City Says It Will Provide Land Titles to 33 Boeng Kak Families

Phnom Penh Municipality will provide land titles to 33 more families living in the city’s Boeng Kak neighborhood, a municipal official said Tuesday, roughly a third of those still seeking property rights in the area that has seen some 3,000 forced evictions.

“First, we will solve the problem for some of them, then we will solve the problem for the remaining families,” City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said by telephone following a meeting Tuesday morning with Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong and several representatives of the Boeng Kak community.

“We are prepared to solve their problem where they live; they will received their land titles there,” Mr. Dimanche said, adding that the titles would be furnished to families living in Boeng Kak’s villages 6, 22 and 24 “soon.”

In 2007, 12.44 hectares of the Boeng Kak area was leased to Shukaku Inc., a real estate firm owned by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin.

Heng Mom, a Boeng Kak villager who participated in the meeting—which also included representatives of the Borei Keila and Thma Koul communities—welcomed the municipality’s decision.

“I am very happy to hear this,” Ms. Mom said, adding that a total of 63 Boeng Kak families are still seeking ownership documents for their existing homes.

In August, Ms. Mom admitted that prior to July’s national election, she and 15 other Boeng Kak families made a deal with municipal officials to vote for the ruling CPP in exchange for a guarantee of land titles.

Also Tuesday morning, a separate group of about 50 Boeng Kak residents led by anti-eviction champion Tep Vanny marched to the Supreme Court, where they called for the high tribunal to hurry proceedings in the case of Yorm Bopha, a fellow activist who is serving a two-year prison sentence for in­citement, a charge her supporters say is politically motivated.

A small group of riot police observed the demonstration from a distance as traffic police directed cars and motorcycles around the protesters, who spilled into the street in front of the court.

At about 9 a.m., Ms. Vanny and three other Boeng Kak representatives were permitted inside to meet with court officials.

“The Supreme Court officials told me that we will know the hearing schedule in Yorm Bo­pha’s case by the end of the month,” Ms. Vanny said upon exiting the court.

The Boeng Kak protesters then relocated to the Ministry of Justice, bypassing a metal barricade blocking the street in front of the Royal Palace. The riot police moved closer, but did nothing to stop them advancing.

Just before 11 a.m., Ms. Vanny was also granted an audience with ministry officials.

“The Ministry of Justice said that they will contact the Supreme Court to speed up the hearing,” she said afterward.

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