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Ousted Hotel Renakse manager says court hearings a 'game'

Kem Chantha, accused of allowing the hotel to fall into severe disrepair, says she believes the court will not resolve the dispute fairly

 A LONG HISTORY

Kem Chantha said she signed her first lease on the hotel in 1989. She upgraded to a 20-year lease in 1992 and a 49-year lease in 2001 so that she could see a return on what she described as a considerable investment in the upkeep of the building.

THE former manager of the Hotel Renakse said she planned to ignore two summonses to appear in Phnom Penh Municipal Court today for hearings that are part of the ongoing legal battle over the fate of the hotel, dismissing the proceedings as "a game".

Kem Chantha managed the hotel for nearly two decades before police and officials, wielding a court order stating that the French colonial-era building had fallen into an unacceptable state of disrepair, barred her from the premises on January 6 and evicted guests and staff.

The first hearing, scheduled for 8:30am, is part of her case to save the hotel from demolition. The second hearing, scheduled for 9:30am, is part of the CPP's lawsuit claiming that her 49-year lease on the hotel should be voided because she failed to adequately maintain it.  

"I will not go to appear at the court, and my attorney won't either because it is a game," Kem Chantha told the Post Monday.

Is the court fair?

She said the court would not be able to resolve the issue fairly because the company director of Alexson Inc, which has purchased the hotel for US$3.8 million, is married to the nephew of Ke Sakhorn, the court's deputy director who issued the January 6 order.

She said she plans to take her case to the Supreme Court if the lower courts do not rule in her favour.

Ke Sakhorn could not be reached for comment Monday. Chiv Keng, president of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, declined to comment.

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