A cabinet official of Prime Minister Hun Sen told a group of former Dey Krahorm residents protesting Wednesday outside the premier’s home to accept the relocation housing being offered to them.
Hun Sen’s deputy cabinet chief, Lim Leang Se, said he discussed the demands of the forcibly evicted residents for more than an hour with Phnom Penh municipal officials and representatives of 7NG, the developer and property owner of the now-razed site.
In the end, he said the 50 families demonstrating had but one option: Move to the homes being offered by 7NG in Dangkao district.
“I told the villagers to accept the houses at the relocation site,” he said.
Lim Leang Se also said Hun Sen wrote a letter to the King saying the villagers could accept the housing instead of demanding $20,000 in compensation from 7NG.
“The municipality and the company told me they could only provide houses at the site,” he added. “It is hard because the money is in their pockets.”
Municipal Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said he did not know about Wednesday’s talks between the prime minister’s office and City Hall. He said 1,453 out of 1,645 Dey Krahorm families have already moved to the relocation area and that the remaining holdouts should end their protest.
“The door is open for them to discuss with the company at the relocation site,” he added.
Hoisting two blue banners decrying their removal, former residents of the slum community said they saw their hopes dimming.
Han Sar, a member of one of the protesting families, said the group was weighing its next move after meeting with Lim Leang Se and feared it was running out of time.
“The prime minister is the last hope for us,” he said. “We saw other institutions, including the monarchy, to try to have them intervene and help us…. We have nowhere to walk now, so we are considering taking the homes.”