Without immediate prior notice, bulldozers and police moved into Dey Krahorm community in Phnom Penh early morning on Saturday to raze the homes and forcibly remove its remaining residents. The eviction order given on 27 December had been suspended to allow for compensation negotiations among the city, the developer and the residents.
Without any prior notification and with compensations deals outstanding for families remaining there, around 200 police “encircled” the community in the middle of the night and were followed later in the morning by more than 300 workers with bulldozers, said Chan Saveth of the rights group Adhoc.
Yeng Virak, executive director of Community Legal Education Centre, said he had entered the Dey Krahorm complex at 4am but was forced by police to leave by 6am.
“It’s not fair and it’s illegal. People have possession rights to the land and their compensation needs to be settled before they are removed,” Yeng Virak said. “In Phnom Penh, business interests come before the rights of the people. This is another example of economic development at all costs -- not equitable or sustainable development.”
David Pred, director of rights group Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia, said residents still have a civil complaint pending in an appeals court to cancel the land swap between the former community representative and 7NG that he said was patently invalid under the Land Law.
“Once again the municipality has carried out a brutal eviction in the heart of Phnom Penh without any apparent plan for relocation or meeting the humanitarian needs of the evictees,” Pred said.