Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rising price of land drives SR prison out of town, once again

Rising price of land drives SR prison out of town, once again

Rising price of land drives SR prison out of town, once again

Siem Reap prison will be relocated for a second time, as govt takes

advantage of rising property prices and sells off public buildings.

INMATE CENSUS

According to a recent government report, there are currently 11,020 men and 668 women incarcerated in Cambodia's prisons. Current spending per day on prisoners is 1,500 riels (US$0.36) per person, and the Ministry of Interior said it will request raising this figure. 

INMATES at Siem Reap prison will be relocated for the second time in recent years, as rising land prices and enticing development opportunities continue to push public buildings to the fringes of the popular tourist town. 

The prison, which is currently located centrally, near the provincial police station, will be moved to Chreav district, 9 kilometres outside Siem Reap town.

"We have moved some of the prisoners to the new prison already because it is reaching the time for the development company to claim [the site]," said Khem Sopheak, deputy chief of the prison.

...the government will move [the prison] to a place worth a lower price.

"I am not sure why we are moving the prison, and I don't know the name of the private company which is taking over the land or what they will develop," he added.
Nou Puthyk, Licadho provincial coordinator, said the rising property value of inner city municipal buildings and markets was motivating the government to sell the land to private developers.

"The reason they are moving the prison is because they are following a government development project. When a public building is on land that can be sold for a high price, the government will move it to a place worth a lower price.

"When they move it to a new place, it is hard because everything must be built from scratch, even the plumbing," he added.

Guards at the prison said Sbong Sarath, governor of Preah Sihanouk province, has the rights to the land. He declined to comment on Sunday.

Chhem Savuth, chief of the prison, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Prime location

The original Siem Reap prison, a colonial building in the centre of town, was moved to its current place by petroleum company Sokimex, who turned the building into the five-star Sokha Resort Hotel in 2000.

Some of the prison guards expressed concern about the newest location, saying they will struggle to afford the now longer trip to work.  

"We have begun moving some of the prisoners to the new location already. It is about 15 kilometres from the old location, which makes it difficult for us to get to on our small salaries," Pen Rith, a guard at the prison, told the Post.

"The new place is also far from the nearest village - about 2 kilometres. But I must respect my job, and even though it is far, it is my duty," he added. 

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