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Waterside eatery slides into Mekong River

People try to salvage items from a destroyed restaurant yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district after the land it was built on gave way, plunging the structure into the water.
People try to salvage items from a destroyed restaurant yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district after the land it was built on gave way, plunging the structure into the water. Pha Lina

Waterside eatery slides into Mekong River

A restaurant in the capital’s Chroy Changvar district sunk about 4 metres from where it sat along National Road 6 into the Mekong River on Tuesday, but no one was hurt in the incident, local police said.

The Boeung Samrong restaurant in Prek Liep commune is owned by Lieutenant Colonel Meas Chhun and has been open for 12 years, said commune police chief Meach Serei. The building that houses it measures approximately 8 metres by 20 metres.

“Police have not figured out the reason for the collapse of the restaurant yet, but we have found [landfill soil] nearby, and it might be the cause,” Serei noted. “However, only the experts of the [Ministry of Land Mangement Urban Planning and Construction] can figure out the real cause of the problem.”

Ministry spokesman Cheam Sophalmakara yesterday told the Post he would urge the experts to inspect and examine the case closely since each side has different reasons for protecting their interests.

The restaurant was located on a slope over low land near the river, and the owner built his structure on pylons due to occasional flooding. But his neighbour had filled in the land next door in an attempt to level it, said Kheiv Sopheap, 32, the restaurant owner’s son.

People collect waterlogged items from a destroyed Chroy Changvar restaurant yesterday after it sunk 4 metres into the water.
People collect waterlogged items from a destroyed Chroy Changvar restaurant yesterday after it sunk 4 metres into the water. Pha Lina

Sopheap told the Post he would contact Mak Ear Ly, whom he claims is the owner of the plot of land bordering the restaurant, along with the manager of the land-filling business to take responsibility.

“My family has not thought about filing a complaint yet, but we will prepare it if the land owner and land-filling business manager do not take responsibility for the damage of my family,” Sopheap said.

Mak Ear Ly and Ser, the landfill manager, could not be reached for comment.

Separately, yesterday morning Chroy Changvar district authorities launched an operation to pull down the bamboo restaurants along the river bank and floating on the river to maintain the beauty of the environment.

“The operation is aimed to improve the beauty of the river and prevent [negative] effects on the environment, especially on the quality of river water, because the people who come and visit there often and leave waste in the river,” said District Deputy Governor Huy Sarun.

He said authorities gave a one-week deadline for owners to remove their structures, or else the authorities will pull them down and not take responsibility for any losses.

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