Developer Attempts Forced Evictions in S’ville

Bodyguards employed by a private developer who is an assistant to Senate and CPP President Chea Sim attempted to forcibly evict 24 families from their homes in Si­hanoukville, human rights act­ivists and villagers said Sunday.

About 30 armed bodyguards employed by Cambodian-Ameri­can lawyer David Chanaiwa arrived with an excavator at the settlement on the south side of O’Chheuteal beach at 11 pm Saturday and surrounded the area, according

to Cambodian Center for Hu-

man Rights investigator Khem Samnang.

Khem Samnang said Chanaiwa, who has a residence nearby, was also present.

They told the people they must remove their houses immediately or they would be knocked down with no compensation paid, Khem Samnang said. “Several of the families were afraid so they thumb-printed the document [agreeing to compensation of up to $10,000 per family] and left on Sunday afternoon,” he said.

Licadho coordinator Bun Narith said the villagers had lived in the area since the early 1990s and had written several letters to district and municipal authorities Sun­day seeking help.

Chanaiwa could not be reached for comment Sunday but an assistant, who gave his name as Pol, said the people were only being asked to move so that the road nearby could be improved.

“There has been no forced evictions,” he said. “We need to de-

velop this road for the public

interest.”

Mittapheap district governor Kong Sa Moeun said he did not know details of the incident.

Commune 4 chief Khuon Sarun said she did not know of an eviction order from the authorities relating to the people on O’Chheu­teal beach. “Commune authorities were not involved with this,” she said, adding that she would bring the matter to the attention of mun­icipal authorities.

Sihanoukville Municipal Gov­ernor Say Hak could not be reach­ed for comment on Sunday, while his deputy Sbong Sarath said he was too busy to speak to a reporter.

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