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PM Ready to Maroon Island Investors

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Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered his officials to revoke the licenses of any investment and construction firms found doing little or nothing with the islands or land they said they would develop.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday after meeting with army officials in Preah Sihanouk province, the premier wrote: “We have to check and take back any island investment project which have no action. Especially some people who asked for licenses to sell, we have to immediately take it back,” he said.
Mr. Hun Sen did not say which islands or companies he was referring to, but provincial governor Chhin Seng Nguon said it was a warning to companies to take advantage of their investment and improve the land.
He said that of the 32 islands in his province, less than 20 had been licensed out to companies for development. Some of them are too small for any development or are used by the military.
“So far, there are no problems with investors violating contracts in Preah Sihanouk province,” Mr. Seng Nguon said, adding that every investment made in the province was inspected frequently by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).
“After those investors got licenses from the government, the working group of the CDC always inspects each investment to verify their master plan and contract,” he said. “When the investment process is fast and smooth, people will be employed and the government will get revenue.”
Mr. Seng Nguon pointed out that all of the islands are in varying stages of development.
The government has granted licenses to the Royal Group, owned by tycoon Kith Meng, for the island of Koh Rong. Australian Melita Koulmandas Hunter was given the rights to Koh Sangsaa, Koh Puos was given to the Koh Puos Investment Group chaired by Russian nationals Stanislav Molodyakov and Alexander Trofimov, and Koh Dek Kuol was licensed out to fugitive Russian tycoon Sergei Polonsky, who was deported to Russia last May for embezzling $175 million.

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