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Investors unveil $470 million plan for Koh Puos

An artist renderening of the Koh Puos Bridge, which will stand 32 meters above sea level and cost an estimated $31 million to complete.

Russian investors have unveiled a $470 million plan for an international resort on the island of Koh Puos, including a $31 million bridge linking the island to the mainland.

Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over a ceremony at Sihanoukville on June 7 to mark the start of work on the bridge, being built by Koh Puos Cambodia Investment Group Ltd. and its partners, Vironia Enterprises Ltd., a European company, and Chinese construction giant Sinohydro Corp.

Work on the 900-meter bridge, which stretches from Sihanoukville's Hawaii Beach to Koh Puos island, is due for completion in 2010.

Speaking at the ceremony Hun Sen said that successful development of the new resort depended on completion of the bridge, which would make it easier to transport workers and equipment to the project site.

The Prime Minister said the project would create up to 25,000 jobs.

He gave assurances the government had not sold the island to the Russian investment group.

"Did we sell this island to foreigners? No. This development does not mean that Khmer have sold an island to a Russian company," Hun Sen said.

"Cambodia does not sell its islands, but we do provide investment concessions, as do other countries," he said, adding that the land would revert to government ownership after the 99-year lease granted to the developers had expired.

Koh Puos Investment Group said in a statement that the project's objectives are to create a world-class resort, which will include villas, spas and recreational facilities.

“Investors see that Cambodia is a country of historical and ancient temples, fantastic beaches and people who are traditionally kind, warmly welcoming, proud and hard working,” Chepa Alexey, a shareholder representative of the investor group, said at the ceremony.

The project has been welcomed by Sihanoukville Governor Say Hak, who said it would contribute significantly to the area's development as a tourist attraction.

"Tourism is the number-one source of income for my municipality," Hak said.

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