City Hall Lays Out Plan for Borei Keila Evictees

Phnom Penh municipality officials met with about 100 evictees of the city’s Borei Keila neighborhood Tuesday to try and resolve their long-running land dispute with businesswoman Suy Sophan, whose firm, Phanimex, owns the area.

Since being violently thrown out of their makeshift homes in January 2012, they have been living in ramshackle tents behind the apartment blocks the company built for some of the previous evictees. Phanimex has failed to build all of the promised blocks, however, and has yet to develop the eviction site.

“This work is something the Phnom Penh municipality has never done before. We want it to be accurate and balanced, so that there is hope for you,” Deputy Governor Khuong Sreng told the villagers inside the Chenla Theater.

He said the city wanted to know exactly how many people had the proper documentation to qualify for replacement housing and urged those without the necessary paperwork to stop protests they have been holding around the city.

“So if you qualify you will get a house and if you do not qualify, [Governor Pa Socheatvong] will resolve the issue by offering another site,” Mr. Sreng said.

City Hall plans to erect better temporary shelters for those currently living in the tents while officials decide who qualifies for either a house or the relocation site. “We will release the results when we finish the study. We can’t finish it all in one day because we have to review it case by case,” Mr. Sreng said.

Run Sophat, 25, lives in one of the tents and delivered a baby four days ago. She told officials she was concerned she would not qualify for a house because, despite having a number of documents, her mother once spelled her name incorrectly on their valuation papers for their old home.

“I’ve been living here since 1989, but I’m very angry that they refused to let me live in building 6,” she said, referring to one of the apartment blocks built by Phanimex.

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