They're known as the BK13 and they're not prepared to let greedy developers take the very, very little they have. They're 13 women -- mothers, grandmothers - who live around what used to be Boeung Kak Lake -- not far from the centre of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh. The lake has been filled in and many of their neighbours have been moved on - their houses flattened - but the BK13 aren't going anywhere. They're going to defend their homes with every ounce of energy they can muster. They'll need to.
"Every time we leave our home is the same as a soldier going to fight on the battlefield. Every time we leave we face arrest and they beat us. We don't know if they will use violence against us or if we will lose our lives." Tep Vanny -- BK13
Phnom Penh is growing fast as Cambodia races to join Asia's development frenzy and busily renovates itself as a competitive, commercial destination. But as the capital expands, thousands of lives are being crushed. Beyond the city many more developments are pushing people from their homes. A half a million residents have been forcibly evicted in recent years.
Indeed when Foreign Correspondent first threw the spotlight on this issue in 2006 we visited a community of people who'd been marched from their shacks into a shanty of tents and plastic sheeting as the monsoonal rain threatened to wash it all away. We found a shirtless man wailing and railing at the injustice.
"We're all human beings! Why have they done this to us? It's so painful. It would be better if they killed me!" he yells, soaking wet. Six years later, as we return to Cambodia to re-examine the issue, South East Asia Correspondent Zoe Daniel sets off to discover what happened to him. She finds him in appalling conditions. A motley shack the size of a garden shed with half the roof missing and mosquito larvae writhing in the shower recess. Like many evictees Chan Meng has found himself in temporary accommodation and could be moved on again at any time.
"They want to move us around like cats and dogs!" Chan Meng Evictee
Zoe discovers that the issue of forced evictions has worsened over time. The BK13 may have become a cause celebre among Cambodia's poor and dispossessed and an inspiration to the powerless but they are feeling the pressure. They've been dragged into police vans, subjected to cursory court hearings, summary justice and jailed. Only international pressure brought their release.
And in the thick of the melee over land tenure and home ownership we meet Australian lawyer Matt Rendall, instrumental in drafting new land laws that are supposed to protect otherwise powerless occupants. Cambodia's land ownership was thrown into chaos when Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge extinguished private title. Rendall admits money and corruption are playing havoc with the new arrangements.