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Clashes as Cambodian authorities try to evict families in real estate dispute

Samrang Pring / Reuters

A riot police officer fires tear gas at residents during a forced eviction at the Borei Keila complex in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Jan. 3, 2012.

Mak Remissa / EPA

A resident looks at her destroyed house at a squatter area in Phnom Penh on Jan. 3, 2012. More than 200 houses were demolished.

Reuters reports:

Cambodian human rights group Licadho said that police officers and residents were injured in a face-off when hundreds of armed authorities tried to evict families from their homes in Borei Keila, Phnom Penh, as part of a long running dispute with a local real estate firm well-connected with the government.

The firm, Phanimex, plans to convert the residential complex into a commercial building. Licadho said that at least 12 people had also been detained following the violent clashes. 

 

Samrang Pring / Reuters

A riot police officer throws stones at residents during clashes that erupted in the midst of a forced eviction at the Borei Keila complex on Jan. 3, 2012.

Samrang Pring / Reuters

A woman cries as an excavator demolishes her home during a forced eviction at the Borei Keila complex on Jan. 3, 2012.

The Phnom Penh Post has more on the background to the dispute:

In 2003, Phan Imex Company signed an agreement with the government to construct 10 six-floor buildings on two hectares of land to house 1,776 displaced families, in exchange for the right to develop the remaining 2.6 hectares.

The company has constructed only eight buildings, leaving nearly 400 families without housing. Read the full story.