Fruit Vendors To Be Evicted

Chheang Vanna, 37, has been selling fruit for more than 10 years in a sidewalk stall just north of Olympic Stadium. But she and some 200 colleagues have been told by authorities that their stalls are illegal and cause excess traffic.

If they want to stay, they will have to rent a stall from a private company, officials have told vendors.

“I will leave here because I cannot afford to pay the company. It asks too much money from us,” Chheang Vanna said.

The Yuan Ta Group, which has renovated the stadium facilities and is developing the surrounding green space, has erected stalls for the vendors along the stadium’s perimeter. But vendors said the company is asking for a deposit of $1,000 and $150 per month in rent for each stall.

Vendors say they have not seen a rental contract and are concerned that they will not be able to get their deposits back if they decide to stop selling there.

“The company asks a high price to rent a stall, but what we earn nowadays is too small,” said one of the vendors, who led a protest last week against the actions taken by the company and the authorities. She said the vendors have not gotten any res­ponse from city authorities.

“I am afraid the company is cheating me,” said a fruit vendor who asked not to be named. “I do not know what to do. The city will not help us.”

Phnom Penh Deputy Gover­nor Chev Kim Heng said municipal officials did not have jurisdiction to intervene in matters related to the stadium, which is controlled by the Ministry of Edu­cation.

“The company is not involved with City Hall. The company does not cooperate with us,” he said.

Yuan Ta company officials declined to comment on Thurs­day.

Construction of the new stalls was halted in April by Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara, who claimed the company did not have permission from the city.

Chheang Vanna is resigned to her fate.

“I will push a cart around the city to sell my fruit,” she said. “I have no choice: I am poor.”


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