The Police Friendship Association sports club on Tuesday refused to hand over its gym hall located on the perimeter of the Borei Keila squatter compound, which is earmarked for destruction as part of Phanimex Co Ltd’s deal with the government to privately develop the area.
Mark Sam Ol, association president and deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s Bodyguard Department, threatened to commit suicide if the building is taken away.
“I will struggle until I die,” Mark Sam Ol said. “I want the people to understand that the poor people are abused by the rich.”
He added that he sold his house, which Prime Minister Hun Sen built for him, to help pay to build the 70-square-meter association building in 1987.
The building contains a gym and a martial arts training hall.
“I spent all the money for the association,” said Mark Sam Ol. “I only want justice.”
The Ministry of Education informed the association that the government had offered the site to Phanimex in a letter dated Jan 18, according to a copy of the letter.
In the letter, Education Ministry Secretary of State Pok Than informed Mark Sam Ol of the government’s plan to give the land to Phanimex, which the company hopes to use for a gas station.
Contacted Tuesday, Pok Than, a Funcinpec official, said the ministry will invite Mark Sam Ol to discuss a possible solution.
The association operates under the ministry.
Mark Sam Ol said he would be prepared to give the ministry just over half the land currently taken up by the building for free.
If the ministry wants all the land, it must pay $700,000 for it, he said.
If the ministry will not pay this sum, it will have to wait 60 years before he hands over all the land, he added.
In February, the Municipality signed a contract with Phanimex to build apartments nearby for 1,776 families currently squatting in the Borei Keila site in return for the firm gaining ownership of the 2.6-hectare site.