A Phnom Penh municipal court judge declined to issue an injunction to stop the controversial filling of Boeng Kak lake, a lawyer representing some of the lakeside residents said Monday.
Judge Sin Visal announced his decision in a Monday closed court session following a request for the injunction by a group of local residents who have opposed the multi-million dollar project to turn the lake into a residential and retail area, said Choung Chou Ngy, the residents’ attorney.
The residents oppose the redevelopment by Shukaku Inc, which is run by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin. They are also demanding market value prices for their land if they are forced to move, and have argued that their imminent eviction violates the 2001 Land Law, which they say gives them legal possession of the land.
“The court claimed that this is a land dispute and villagers don’t have proper land titles,” said Choung Chou Ngy, adding that he believes the court is simply doing what the municipality wants, not what Cambodian law requires.
“It is not right,” he said.
Deputy Municipal Governor Mann Chhoeun said he was too unfamiliar with the law to comment on the decision.
“Right now, more than 700 families have agreed to the government’s offer, and right now 140 families have moved,” he said. “We will settle with the villagers step by step.”