More than 170 families in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district submitted a petition to City Hall on Monday complaining about wealthy businessman Khun Sear’s decision to build a wall in the middle of a road in their neighborhood.
The road in Chak Angre Leu commune is under construction, being paved and widened to five meters so that it can eventually connect smoothly to Samdech Techo Hun Sen Boulevard. However, Mr. Sear lays claim to 1.5 meters of the road and is building a brick wall to mark his property.
Businessman Khun Sear is having a brick wall built in the middle of a road in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district. (Siv Channa)

Villagers say that the burgeoning wall, which started to go up in late April, violates a local agreement dating back to 2004 that five meters of space should be kept so that the road can be widened.
“The villagers have worried about this problem because the authorities only made promises. We tried finding a solution with commune and district authorities, but there was no resolution, so now we have brought the case to City Hall,” said villager representative Chea Sitha.
Mr. Sitha said that after the petition and supporting documents, including a photograph of the wall in the road, were delivered to City Hall on Monday, he was given an appointment to speak with municipal deputy governor Chreang Sophan by telephone Tuesday. But he said Mr. Sophan said in the call only that he would solve the problem “step by step.”
Reached Tuesday, Mr. Sophan said the petition had arrived at City Hall but was not yet in his hands. He added that because Mr. Sear has a clear land title to the area in dispute, it will be hard to force him to tear down the wall.
“We will check this problem, but in general, we cannot do something that is against the investment of the company,” he said.
Representatives of the Khun Sear Development Company could not be reached for comment.
Tich Seng, a villager who lives near the construction site and thumbprinted the petition, said she was afraid that once the wall was erected it would be difficult to do anything about it.
“After the villagers joined the protest [against the wall], the company built fast. We saw they built the wall every day and night, and we are worried.”
© 2014, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.