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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Letters: revisiting Bokor, real estate for foreigners

Letters: revisiting Bokor, real estate for foreigners



Noël Salvarelli (in white suit) observes work in 1917 on the new road up Bokor Mountain, which was at the time called La Piste Lavit. To his left Le Révérand P. Bernard.

Revisiting the road up Bokor

Dear Editor,

With reference to your

interesting article "On the road to Bokor, a bump before the boom" (PPPost, Feb 8, 2008), the road to the

top was indeed originally built by French Authorities in 1917 who had

commissioned my grandfather, Mr Noel Salvarelli, who was a cartographer and a

road builder, to trace it and to build it. He walked into the virgin forest

with some Cambodian companions, looking at the ground in order to find a way to

put a road to the very top of Bokor Mountain. Once he got to the top, he came

back down the same way, then organized some teams to clear the way and level

the land through the forest, thus making way for and building the first 33km

road to the very top of Phnom Bokor. It is the same way that we use today. My

grandfather was the first man to have found this way.

I have an old photograph of my

grandfather standing on the first road being leveled somewhere in the forest,

along with a Catholic priest of the time. As for the top of Phnom Bokor, my

grandfather built the Catholic church up there and my father was baptized in

it. As for the meaning of the word Bokor, in Khmer it literally means "the hump

of the bull,” and from a distance, the top of the mountain does look like a

"bokor." And of course, the view from up there is out of this world

and you can have your head in the clouds! Cambodia is a nice country!


Alain Salvarelli

Phnom Penh




No sign of real estate for foreigners


Dear Editor, 

I wish to correct the words

that were erroneously attributed to me in an article entitled "Lawmakers

consider letting foreigners buy real estate” published by the Phnom Penh Post in its January 11-24, 2008

edition and in which it is written that I would have said that the National

Assembly was envisioning to amend the Land Law in order to allow foreigners to

own land in Cambodia.

I deny to have said such thing.

I am writing and clarifying hereafter what I had said during the phone

interview held in Khmer with one of the Phnom

Penh Post journalists.     

First, I made no reference

whatsoever to thoughts discussed in the National Assembly about this issue. I

only said that this issue had been the object of some reflections within the

Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (LMUPC) in terms

that were by the way far different from those reported in the 11th paragraph of

the incriminated article.

Second, the Cambodian

Constitution and Land Law forbid foreigners to own land in Cambodia. These two

legal texts specifically refer to ‘land’ in the concerned provisions as opposed

to ‘immovable property’ that is the term commonly used in their other

provisions. Therefore, it can be deduced that the Constitution and the Land Law

do not forbid foreigners to own immovable property that is not land.

This above-mentioned

possibility, however, remains theoretical. Its implementation would require the

adoption of additional legal provisions specifying the concrete conditions of

such implementation. According to what I know, no such draft has ever been

presented to or by any State institution.

During the phone interview, I

only had specified that it could be envisioned that, in the future, foreigners

could be granted the right to become owners of apartments in conditions that

remained to be determined.                                          

I regret that my words were

reported in a way that gives grounds to misinterpretation and ask you to

publish the present denial and rectification.


Nouth Narang,

Secretary of State

Ministry of Land Management,

Urban Planning and Construction




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