Hun Sen’s Sister Tied to Company in Boeng Kak Land Sale

By | June 25, 2014

The Cambodia Daily

A development firm owned by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin and accused of illegally evicting thousands of families from central Phnom Penh recently sold a small piece of its project area for $14.9 million to a company with ties to one of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sisters.

Rights groups say the sale violates the terms of a 99-year lease Mr. Meng Khin’s Shukaku Inc. signed with the government in 2007. Families in the area are considering filing a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Unit.

Shukaku paid $79 million for its lease to 133 hectares of prime real estate in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak neighborhood and subsequently evicted some 3,000 families in violation of the country’s Land Law. With the backing of a Chinese investor, it broke ground on an ambitious real estate project in mid-2011, but quickly stopped and has left the area fallow since.

On Friday, Singapore-based HLH Group posted an announcement on the Singapore bourse that an associate company, D’Lotus Development Limited, was buying 1.35 hectares from Shukaku, with plans to build an office tower, luxury condos and retail space on the land.

HLH’s headquarters in Singapore referred all questions about the deal to the offices of HLH Agriculture in Phnom Penh, where officials ignored several requests for comment. According to registration records with Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce, HLH Agriculture is wholly owned by HLH Agri International Pte. Ltd., a division of HLH Group.

HLH Agriculture owns a plantation in Kompong Speu province’s Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary. In February 2010, a sister of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Hun Seng Ny, visited the area to allay concerns among locals that the plantation would encroach on their farms, and officials described HLH as “her company,” according to villagers and rights workers.

Later that same month, a woman working at HLH Agriculture’s Phnom Penh office said Ms. Seng Ny was the company’s director.

In May 2012, Ms. Seng Ny visited the company’s Kompong Speu plantation yet again to negotiate a settlement to the land dispute with locals, according to rights group Licadho.

Three senior officials at Shukaku all declined to comment on the sale to HLH on Tuesday.

It remained unclear whether the 1.35 hectares Shukaku sold was inside a 12.44-hectare area that was cut out of the land leased to the company so that several hundred families could keep their homes.

Though the excised land was meant for the families living on it, Mr. Meng Khin was nonetheless awarded several land titles there.

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor at Licadho, said the sale was evidence that Shukaku had no intention of developing the project site itself.

“It was just a show and excuse that the land would be used for development…they just sell it,” he said. “The culture of selling and swapping goes on, it’s just a different way…to take people’s land.”

Tep Vanny, a Boeng Kak resident and representative for some of the families there still demanding land titles, said the families were likely to soon file a complaint against Mr. Meng Khin with the ACU over the sale.

Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said he was “surprised” by news of the sale and could not comment on its legality.

“I cannot comment on this…. I need to check the document,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Zsombor Peter)

dara@cambodiadaily.com

© 2014, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.


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10 Responses to "Hun Sen’s Sister Tied to Company in Boeng Kak Land Sale"

  1. Judge says:

    It looks like those considered themselves elite continue split and sell Cambodia land like they were born with that privilege. It is a corruption continues.
    Does PM knows about these kind of abuses. According to what he usually claims, PM must know and continues to deny all these abuses.
    These activities that badly affect Cambodians are known to worldwide organizations.
    This is the last time of grab and run but can they hide?
    They are only big frogs fatten up by corruption.

  2. វាសនាខ្ញុុំអនាគតខ្ញុំ says:

    As Global Witness reported “Family Tree” in Cambodia .And while hundreds of thousands of Cambodians see their existence threatened — or already destroyed — a culture of impunity surrounds those responsible.

  3. វាសនាខ្ញុុំអនាគតខ្ញុំ says:

    As Global Witness reported “Family Tree” in Cambodia .And while hundreds of thousands of Cambodians see their existence threatened — or already destroyed — a culture of impunity surrounds those responsible.

  4. វាសនាខ្ញុុំអនាគតខ្ញុំ says:

    As Global Witness reported “Family Tree” in Cambodia .And while hundreds of thousands of Cambodians see their existence threatened — or already destroyed — a culture of impunity surrounds those responsible.

  5. វាសនាខ្ញុុំអនាគតខ្ញុំ says:

    As Global Witness reported “Family Tree” in Cambodia .And while hundreds of thousands of Cambodians see their existence threatened — or already destroyed — a culture of impunity surrounds those responsible.

  6. វាសនាខ្ញុុំអនាគតខ្ញុំ says:

    As Global Witness reported “Family Tree” in Cambodia .And while hundreds of thousands of Cambodians see their existence threatened — or already destroyed — a culture of impunity surrounds those responsible.

  7. វាសនាខ្ញុុំអនាគតខ្ញុំ says:

    As Global Witness reported “Family Tree” in Cambodia .And while hundreds of thousands of Cambodians see their existence threatened — or already destroyed — a culture of impunity surrounds those responsible.

  8. Banh Bev says:

    Good strategies in grabbing land from the victims!!!

  9. La Rosa says:

    ជំនាន់ ស្ដេច ស៊ីហនុ និង លន់ ណុល ក័គ្មាននរណាហ៊ានប្រព្រឹត្ដអំពើបំផ្លាញជាតិ និង ប្រជារាស្រ្ដឯងដូចសម័យនេះដែរ!

  10. Voth Ty says:

    Lucky that I am not live in Cambodia anymore n not visit for long time. Also not even think to live in Cambodia because I can see n hear from my relation family. I do want to visit my family n my friend but i don’t ever support mr hum sen Cambodia prime minister control Cambodia for 25 year or more. Omg 25 year same prime minister. Cambodia is very bad now and hardly to live and find job. Their alway fight each other without think khmer people n special alway take people land. Please stop n control.