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Tour operator accused of flouting gov’t order

Tour operator accused of flouting gov’t order

Nearly 250 residents and boat drivers living in one of Siem Reap’s popular tourist attractions petitioned local authorities to intervene with what they say is one company’s illegal ticket-selling ventures, which has taken money out of the pockets of village residents and fattened those of the commercial tour firm.

Locals say the company, Sou Ching Port Investment, a tourist-boat operator in Siem Reap’s Kampong Phluk floating village, has continued to sell tickets in Prasat Bakong district to tourists despite being ordered to stop by the government in April. Residents protested the company’s actions on Wednesday.

Kampong Phluk commune chief Neoung Ny said he received a complaint and that he would forward it to provincial authorities.

“We will hand this over to provincial authorities to find a solution,” he said, appealing to village residents to calm themselves. “We did not allow the company to break the government order.”

Resident Chan Van, 30, said that villagers do not have a chance to earn money from tourism as they once had because the company had effectively cornered the market.

“We were happy when the government ordered the company to stop [their operations], because then we’d have a chance to earn money from tourism,” she said. “We protested to the authorities to help [the situation]. We are residents who depend on this tourist site.”
Ra Chhoung Da, a manager at Sou Ching Port Investment, could not be reached for comment.

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