A construction project by a company owned by Ly Lay near Ochheuteal Beach in Sihanoukville has been suspended following an order by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Sihanoukville governor Y Sokleng said yesterday that after Mr Hun Sen made the order on Friday, a working group of the Coastal Management Committee inspected and then suspended the project for not having permission from relevant institutions.
He added the proposed seven-floor building would also affect the beauty of the beach.
“The location had not obtained legal permission from the Ministry of Land Management to construct the building yet, but they have installed a fence, pillars and building foundation drilling equipment. But they haven’t started building yet as they are working on the legal documents,” he said.
“But when Mr Hun Sen visited and saw that its construction could affect the beauty of Ochheuteal Beach, he advised suspending construction.”
A letter from City Hall on Friday told Mr Lay to halt the construction project immediately, and to remove the fence, machinery and equipment from the construction site.
“If Ly Lay refuses to comply with the contents of this letter, the city administration will confiscate machinery and equipment that supply the construction site to keep at City Hall, without liability for damages and loss of property,” it said.
According to Mr Sokleng, the location was previously provincial military police headquarters, but became private property before he became city governor.
“The land is privately owned, but provincial authorities do not allow high-rise construction projects. They can build smaller structures but they must allow beach access,” he said.
Mr Lay could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The suspended construction project is also located near Mr Hun Sen’s home in Sihanoukville.
Cheap Sotheary, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the construction project, which had Chinese investment, encroached on beach land and should have been banned from the very beginning.
“Normally, officials will not allow big construction projects to build if they haven’t obtained permission. Even small construction projects by citizens on their private land need to ask for permission,” she said.
“We are happy the government has stopped construction to make improvements for the people and so tourists can go to the beach without having to go through any barriers.”