In January 2012, a team of over 100 police and security guards from the development company Phanimex demolished more than 200 homes in Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community in a brazen act of land grabbing with the approval of the Cambodian Government.
Despite failing to fulfill a 2003 agreement to provide sufficient alternative housing for the residents, the company then forcibly moved them to Phnom Bat, Oudong, some 45 kilometres away from the city. Tears erupted when they arrived to discover that they were being dumped on a patch of land with no clean water, electricity or sanitation. Back in Phnom Penh, policemen used tear gas and rocks to quell residents who managed to stay behind to protest. Thirty-eight people were ultimately locked up in unlawful detention.