Preah Sihanouk provincial authority on Wednesday partly dismantled a concrete jetty that had been constructed illegally on a public beach in Stung Hav district’s commune 1.
Preah Sihanouk city official Kong Sophanak said on Thursday that because heavy equipment and excavators could not access the site, the authority has given the jetty owner five days to voluntarily destroy the structure.
He said legal action would be taken if the owner failed to comply.
“It was hard to bring tractors and other heavy equipment to the site. We ordered the owner to dismantle the construction voluntarily. The owner has five days from October 24 to remove it,” he said.
Preah Sihanouk provincial hall spokesperson Or Saroeun told The Post on Thursday that the authority would not tolerate any illegal construction on state property.
“The government doesn’t want to punish people. The dismantling is meant to set an example for other ill-intentioned groups who violate the law,” he said.
While some civil society organisations applauded the move, they urged the provincial authority to take firm action against other illegal construction projects.
Cambodian National Research Organisation director Sok Sokhom said he had seen various illegal construction projects throughout Preah Sihanouk city.
“It’s good that the authority has taken action against [companies] that have construction projects on state land or have illegally filled in public beaches [with concrete structures]. It has occurred in various places, not just on this location,” he said.
Sokhom urged the authority to crack down on illegal projects on a regular basis.
“It should not be a one-off crackdown. The authority should continue to do it forever. And don’t just take action in one place because there are other illegal projects that are growing like mushrooms,” he said.
Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, Chea Sophara, to personally inspect claims of landfilling at Praek Treng beach in Stung Hav district’s O’tres commune.
He also ordered a private company to dredge the beach and restore it to its previous condition.
The order, issued on September 18, was made after a deluge of social media criticisms that the beach is public property and that landfilling turns its clear waters murky.
Sokhom claimed the company had so far failed to restore the beach and even built fences surrounding the area.
Under the purview of the National Committee for the Management and Development of the Coastal Zone (NCMD), the law requires construction to take place at least 100 metres or more from the coast.