Former Boeng Kak Residents Demand More Compensation

More than 200 former residents of the Boeng Kak community protested Thursday outside City Hall to demand more compensation to the original amount they received when forcibly evicted from around the lake in 2009.

The protesters—who accepted payouts from the private developer Shukaku to make way for a controversial property project led by former CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin—were paid $8,500 or accepted a second option of 2 million riel, or $500, and a small apartment at a relocation site in Dangkao district.

After the former residents had protested outside City Hall on Thursday for about 30 minutes, municipal deputy governor Khuong Sreng invited them into the premises so that they could formally file their request with authorities.

“I have no power to solve the problem for all of you, but I will bring your requests to the governor [Pa Socheatvong] to make a decision,” Mr. Sreng told the protesters.

Sear Nareth, 55, a representative for more than 900 families who took the compensation deals in 2009, said the former residents were hoping to get more compensation from the new municipal administration since many felt like they were un­fairly forced out of their homes without adequate damages.

“[Mr. Sreng] allowed his officials to fill a form for all of us stating the size of our land, and with information from our family documents so that they can recognize that we are evicted families,” Ms. Nareth said. “All of us will de­mand that City Hall solve this problem soon after we’ve submitted these forms because we need an appropriate amount of compensation to buy a new house.”

Ms. Nareth added that since 2009, the quality of life for many families has decreased and that people in the area had fallen in­to debt trying to pay for new homes. Children of the evicted families have also, in some cases, stopped going to school as they now have to help their parents earn money.

Phuong Sophy, 56, who used to own a 16-by-30-meter plot of land in Boeng Kak, said he de­serves $15,000 in compensation, as he was evicted with no compensation.

But, he said, “I don’t think that City Hall will find a solution for us because this is just an empty promise.”

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