Lake Residents Continue To Demand Meeting with Phnom Penh Governor

Phnom Penh residents facing eviction from their homes around Boeng Kak lake to make way for a development project protested again in front of City Hall yesterday, demanding a meeting with the governor.

Once again, their demand was denied.

Ly Mom, a representative of some of the thousands of lakeside residents slated for eviction, said the roughly 50 protesters were incited by a television interview broadcast Friday, during which Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema reportedly said that City Hall had enough money to compensate families “reasonably.”

Lake residents have complained that the compensation packages currently on offer-$8,500 cash, $500 and a small apartment in Dangkao district, or the promise of on-site housing once the project is complete-are shy of what they need to maintain their current living standards, and well short of their homes’ market value.

Ms Mom said the governor’s reported comments appeared to counteract a Sept 17 promise from deputy municipal governor Touch Sarom to forward their request for land titles to the Council for the Development of Cambodia. She said villagers took that as a sign that they might not have to move.

“We want to meet [Mr Chuktema] face to face to know what is his stand to solve the problem with the villagers,” she said. “Will he provide us with land titles or what?”

Instead of an audience with the governor, however, a handful of the protesters had a closed-door meeting with the head of the city’s inspection office, Hok Huo Lim. Immerging from the meeting, Ms Mom said Mr Huo Lim had promised to relay their request to the governor.

The protesters then marched to the lake’s nearby eastern shore, where they walked through the neighborhoods urging residents to join them in front of City Hall next Monday, if a meeting with the governor had not been scheduled by then.

Neither the governor nor Ms Sarom or Mr Huo Lim could be reached for comment yesterday. Municipal cabinet chief Ly Saveth said the governor wanted to meet with the protesters but has been too busy.

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