Seven Boeng Kak Protesters Arrested

Police arrested seven anti-eviction activists Monday morning in Phnom Penh during a protest against flooding of the city’s Boeng Kak neighborhood, City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche confirmed.

About 20 of the activists had dragged a bed frame onto Monivong Boulevard in front of City Hall to demand that the municipal government drain the floodwaters immediately. The group scuffled with district security guards for about half an hour after the guards dragged the bed off the road and destroyed it.

The protesters eventually moved off the street and continued demonstrating in front of City Hall, at which point seven of them, including well-known activist Tep Vanny, were detained.

“We have detained seven people who violated the law by blocking the public road,” Mr. Dimanche said. “We have sent them to the municipal police…and the municipal police will make a report.”

Deputy municipal police chief Choun Narin, however, said the protesters were in the custody of the traffic police.

“The people were detained for blocking the road and were sent to the traffic police headquarters,” he said.

Municipal traffic police chief Cheav Hak declined to comment.

Residents of Boeng Kak say flooding of their neighborhood—causing their homes to fill with fetid, trash-strewn water—during the rainy season only started in 2008, when CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin’s company, Shukaku Inc., began filling in the local lake with sand to lay the ground for his high-end real estate project.

Residents accuse the city of leasing the area, including thousands of their homes, to Mr. Meng Khin and subsequently evicting most of them illegally. Some of the residents have been beaten and arrested during past protests, and a few, including Ms. Vanny, remain convicted over their involvement in previous demonstrations.

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