Displacement of Boeung Kak residents (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) - August 2011
Cambodia's World Bank-supported Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP) has been a subject of controversy for several years. In March 2011 the Inspection Panel of the World Bank issued a report stating that the project's poor design had contributed to the forced eviction of some 20,000 people in the Boeung Kak lakeside region of Phnom Penh. In a statement World Bank president Robert Zoellick said, “We are deeply troubled and frustrated about the people who are being forced from their homes.”
The Boeung Kak development project began in 2007 when Shukaku, a private Cambodian company owned by ruling party Senator Lao Meng Khin, a close associate of Prime Minister Hun Sen, was granted a 99-year lease agreement that local advocates say violates the possession rights of many affected families. In December 2010 news reports indicated that Inner Mongolian Erdos Hongjun Investment Company had entered into a joint venture with Shukaku to further develop the area. Since then, advocates have appealed to Erdos Hongjun Investment to address the problems and have proposed a solution to settle the dispute in a letter dated 28 February 2011 from the Cambodian Human Rights Task Force (HRTF): in English [PDF] and in Chinese [PDF]. Erdos did not respond.
The following reports discuss concerns about Boeung Kak and the efforts of residents and advocacy groups to encourage Erdos Hongjun to address their concerns:
- "Cambodia's Growing Dispossed", Jonathan Gorvett, Al Jazeera, 15 March 2011
- "China pumps up the Cambodia economy, but at what cost?", Prak Chan Thul, Reuters, 7 April 2011
- "The Great Asian Land Grab: How a World Bank program helped to displace tens of thousands of urban poor", Mike Eckel, Foreign Policy Magazine, 13 May 2011
- "Chinese firm Linked to Boeung Kak Lake Development Called Upon to Engage with Affected Communities", Bridges Across Borders Cambodia, 23 July 2011
Invitations to companies to respond to allegations
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Erdos Investment Holding Group (Inner Mongolia) and Erdos Group (Hong Kong) to respond to the above reports. Erdos Investment Holding Group could not be reached; Erdos Group did not respond. According to this news report and this China Labour Bulletin blog, Dezheng Resources Holding based in Qingdao is also a parent company of Erdos Hongjun Investment. We invited Dezheng Resources to respond, but it did not. There is no publicly available information for Shukaku Inc. According to the article in Foreign Policy Magazine (above), "Neither Shukaku officials nor Lao Meng Khin responded to written requests for interviews."
On 16 September forced evictions resumed. For reports on the incident click here.
17 Aug: The World Bank yesterday welcomed a government decision to offer on-site relocation to residents of Boeung Kak lake, See: "World Bank Reaction", David Boyle & Khouth Sophak Chakrya, Phnom Penh Post [Cambodia], 17 Aug 2011
10 Aug: Cambodian officials vow to take up World Bank decision with bank officials. See: "World Bank fund halt irks officials", Don Weinland and Kouth Sophak, Phnom Penh Post, 10 Aug 2011
9 Aug: The World Bank stops loans to Cambodia over Boeung Kak evictions. See: "World Bank stops funds for Cambodia over evictions", Prak Chan Thul, Reuters, 9 Aug 2011
3 and 4 Aug: The Cambodia press reports on findings that Erdos Hongjun had expanded its investments in Cambodia to include mining projects". Both articles cite concerns about the lack of transparency in Erdos Hongjun's dealings and their failure to respond to NGOs. The Phnom Penh Post specifically cites the Resource Centre's efforts to seek a company response.
"Erdos Group Plans Laid Bare", Don Weinland, Phnom Penh Post, 3 Aug 2011
"B Kak Firm Seeks Bauxite In Mondolkiri", Hul Reaksmey and Simon Marks, Cambodian Daily, 4 Aug 2011
**The Resource Centre will continue to seek a response from Erdos and will post any statements it receives, or other public statements by the firm, here.
Related stories and components
Cambodia: Erdos Hongjun Investment pulls out of Boeung Kak project – a planned development in Phnom Penh that has evicted thousands
Author: Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
On 16 September 2011, developer Shukaku, Inc. (owned by ruling party Senator Lao Meng Khin) forcibly evicted residents at the Boeung Kak site of Phnom Penh, destroying their homes. The evictions followed protests the previous day by the 47 families...
- Related stories: Cambodia: Forced evictions resume in Boeung Kak despite government sub-decree granting land rights to residents; Erdos Hongjun declines to respond, Shukaku could not be reached
- Related in-depth areas: Displacement of Boeung Kak residents (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) - August 2011
- Related companies: Erdos Hongjun Investment
Author: Don Weinland, Phnom Penh Post [Cambodia]
Documents obtained by The Post have shed new light on the scale of Chinese investment connected with the controversial Boeung Kak lake real estate project...The US$98 million project in northern Phnom Penh is the smallest of Mongolia Erdos Hongjun...