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Horse race complex approved

THE Council for Development of Cambodia has approved a US$516.7 million horse-racing and entertainment centre project by Heng Development and Horse Racing Co and two undisclosed foreign companies from France and Malaysia, Heng Development said Wednesday.

The complex, an international entertainment centre over 200 hectares, will be the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

A manager at the company who requested anonymity told the Post that the project - to be built 25 kilometres south of Phnom Penh in Ang Snuol district, Kandal province - would aim to attract wealthy domestic and foreign tourists.

"Our plan is to start the investment project in 2009, but with the financial crisis ... we are just at the stage of clearing space and building infrastructure," the manager said, adding that roads, water systems, electricity and drainage all had to be added to the greenfield site.

Heng Development said the names of the two foreign companies involved would be unveiled at a later date.

The project, which has been in the works since 1995, said the manager, will also feature a hotel, guesthouse, golf course and a lake.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon welcomed the project this week, saying that a boost to tourism would be good for the industry, but noted that a gambling complex would require authorisation from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Such a complex would likely help attract wealthy tourists from Asia - China, Japan and South Korea, in particular - and add to the Kingdom's high-end tourist attractions following the recent development and promotion of the King's Golf Course project.

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