Most Borei Keila Families Get Compensation; 15 Still Defiant

Two months after 15 families from Phnom Penh’s eviction-hit Borei Keila community were told to vacate a private building they had been occupying next door, City Hall again gave the families until the end of the month to accept a solution.

Ninety percent of 154 families who were violently evicted from the neighborhood in 2012 to make way for a private development have now accepted compensation, deputy city governor Mean Chanyada said on Tuesday during a news conference. They are part of a larger group of people who were evicted by developers starting in 2003 and mostly rehoused.

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Deputy Phnom Penh governor Mean Chanyada speaks at a news conference in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, in a photograph supplied by City Hall.

Mr. Chanyada said 35 families received apartments in the eight buildings that were constructed after the eviction, and three families who didn’t receive promised apartments were instead given $15,000 each.

As for the rest, 46 families accepted $5,000; 21 families that had no proof of ownership of their original plot accepted $3,000; and 34 agreed to $2,000 plus a 20-square-meter apartment in Dangkao district on the city’s outskirts, he said.

“Those families already agreed and volunteered to accept the policy, and they signed contracts with our working group that they will stop protesting,” Mr. Chanyada said.

The remaining 15 families that have not accepted compensation risk getting nothing, he said. In January, he had made the same warning, saying they had until the end of that month to leave.

“We will not be responsible if they do not come to negotiate with us,” he said.

Resident Ngao Nary said she did not accept the offer because her family had been promised an apartment in one of the new buildings, which ran out of room before the project was complete.

“I have enough documents to prove that I owned a room in the Borei Keila building,” she said.

Suy Sophan, the owner of Phanimex Development, the company which bought the Borei Keila development, said that the number of families claiming to have lived in the old buildings had doubled since construction on the new buildings started.

“The solution for Borei Keila residents took a long time not because of the company or municipal hall, but because the number of residents increased as new people joined the protest and demanded compensation,” she said.

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