Governor Calls for Kob Srov Lake Investigation

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuk­tema said Wednesday that he has ordered officials to record all the names spray-painted on the curb of the Kob Srov dike in order to track down speculators and interview them about their claims to own­ership of parts of Kob Srov Lake.

All along the several-kilometer-long earth embankment and modern roadway, which has protected northern Phnom Penh from flooding for decades, people have staked claims to the lake.

“I ordered the Russei Keo district gov­ernor to record all the telephone numbers,” Kep Chuktema said. “This land is not for housing.”

Dangkao district authorities on Wednesday distributed hundreds of copies of Kep Chuktema’s written orders to Kork Rok commune of­ficers and village chiefs, warning them not to endorse land transaction documents involving the lake.

“The governor’s letter is in my hand…I will enforce it and stop endorsement of land deals,” said Kob Srov Touch village chief Huot Heang.

In his written orders dated May 3, Kep Chuktema warned that the city could flood if the lake were filled in. “Kob Srov Lake is public property that stores flood water from the river and rain, and prevents flooding in the northern and northwestern parts of Phnom Penh,” the order states.

Russei Keo district Governor Khlaing Huot could not be reached for comment, but Phoeum Sam Ath, a 46-year-old villager who lives near the dike, said little has chang­ed since Kep Chuktema issued his orders.

Instead, he said, more visitors are coming to the site inspecting the offers to sell land beneath the lake. “There were more luxury cars driving around here,” he said. “The [written offers] are sill here. No­th­ing has happened,” he said of the graf­fiti on the dike wall.

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