Residents Warned of Jail Time if They Don’t Make Way for Roadworks

2 min read
Workers repair part of a sidewalk in central Sihanoukville on December 2, 2020. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

About 150 families encroaching on Sihanoukville’s 7 Makara St. and refusing to make way for roadworks could face jail time and hefty fines, according to local authorities.

In an announcement dated Friday, the Preah Sihanouk provincial administration warned people living and doing business on the road that they had been told since 2019 and repeatedly in 2020 that they were encroaching on the road.

They must remove all structures on the sidewalk by February 28 or face consequences, the announcement said.

It warned that the Road Law penalizes constructions on land earmarked for road infrastructure with one month to one year in jail and a fine of 100,000 to 2 million riel, or about $25 to $500, while the new State Assets Law stipulates two to five years in jail and a fine of 4 to 10 million riel, or about $1,000 to $2,500, for breaching state property.

“Till now, the Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has checked that some owners have already made voluntary removals, but there are some owners of constructions who have not yet implemented the notification,” it said.

A provincial spokesperson said 153 families with 128 houses would be affected, but they did not specify whether any compensation would be given. 

Buon commune chief Seng Nim said there were about 100 affected families.

“They have been living there since long ago, since 1992 or 1993,” while others ran businesses along the street, Nim said.

“The majority of them have structures of their houses on the road’s sidewalks, from before the road had many people, when there was no one managing it,” he said.

No families had left the street so far due to the demands of the roadworks, he said.

But it was a similar situation to about 180 families who had been removed from living along a canal in his commune over the past two years to make way for infrastructure work, he said.

“They agreed to move out after provincial compensation,” and were now living in neighboring Prey Nob district’s Bit Traing commune, he said.

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