Four Families Holding Out in Chroy Changva

Four families refusing $500 in compensation to leave their shacks on a development site in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva district were ordered by authorities Sunday to move out by today or have their homes knocked down without recompense.

On Friday, the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC) dismantled eight of the 16 shacks in Dowun Kor 2 village, whose residents included a number of disabled veterans, and four more families agreed to move out Sunday. But the other four families refused to budge.

“Four families accepted the compensation of 2 million riel [about $500] today, and another four families refused,” said Chroy Changva commune chief Pech Saroeun, adding that two commune officials and two company representatives were sent to deal with the resisting families.

“We will give one more day for the four families to leave and then we will remove those families tomorrow if they are still living on the land,” he said.

Among the holdouts is Khorn Sokhun, 53, a blind amputee and former soldier who is among a group of villagers who have been lobbying for Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene and give residents a social land concession to live on.

Mr. Sokhun, whose family has occupied a 3- by 4-meter plot of land since 2008, said four people—local authorities and company officials—visited him Sunday to inform him that he could either move out and take the $500, or have his home torn down today and get nothing.

“I will not leave, because I am blind and I have nowhere to go,” he said.

Yoeun Vichet, 27, a moto-taxi driver, was among those from the four families who took the offer from OCIC on Sunday. He said the sand being pumped into the surrounding wetlands to accommodate the company’s planned 387-hectare satellite city has already reached his shanty.

“I accepted the compensation because the authorities threatened to remove my home, and they told us we would get nothing when they come to remove it tomorrow.”

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