BK Lake Residents Stop Police From Carrying Out Removal

More than 80 villagers physically prevented 30 police officers and work crews yesterday from removing tents and other belongings on a plot of land in village 22 near Boeng Kak lake in Phnom Penh, human rights workers said.

Though residents pushed back at police who attempted to ap­proach the plot, where a small tent village has been erected in Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune, no one was injured the scuffle, the human right workers said.

Ly Sar San, a 58-year-old man who has allowed the tents to surround his house, said yesterday that representatives of the lake development company on Wed­nes­day asked that he tell his relatives living on the land to vacate but that he had declined.

“I didn’t receive any notice for re­moval. They come to tell me by words,” he said. “I let my relatives stay on this land, but they want them to move out.”

He said he would continue not to cooperate with the company as long as they refuse to pay him what he considers to be market rate for his property.

The government in 2007 officially granted Shakaku Inc a 99-year lease to the lake and the surrounding villages, at the time home to an estimated 20,000 people.

Shukaku, which is owned by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin, recently joined with Erdos Hung Jun Investment to create Shukaku Erdos Hongjun Property Develop­ment Co Ltd, which is now running the project.

Ly Mom, a resident representative, said that after police gave up trying to enter the property, they claimed they had been mistaken but continued to wait around all day.

“How did they get confused with this land, which the owner has not yet sold?” she asked. “If they act this way, people will not trust the­m.”

Chhay Thirith, the Srah Chak commune chief, declined comment. Hun Sothy, the Daun Penh district police chief, hung up when a reporter identified himself.

Sia Phearum, director for the Housing Rights Task Force, said the event appears to be an attempt at intimidation.

“My thoughts are they want to cut off the head of one monkey to threa­ten the other 100 monkeys,” he said.


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