Lake Residents Express Concern Over Relocation

More than 40 residents of Boeng Kak lake gathered Thursday to express their concerns about the filling of the lake and refute statements made in a Bayon TV program about development plans for the area.

The press conference at the Community Legal Education Center was organized to address the 12-minute program, broadcast in late February, which claimed that between 60 and 70 percent of residents supported private company Shukaku Inc’s controversial plans for the area, which include the relocation of residents.

“In fact, only about 20 percent of 4,252 families have accepted compensation [to relocate],” villager representative Duong Bophary said at the conference. Municipal representatives have said that residents will be paid about $8,500 to leave their homes, or $500 and alternative housing in Dangkao district.

Relocated residents were interviewed in the Bayon TV spot, describing how their lives had improved since leaving Boeng Kak.

“I never thought that in my whole life, I would have such a nice flat as this…. It is good that the government gives us a chance to change [houses],” one man said.

The former residents were also de-

scribed as having “no legal ownership” of their property on Boeng Kak.

However, a former resident broke into tears Thursday as she showed the audience what she said was the title to her land on the lakeside. Her home collapsed in July 2008, before filling began at the lake. She said that the municipal authorities would not allow her to build a new house on the land, and after negotiating with Shukaku in February, she was offered only $200.

“Offering me $200 gives me en-

ough to buy poison pills to commit suicide,” said Keo Malay, who refused the compensation.

Daun Penh district Deputy Gov-

ernor Sok Penhvuth said Thurs-

day that he had received a complaint from Keo Malay about her problem.

“We will ask for the victim’s legal documents, and I will pass it on to my boss,” he said, adding that he did not know how many villagers had accepted compensation from Shukaku.

No one from Shukaku could be reached for comment Thursday.

 

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