Boeung Kak: Government claims dispute handled well

May Titthara and David Boyle, Phnom Penh Post, Sep. 21 2011

DAYS after an activist was beaten unconscious at Boeung Kak while excavators working for a ruling party senator tore down residents’ homes, a government spokesman said yesterday that the dispute had been handled “the right way”.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said at a press conference that Foreign Minister Hor Namhong recognised land disputes such as Boeung Kak were an issue but had claimed all had been resolved without forced evictions.

“For example on the Boeung Kak issue we found the resolution by providing compensation for families who agreed to leave,” he said.  “And some families who want to develop on the site, we, the government, also provided 12.77 hectares of land for them too.”

Last month, the government agreed to provide on-site relocation to 746 families. But on Friday excavators from senator Lao Meng Khin’s Shukaku company were filmed tearing down the houses of families subsequently cut out of that deal.

Sia Phearum, director of the Cambodian Housing Rights Task Force, said Koy Kuong should leave his “air-conditioned room” and visit sites of violence forced evictions have occurred in the past five years.

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