Boeng Kak Villagers Say Firm Reneged on Compensation

Several families in Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune yesterday accused Shukaku Inc, the private development firm filling in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake, of reneging on its promise to compensate them for moving.

The 24 Village 1 families are among the thousands of people living around the lake facing eviction to make way for the massive development project.

Chan Puthisak, a village 1 resident, said the families met with commune, village and company officials in 2007 and added their thumbprints to an agreement in which they accepted an offer of $8,500 in exchange for their promise to move. Speaking at a press conference outside their homes, he said the families have received neither a copy of the agreement, or the money.

“When we asked many times, they told us to be quiet because you gave your thumbprints and to wait,” he said.

But when Shukaku’s pipes started pumping sand directly into their village a few weeks ago, flooding some 100 homes, they decided to ask again.

“We met the company on Nov 8, when the sand started flowing into our houses,” Mr Puthisak said. “They told us they were not responsible for the problem with us. They told us that our area is by the railway track and the Toll firm will be responsible for the resolution.”

Toll Royal Railway, a joint Australian and Cambodian venture, signed an agreement with the government to manage its railway system last year.

Deputy commune chief In Saphorn said yesterday that any property in the village within 10 meters of either side of the tracks was Toll’s responsibility, and became so when it took over management of the rail system.

“The Toll firm will be responsible for compensation for 10 meters from the railway, and the rest of that we will request Shukaku Inc to pay.”

Toll Royal Railway CEO David Kerr denied the claim.

“Toll is not responsible for the relocation of any of the families,” he said yesterday.

Shukaku could not be reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by Zsombor Peter)



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