build luxury apartments on the land.

"We do not have guns, but we have pieces of rock," said Si Lo, a market vendor. "They said they will come to close the market today, but we could not see any of them. We are ready to protest," she said.

Market vendor Lay Bunly said he and other vendors will wait three days for a resolution before taking their protests to the home of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

"I think the market owner would not dare to close the market because we are under a contract, but I am afraid that they will break in at night when there are no vendors," she said.   

Another vendor, Reun Koun Thy, said Serei Pheap's owner  would not likely go forward with demolishing the market because municipal authorities warned him not to take action while negotiations were ongoing.

"I want to hear Prime Minister Hun Sen because he said previously that the market must be kept for the vendors to do business," she said.  

From market to market

In 1996, vendors at the former Dumex market were forced to relocate to Serei Pheap market and signed a 25-year contract with Lim Kimpheng, of which only 13 years have been honoured.

we [serei pheap market vendors] do not have guns but we have pieces of rock.

Keo Sakol, chief of Phnom Penh's Veal Vong district, said vendor complaints remain unresolved because they have not yet held discussions with district officials.    

"We don't know yet about the result because Prampi Makara district has not had a meeting with the vendors," he said.

Srun Sran, governor of 7 Makara District, where Serei Pheap market is located, said he had asked the market owner several times to show greater understanding towards vendor complaints and to postpone closing the market, but so far had received no response.

"It is very hard to convince the market owner because it is a private market. It does not belong to the state. If it was a state market, it would be easy to settle the problem," he said.

"I have asked the company to delay closing for one year already and we asked them to delay longer, but they said that they cannot delay any more because they want to construct the apartments," he added.  

Map Sarin, Phnom Penh's deputy governor who is in control of the market development project, refused to comment. But Koet Chhe, director of the municipal Cabinet, said officials are trying to find a solution.

"Right now, we do not have a resolution over the market, but we are under negotiations over this case."

Lim Kimpheng could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. 

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