At least 16 of 25 families living at the North Campus of the Royal University of Fine Arts accepted compensation from the Mong Reththy Group on Saturday and will move from the campus in the next week, officials and teachers said Sunday.
The 16 families received $3,000 each, well short of the $30,000 that at least one of the remaining families continues to demand.
“I agreed to accept the compensation for leaving because the company promised to give us a small plot of land near the new campus,” said Mout Vanna.
The 25 families were split into three groups by families and RUFA last week. Group A consists of three families who received permission in the 1980s from the ministry to live on the campus, said Thann Sin Thou, a teacher at the university whose family is in Group A and is demanding the $30,000.
Five other families who could also have been classified as a part of Group A accepted $4,000 in compensation last month.
Group B consists of teachers who have been living at the campus without a permission letter from the ministry, and Group C is made up of relatives of teachers, Thann Sin Thou said.
The 16 teachers who accepted compensation on Saturday are a part of Group B and will receive 10 meter by 5 meter plots of land at the new RUFA campus, scheduled to be built in Russei Keo district.
The Mong Reththy Group obtained RUFA’s land, located next to the Old Stadium, from the government in exchange for building the new campus.
The company is offering compensation to Group C families as a humanitarian gesture, not because they feel legally obligated, said An Pagna, director of RUFA’s Cultural Research Department.
Thann Sin Thou said on Sunday that she is scheduled to meet with Mong Reththy officials at the company’s office today. She added that she was threatened on Friday with a lawsuit if she continued to refuse to leave the campus.
An Pagna denied that he or anyone from the company has threatened Thann Sin Thou. “She has the right to speak out,” he said.
On Saturday, retired King Norodom Sihanouk wrote on his Web site that he was powerless to intervene on behalf of the RUFA residents.
“I support you 100 percent but I do not have any possibility—the possibility is zero to help all of you,” Sihanouk wrote in response to an e-mail from some of the RUFA residents.
“If I dared to do something or to intervene, the rulers would accuse me of wanting to cause instability and acting against the Cambodian government,” the retired King wrote.