Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun met with more than 70 Dey Krahorm residents at City Hall on Friday and asked them to either accept the $20,000 compensation package that’s currently on the table, or register their asking price and the size of their land with authorities.
Mann Chhoeun told the residents during the Friday afternoon gathering outside his office that the $20,000 compensation offer is now up for grabs indefinitely. And anyone wanting more money than that should officially register their demands, he said.
“I am an arbitrator. I will propose to my boss and the company to meet the residents’ demands, but I can’t guarantee how much the company can give you,” Mann Chhoeun told the crowd.
When the residents asked about the possibility of a forced eviction and their safety if such were to happen, Mann Chhoeun responded: “Have any villagers been beaten?”
The group acknowledged that none had.
Officials contend there are now just 91 families that are refusing to leave the Dey Krahorm area and have rights to compensation. Community representatives, however, estimate there are closer to 150 families who remain in Dey Krahorm.
Following the expiration of another final notice to leave or be evicted, the 7NG firm offered the holdout residents housing in the city’s Dangkao district or $20,000 in cash, along with some other incentives such as noodles and rice in exchange for leaving the area.
The 7NG company was granted the 3.6-hectare Day Krahorm area by the municipal government in a 2006 agreement and plans to construct a high-end commercial and residential area once all residents leave the property.
But the remaining Dey Krahorm families are still holding out for more money. Some villagers want at least $50,000, said Chan Vichet, a representative of the holdouts.
Chan Vichet said he would work to cooperate with Mann Chhoeun’s request to register claims and amounts.
“I will register villagers and I will take the new lists to City Hall authorities as soon as possible, maybe by Monday,” he said.