More than 30 families still living on the grounds of the Royal University of Fine Arts’ North Campus near the Old Stadium are determined not to budge even if it means facing bulldozers and getting sued once today’s deadline passes.
“We will not move until we get proper compensation and be left 25 percent of the land” to live on at the current campus, said Oum Sarum, who claims to have lived on the university’s grounds for more than two decades.
The Mong Reththy Group, which obtained the RUFA’s land from the government in exchange for rebuilding the campus in Russei Keo district, has decreed that the families must be gone by the end of today.
“[Other] families have accepted compensation, so I will bulldoze the homes of the ones who refused money,” said group President Mong Reththy.
Orn Pagna, deputy director of RUFA’s scientific research department, said earlier this month that 36 of the 57 families had agreed to leave with less than $4,000 in compensation.
But Thann Sin Thou, a RUFA teacher and community leader, said that the company should pay the 32 remaining families the market value of their land—which now is between $100 and $300 per square meter—if they cannot keep a quarter of the site.
The people living on the campus complain that the gates of the campus are now locked at night, with no guard in sight to open them.
Oum Sarum said that his brother, who works as a security guard at the US Embassy, had great difficulty leaving for work at 11 pm one night.
“I need to keep the property locked because computers and other school materials were stolen in the last few days,” Orn Pagna said. “Some officials return to the university late in the evening. But the guard needs his sleep.”
By tomorrow, the families will be living at the campus illegally, open to a lawsuit and with no right to compensation, he said.