Ochheuteal vendors refuse to give up hope

Source: The Phnom Penh Post / Tue, 15 March 2016 by

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Vendors ordered to vacate their beachfront establishments protest outside Sihanoukville Provincial Hall late last month. Photo supplied

Sihanoukville provincial authorities are scheduled to evict vendors from Ochheuteal beach today, with beachfront business owners saying they plan to continue to fight for their cause.

Meanwhile, businesses on nearby Otres and Damnak Sdech beaches, which also have eviction notices hanging over them, remain in limbo.

All three beaches had been scheduled for eviction on Sunday, March 13, but were granted a last-minute temporary reprieve on Thursday by provincial authorities.

At the time, the city’s Governor Y Sokleng said Ochheuteal vendors would get just two days grace, whereas the others would be allowed to operate through Khmer New Year.

Sokleng confirmed yesterday that the Ochheuteal evictions would go ahead today, although the fates of Otres and Damnak Sdech are even more uncertain than they were last week.

“We don’t know the exactly date yet,” Sokleng said, adding that compensation would not be offered to the vendors “because this beach is the state’s land, it is not private land”.

However, representative of the Ochheutal vendors Phoeuk Sokhen said yesterday that the authorities had offered $3,500 compensation, which was refused as insufficient to cover relocation costs.

Another Ochheuteal vendor, Ek Sothean, said they would continue to ask for intervention. “We will try to fight until the end,” Sothean said.

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