Boeng Kak Lake Protesters Hand Petition to Hun Sen Cabinet-Again

For the second time in three weeks, residents of Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake yesterday handed Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cabinet a petition demanding land titles to their homes and that a developer stop filling in the lake.

Around 60 people handed a petition with 300 names and thumbprints of lake residents to a representative of the premier’s Cabinet, Nov Ra, after a three-hour protest yesterday morning. After converging on Mr Hun Sen’s home near Independence Monument, the crowd eventually moved to Wat Botum at the urging of police. Once there, Mr Ra told the crowd he would pass the petition on to the prime minister.

The protesters are among the thousands of Daun Penh district families facing eviction to make way for a massive development project by Shukaku Inc, which received a 99-year lease to the area from City Hall in 2007 over the objections of housing rights groups.

Most of those at the protest came from Srah Chak commune’s village one. Located along the lake’s western bank, the village has been inundated with rivers of mud by Shukaku’s pumps since last week.

“It has been flooded since Wednesday last week, when the company started pumping the sand straight to our houses,” said Ty Pisey, a village one resident. “Right now it is seriously flooded with the mud.”

“I don’t know who besides him [the prime minister] can help us, because commune [authorities] don’t care about us,” he said.

However, deputy commune chief In Saphorn told the crowd that authorities were taking their plight seriously and that both district and city officials had been informed.

“We reported to district and municipal governors to postpone the pumping,” Ms Saphorn said. “I believe the higher officials will take action on this.”

City and district officials either declined to comment yesterday or could not be reached.

Some 50 lakeside protesters on Aug 30 handed a petition demanding land titles to another representative of the premier’s Cabinet, Lim Leangse. The representative said their demands would be passed on to City Hall, which said on Friday that it would send them to the Council for the Development of Cambodia by yesterday. The CDC’s receipt of the demands could not be confirmed.

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