A fourth eviction notice has been issued to some 250 Reak Reay village families in dispute-prone Tonle Bassac commune, where approximately 200 families in Dey Krahorm village are also resisting forced removal from their land.
The latest eviction notice, signed by Tonle Bassac commune chief Khat Narith, claimed the removal was necessary to make way for a new road the city intends to build to connect Sothearos Boulevard with a new suspension bridge to Koh Pich island.
Several residents in Reak Reay, who claim they have occupied the land since 1991, say the apartments in Dangkao district being offered by the authorities in exchange for leaving their homes are too far from the city center and less valuable than their current properties.
“We are not resisting having to move but we are requesting that we get proper compensation,” said Reak Reay resident Kim Vannak, 28.
Phuong Phearkey said that she had requested $10,000 in exchange for her plot of land so that she could get an alternative house in Phnom Penh.
Khat Narith said Monday that his eviction letter was a reminder of previous notices from city authorities telling Reak Reay residents to move to the new apartments, which have already been built in Dangkao’s Choam Chao commune.
“We will continue to implore them to move,” he said.
An Vuthy, a coordinator at the Community Legal Education Center, said that based on an initial investigation, it was clear that the people of Reak Reay were entitled to fair and just compensation for leaving their land. The residents have official documentation to prove they have lived in the area since 1991, he said.
Chamkar Mon District Deputy Governor Mea Sopheap said the Reak Reay residents have been offered adequate compensation. “They know where to go,” he said.
In nearby Dey Krahorm village, where a number of long-term residents are resisting eviction, a 13-year-old boy suffered a concussion on Monday after being hit on the head during a confrontation between villagers and representatives of the 7NG company, which is developing the site.
The incident took place at around 1:30 pm, according to the boy’s mother, as villagers blocked construction workers who are trying to erect a fence round the northeastern section of the community for the second day running. The boy’s mother said her son had been hit by a rock thrown by a 7NG worker.
7NG company chairman Srey Sothea denied his workers were involved.
“That [boy] was injured by accident when there were lots of people crowding about,” he said.