“We are living like animals.”
A group of eight families has filed a complaint against Phnom Penh officials after their houses were destroyed over a land dispute near the capital’s Boeung Kak lake.
The families announced their complaint on Tuesday, saying they were seeking $24,000 in compensation from developer Shukaku, Inc., the deputy governor of Daun Penh district and two police officials. The letter names policemen Phon Sophen and Rath Kosal and deputy governor Sok Penh Vuth, as well as company officials. The families say their houses were destroyed by police in a Sept. 16 eviction in Village 22.
Sok Penh Vuth declined to comment on the complaint Tuesday. Lav Vann, executive director for Shukaku, said the houses were built without permission, but he refered other questions to city officials who could not be reached for comment. The eight families are among the members of a small group who have not been awarded new land by the city, following years of protest against a Shukaku development project across 133 hectares at the lake.
Village 22 resident Doung Khea told reporters at the courthouse he had “no choice” but to seek compensation for his destroyed home. “I think that will find justice for us.” Resident Heng Mon said no one from the city had met with them over the destroyed homes, even as Shukaku continues to pump fill into the lake, flooding the area. “It is difficult,” she said. “We are living like animals.”