Land evictees pray amid rejection for compensation

Phak Seangly, Phnom Penh Post, Sep. 10 2012

Borei Keila protesters, including many who live in squalor under staircases at the site, have already been compensated for losing their homes and have no right to demand more, Suy Sophan, the owner of developer Phan Imex, told the Post yesterday.

About 200 supporters from the Borei Keila and Boeung Kak lake communities gathered yesterday, praying at a pagoda nearby Prey Sar prison for the release of the representatives.

Boeung Kak lake’s Yorm Bopha and Tim Sakmony from Borei Keila were arrested in separate incidents last week.

Bopha has been charged with intentional violence, while Sakmony’s charge of making a false declaration in order to secure a flat at Borei Keila for her disabled son followed a complaint from Sophan.

“We have built eight buildings for 1,377 families who have provided the right documents,” the Phan Imex owner said. “The ones who are protesters have been compensated already, but have come to live under the stairs like they have not been compensated so their children can have homes there too.”

Phan Imex agreed in 2003 to construct 10 buildings to house 1,776 families in exchange for villagers’ land.

“Please the god who controls Prey Sar, make the court give these women justice and release them soon,” Borei Keila evictee Pich Lemkhun, 57, said outside the prison yesterday.

Prey Sar security officer Phan Sophun confirmed no protesters had been allowed in to visit Bopha or Sakmony.

Three Borei Keila women summonsed to court last Thursday will continue action against Sophan over their forced eviction on January 3, 40-year-old plantiff Chhum Gnuan said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the government had not adopted a new strategy for the protesters, despite him having lunch with their representatives on Friday.

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