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Preah Sihanouk governor orders firm to end activities in national park

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A view of a filled-in beach in Preah Sihanouk province. Photo supplied

Preah Sihanouk governor orders firm to end activities in national park

Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Yun Min has ordered a local company to cease all development in the Prek Koh Khyong area within the Ream National Park, which the firm plans to turn into a tourist attraction.

Citing environmental concerns in a letter issued on Monday, Min ordered HTTH Island Investment to stop building a jetty and a gravel road leading to the Prek Koh Khyong beach in Prey Nop district’s O’Chrov commune.

Yun Min said building the road by filling in the beach with gravel will impact the environment.

According to the letter, the company requested the construction of a jetty in Koh Khyong village on April 17. The provincial hall granted the request but instructed the firm to fulfil conditions laid out by relevant authorities, which include infrastructure building in the area.

The provincial authority specifically required the firm to build a gravel road leading to the proposed jetty as an alternative to an existing road to prevent traffic congestion and any accidents.

“The company has failed to comply with regulations. Regarding the construction of the gravel road, the Ministry of Environment has found out that the firm has caused severe damage to biodiversity and ecosystems in the coastal areas,” the letter said.

“The Preah Sihanouk provincial hall, therefore, orders the company to immediately stop filling in the Prek Koh Khyong area within the Ream National Park in Prey Nop District.”

Provincial environment department director Samuth Sothearith told The Post on Tuesday that authorities have ordered the company to seek approval from relevant ministries before resuming its activities.

“The provincial authority has already stopped the company’s activities. It must obtain permission from relevant ministries first,” he said.

Samuth Sothearith said the company planned to turn the area into a tourist attraction.

Yun Min could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The coastal province has seen repeated encroachment on state properties over the past few years.

Following an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the provincial governor on Sunday vowed to take action against perpetrators.

“The provincial hall will no longer tolerate abuses. We are committed to restore the province’s image,” Yun Min said.

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