Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

Source : Phnom Penh Post

The Minister of Land Mangement Chea Sophara and his team inspect Prek Treng beach in Preah Sihanouk province’s Otres commune that has been illegally filled in. ministry of land management

After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach.

The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune to be restored to its previous condition, a press release from the Ministry of Land Management obtained by The Post on Tuesday said.

“The ministry calls on landowners to be informed that filling in beaches [is not permitted],” the press release says.

Ly Chetniyum, the head of Preah Sihanouk province’s management and construction development office, said the team prevented one of the developers, who had already filled 30 metres of beach, from causing more damage and ordered all construction material removed.

“The owner must remove the construction erected on the [public] beach within 15 days. If the owner doesn’t abide by the order, provincial authorities will take action,” he said.

Chetniyum said the owner, Kan Sokhom, had planned to build a guesthouse or rental accommodation.

“The construction was to build rental accommodation or a guesthouse. When I inspected the site and prohibited construction, I saw there were six or seven toilets erected with [pipes going out into] the sea,” he said.

Sokhom, who was responsible for the construction on the public beach, said: “They asked us to stop, so we stopped.”

Khmer Rise Party president and a member of the prime minister’s recently formed Consultation Forum, Sok Sovan Vathana Sabung said he had investigated the site of the illegal filling in of Prek Treng beach near Sihanoukville on Tuesday.

“Our team are conducting a detailed investigation, looking into possible collusion or corruption by any authority in allowing a female tycoon, whose husband is a member of the Senate, to fill in land in violation of the [laws] of coastal area development,” he said.

He did not name the businesswoman involved or her husband.

‘Social pollution’

“Actions such as this have contributed to the destruction of the nation, the destruction of community property and social pollution through the destruction of the people’s benefits just for selfish personal gain,” Vathana Sabung said.

“All corrupt government officials do not deserve the respect and trust of the people. We consider this violation to be systematic,” he added.

He called on Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Yun Min to strictly adhere to all regulations before approving investment licenses.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, who is also the vice-president of the National Committee on Coastal Area Management and Development (NCCMD), said the construction on Prek Treng beach violated the law on coastal area management issued by the government and NCCMD, which bans development within at least 100 metres of the beach.

He said the government would not allow anyone to destroy Cambodia’s beautiful coastal areas that attract so many tourists.

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