After March Demolition Date, Most Holdout Residents Give In

All but one of the residents facing eviction on Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva peninsula have accepted compensation to make way for a riverbank beautification project after holdout residents were notified of a March demolition date.

Last week, owners of 102 homes along a Tonle Sap riverbank accepted compensation of $5,000 to make way for a beautification project. But 10 other residents had initially de­clined to accept the money, saying it was too little. Deputy Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong said the municipality would negotiate.

But a notice from the municipality dated Tuesday informed residents; “Dis­trict authorities require villagers to tear their houses down in the next 10 days…. If villagers still do not follow, authority will tear houses without any responsibility for damage, loses or giving any be­nefits to anyone.”

Several residents said the notice left them with little choice and they never got a chance to negotiate with the municipality, only district officials who said they would pass on their concerns but did not.

“If we continue to refuse, they will come and tear down our houses after the deadline,” said Maing Yary, adding that she had wanted $8,000.”  “We do not accept the district authority policy but they do not send our requests to the municipality for our demands or to make any negotiations, instead they set the date to force us to leave.” She said $5,000 was not enough to find a new home.

Vong Ya Rat, another resident, said he did not know how to go about negotiating with authorities. “Now, we feel stuck. We don’t know how to do. Authorities did not work for us. They just only forced us to accept the policy,” he said.

Suy Chamnab, a commune clerk, said villagers changed their minds, and one resident had demanded to meet district authorities once more. “We did not send request to the municipality because the money was too much over,” he said.

Koub Sles, deputy district governor, declined to comment. Mr Soch­eatvong referred questions to the district governor.


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