Olympic Vendors to clear Out by Friday

Vendors around Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium must pack up their businesses by Friday or authorities will take unspecified action, an official said yesterday.

Soam Sovann, Prampi Makara district governor, said between 700 and 800 stalls on the north and east sides of the stadium would have to go.

“Based on our plan, they have to move on Oct 22. The Ministry of Education needs this land” for development, he said.

The ministry–which is also responsible for sports–plans to build headquarters for the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia on the site, adjacent to the stadium. The development was announced in 2006, and officials have never said why the project was delayed for so long.

A previous deadline passed unheeded on Tuesday, 15 days after yet another eviction notice expired without any action being taken.

NOCC Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun said his organization had been told to get ready to start building.

“I just received information that asked our committee to be ready to get the land but we don’t know for sure when exactly we will get the land,” he said.

Vendors gathered outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s home on Oct 14 asking for a two-year extension. On Monday, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet issued a letter to the Ministry of Education and the city government asking both to investigate the market vendors’ claim.

District governor Mr Sovann said authorities had already delayed the project for three years and were not willing to wait any longer.

Hak Kim Heang, who has stalls in Phsar Sampov Meas on the corner of Streets 163 and 182, said she had heard of the new deadline but had not received any official notification.

“I am very concerned…. I will go to Samdech Hun Sen’s house again,” she said.

Sok Sambath, another affected vendor, said yesterday she still hoped the Prime Minister would intervene.

“I think Samdech Hun Sen will allow us to delay because he…knows about the difficulties of his own people,” she said.

Keo Sakal, Veal Vong commune chief, said authorities would step in if vendors refused to move voluntarily.

“If they don’t move, we have to take administrative action,” she said.

 

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