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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Siem Reap Metropolis: legit land deal or Dodgy Towers?

Artist’s version of the grandiose scheme that is the Siem Reap Metropolis.
Artist’s version of the grandiose scheme that is the Siem Reap Metropolis. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Siem Reap Metropolis: legit land deal or Dodgy Towers?

Singaporean investors are being wooed, mainly via social network promotions, to partake in a “free trip” to Siem Reap to view what is claimed will be one of the largest mixed-use property development projects in Cambodia.

The developers, Cheung Sheng Global Holdings Ltd, are urging Singaporeans to invest in the Siem Reap Metropolis integrated complex and “Purchase a Property near 1 of the 7 wonders of the World Angkor Wat! Rare and Unique! Tremendous Potential for Capital Appreciation.”

Never mind that Angkor Wat isn’t actually one of the Seven Wonders of the World – such trivial facts should not hold back a property deal that the developers promise, “will attract estimated 4 million of Tourists to the region, escalate the boom of the Tourism and property prices in Siem Reap.”

Furthermore, the company promises, “The setup will be able to house a total of over 3000 tourists per night, which only accounts for half the daily tourist population per day. Considering the current 2 million tourists per annum and the steady rate of increase of 20 per cent per year, we can expect the total capacity to account for only 20 per cent of the total tourists population by the time of project completion.”

Prospective customers are told, “The absolutely nett lowest price in Asean /World you ever met where you can make more sale/ have your own property in your life.

“Buy and get FREE site view 4D3N +5 star Hotel+ 2 way flight Singapore-Cambodia. Join us for the Siem Reap Metropolis Oct 22-26 Trip.”

Cheung Sheng Global Holdings claims its metropolis covers 227,000 square metres and will comprise two international hotels with conference and exhibition halls, and one boutique hotel, all able to house 3,000 tourists a night.

The development will also include a six-storey shopping mall capable of housing 600 stores, cinemas and restaurants. A shopping street will be stationed at the entrance of the Metropolis, “housing both local and international brands.”

The complex promises a heritage theme park, and a “cultural and night-life area,” and includes a residential area of 924,250 square metres housing seven condominiums, and an estimated capacity of 23,500 residents.

The planned shopping precinct of the alleged mega-development.
The planned shopping precinct of the alleged mega-development. PHOTO SUPPLIED

But in another posting the company says, “Siem Reap Metropolis is provided with two hotels, 28 apartment buildings, an indoor amusement park, two office buildings, three shopping centers, a nightlife area.”

It then spruiks another project in Siem Reap, Century City which it says “is expected to be completed early in 2019.”

But wait, there’s more. The company also claims, “A project in the pipelines, Siem Reap TechPark stands as a parallel project to the Siem Reap Metropolis…our group aims to further invest in the region by the development of a technological and education hub that would help draw foreign direct investments.”

On its website the company describes itself as, “Cheung Sheng Global Holdings Limited is an offshore company registered in Hong Kong, its holding Cheung Sheng Estates Limited, Cheung Sheng Century Co., Ltd. Cheung Sheng education, and several companies.”

Another part of the website says, “Cheung Sheng Development (HK) is one of the leading real estate development groups in South East Asia.”

Later, more subsidiary companies are mentioned: “Cheung Sheng Development (Cambodia) is the Cambodian property enterprise of the Cheung Sheng International Group, a leading Asian conglomerate with diversified businesses including agriculture, food industries, manufacturing, real estate, hotels, education and the media.”

The website also refers to Cheung Sheng Development which, “is engaged in project management through its wholly-owned subsidiary – CS Asset Management.”

It says that CS Asset Management, “expanded into Cambodia in 2012, and with a team of experienced real estate professionals provides property management services for Siem Reap Metropolis REIT's portfolio, comprising approximately 72,000 square metres of prime office space and over 200,000 square metres of retail space. Also the managing agent of the Management Corporation Strata, the company is responsible for the management and maintenance of the common property of the Siem Reap Metropolis integrated complex.”

The company lists its CEO as Rooney Lown, a Canadian who apparently “spent almost 20 years in the APAC region,” and “held C-Level appointments in three companies in the region.”

The biography is rich in hyperbole and poor in fact. The bio touts Rooney’s “vast amount of experience in this field,” and adds that he has had, “almost 10 years of business experience in the Southeast Asian Region, and a good five years of that time spent in the Cambodian market.”

The bio also states that, “Rooney has established his resources both in the commercial and political arena, gaining the support of the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia which worked towards his eventual conceptualization and execution of the Siem Reap Metropolis project.”

Irene Myer is listed as the company’s COO and “holds a Masters Degree in Power Systems and Energy Distribution.”

The bio says, “…she was a project manager for the French multinational giant Schneider Electric and made her way up to senior manager of technical sales of the Europe regional office.”

The company’s CFO is an American, Dwayne Campbell, a University of Columbia graduate with a major in Business Administration. The bio claims, “At one time of his career, the entire portfolio under his management amounted to approximately 30 billion USD, spanned across 7 countries – United States, Africa, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and India.”

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