Boeung Kak awaits justice

By Khouth Sophak Chakrya, Phnom Penh Post, Wed, 18 December 2013

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Boeung Kak lake protesters hold lotus flowers in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park. Heng Chivoan

More than 30 families in the capital’s Boeung Kak community are still waiting for official land titles six weeks after City Hall officials measured ground at the site of a years-long land dispute, villagers have said.

The Phnom Penh Municipality began measuring land in villages 6, 22 and 24 in Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune on November 6.

According to villager Heng Mom, a city official told her at the time that titles for 32 families would follow within two weeks.

Mom told the Post yesterday, however, that documentation had not yet been issued and a city official had told her again last week that the titles were still some weeks away.

“He told me that in at least two or three weeks the Phnom Penh authority will call us to collect the land titles,” she said.

Mom added that the official, whom she declined to name, had already sent paperwork to Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong for approval.

Thousands of people have been evicted from Boeung Kak to make way for a $79 million commercial development proposed by a company headed by ruling party senator Lao Meng Khin.

Even after Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed in 2011 to return 12.44 hectares of land to hundreds of families left at Boeung Kak, district authorities bulldozed eights homes, including Mom’s in Village 22.

Phan Chhunreth, another villager awaiting a title after her land was measured early last month, said members of her community would go to City Hall next week seeking answers from officials.

Some activists from Boeung Kak have rallied this week as part of demonstrations by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party.

Long Dimanche, City Hall spokesman, said municipal officials were busy monitoring those opposition rallies.

“But we’re working on [the Boeung Kak] issue, and I expect the land titles will be available to them in the next three weeks,” he said.

About 40 more families say they are still owed land titles at Boeung Kak or the land’s equivalent in compensation.

 

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