S’ville Guesthouses Receive Eviction Notices

The owners of eight guesthouses on the hill above Siha­nouk­ville’s Serendipity Beach were presented with a 10-day eviction notice on Sat­urday that claimed the land is the property of Oknha Kong Triv’s Pa­cific Group company.

The notice, which was dated Fri­day and signed by Sihanouk­ville Gov­ernor Say Hak, followed a Sept 23 letter from the Council of Min­­isters to the Sihanoukville muni­cipality ordering the eviction of the guesthouse owners and 131 families. The letter also ordered the Pacific Group to pay “proper com­pensation” to all residents currently living in the area.

No offer of compensation was offered to the guesthouse ow­n­ers, but the families living there have been offered $75 each in compen­sa­tion, guesthouse owners and re­s­idents said.

British national Patrick Mc­Gar­vey, owner of the Cloud 9 guest­house, said he would not va­cate his guesthouse. He said he bought the land legally in conjunction with his Khmer-American partner, Lina Kriel, who also owns and manages a guesthouse in the dis­puted area.

“I am very scared,” McGarvey  said Tuesday.

Lina Kriel, owner of the Malibu guesthouse, said she bought a plot of land in 2002 with approval from both commune and district au­thor­­ities. “If [the purchase] was il­le­gal, why have the authorities stamped my [land title] document?”

She said she refused to leave and would not accept any form of com­pensation.

Kong Triv could not be contacted for comment Tuesday.

Sihanoukville First Deputy Governor Chhun Sarun said Tues­day that the authorities will evict the residents as scheduled and that about 100 of the 131 families living in the area had already moved out. “I must abide by the decision of the government,” he said.

Sihanoukville Deputy Police Com­missioner Seang Kosal said more than 100 officers had been pre­pared to evict the squatters but that the order to go ahead with the eviction had not yet been issued.

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