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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - AusFit reportedly to be evicted over ‘national security’ concerns

AusFit reportedly to be evicted over ‘national security’ concerns

THE owner of a gym on the ninth floor of the Skyline Apartments, which overlook Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Phnom Penh villa, said Thursday that local police have ordered him to relocate due to “national security” concerns.

Richard Chin said local police informed him “a couple months ago” that he would need to vacate by the end of May, despite the fact that he is less than one year into his five-year lease. Last week, he posted a letter notifying clients of the AusFit gym that “Cambodian National Security” told him he would be held “accountable for any incidents related to government personnel safety due to the apartment’s rooftop access”.

“I have been left with no option but to agree with the termination of the lease with Skyline Apartments and to relocate,” the letter states.

Asked about the notice Thursday, Chin said: “The reason the national security want to kick us out is because they believe AusFit is a breeding ground for terrorists.”

“I’m not sure of the real reason they want us out, but they definitely want us out quickly,” he added.

Lean Jardin, the manager of Skyline Apartments, confirmed that AusFit would be relocated at the end of the month, but said she could not comment on why the lease had been cut short.

She also said that a gym would “remain open exclusively for Skyline residents”.

City officials on Thursday could not confirm that Chin had been ordered to move.

Om Yentieng, deputy chairman of the National Counter-terrorism Committee, said he could provide “no information related to terrorists in skyscrapers that cause concern about the security at Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house”.

Khath Narith, the chief of Tonle Bassac commune, where the apartment building is located, said he was not aware of local police ordering AusFit to move, but he did note that local authorities had advised the owners of all tall buildings in the area to closely monitor customers and residents.

“We have advised the owners of skyscrapers and hotels that they have to be careful before renting their apartments, and to examine customers’ attitudes, and if they note something strange happening, they have to report it to the local authorities,” he said.

“It is an advance campaign to prevent an accident that would occur from terrorist activity. We didn’t ask people to move from their apartments,” he added.

Chin said AusFit would reopen at the De Castle Diamond condominium complex in Tuol Kork district in June.



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