Sports Club Refuses to Hand Over Land to Gov’t

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.


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