Land Management Minister Chea Sophara yesterday led a technical working team to inspect land reclamation claims along Prek Treng beach in Preah Sihanouk province.
He said that he was ordered by Prime Minister Hun Sen to inspect the activities of the company responsible for violating coastal laws.
“Landowners along the coast, please know this information and avoid reclaiming land on the coast,” Mr Sophara said.
Ministry spokesman Seng Lot said that he could not disclose the name of the company and what action will be taken.
Mr Lot said, however, that the company was instructed to retain the beach’s natural scenery.
“I do not have any further information than what the ministry press release says,” he said. “We instructed the company to reverse the reclamation. The important thing is that the company has already done it.”
The development of Prek Treng beach came under fire after social media users complained about the changes that were being made.
According to the National Committee for the Management and Development of Coastal Zones, any company granted permission by the government to develop coastal areas must be at least 100 metres away from the coast.
Preah Sihanouk provincial Governor Yun Min said on Monday that the company has legal permission from the government to develop the beach.
However, Mr Min said that the company had used techniques deemed inappropriate by replacing parts of the beach with man-made designs.
“The company has permission to develop the coastline, but they are also wrong for installing additional stones and soil,” he said. “We instructed them to develop the area in accordance with our technical standards.”
San Chey, executive director of Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the government was right to take action against the company.
Mr Chey added that the government should further investigate the impact of the reclaimed coastline and take additional legal measures against the company.
“The government should fine the company to compensate for the destruction of state-owned land,” he said yesterday. “The company should face penalties for the destruction of the environment.”
He added that the government should also take action against the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration for failing to take action against the company.