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Lake Residents Want Development Canceled

Residents being pushed out by a lake development in Phnom Penh called on the National Assembly and two government ministries to intervene.

Thousands of residents living near Boeung Kak lake, in the north of the city, have not reached an agreement for compensation from a developer to move from their homes.

The city signed a 99-year, $79 million lease agreement with Shukaku, Inc., in February 2007, for the development of 133 hectares of the lake area.

Shukaku, which is owned by a ruling party senator, began filling the lake in July 2008, having reached agreements with many homeowners in the ramshackle area.

Remaining residents said Thursday they would not leave, and they called on the government to cancel the deal.

“We submitted our complaint to the National Assembly, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior, for intervention in the termination of the land deal…following no compensation solution for Boeung Kak residents,” Be Pharum, a representative of the citizens, told reporters Thursday.

More than 4,200 families living around the lake are facing eviction, having refused to accept what they see as unfair compensation from the government, Choung Chu Ngy, a legal representative for the residents, said.

Shukaku is now filling in the lake, with plans to build a modern hotel, commercial buildings, hospital, university and entertainment complex on the site.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Man Choeun referred questions to the city’s cabinet director, Noun Sameth, who declined comment.