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Illegal Sihanoukville construction on radar

Prime Minister Hun Sen visits the beach in Sihanoukville during his vacation in December. Facebook
Prime Minister Hun Sen visits the beach in Sihanoukville during his vacation in December. Facebook

Illegal Sihanoukville construction on radar

Tourism and other line ministries will raise the issue of unlawful construction along Sihanoukville’s coastline at a meeting scheduled for today, given the presence of illegal buildings along the coastal city’s beaches.

The meeting, which will be held at the Tourism Ministry, will have participants debating concrete solutions to the long-standing problem, according Yun Min, governor of Preah Sihanouk province.

“Honestly, there are many illegal buildings that are big and built a long time ago, which makes it difficult to solve,” he said.

Min said the meeting will consider whether to give these illegal sites more time to demolish their buildings or if the local authorities will do it.

Prime Minister Hun Sen in a Facebook post yesterday, talking about his vacation to Sihanoukville last month, suggested that authorities not allow any kind of illegal construction along the beaches to maintain their natural beauty.

Tith Chantha, a spokesperson for the Tourism Ministry, said that while this was not a new issue, the relevant authorities would study and take action on the matter, in response to the prime minister’s call.

“Construction that invades onto public spaces is considered as breaking the law. So, the relevant authorities must study and take action on this,” he said.

He added that given Cambodia’s membership of the World’s Most Beautiful Beach Club, it was imperative to manage the issue and retain the area’s environmental sanctity.

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said strong action was needed from the prime minister to resolve the problem.

“Just talking or making threats to those who invade public property will not scare them,” Chhay said.

Chhay said it was also critical to find out who allowed these constructions to go ahead.

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