Homes and fences belonging to residents of Teuk Thla and Phnom Penh Thmey communes in Sen Sok district were demolished by Phnom Penh authorities
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 03:17:20 -0700 (PDT)
Pleas fail to stop the Hanoi Road eviction
Written by May Titthara and chhay channyda
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Roadside properties demolished by authorities in advance of road-
widening project, with affected families calling on the municipality
to provide them with fair compensation.
HOMES and fences belonging to residents of Teuk Thla and Phnom Penh
Thmey communes in Sen Sok district were demolished by Phnom Penh
authorities on Monday to make way for a road expansion project, with
witnesses reporting that hundreds of armed police were deployed in the
Ten families comprising 40 people lost their homes along the Cambodia-
Vietnam Frienship Highway - popularly known as Hanoi Road.
The demolition began after Sen Sok district Governor Khoung Sreng on
March 6 told some residents living along the road that they had five
days to remove their homes, fences and stalls. Residents did not move
Oeum Reun, 53, whose house was demolished Monday morning, said she had
lived there since 1979 and would go to Prime Minister Hun Sen's house
to ask for his personal intervention.
"This is crueller than what Pol Pot's soldiers did to us - they
mistreated me and then made me put my thumbprint on the form allowing
them to demolish my house," she said.
If they want to kill me i don't care because my house has been ...
"It's up to them - if they want to kill me, I don't care because my
house has been completely demolished."
Oeum Reun said she was not interested in being relocated to the four-
by-eight metre site at Thnot Chrum that the municipality was offering.
"I would rather die than live at Thnot Chrum. I want to live in this
The expansion plan requires a width of 22 metres for the road, 8
metres of which will be for drainage infrastructure.
Sek Sovanna, a lawyer for the Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC),
which has been representing the residents, filed an injunction with
the Municipal Court last month seeking to halt the construction and
has also filed complaints to City Hall. But she said CLEC has yet to
receive any response.
"The authorities wrote to them in 2004. Since then the residents have
tried asking the authorities to negotiate, but they kept quiet until
the end of 2008," she said.
"If they had expanded the road to the width they said in 2004, it
wouldn't affect the villagers - back then they said it would be
widened by 8 metres along the 4-kilometre length. Now they have turned
up and said it must be widened to 30 metres."
Sek Sovanna said the authorities were obliged to pay compensation
since the residents were living there legally.
She added that in 2004 there were 90 families, but more than half had
left since they did not dare stand up to the authorities.
District Governor Khuong Sreng told the Post Monday that the
authorities could not delay the project simply because residents had
failed to move and said most would get no compensation.
"They have to respect our notice. This is for development, and City
Hall has a policy only to speak to those whose entire houses are
affected," he said. And because the expansion project "affected only
one or two complete houses", the authorities had offered those people
a plot of land each in Thnot Chrum village.
He said that other affected families had lost fences and pavement area
and therefore would not be entitled to compensation.
"They have big houses and villas," he said.
Resident Prum Navy, 38, said her 14-metre house had lost 12 metres of
its length to the project.
"My house has just 2 metres left - how can I live?" she asked. "I
would like compensation from the authorities to buy a new house, but
they say they have no plan to provide any compensation."
She said of the 10 families that had lost their property, just one had
"The authorities came to demolish our houses with rage - they came to
tell us on Friday and gave us just three days. And today they have
come and destroyed them," she said.
"We are poor people and we don't have power like them. So they can do
anything to us."
Chen Ton, 60, watched as her house lost 12 metres of its length,
leaving her with just 2.5 metres of living space. She said the
authorities showed no pity for the poor.
"We don't deny that the authorities need to develop, but they should
know how this affects us. We are humans, not animals," she said.
"They use their power to destroy our houses. We have asked them about
compensation since 2004, but they never spoke with us."
Resident Tey Narin told reporters that none of the residents dared to
confront the police and the authorities and simply left their houses
and fences to be demolished: "No one dares to protest - we fear being
arrested," he said.
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- Previous by thread: We expect around $30 million in revenue this year as the number of phone companies and users in Cambodia are increasing year on year
- Next by thread: Trade between the border provinces of Cambodia and Vietnam reached $1.1 billion in 2008, a significant proportion of the $1.6 billion in two-way trade between the countries