ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Cambodian developer makes families homeless
About 20 families violently evicted from their homes by Daun Penh district police and private security forces employed by local firm Shukaku Inc have said they will protest demanding compensation from the developer.
On Friday, approximately 50 police and private security guards wielding weapons, including electric batons, demolished about 20 homes in Group 30, part of the lakeside's Village 24. The families are now living along a roadside in the Boeung Kak development zone and say they will not leave the area unless authorities and the developer agree to pay individual households US$8,500 in compensation.
Authorities accused the villagers of building additional houses to secure compensation payouts from city authorities.
Moa Bunthan, 41, who was evicted on Friday, rejected the accusations, saying his family had been living beside the lake since 2001 and that between 2005 and 2006 he and 18 other villagers had received microfinance poverty reduction loans from the Council of Ministers' National Committee for Population and Development.
The development fund allowed villagers to borrow 1.5 million riels ($370) with repayments to be made over 10 years.
"We have still not paid off our debt," Moa Bunthan said. "We will stay here until we are paid $8,500 compensation."
Mann Chhoeun, vice-president of the committee, today confirmed the villagers had received microfinance loans, saying: "I really pity them and I hope the authority will provide a resolution for them."
Rights groups claim more than 4,000 families are set to make way for the controversial lakeside development.
Heng Hoeum, 54, now living along the roadside in Village 24, said today that the villagers were struggling to live in their current situation.
"We will die on the roadside if the authorities and developers don't agree to pay us compensation and give us justice," he said.
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