Speculators Leave Posts at Kob Srov Lake Has Expired

A one-week deadline issued to land speculators to relinquish claims to Kob Srov lake in Phnom Penh expired on Thursday, though not one of the ownership clai­mants complied with a municipal order to remove their illegal land demarcation posts, officials said.

Russei Keo district Governor Khlaing Huot said on Thursday that authorities will today begin re­mov­ing the concrete posts, which were planted deep into the lake, as the speculators had failed to heed the municipal order and re­move the posts themselves.

“No one showed up,” Khlaing Huot said. “I will go and see my­self and remove them all.”

Around 500 hectares of Kob Srov lake are located in Russei Keo district, and last week plots inside the lake were openly being advertised for sale, with 16 mobile phone numbers spray-painted on the dike wall.

Krouch Phan, governor of Dang­­kao district, where more than 600 hectares of the lake are lo­cated, said that he has formed a com­mittee to investigate the sale of the lake.

Krouch Phan said last week that most of the lake under his ju­ris­dic­tion has been sold to rich and pow­er­ful officials.

Suong Samneang, 37, one lake pro­­perty speculator, said on Thurs­day that he has purchased 80 hec­tares of the public lake from lo­cal villagers starting in 2003, and claim­ed he spent $2 mil­lion in the pro­cess. He also claim­ed that he has documents prov­ing his ownership of the lake is­sued by the mu­ni­ci­pality’s land de­partment.

Suong Samneang said that he knew nothing of the deadline to re­move his demarcation posts.

“I don’t know anything yet. Let’s first wait and see what the other land owners do,” he said.

Sa’em Chakriya, owner of at least four large plots of submerg­ed lake, said she had at least 20 own­ership posts sunk into the lake since 1999 and that it wouldn’t be an easy job to remove them.

She also maintained that she knew nothing of the deadline, and though her mobile phone number was painted on the dike wall, she claimed that she had not been contacted by any authorities.

“I don’t know at all about this deadline,” she said. “I don’t worry at all. Others will protest, and I will follow them.”


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