Koh Pich Villagers Still Seek ‘Fair Price’ for Land

Residents of Phnom Penh’s disputed Koh Pich area remained de­­­­fiant Thursday, after negotiations over how much construction com­pany 7 N G will compensate them for their land reached an im­passe Wednesday.

The villagers also said they would accept bids from other com­panies interested in purchasing their land at a fair price. The land is lo­cated opposite the Na­ga­Corp ca­sino.

“I want to suggest to the government to open their minds and al­­low more companies to compete with 7 N G to help the people,” Koh Pich villager An Veng said.

“If the government allows other companies to buy the land [at higher prices], it means the gov­ern­ment is going to help its poor people,” he said.

On Friday, the Public Interest Le­­gal Advocacy Project, an NGO rep­resenting the villagers, submitted a proposal to 7 N G, which is link­­ed to Canadia Bank, seeking $5 per square meter for 90 percent of the land owned by the villagers—the remaining 10 percent also being included in that price.

Though a Tuesday deadline was set for a response, 7 N G ask­ed for another day to respond be­fore turning down the offer Wed­nes­­­day.

“We are frustrated that the ne­gotiations ended without success,” Pilap attorney Ouk Kim­leng said.

Ouk Kimleng, however, said he kept the door open to 7 N G to re­turn to the negotiation table.

“If they go back and come up with a new proposal, we will listen,” he said.

A representative from 7 N G could not be reached for comment, and Phnom Penh Deputy Gov­ernor Pa Socheatevong said he was busy and hung up the phone.

Koh Pich villagers said Thurs­­day that they remained committed to securing fair compensation for their land, which has been valued at $24 per square meter.

“We have lost confidence in the com­­pany,” villager Khle Chan­roeun said.


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