Lake Residents Asked for Documentation of Ownership

Residents of the area around Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake who face eviction as a development project moves forward, were told by local officials on Wednesday to prepare legal documentation of home ownership in order to receive compensation.

Shukaku Inc was granted a 99-year lease on the 133 hectares in the lake area in 2007 and has been offering Daun Penh district residents living there a short menu of eviction compensation options: $8,500, $500 and an apartment in far-off Dangkao district, or an on-site home in the finished development.

“[Company officials] will make deals with the families on the water at the end of August or the beginning of September,” said Tuor Sopheap, a local leader in Srah Chak commune’s Village 6, adding that she did not know how Shukaku intended to compensate residents with homes on land.

“If the company wants to buy our land, the company should negotiate the price with us,” said Duong Bophary, a Village 6 resident.

Ms Bophary added that while $8,500 might be acceptable to families living in smaller homes on the water, it was not adequate compensation for her property or for the property of other villagers with larger homes.

“We are strongly concerned when they told us to prepare our documents,” Ms Bophary said. “I cannot sleep well at night and I don’t know where to go.”

Village 6 Chief Chan Soriya said he also did not know how the villagers on land would be compensated for the loss of their homes.

“After they solve the problem on the water they will move to land, but I don’t know what the resolution will be. The district and company will discuss together the way,” Mr Soriya said.

Daun Penh district governor Sok Sambath declined to comment yesterday.

At least 1,500 of the around 4,000 families in Srah Chak commune have already accepted compensation from Shukaku. According to commune chief Chhay Thirith, in the last two months alone 300 families applied for compensation.

 

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