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Sihanoukville businesses want beach ban revoked

Vendors ordered to vacate their beachfront establishments protest outside Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall on Tuesday. Photo supplied
Vendors ordered to vacate their beachfront establishments protest outside Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall on Tuesday. Photo supplied

Sihanoukville businesses want beach ban revoked

Dozens of businesses from Sihanoukville’s Otres beach will deliver a letter to the National Assembly today seeking intervention on a government order to vacate the beach or be forcibly evicted.

The letter, addressed to Prime Minster Hun Sen, cautions that people running businesses in the area will lose their livelihoods if they are kicked off the beach.

“We, 62 vendors, continue to support you and vote for you in the next mandate. We would like to request and suggest the provincial authorities issue a standard plot [for a stall] so that we can then build on this location,” reads the letter signed by vendor representative Lev Kim Eng.

The government has vowed in the past to remove businesses within 50 metres of the shoreline, with the latest push made in a letter from provincial authorities last week giving vendors a month to vacate.

Local Otres vendor Ngim Keatha said yesterday that her family had been working out of a small business on Otres since 2000, when the local authorities gave them permission to set up there in exchange for clearing some of the forest area.

“We want them to issue a master plan for each stall so that we can build them in the same style following the government standard,” she said, adding that some vendors had taken loans to invest in their business.

Popular among foreign tourists, businesses along Otres beach range from small food vendors to restaurants and even beach bungalow guesthouses.

Contacted yesterday, Provincial Governor Yun Min said any business up to as much as 80 metres from the water in some places could have to vacate.

“Under the law, they have to move out,” he said.

Additional reporting by Mech Dara

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