Cambodia’s growing dispossessed

As the country’s economy booms, thousands of people have been evicted from their homes to make way for developments.

When armed construction workers turned up at dawn to start pumping thousands of gallons of sand and water into Ly Si Moan’s home, her terrified scramble for safety had her joining thousands of others who have recently had to flee developers in Cambodia.

“They started pumping during the night,” she says, “while we were sleeping. I think they wanted to eliminate all trace of us.”

Indeed, all that remains of the village where Ly Si Moan’s house and business once stood is a long sandbank, covering three-quarters of what was once a lake at the heart of Phnom Penh.

Ly Si Moan is also just one of some 20,000 people who have been evicted from their homes either on or around the historic, 90-hectare Boueng Kak Lake during the last few months.

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