Municipal officials unable to intervene in private lake dispute

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Home buyers have protested a community developer’s plan to fill in their 10ha lake in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said he has no legal grounds to intervene in a plan by Chip Mong Land to fill more than 10ha of the lake in the Grand Phnom Penh Satellite City because it is not public property.

Sreng was responding to a petition filed by 140 people at the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.

Chip Mong Land bought the land from YLP Ciputra Group which promised to keep the lake in line with the master plan.

Sreng wrote in a September 28 letter that the lake is private property with a title deed registered at the Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Land Management.

“Any Phnom Penh municipal administration’s intervention to stop the filling of the pond will violate Articles 85 and 86 of the Land Law. So, the Phnom Penh municipal administration cannot stop it,” the letter read.

Acleda Bank Plc president and group managing director In Channy, who is representing the 140 people told The Post on Tuesday that they have stopped the protests.

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Hall issued a notification and we stopped the protests because we have to follow [the letter],” he said.

The joint petition said people living in the community in the Grand Phnom Penh Satellite City bought houses based on the master plan which contains a lake, a golf course and a large park.

The petition said the houses at the edge of the lake are very expensive.

Chip Mong Land could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. According to the petition, the company announced that the lake will be filled to establish a new housing project.

The company said the reservoir will be changed to a park with trees and a playground.

YLP Ciputra Group sold all operations and properties in the city to Chip Mong Land in 2019.

A business and property lawyer who asked not to be named said he could not comment in-depth on the dispute.

But if anything is not stated clearly in the contract, the owner can change the project, he said.

He said there are many lies and buyers face risks. But because Cambodia lacks a law on false advertising, the lies continue, the lawyer said.