Sunday, January 25, 2009

City, developer demolish Dey Krahorm homes

A Dey Krahorm resident carries away bedding as she passes red-clad hired hands from developer and property owner 7NG. In the foreground is a potrait of King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who in the 1960s pushed for construction of middle-class housing and shared public space, including the adjacent Bassac apartments, for which the Dey Krahorm land formerly served as a park. (Photo by: Heng Chivoan)
A woman carries her mother from their home in Dey Krahorm, yelling, "Help me, help me, my mother is dead," explaining later that her mother has fainted from fear and worry. The woman then screamed at intervention police officers, "You are Cambodian, but want to kill Cambodians. You destroyed my house. You're like gangsters." (Photo by: Heng Chivoan)
A Dey Krahorm resident sits on the remains of her home as she waits for a truck to transport her to a new location. "I have no money," she said. "What can I do? I don't know where I will sleep. I can't do anything because they destroyed everything." (Photo by: Heng Chivoan)

Saturday, 24 January 2009
Written by Brendan Brady and Neth Pheaktra
The Phnom Penh Post

The activities of tearing down the homes at Dey Krahorm is not an eviction but just an effort to clear the area for development” -sic!- Mann Chhoeun, CPP deputy-governor of Phnom Penh

Scores of residents carted off by 7NG as bulldozers clear controversial riverside area.

Fleeing bulldozers, evicted Dey Krahorm residents could be seen today lobbing chairs, mattresses, framed pictures and cooking pots over a wall into an adjoining parking lot to salvage their possessions. Others hurled rocks at police, who returned fire with tear-gas cannisters, leading to injuries to four residents, according to onlookers who observed the curtains close on one of the biggest urban redevelopment stories in the capital over the last decade.

The whack of striking hammers and thud of swinging cranes drowned out the sound of roosters to awaken residents in Phnom Penh’s Tonle Bassac neighbourhood this morning. But for residents of the slum community of Dey Krahorm, the day started around 2am, when, according to residents and housing rights workers, scores of police began cordoning off the controversial neighbourhood to clear the way for workers to demolish the last of its corrugated-metal and wooden homes.

Military, municipal and Interior Ministry police, some armed, presided over the demolition carried out by hundreds of workers hired by the company planning to develop the area, 7NG. They also prevented access to the area by journalists and rights workers.

Military Police Sao Sokha, Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth, and Interior Ministry and government spokesmen Khieu Sopheak and Khieu Kanharith, respectively, did not respond to repeated calls for comment today.

“At 6am, they started to tear down my home,” Mao Vuthy, one of residents who had still been negotiating a compensation deal, said this morning. “The company and city officials didn’t inform us they would do this today.”

Cash compensation or a home at a relocation site 16 kilometres from the city, in the village of Damnak Trayoeng, had been offered by the private developer.

The morning demolition left Mao Vuthy, who works in the centre of Phnom Penh at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, with little choice.

“I now must go to the relocation site. The cash isn’t enough to buy another home. Moving to the relocation site will be difficult for my daily life because it is very far from my job in Phnom Penh,” he said.

Speaking to reporters this morning outside Dey Krahorm, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said the action was not an eviction.

The activities of tearing down the homes at Dey Krahorm is not an eviction but just an effort to clear the area for development,” he said. “For those who want compensation, the Phnom Penh Municipality and the developer will discuss the issue tomorrow [Sunday] at the new location at Damnak Trayoeng.”

Srey Sothea, chairman of 7NG, said his company recognised 91 families who had remained at Dey Krahorm and said each would receive a home at the relocation site as well as 777,700 riel ($190).

If more families could provide land ownership documents, he would extend the same compensation to them, as well, he added.

Despite claims by Mann Choeun today that residents were still entitled to $15,000, Srey Sothea said cash compensation was off the table.

“The offer of $20,000 we promised before the relocation is now finished,” he said. “I had encouraged the Dey Krahorm residents to accept it to avoid the administrative measure like we had today, but my proposition had been rejected,” Srey Sothea said.

“As for accusations that we are abusing people’s rights… we have announced this many times already to residents. We had prepared all administrative measures and people were asked to leave Dey Krahorm,” he said.

The municipality and 7NG announced January 13 they had a “green light” to forcibly remove the remaining residents of the embattled community, but sweetened the threat of eviction by raising cash compensation from $15,000 to $20,000 per family for those who go willingly.

Mann Chhoeun said today that while several notices of imminent eviction had been issued, the most recent on December 30, some residents remained -- paving the way for legal action by authorities.

Earlier this week, some high-profile residents from Dey Krahorm, chapei masters Neth Pe and Kong Nay, accepted homes within Phnom Penh and $10,000 from 7NG. But these were exceptional offers, and the rest of the residents holding out have argued $20,000 is too little to buy a new home, while the relocation properties are too far from their livelihoods in the city.

Contacted this morning by phone, Chan Vichet, a representative of the last residents, said he was “hiding” for fear authorities would intern him to prevent him from raising a public outcry against the day's events.

“I can see my home being demolished by a bulldozer. They consider us like animals,” Chan Vichet said.

While the city had estimated that 90 families remained in the community, Chan Vichet put the figure at closer to 150 families. Trucks belonging to 7NG shuttled them to the relocation site, he said.

Rights groups flocked to Dey Krahorm in the morning to observe the demolition of a community whose right to the land they had lobbied for years.

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.

An estimated 800 to 1,400 residents lived in Dey Krahorm before old community leaders signed a contract with 7NG in 2005, giving it the 3.6-hectare property in return for building relocation houses in Damnak Trayoeng village. Land rights group have challenged the legality of the original contract and accused city and 7NG officials of using intimidation tactics to force residents to accept the compensation deals offered.

Rights advocates also condemned the relocation site, which they described as allotments resembling brick shells and far from complete.

“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.

Sara Colm, of the Cambodian office of Human Rights Watch, said residents delivered to Damnak Trayoeng appeared stunned.

“They’re just dumped there. There are no proper homes, no water. There was a woman there who looked like she was going into premature labour from having lifted all her stuff,” she said.

“People started erecting blue tarps with sticks to get shelter from the sun and getting water from ditches in rice fields.”

Meanwhile, at Dey Krahorm, 7NG is still deliberating on the future of its development plan.

“Our company will start construction on the new site soon, but we don’t know what we will construct,” Srey Sothea said. “We’ll let people know later.”

Additional reporting by Chhay Channyda


Anonymous said...

May Buddha bless all people in this planet.

10:33 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A message of peace to the world

Murder, violence, greed, anger and temptation has made the human world a desperate place. A terrible storm has descended upon the human world, and this is carrying the world towards destruction. There is only one way to save the world and that is through ‘dharma” (religious practice.) When one doesn’t walk the righteous path of religious practice, this desperate world will surely be destroyed. Therefore, follow the path of religion and spread this message to your fellows. Never put obstacles, anger and disbelief in the way of my meditation’s mission. I am only showing you the way; you must seek it on your own. What I will be, what I will do, the coming days will reveal. Human salvation, the salvation of all living beings, and peace in the world are my goal and my path. “Namo Buddha sangaya, Namo Buddha sangaya, namo sangaya.” I am contemplating on the release of this chaotic world from the ocean of emotion, on our detachment from anger and temptation, without straying from the path for even a moment, I am renouncing my own attachment to my life and my home forever, I am working to save all living beings. But in this undisciplined world, my life’s practice is reduced to mere entertainment.
The practice and devotion of many Buddhas is directed at the world’s betterment and happiness. It is essential but very difficult to understand that practice and devotion. But though it is easy to lead this ignorant existence, human beings don’t understand that one day we must leave this uncertain world and go with the Lord of Death. Our long attachments with friends and family will dissolve into nothingness. We have to leave behind the
wealth and property we have accumulated. What’s the use of my happiness, when those who have loved me from the beginning, my mother, father, brothers, relatives are all unhappy. Therefore, to rescue all sentient beings, I have to be Buddha-mind, and emerge from my underground cave to do “vajra” meditation. To do this I have to realize the right path and knowledge, so do not disturb my practice. My practice detaches me from my body, my soul and this existence. In this situation there will be 72 goddess Kalis. Different gods will be present, along with the sounds of thunder and of “tangur ,” and all the celestial gods and goddesses will be doing “puja” (worship.) So until I have sent a message, do not come here, and please explain this to others. Spread religious knowledge and religious messages throughout the world. Spread the message of world peace to all. Seek a righteous path and wisdom will be yours.
French Version

Un message de paix au monde.

Le meurtre, la violence, l’avidité la colère et la tentation ont transformé le monde des hommes en un lieu de désespoir. Un terrible orage est descendu sur le monde des hommes, et cela amène le monde vers sa propre destruction. Il n’y a qu’une seule manière de sauver le monde, et c’est à travers le « dharma » (la pratique religieuse). SI quelqu’un ne marche pas sur le droit chemin de la pratique religieuse, ce monde de désespoir sera sûrement détruit. En conséquence, suivez le chemin de la religion et transmettez ce message à vos semblables. Ne mettez jamais d’obstacle, de colère ou de doute sur le chemin de cette mission qu’est ma méditation. Je ne fais que vous montrer la voie, recherchez la par vous-même. Ce que je vais devenir, ce que je vais faire, les jours prochains vont vous le révéler. Sauver l’humanité, sauver tous les êtres vivants et la paix dans le monde sont mes objectifs et mon chemin.“Namo Buddha sangaya, Namo Buddha sangaya, namo sangaya.” Je contemple la libération de ce monde chaotique de l’océan des émotions, je contemple notre détachement de la colère et de la tentation sans même m’écarter de la voie ne serait-ce qu’un seul instant, je renonce à mes propres attachements dans ma vie et à ma maison pour toujours, je travaille pour sauver tous les êtres vivants. Mais dans ce monde indiscipliné, ma vie consacrée à la pratique est réduite à un simple spectacle de divertissement. Il est essentiel mais très difficile de comprendre cette pratique et cette dévotion
La pratique et la dévotion de nombreux Bouddhas sont adressées aux progrès et au bonheur du monde. Mais bien qu’il soit facile de mener cette existence d’ignorance, les êtres humains ne comprennent pas qu’un jour nous devrons quitter ce monde incertain et partir avec le Seigneur de la Mort. Nos grands attachements envers les amis et la famille se dissoudront dans le néant. Nous devons partir en laissant derrière nous les richesses et les propriétés que nous avons amassées. Quelle est l’utilité de mon bonheur quand ceux qui m’ont aimé depuis le début, ma mère, mon père, mon frère et tous mes proches sont tous malheureux ? Ainsi, pour sauver toutes les créatures vivantes je dois être l’esprit du Bouddha, et émerger de ma cave sous terre où je pratique la méditation « Vajra ». Pour faire cela je dois réaliser le bon chemin et la connaissance, alors ne déranger pas ma pratique. Ma pratique me détache de mon corps, de mon âme et de cette existence. Dans cette situation, il y aura 72 déesses Kalis. De nombreux dieux seront présents, accompagnés par les tonnerres de la foudre et le son du “tangur ,” et tous les dieux et les déesses célestes pratiqueront le « puja » (vénération). Donc tant que je n’ai pas transmis de message, ne venez pas ici, et s’il vous plait, expliquez cela aux autres. Propagez des savoirs religieux et des messages religieux à travers le monde. Propagez le message de la paix mondiale à tous. Recherchez un chemin vertueux et la sagesse sera à vous.
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Anonymous said...

Brad Adams please help!!!

Anonymous said...

Barack obama please help!!!

Anonymous said...

This is an act an evil Hun Sen and his criminals.

Anonymous said...

obama cannot help but the US congress will interfere if Sam raingsy and kem sokha could call the US department to look into these sort of crimminal act against the innocents after they'd sufferred enough during the Khmer rouge regime. dr. hunxen used to yell to the people he had suffered in the khmer rouge regime.
he seems to forgot or maby it's never happened to him/ or he was the khmer rouge himself that's why he still act like the khmer rouge.
can anyone please tell me, and the khmer tribunal should look into these crimminal act against the inncents by the yuon slave government or it just another scamming program from the UN.

Anonymous said...

obama cannot help but the US congress will interfere if Sam raingsy and kem sokha could call the US department to look into these sort of crimminal act against the innocents after they'd sufferred enough during the Khmer rouge regime. dr. hunxen used to yell to the people he had suffered in the khmer rouge regime.
he seems to forgot or maby it's never happened to him/ or he was the khmer rouge himself that's why he still act like the khmer rouge.
can anyone please tell me, and the khmer tribunal should look into these crimminal act against the inncents by the yuon slave government or it just another scamming program from the UN.

Anonymous said...

Save Khmer people, ban all potato diggers from entering Cambodia please!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

We need Cambodia to be developed. This eviction will create more jobs for contruction workers and it will make Phnom Penh a more attractive city. Residents at this site were asked to leave many times and they were given a compensation price of $20,000. If they didn't leave the site, forcible evition is the only option by Phnom Penh officials for the residents. Dey Krahorm is a major eye soar for Phnom Penh and so this action needs to be done! It's all for a better Phnom Penh. Suffer today, be happy tommorow!

Anonymous said...

A potato digger is much better than you a potato head, is it?

Anonymous said...

No way jose, you're still living in the slum, and we do much better.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Fight against Hun Kwack Sen, before it's will be too late !

Anonymous said...

3:37AM and 4:57AM, never mind ban people from entering Cambodia. We go as we please. Your parents and family members will be sent to HELL along with Ah Kwack when people enter Cambodia. Pouk Ah Yuon brain-washed better find your exit out before it’s too late and so sad.

$20,000 is not the market value, it's a cheap offer from Ah Scam Yuoun.

It’s time for Khmer to evict you and eject you to Hell. See how you’d like that. Time changes and season changes. You better watch out. Got it?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a potato digger; I want to say hello to a potato-head 3:37AM; he's my death-life friend and I want to tell him that his Hun Sen's days are numbrered from this day on. Until then you'll see it.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Hun Sen and the government of Cambodia for that! Dey Krahom was a shithole full of drugs addict, prostitutes and parasites who just installed here without any legal backup. 90% of the habitants moved already knowing their limits, the remaining 10% were too griddy: that's what happen. People living in democracy as Cambodia think that they can do want they want. NO! democracy has its limits: the law. Period. The law is decided by the government. The government is elected by its people. And some dey krahom habitants voted for CPP...As well as the peasants living in poverty in country side... So, why are they complaining?

Anonymous said...

Because they have been brainwashed by Pouk Ah Potato diggers from oversea.

Anonymous said...

hun sen Youn dog

Anonymous said...

Pouk Ah Yuon brain-washed think that Dy Krahom is filled with drug. To my knowledge, drug has never been known to Khmers only when Ah invaders and his dog’s regime stepped foot in Cambodia. That’s the only period that the new deadly frontier has been faced for Khmers. This is how they poison Khmers with this type of substance. They even tried using every dirty tactic to poison and eliminate Khmers back in the 80s. Khmers have chose to live on to confront Ah Yuon and the Chimpanzee regime up to today.

God bless Cambodia and the people!

Anonymous said...

Help save Khmer people! Stop Pouk Ah Scam Rainxy and his potato diggers from oversea.

Anonymous said...

If Ah Kwuk Hun Xen dies now.I agree
to be cut down my age of 365 days.For all Khmers have a better life.