In the News (KA Set): Rage and despair of Boeung Kak residents after their complaint is dismissed by the Court of Appeal

Phnom Penh (Cambodia). 25/12/2008. Boeung Kak resident fainting outside the Court of Appeal © John Vink / Magnum

Phnom Penh (Cambodia). 25/12/2008. Boeung Kak resident fainting outside the Court of Appeal © John Vink / Magnum

From the KA Set Article:

Complaint Dismissed

“With no surprise, the Court of Appeal dismissed the complaint lodged by Boeung Kak lake residents against private company Shukaku on Thursday December 25th. The Municipality of Phnom Penh had agreed for the latter to develop the area under a 99-year concession. After the hearing, there were tears and cries among the Phnom Penh residents living on and around the lake, which is in the heart of the capital. People’s houses have been collapsing in turn into the water since the company started filling in the lake in August. A shopping centre and other facilities are due to appear in this area inhabited since the 1980s. ”

Role of Shukaku (the company filling in the lake):

The hearing went on for three hours. The Court’s decision confounded the lawyer of the residents, Choung Chou Ngy. “The President of the Court declared in his ruling that the Shukaku company had nothing to do with the case!”, he said, considering the decision to be simply “unfair”. “How can he say they have nothing to do with it? We can clearly see that by pumping sand into the lake, the company is causing my clients to lose their homes!”, the lawyer fulminated. However, he has no intention to give up the fight.

After the ruling, the Shukaku company’s lawyer, Cheng Peng  Hâb, played shy with the journalists and tried to avoid them. His phone stuck to his ear, he returned inside the courtroom for shelter, until he was forced to come out after court staff turned the lights off. He then finally gave a terse comment on the verdict, “This case concerns the Municipality and the residents. It is therefore up to the Municipality to solve it. I cannot tell you anything more since I am only the company’s lawyer!”

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