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Sihanoukville beach vendors’ hopes hinge on PM

Beach vendors gather outside Prime Minister Hun Sun’s Sihanoukville house yesterday where they tried to deliver a petition against a government directive for them to vacate beaches in the province. Photo supplied
Beach vendors gather outside Prime Minister Hun Sun’s Sihanoukville house yesterday where they tried to deliver a petition against a government directive for them to vacate beaches in the province. Photo supplied

Sihanoukville beach vendors’ hopes hinge on PM

About 60 business representatives from three Sihanoukville beaches gathered at Prime Minister Hun Sen’s beachside home in Sihanoukville yesterday, in a second attempt to deliver a petition calling on him to intervene on a government directive for them to vacate the beach.

The vendors were aiming to get the attention of the premier, who was attending an inauguration ceremony for a hospital in the beachside resort town, but he left Sihanoukville immediately after the ceremony finished, they said.

On February 13, vendors at Otres and Ochheauteal beaches, as well as the beach in front of the old royal residence, were served an eviction notice from provincial authorities giving them one month to leave or face forcible eviction.

More than 100 vendors ventured to Phnom Penh on February 18 to hand deliver the petition to the National Assembly, stating that they were willing to work with the government to respect environmental concerns at the beach, but asking that their businesses be considered when developing the area.

“We are not against development, but we want to continue our businesses,” Otres Beach vendors’ representative Lev Kem Eng said yesterday, adding that vendors had not yet received a response.

Preah Sihanouk Governor Yun Min declined to comment. However, Chea Poch, an opposition lawmaker and a member of the National Assembly’s human rights commission, said they were looking into the complaint, but had yet to hear back from provincial authorities.

“The commission might inspect the site if necessary, but we wait for information from the provincial authority first,” he said.

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