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Lake Residents Vow To Continue Protests

Children sit on top their inundated homes, where Shukaku, Inc., has been pumping fill into Boeung Kak lake, (File photo).

Residents of the Boeung Kak lake area say they are still angry at the city government’s policy, which they say favors development over the needs of people in the capital.

Up to 1,500 families have had to leave the lake area to make way for a massive commercial and residential development undertaken by a company linked to a ruling party senator.

“Their development is a development for a company, not for the people,” said Tep Vanny, a lakeside community representative, as a guest on “Hello VOA” Monday.

Residents have requested 15 hectares of land from the 133-hectare development, a request Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema denied in a meeting with residents on Wednesday.

The city leased the land to the developer, Shukaku, Inc., without consulting the people, Tep Vanny said. “They did not ask the people if this land belonged to the people,” she said.

Many of the residents say they have lived on the land for years, making them eligible for title, a claim the city denies.

“We legally hold the ownership, and we have voted for them for three terms,” said Ly Srey Mom, another resident and guest of “Hello VOA,” referring to city officials for the Cambodian People’s Party.

Kong Chantha, a third guest, said she was beaten unconscious in a recent protest by residents and she remains concerned about her health in the future. She criticized the city for resorting to violence instead of negotiation and vowed to continue to protest the development, where nearly 4,000 families remain.