Lake Residents Say Firm’s Flooding of Village Almost Complete

Phnom Penh residents yesterday said a private firm filling in Daun Penh district’s Boeng Kak lake could finish burying all of Srah Chak commune’s Village 1 by the end of this week.

Shukaku Inc, the development firm headed by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin, started pumping mud into the village some time in early November as part of its heavily criticized plans to fill the lake and build over it. Many of the village’s lakeside homes have been completely inundated already, with villagers reportedly still waiting on promised compensation.

Village representative Sam Vanna said residents feared the firm would finish flooding the remaining homes by the new year.

“I think the company will finish pumping sand into the village by the end of the month because the number of people left is small,” she said.

A pair of residents at the scene of the pumping yesterday morning, who declined to give their names for fear of jeopardizing their chances of negotiating better compensation terms with the firm, agreed.

“They have pumped the sand to flood us and they try to do everything they can to force us to move out,” said one, who has refused the firm’s promise of $8,500 to move. Residents and housing rights groups alike have complained that the offer falls well below the market rate for the plots of land.

The other resident said she had recently approached a company official at the firm’s lakeside office who confirmed their fears of an end-of-the-month completion date for flooding the village. She claimed the official also said that the firm would start pumping mud into Village 6 next.

Company employees could not be reached yesterday but have consistently refused to speak with reporters.

Deputy district governor Sok Penh Vuth said he did not know when the flooding of Village 1 would be completed or what the firm’s future plans were.

“I don’t know. You should ask the company,” he said.



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