For the third time this month, Boeng Kak lake residents protested in front of Phnom Penh’s City Hall on Monday morning to oppose the compensation options being offered to them by the municipality and a private company in exchange for them relocating their homes.
About two dozen municipal and military police kept watch over the small group of protesters, who waved photocopied pictures of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife, Bun Rany.
“I was here since 7 am this morning with more than a hundred people and a hundred signs,” said Srun Thet, 45, a fish farmer who lives in Village 1, one of the 24 villages situated around the lake.
The protesters, whose numbers had dwindled to about 30 by 9 am, are asking for market price for their land as opposed to the $8,500 in housing or cash currently being offered to the estimated 4,250 families affected by the impending development of the lake.
“We want appropriate compensation,” Srun Thet said. “If the government could buy us a house in Phnom Penh, I would accept their amount of money, $8,500. But with $8,500, where could we buy a house in Phnom Penh or even its surrounding areas?”
On Aug 26, HSC Co Ltd began pumping a sand-and-water mix from the Tonle Sap to fill in Boeng Kak lake as part of a 99-year lease agreement with developer Shukaku Inc.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said by telephone Monday he wasn’t aware of the latest protest or the status of the lake-filling project because he was busy with other tasks. However, Mann Chhoeun said more meetings will be held in the future to find a solution for the protesting residents.