110 Chroy Changva Peninsula Homes Are Set to Be Destroyed

A stretch of more than 110 homes along Phnom Penh’s Chroy Chan­gva peninsula on the Tonle Sap riverbank will be destroyed under a municipal development plan, with officials saying most families have already agreed to compensation.

The razing of homes is part of a beautification project that will begin after the Khmer New Year and leave a garden where the houses stood, officials said. It will also bring about an end to popular expat bar Maxine’s at its present location, after six years of operation.

“We are now implementing the plan for developing the riverbank,” said deputy municipal governor Pa Socheatvong. Though razing of some homes has already begun, he said no date had been set for the destruction of all the homes.

Sok Neary, the deputy chief of Chroy Changva commune, said 102 out of 111 homeowners had accep­ted $5,000 in compensation to vacate, while other homeowners were holding out for more.

Several residents expressed concerns about the compensation process, saying $5,000 was not enough. “How can I leave my house with that money?” asked Ly Yorn, a 41-year-old who owns a restaurant.

She said three men visited her recently, claiming to work for Russei Keo district, and threatened her.

“I do reject thumbprinting. How can they work at night and yell at me to thumbprint and say that if I don’t I would weep in the future?” she said.

Vong Symon, a 31-year-old who has lived in his home for 10 years, said 10 people claiming to represent the district authorities visited his house recently. He said his family wanted $8,000 in compensation.

“We rejected thumbprinting be­cause our demands are not satisfied,” he said.

Deputy district governor Koub Sles declined to comment, and several other district officials hung up when contacted by telephone.

Ian Woodford, owner of Maxine’s, said his landlord had accepted compensation and informed him he must leave by Khmer New Year. He said he was considering reopening the bar in Siem Reap.

“It’s all over,” he said. “It’s all up in the air. It’s just too fast, too quick.”

  (Additional reporting by Tim Sturrock)


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