The government continued the trend of giving state institutions and private individuals tracts of land on Phnom Penh’s Boeng Tamok lake, handing over 7 hectares to state utilities supplier Electricite du Cambodge.
The Council of Ministers published eight new volumes of government decisions as part of the royal gazette on Tuesday, with a new sub-decree from July 11 transferring 7.05 hectares of the lake to the utility supplier. The land is in the northeastern section of the lake, which is being quickly filled and has sparked protests from current lakeside residents who stand to lose their shacks.
However, coordinates for the land, provided by the government, show that part of the allotted land overlaps another allocated plot, which was given to Som Sokdaramonuerika, Som Sokdararikio, Som Somalika in 2021.
Plots on the lake have been handed over to government bodies like the National Election Committee, Interior Ministry and City Hall, while well-connected individuals have also received land, leaving little left for water.
The state has transferred around 3 hectares of land to popular KTV singer Preap Sovath last year; around 155 hectares to local tycoon and Anco Group owner Kok An; close to 100 hectares to Choeung Theanseng, the son of tycoon Choeung Sopheap; and 75 hectares to Say Sorphea, the wife of Brigade 70 deputy commander Phoeun Phalla.
The lake is one of the last lakes in Phnom Penh, and while environmentalists have raised concerns over filling-in of rain catchment areas, Prime Minister Hun Sen has refuted any suggestions that the filled-up lakes were contributing to flooding in the capital.
“Jealous!” Hun Sen said of his critics in January 2021. “[Other countries] wipe out their lakes to develop their cities, but [here they] reproach and reproach again. No! Even if you condemn it, we will still do it.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported 70,452 square meters as 70.452 hectares.