Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Coastal road block for Kith Meng

Coastal road block for Kith Meng

Coastal road block for Kith Meng

Kith Meng attends an event in Phnom Penh in January this year.

We protested by blocking the road because we don’t want to leave our land ... because we have lived here since 1979

More than 100 villagers living near Sihanoukville blocked a national road leading to the coastal town yesterday to protest against tycoon Kith Meng’s proposed lakeside ecotourism
development, which they fear will rob them of land they have farmed for decades.

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy in March, obtained by The Post yesterday, Kith Meng, president of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, requested a 99-year, 82-hectare concession for an ecotourism development on land around the Boeung Prek Tup lake.

“I want to tell you, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, that the Boeung Prek Tup area is the biggest freshwater lake in the province and [the lakeside] covers about 82 hectares,” the letter stated. Kith Meng, who is also chairman and chief executive officer of the Royal Group, said in the letter that the Boeung Prek Tup lakeside had not been protected and that his company had the skills and budget to invest in the area.

Sak Sophal, a representative of villagers from around the Boeung Prek Tup lake in Mittapheap district’s Commune 3, said residents had blocked National Road 4 yesterday for about three hours in order to appeal to Prime Minister Hun Sen for intervention.

“We protested by blocking the road because we don’t want to leave our land … because we have lived here since 1979,” he said, adding that villagers would continue to protest until a resolution was reached.

Residents blocked the road until police and military police officials moved them to the side in order to reduce traffic jams, Sak Sophal said.

Commune 3 chief Kan Loeng said yesterday that he did not plan to intervene on behalf of the villagers because they had refused to listen to the authorities.

“They didn’t listen to us when we told them we will intervene with their problem,” he said. “They need help from Prime Minister Hun Sen.”

Kith Meng could not be reached for comment yesterday.


  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the