City Hall hands out Boeng Kak land titles

December 12th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Marking another milestone in the years-long struggle between the government and the families of Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake community, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema handed out 254 land titles to lakeside residents at City Hall on Saturday.

But with the government shrouding the titling process in mystery, and nearly 100 families still contesting a decision to cut them out of the process altogether, the moment was bittersweet…

The families have been crying foul ever since City Hall awarded a 99-year lease for the area to CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin and his Shukaku Inc real estate firm in 2007. NGOs say the deal was illegal because it denied the 4,000 families already living there the chance to lay legal claim to the land themselves. But faced with the threat of being forced out empty-handed, most of those families eventually took the modest compensation on offer and left.

By the time Prime Minister Hun Sen intervened in August with an order that 12.44 hectares be cut out of the project and the families inside be given land titles so they could stay, fewer than 1,000 of them were left…

Chhorn Chansy, p.1
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In a call to find justice, Boeng Kak Lake villagers draw blood

December 2nd, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Rounding off a week that included two violent clashes with police and the charging and release of four protesters, Boeng Kak lake villagers yesterday daubed paper sheets with their blood in a symbolic call to end what they consider judicial intimidation.

About 50 villagers gathered at the lake area, which has been filled with sand by development firm Shukaku Inc, owned by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin…

Cheng Sokhorng, p.29
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Boeng Kak residents stand firm, continue protests

November 19th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

For the third time this week, Boeng Kak residents protested on Friday over claims that their land rights have been violated. More than 50 residents gathered outside the Srah Chak commune office to complain that a sub-decree issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen in August, allowing residents to keep their homes, was not being respected.

After the protest died down at about noon, the residents assembled outside City Hall and threatened to block Monivong Boulevard, but their threat was soon put to rest when Phnom Penh municipal police chief Touch Naruth said he would find a solution for the residents…

Cheng Sokhorng, p.13
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Boeng Kak residents detained for looking at list

October 28th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Three residents of Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake community were temporarily detained by police and had a camera and phone confiscated yesterday while trying to take pictures of a list posted outside the Srah Chak commune office in Daun Penh district.

Two of the three are among the nearly 800 Boeng Kak families expecting to receive land titles following a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen in August promising to let residents inside a 12.44-hectare stretch of land keep their homes. Prior to the prime minister’s order, the families were facing eviction to make way for a Chinese-backed real estate project headed by ruling party senator Lao Meng Khin…

Cheng Sokhorng, p.25
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Boeng Kak evictees deliver petitions to embassies to pressure government

October 25th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Some 100 former residents of Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak community yesterday delivered petitions to 10 embassies and the offices of the World Bank and European Union asking them to pressure the government into increasing the compensation for their evictions.

Sam Vanna, a representative of the residents, said the group represents the roughly 3,000 families that were evicted from the site over the past year to make way for a real estate project led by Shukaku Inc, a private firm belonging to CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin, who is also chairman of the powerful Phanimex group…

Sok Sidon, p.25
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Preah Sihanouk province power plant gets approval

October 18th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Seventy-one out of 89 National Assembly lawmakers yesterday voted to approve the construction of a coal power plant in Preah Sihanouk province by a company run by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin and his daughter, and licensed the plant to sell electricity to Electricite du Cambodge.

The company, Cambodia International Investment Development Group Ltd, is a joint venture between MKCSS Holdings Co Ltd and Power Synergy Corporation, said CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap…

Eang Mengleng, p.30
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Questioning begins in two Boeng Kak court cases

October 18th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summoned two residents of the Boeng Kak lake community to appear for questioning today and Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit filed against them by City Hall, a court official said yesterday.

The families of the accused have been left out of a plan to grant land titles to some 800 Boeng Kak households who were facing eviction to make way for a real estate project of Shukaku Inc, a private firm headed by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin…

Chhorn Chansy, p.26
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Boeng Kak families sue – and sued by – government officials

October 5th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Two-and-a-half weeks after excavators belonging to a CPP senator’s real estate firm demolished the homes of eight families fighting eviction from Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake community, those families and the government officials charged with evicting them have taken their battle to court.

A pair of excavators belonging to Senator Lao Meng Khin’s Shukaku Inc tore down the homes on September 16 amid a clash between residents and riot police. One protester was beaten unconscious by police.

Those eight families, left out of a government plan to provide some 800 Boeng Kak households with land titles, filed a lawsuit with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday morning holding the firm, a private contractor and three government officials responsible for the destruction of their homes.

At the same time, court officials were busy summoning five Boeng Kak lake families who are being sued for allegedly “insulting” and “intimidating” Srah Chak commune chief Chhay Thirith…

Chhorn Chansy, p.27
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After razing of Boeng Kak homes, outrage lingers

September 19th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Opposition party members and a human rights group yesterday condemned the demolition of eight homes and businesses at Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake on Friday, calling the act a violation of the law.

Two excavators belonging to Shukaku Inc tore down homes as riot police pushed back desperate residents trying to shield their homes from destruction…

Seven Phnom Penh capital councilors from the Sam Rainsy Party issued a statement on Saturday condemning Shukaku Inc, the company owned by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin that is building a real estate venture in the Boeng Kak lake area and has long been embroiled in land disputes with the thousands of residents who were denied the right to apply for official land titles for their homes…

(Chhorn Chansy and Kate Bartlett, p.1)
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Boeng Kak residents beaten back as homes razed

September 17th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Excavators flattened eight houses and shops at the north end of Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake on Friday as baton-wielding riot police pushed back distraught residents and badly beat one protestor who was among hundreds of locals who rallied against the latest round of demolitions.

The Housing Rights Task Force issued a statement condemning the municipality for not implementing a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen that ordered that land be set aside for the residents who have fought for years against eviction by Shukaku Inc, the company owned by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin…

(Cheng Sokhorng and James Welsh, p.1)
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Boeng Kak families reach out to embassies, EU

September 15th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

Members of 34 families facing eviction from Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak community yesterday called on five foreign embassies and the European Union to pressure the government into granting them land titles.

They are among the 46 poor and untitled families living in Boeng Kak who have found themselves cut out of a government plan endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen last month to let the hundreds of families living around the former lake keep their modest homes…

Heng Mom, one of the residents, said some of the unlucky families have agreed to negotiate for compensation with the firm developing the area, CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin’s Shukaku Inc, in exchange for moving out…

(Chhorn Chansy, p.26)
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World Bank Halts Funds Over Evictions

August 9th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

The World Bank has frozen funding to Cambodia, making good on its threat in March to reconsider aid levels to Cambodia in response to the ongoing eviction of thousands of Phnom Penh families from Boeng Kak lake, a Bank official confirmed yesterday…Some 3,000 families have had their lakeside homes flooded with sand or otherwise been forced to abandon land some had lived on for decades in the wake of a high-end real estate project at Boeng Kak headed by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin. Both the senator’s Shukaku Inc and Erdos Hong Jun Investment, the Chinese firm backing the project with a $2.17 billion plan approved by the government’s foreign investment board earlier this year, have remained silent in the face of the escalating controversy over the forced evictions. Government officials have done the same.

(Zsombor Peter and Phorn Bopha, p 1)
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Boeng Kak Project Breaks Ground Amid Continued Protests

July 12th, 2011 , The Cambodia Daily

CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin was joined by his wife as they broke ground on the controversial project taking place at Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak Lake. They unveiled the architectural renderings of the towers to be built on what used to be the site of the lake, but has been granted to the Senator and his company Shukaku as an economic land concession. More than 1,000 families are still seeking compensation for the loss of their homes as a result of the evictions from the creation of the project and closing of the lake.

(By Chhorn Chansy, pg. 28)
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