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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vattanac in damage denial

Vattanac in damage denial

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An excavator through the window of a cracked wall at a building damaged by Vattanac company’s digging on Sisowath Quay.

A top executive from Cambodian company Vattanac yesterday denied the firm had damaged colonial-era buildings along the capital’s riverfront, as one local business owner sought a new home.

Construction at a Vattanac building site – situated on Phnom Penh’s Sisowath Quay – has been at a standstill for nearly a week after large cracks began appearing in buildings between Street 178 and 184.

District authorities announced yesterday they were working to form a committee to assess the damage. But Chhun Leang, the president of Vattanac Properties Ltd and chairperson of Vattanac Bank, told The Post that “Vattanac construction has never affected any buildings”.

Lady Penh Designs owner Sitha Mak is, nevertheless, considering moving her business to a new location after pieces of her doorway began to fall down yesterday afternoon. “I am now worried that customers walking past could get hurt by the falling pieces,” she said.

She also said that the owner of the building that houses her fashion boutique recently agreed to return her security deposit if she decided to evacuate the space.

“I have to go to Korea for a fashion and accessory show, but I will try to find a new place when I get back in September,” said Lady Penh’s owner.

However, as some business owners are looking to move locations, others remain more hopeful for their future.  

“I had an engineer tell me that if there is no more construction then I should be safe,” said the owner of Pop Café, Giorgio Arcasi.

“I know that since we are in Cambodia it will take a long time for anything to happen…but the only reasonable thing to do is for the company [Vattanac] to refurbish these damaged buildings completely,” he said.

Governor of Duan Penh district Sok Penvuth added that district authorities have sent petitions to the Phnom Penh Municipality for approval to assemble a committee to evaluate the damage allegedly caused by construction. He also said they have asked the municipality to implement an official policy preventing any further construction at the riverside site.

“We sent a letter of the proposed policies to the Phnom Penh Municipality on Thursday last week and now it is on the desk of Governor Kep Chuktema for approval”, said the district governor.

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