Pailin Homes Bulldozed Despite Gov’t Orders

A three-year-old land dispute be­tween residents and authorities in Pailin municipality’s Sala Krau dis­trict ended Saturday with soldiers bulldozing 48 homes to make room for a road expansion project, rights workers and witnesses said Sunday.

“The district authorities ordered soldiers to destroy people’s property to enlarge a road,” said San Chan Chea, the Pailin rep­resen­tative for rights group Ad­hoc.

Following a complaint filed by residents at both the Interior Min­istry and the office of Prime Min­ister Hun Sen in 2002, Pailin auth­or­ities were ordered to find a mu­tu­ally acceptable solution, San Chan Chea said.

Pailin police Commissioner Ley Chan Chhey said the properties demolished were not houses but kiosks belonging to vendors. He said the owners had been asked to move more than one month ago but had re­fused to cooperate.

Ley Chan Chhey also said that the expanded road would pro­vide access to a new village created by Pailin Governor Y Chhean to provide housing for 500 families.

“The authorities displace people arbitrarily and disrespected Hun Sen and the Interior Min­is­try’s orders,” said Heng Ty, a spokes­man for the residents.

Heng Ty also accused the governor of reneging on a promise he made prior to the last commune election to allow residents to relocate near his own land.

Y Chhean could not be reached for comment Monday. Ley Chan Chhey denied that Y Chhean ever made the promise.




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