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No Compensation Planned for Derailment

Families whose houses were smashed in a Phnom Penh train derailment last month will not be compensated for their loss, a top railway officials said Wednesday.

The homes had been built illegally along the tracks, and the damage was not significant, said Sokhom Pheakavoan Muny, general director of Cambodian Royal Railways.

"The derailment was not a big damage to the house and property of the people," he said. "We have no policy for compensation, because the people's settlement is illegal, built on land belonging to the state railway."

Such compensation would encourage wrongdoing, he said.

Victims estimate damage to the four destroyed homes reached up to $8,000.

"We went to protest before the commune official about compensation three times a week," said Savath Savorn, who was among the families to have her property destroyed in the July 5 derailment, said. "But the result was nothing. Now we must struggle for compensation."

A commune official said a railway working group and local authorities would meet to discuss "humanitarian assistance issues" one more time.