In Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district there is a 133-hectare mound of sand that was once a lake. It took nearly four years to fill Boeng Kak with that sand.
On the southern perimeter of the massive sand pit sit two large billboards. On those billboards there is CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin’s vision; an adventurous property project anchored by two glass and steel tower blocks, a huge water fountain and hundreds of residential units set around the water features of a land-locked marina. So far, part of that vision has been achieved: The lake is filled and thousands of residents who once lived around the area have been evicted and relocated.
But what happens now to the dusty site is anyone’s guess: The company’s offices in Phnom Penh appear to be closed. The city’s real estate agents say the property sector is so over-supplied that to embark on building at Boeng Kak would be financial madness.
And government officials don’t seem to know what will happen, or if they do, they are declining to comment. “They have all gone back to China,” said Chhay Sina, who lost her job in February as a sales supervisor for Shukaku Erdos Hongjun Property Development Co., a joint venture between Cambodian and Chinese investors, which owns the site. …
Philip Heijmans with additional reporting by Hul Reaksmey, P. 25