The Cambodian Government Reverses its Decision regarding a Land Swap in Boeng Tamok lake

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No explanation was given for cancelling the agreement



PHNOM PENH—The Cambodian government has invalidated a land swap of Boeng Tamok lake, stating in a sub-decree issued on Jan. 13 that 20 hectares of land designated for private use at the lake would now remain state land.



The sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the government decided to repeal the agreement made with Lon Hak and Chhun Chanthy regarding the 20 hectares of land.



"Abolition of the sub-decree No. 219 dated Dec. 30, 2020, on the adjustment of Boeng Tamok," the sub-decree read.



In a letter signed by Council of Ministers Secretary of State Ken Satha and dated Dec. 23, 2020, the Cambodian authorities had agreed to convert another 20 hectares of Boeng Tamok, granting it to Hak and Chanthy in exchange for 1,571.2 square meters of land in Daun Penh District’s Srah Chak Commune to be given to Phnom Penh City Hall.  



Hak and Chanthy also had to construct a 21.7-by-42-meter, three-story building for city hall.



On Jan. 4, 2021, the Council of Ministers had announced that the 30-hectare plot of Boeung Tamok land, which had been allocated in September 2020 to the Ministry of Rural Development, the National Committee for Disaster Management, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority and the Cambodian Human Rights Committee would no longer go to these government institutions. No explanation was given for the revocation of the September 2020 decision, but the declaration had detailed numerous swapping of existing facilities between government ministries and institutions.



Data provided by Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), an organization focused on land rights in Cambodia, shows that there were three times as many land parcels allocated out of Boeung Tamok in 2020 as there had been in all of 2018 and 2019 combined.



More than 65.6 hectares were lost in 2018, followed by another 53.6 hectares in 2019, but 2020 saw a sharp increase in redistribution with roughly 682 hectares of the lake reallocated or sold off.


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