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Satellite city villagers seek protection

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Protesters fear forced evictions amid the ING Holdings development. KT/Chor Sokunthea

About 100 people representing more than 500 families in Meanchey District’s Prek Ta Kong 1 village and Dangkor district’s Khvar village yesterday protested in front of City Hall to demand their land be separated from a satellite city development and land titles be provided to them.

The protesters live within a large swath of land granted to ING Holdings by the government in 2011 for the project.

The residents fear looming evictions and say the company has been dumping loads of sand near their homes, which is affecting their livelihoods.

“We want the municipality to resolve this for us as soon as possible. Do not let us live in fear like this,” said protester Pich Kuynak, 42.

“We want City Hall to cut our community land out of the company’s development project, and to develop the site without evictions. We need land titles.”

The residents first raised their concerns with the Land Management Ministry.

Lim Van, secretary of state at the ministry, forwarded the complaints to City Hall in March.

Mr Van’s letter to City Hall confirmed that some of the resident’s homes were within the development project land, as well as a planned state-owned reservoir.

“Therefore, the ministry would like to send this case to City Hall to submit to the existing Choeung Ek Satellite City Development Commission to check and solve the problem,” Mr Van’s letter said.

City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said the city was not ignoring the residents and boundary work was ongoing.

“We will speed up the work of the technical team who went to measure the demarcation of the land borders,” he said. “After we gather all the information, we will resolve this for them.”

Equitable Cambodia executive director Eang Vuthy said there should be no confusion between any of the parties.

“People are living under fear of the development, so it affects their emotions and their livelihoods,” he said.

“Therefore, the relevant parties should discuss with each other clearly.”

ING could not be reached for comment.

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