Prek Pnov district authorities in the capital yesterday handed a seven-day eviction notice to fish farmers and residents living around Boeng Tamok lake.
District Governor Sok Sambath on Tuesday held a meeting with land management officials to discuss the future of the residents living around the lake. Officials during the meeting concluded residents will have seven days to remove their properties.
Sim Sophang, chief of the district administration, said the notice was handed to about 30 residents.
“I have handed the notice this morning to the villagers living along the lake illegally,” Mr Sophang said. “I do not have the number of families affected, but we will remove everyone who violated the sub-decree.”
In 2016, the government issued a sub-decree designating the 3,239-hectare lake as preserved land.
District Governor Sok Sambath could not be reached for comment yesterday.
However, Mr Sambath recently told local media that authorities would not be responsible for any damages caused during the eviction if residents failed to comply with the notice.
Boeng Tamok lake, also known as Tumnup Kabsrov, sits 15 kilometres away from city centre.
According to NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, it is one of the last lakes in the capital relatively unaffected by development.
Yin Im, chief of Samrong commune, said commune authorities have been informed about the eviction notice and are now preparing to evict residents.
“We are recounting the number of families living around the lake because families just keep building new homes,” Mr Im said. “It is prohibited to build or expand homes. All structures are to be removed, including fish-breeding farms.”
“We will remove all who encroach on land around this lake,” he added. “The Prime Minister issued a sub-decree designating the natural lake as a protected area.”
Soeung Saran, acting executive director of STT, said the seven-day notice does not give residents ample time to vacate the premise of the lake.
Mr Saran noted there were no discussions held with residents about any potential compensation.
“The authorities should open a public forum regarding compensation because families are going to be affected,” Mr Saran said. “Authorities must also define how close people can live near the lakeside.”