BOATMEN in Koh Kong province’s Thma Bang district have expressed concerns about a new tourist ferry service run by local officials, which they fear will destroy their own livelihoods in the growing eco-tourism destination.
Men Sopheap, 39, a representative of 18 boat owners in Chiphat commune, said Moeng Sophea, a commune official, was set to introduce a tourist ferry service and that boatmen were informed that they would have to wind up their business this week, since their boats were “unsafe”.
“We will die if the authorities close our boat businesses,” she said, promising to protest the decision. Moeng Sophea said that he had permission from the authorities to start a ferry service, and that he would coordinate with the villagers. He said his ferry could safely hold 4-6 small cars and more than 100 passengers.