The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply.
Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on Sunday that the construction sites encroached on pavements in downtown Sihanoukville.
He said the authorities had instructed the foreign owners of the constructions on four separate occasions but to no avail.
“The provincial administration ordered the dismantling because the construction owners encroached on the pavement by 3.7m, which also affects public lampposts."
“The owners shall dismantle the sites on their own. If they do not follow the instruction, legal action will be taken and the authority will dismantle the sites and not be responsible for any damages,” he said.
Niyom said authorities had previously prohibited and ordered the dismantling of many unauthorised construction sites, but the owners would secretly rebuild them.
He said the authorities would continue to enforce the laws and would not tolerate any illegal constructions that affect public interests. “I urge all construction owners to obey the law,” he said.
Provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearum declined to provide construction data in the province on Sunday, citing public holidays. He only said that authorities had previously handled cases of unauthorised constructions by force when the owners failed to comply.
“Some structures were built without proper technical and legal standards. Some constructions are located on public land and encroached on beaches. If we don’t take action, it would become anarchic,” he said.
Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said while she supported the authorities’ continuous clampdown on unauthorised constructions, she urged them to take tougher measures to prevent repeat offences.
“Most big structures are owned by foreign firms. Constructions that are found to be most problematic are the ones managed by Chinese subcontractors."
“We’ve seen provincial administration officials going to inspect the construction sites every day, which is good, but we urge them not to fall into corrupt practices while inspecting the sites and instead enforce the laws,” she said.