The Sihanoukville municipal administration on Thursday issued a three-day ultimatum to residents in Commune 4’s Village 6 to dismantle unauthorised constructions on pavements in the Otres Beach area.
The administration warned of tough actions including the use of machinery to bulldoze them. It disclaimed any responsibility for damages if the residents fail to comply by the deadline.
Lim Pheaktrey, a municipal hall official in charge of public administration, told The Post on Thursday that some of the residents had moved there from other provinces, including Takeo and Kampot.
He said they had built numerous stalls on public pavements in the area over the past few days, impacting the environment and spoiling the beauty of the town.
Pheaktrey said without elaborating that it could also lead to a land dispute in future.
“We have held talks with them twice and have previously warned them verbally. So this would be the last time. It’s an ultimatum and we won’t allow them to continue their [illegal] activities,” he said.
The residents, he said, had illegally built 49 big and small stalls and a “container market” with four big generators installed on the pavements.
“If we don’t act now and let them continue their construction, it would be difficult to remove them in future because they would hold out under the pretext that they have lived there for a long time.
“The illegal constructions spoil the town’s beauty and must be pulled down. We cannot let them stay any longer,” he said.
Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, welcomed the municipal administration’s move which she said would help reduce congestion and improve sanitation in the town.
She said the authorities had previously instructed residents to dismantle their settlements on pavements.
“We don’t want them to build stalls and live on the pavements because the Otres Beach area is frequented by tourists. They can’t be allowed to live on the pavements because it can cause traffic accidents and impact the environment and the tourist town’s beauty,” she said.
She said residents wishing to do business in the area should use carts or other mobile means. None of the 49 stall owners could be reached for comment on Thursday.