Residents from Phnom Penh’s Bassac apartment complex neighboring the recently evicted Dey Krahorm community are demanding to meet with developer 7NG over the ongoing construction of a wall that would block access to their building, according to representatives.
The 300-meter-long Tonle Bassac commune apartment complex, also known simply as “Building,” directly abuts what was once Dey Krahorm.
More than 75 Building residents from the apartment complex on Wednesday marched north about 50 meters to the 7NG site office to protest the private company’s construction of a 2.5-meter-high brick wall only 1 meter from the apartments’ ground floor entrance.
Residents of the building are insisting upon a 6-meter alleyway between the 7NG wall and the apartments to allow for motorbike and fire truck access, said Sovanna Bun, one of three Building representatives.
After they reached the 7NG office, a company representative said he would meet Thursday with the residents, according to Sovanna Bun.
However, when contacted Thursday, Sovanna Bun said that the meeting was canceled.
On Tuesday, 7NG adviser Srey Sothea said by telephone that his company was within its rights to build the wall because it was on its property, but he added that he was willing to negotiate the matter with the affected neighbors.
Chhay Rithysen, director of the municipal land management department, could not be reached for comment. Deputy directors Sek Yorn and Sar Bamnang both directed questions about the wall dispute to Chhay Rithysen.
A reporter who was at the 7NG office on Wednesday to report on the residents’ demands regarding the wall was roughed up by 7NG guards in front of 10 police officers.
One of the guards punched the reporter in the arm and tried, with another guard, to confiscate his camera.
“If you take another picture,” said another guard in a tan uniform, “we will take your camera.”
7NG adviser Srey Sothea said Thursday that anyone can take a photograph of the 7NG office at any time of day and he would investigate the attack on the reporter, but hung up before he could be asked about Building residents’ complaints about the brick wall.
(Additional reporting by Eang Mengleng and Rann Reuy)