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Lakeside residents rally at embassy

Police remove a Boeung Kak lake protester from the area outside the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Controversy over the Boeung Kak lakeside development continued
yesterday when villagers gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Phnom
Penh, calling on the ambassador to intervene with a Chinese firm
involved in the project.

Around 50 villagers attempted to
deliver a petition to embassy officials, only to be turned away from
the gates by 40 military police officers.

Lakeside resident Tep
Vanny, 27, from Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune , said
protesters were calling on Chinese Ambassador Pan Guangxue to intervene
on their behalf.

A Chinese company, Inner Mongolia Erdos
Hungjun Investment Co, is involved in a joint venture with local firm
Shukaku Inc to develop the lakeside.

“We are asking for
intervention from the Chinese ambassador here so the developers in the
Boeung Kak lake development will address our problems,” Tep Vanny said.

villagers’ petition, representing the demands of 3,200  people living
in seven villages around the lake, outlined their request that the
Shukaku Erdos Hongjun Property Development Co Ltd – the joint venture
company – pay compensation of US$1,500 per square metre of property
lost to the project.

It also called on the firm to provide 15 hectares of land to residents displaced by the project.

The letter also said the villagers would not be opposed to the development of the lake if their terms were met.

embassy staff refused to exit the embassy compound to accept the
letter, but villagers said they will return to the embassy and try

Yesterday’s events follow the violent eviction of
around 20 villagers from their homes on Friday by Daun Penh district
police and private security guards.

The homeless families are
now living on the roadside amid the rubble of their demolished houses
awaiting compensation from the Sino-Cambodian company.

Rights groups claim more than 4,000 families will be displaced by the controversial development.

deal to develop the lake was announced as part of a $3- billion
investment package by Inner Mongolia Erdos Hongjun Investment Co
following a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the company’s
chairman in September.

In its $3-billion investment, the Chinese
company committed to building coal-fired power plants, real estate and
metal processing plants for export and domestic use.

investment has poured into in the Kingdom following the January 2010
commencement of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, with initial
investment in textile and garments now diversifying to include sectors
such as hydropower, agriculture, construction and the development of
special economic zones.

Phnom Penh Post
Categories: Local News
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