B Kak Villagers Continue to Spurn Shukaku Compensation

Although Daun Penh district authorities have instructed around 100 families living around Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake to accept compensation for their eviction by today, many villagers said yesterday they would not move because private developer Shukaku Inc has not met their compensation demands.

Kim Vanny, who lives in village 22, said some families had been approached by the firm’s representatives late last week and offered $8,500 to vacate their land, but all families had rejected the offer as insufficient.

“The firm invited families one by one to negotiate compensation, but no family agreed,” she said, adding, “We demand $50,000 for our house.”

Last Tuesday Daun Penh district authorities sent a notice to around 100 families in villages 22 and 24, giving them a week to settle compensation with the company or face “serious legal action.”

Ms Vanny said so far no one had heard that authorities were taking legal measures, adding that villagers would resist eviction if their compensation demands were not met.

“I am ready to die in my house if I don’t get reasonable compensation,” she said.

Villager representative Ly Mom said villagers had agreed with each other to demand a fixed compensation sum, with villagers demanding $50,000 for a house on the banks of Boeng Kak lake and $1,500 per square meter for houses further from the lake.

“We are not against development. When they offer us a market-rate [compensation] as we demand, we will leave,” Ms Mom said.

Daun Penh district governor Sok Sambath refused to answer direct questions from a reporter yesterday and instead repeated the government-endorsed compensation offer from the firm-which offers $8,500 to leave the area, or $500 and a new house in Dangkao district, or on-site housing after development is complete.

“The government already decided on three types of compensation,” he said, while claiming half of the more than 4,000 families still living around the lake had accepted compensation.

Chan Puthisak, a representative from 24 villagers in village 1, said villagers there had not reached an agreement with Shukaku and the firm continued to pump sand into their neighborhood.

“Our houses are seriously flooded. Some families have no place to stay and all toilets are blocked,” he said. “They push us around. Ultimately the villagers will die. We don’t know what to do.”

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