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Boeung Tamok Lake Filling near Samroang Tboung village, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Urban development encroaching upon and filling Boeung Tamok has been displacing villagers since 2020. Opposition to the projects has resulted in police and state violence against activists. Governmental officials have no intention of stopping development.


Boeung Tamok is a natural lake on the northwestern outskirts of Phnom Penh and is one of the area’s last remaining lakes [3]. Boeung Tamok spans 3,240 hectares with more than 300 urban poor families living nearby who are at-risk of eviction or loss of their subsistence fishing and lotus farming livelihoods [11, 20]. The lake is also important for flood protection, wastewater treatment, fish, plant, and bird species, and as a natural freshwater reservoir [5, 20].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Boeung Tamok Lake Filling near Samroang Tboung village, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
State or province:Phnom Penh
Location of conflict:Samroang Tboung, Prek Pnov
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Urban development conflicts
Military installations
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:3240
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:22/06/2020
Company names or state enterprises:Heng Akphivath Company from Cambodia
ING City Project from Cambodia
Orkide Villa from Cambodia
PTT Chea Sophara Street from Cambodia
Café Amazon from Cambodia
Chatomuk Theater from Cambodia
Renakse Hotel from Cambodia
International and Finance InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Equitable Cambodia, Cambodian Center for Human Rights, LICADHO, the Cambodian Youth Network (CYN), Sahmakum Teang Tnaut
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (undecided)
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The urban development plans continue with little impunity for the violence against lake activists and no compensation for the displaced villagers.
Sources & Materials

[5] VOD. Capital’s Largest Lake to Lose Over 500 Hectares to State, Private Sector (Leakhena 2020) (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[6] VOD. Boeung Tamok residents appeal to Hun Sen for land titles (Dara 2021) (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[3] VOD. As Boeng Tamok Is Carved Up, Lake Residents Ask for Land Titles (Dara 2020) (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[13] VOD. Businesswoman who received Boeung Tamok plot is land minister’s daughter (Dickison 2020). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[14] VOD. More of Boeung Tamok to be filled in for justice ministry storeroom (Leakhena 2020). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[15] Phnom Penh Post. Lake set for development (Bunthoeurn 2020). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[4] Phnomh Penh Post. Govt scraps deals on Boeung Tamok Lake (Kimmarita 2021) (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[7] VOD. Civil service ministry getting bigger, eyes Boeung Tamok lake plot (Dara 2021) (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[27] LICADHO. 3 environmental activists imprisoned, 2 youth activists arrested (2020). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[8] VOD. Government backtracks on 30 hectares of Boeung Tamok allocations (Dara 2021) (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[9] VOD. Hun Sen says he is tired of ‘jealous’ criticisms over lake-filling (Sophea 2021). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[10] VOD. Government allocates another 22 hectares of Boeung Tamok lake (Leakhena 2021) (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[16] Phnom Penh Post. Lake filling in capital draws CSOs concern (Koemsoeun 2020). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[11] VOD. Government cuts, swaps nearly300 hectares of Boeung Tamok for privateowners (Leakhena 2020). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[12] VOD. Questions raised over Boeung Tamok plot handed to ‘families’ (Techseng 2020). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[17] Phnom Penh Post. Deadline to vacate Phnom Penh’s largest lake set (Bunthoeurn 2020). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[18] Khmer Times. Tamok lake slated for development, reservoir to get retaining wall (Sela 2021). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[19] Khmer Times. Fishermen worried for their future as lake getting filled (Nariddh 2021). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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[20] RFA. Cambodian environmental group calls for end to development on Boeung Tamok (Lipes 2020). (Accessed 14.05.2021).
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Meta information
Contributor:Dalena Tran, ICTA-UAB, [email protected]
Last update30/04/2021
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