THE government has awarded 1,650 hectares in Preah Sihanouk province’s Ream National Park to a private company as part of a land concession intended to facilitate the development of ecotourism in the park.
According to a February 19 sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and seen by the Post, the land was awarded to a company identified as Hong Kong Research Investment and Development Consulting Group, Ltd.
Som Chenda, director of the province’s tourism department, said he was not yet aware of the concession. But he said many companies have been granted land or are in the process of developing ecotourism projects in the province.
“Of course, after the construction of all projects, we are sure that Preah Sihanouk province will be one of the most attractive tourist destinations,” Som Chenda said.
A representative for the company could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Disputes have flared over previous land concessions awarded to developers in the 21,000-hectare national park.
In January, 116 families were evicted by the military following a year-long dispute with Yi Chea Company, which had previously been awarded a 3,300-hectare concession in Prey Nob district, according to rights group Licadho.
In February 2008, 58 families in the same district were threatened after authorities awarded their land to a separate company, the group reported.
Contacted Thursday, Licadho consultant Mathieu Pellerin said the group was not aware of the most recent land concession or whether any families would be affected.