Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Takhmao villagers protest ‘loss’ of lake

Takhmao villagers protest ‘loss’ of lake

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
About 350 families protested against ING Holding which they claimed to have encroached on their lake in Meanchey district on December 12. LAY SAMEAN

Takhmao villagers protest ‘loss’ of lake

Roughly 200 people representing 350 families in Doeum Mean commune’s O’Chrov village of Kandal province’s Takhmao town have requested that Prime Minister Hun Sen intervene in their dispute with a private company over their alleged encroachment on a 7ha lake used by the community.

The villagers held a protest on December 12 along Hun Sen Blvd near the lake, holding up banners asking the prime minister for help.

Oeun Sam Oun, one of the villagers’ representatives, said the families have grown water spinach, water mimosa and other crops on the 74,153sqm Chipho Lake since the 1970’s but now ING Holding Co Ltd has purchased the land nearby and put up fence posts that block access to the lake and affect the villager’s livelihoods.

“ING Holding encroached on the land on January 9, 2016. This company claimed that they had bought the land and banned people from catching fish in the lake or growing crops. They also began to secretly fill-in the lake at night.

“We do not know whether the company colluded with any officials, so we are requesting that Samdech Techo Hun Sen help the people in our community regain access to the lake so we can continue our livelihoods,” he said.

Sam Oun added that the lake was originally located in Kandal province, but was later transferred to the authority of the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration.

Municipal governor Khuong Sreng told The Post that if people are not satisfied with something, they should first go to their local authorities instead of trying to send their petitions straight to the head of the government.

“They must petition the district authorities. The district authorities will know what the situation is and if they can’t come to an agreement with the district, then [the municipal authorities] will possibly mediate to determine who is right or wrong, but one thing we won’t allow illegal demonstrations or strikes,” he said.

Kong Chamroeun, an offial from the prime minister’s cabinet, told The Post that in the past he had forwarded people’s complaints about land use or ownership to the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction when they sought the prime minister’s intervention.

Neither ING Holding representative nor the land management ministry spokesperson could be reached for comment.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director for rights group Licadho, said on December 12 that the institutions responsible for sorting out these matters should proactively come forward and address this dispute now in order to avoid any escalation by the villagers or company that may lead to unfortunate incidents.

“If this case is not resolved and the dispute still continues, then development may stall while the people continue to make their demands and we fear that violence or arrests may then occur,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a