Prime Minister Hun Sen handed out gifts and promised metal sheeting as building materials to families who have agreed to vacate their homes that fall within Siem Reap’s Angkor park, saying the relocation site in Run Ta Ek commune will be turned into a modern satellite city.
Apsara Authority, which oversees the archaeological park, Siem Reap officials and relevant ministries have been demolishing small illegal constructions within the park and pulling down peoples’ homes they say are illegal. Hundreds of residents have agreed to move to a relocation site 20 kilometers away.
Hun Sen met with families who are willing to move to land owned by the Apsara Authority that currently also houses the Run Ta Ek Eco Village. Residents are expected to be given plots near the eco village.
The prime minister was pleased that 594 families were willing to move to the area and promised to develop the area into a satellite city for Siem Reap. He said he would build schools, hospitals and markets and connect it to Siem Reap’s water system.
“In the future, Run Ta Ek will not be rural anymore, it will be a developed Run Ta Ek,” he said.
Hun Sen gave 50 kg of rice, six boxes of instant noodles and $50 to each family present at the event. He further promised them $250 to construct their new homes, $50 for new toilets, 30 pieces of metal sheeting and assistance from two military units to transport them from their old homes to Run Ta Ek.
Additionally, he said they would all get ID Poor cards and eight government-sponsored payments for pregnant members of the family, and asked microfinance institutions to provide these families with low-interest loans.
Hun Sen also asked his officials to prepare another relocation site Peak Sneng commune, Angkor Thom district for other families who will have to leave their current homes. Authorities have not indicated how many families can stay within the park with minor demolitions and how many will have to relocate.
The prime minister then segued to the subject of his successor, and said the next prime minister would continue the development of Run Ta Ek, again reminding everyone that his eldest son, Hun Manet, would take over from him.
“And I need to say this because Manet was born as my child, but I need to confirm that even if Hun Manet was someone else’s child, I would still support him because he has enough qualifications,” he said.
“It is not because he is my child. I support the one who can lead the CPP, who can lead Cambodia, so don’t say it is [because he is] Hun Sen’s child.”
Pun Saren is a resident in the Srah Srong area of Siem Reap district, where multiple demolitions occurred two weeks ago. Saren’s kitchen was deemed an illegal construction and demolished by authorities.
Saren said she was not offered to relocate and also did not want to move from her current location because her family had lived there a century from her grandfather’s time.
“I don’t want to move there because, as you know, it is not developed much and the land is not yet ready. We will need to clear it,” she said.
She added that living in Run Ta Ek would be too far because she worked in Siem Reap city and it would cost too much to relocate.