Cambodian ministry orders demolition of Sihanoukville building

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - A nine-storey building in Sihanoukville’s Mittapheap district to be demolished after the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction deemed it technically inadequate and of poor quality.

The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction
ordered a nine-storey building in Sihanoukville’s Mittapheap district to
be demolished after deeming it technically inadequate and of poor
quality.

This is just one out of over 100 cases where projects have been
suspended, Provincial Department of Land Management director Cheng Srong
told The Post on Monday.

A ministry press release dated Friday and obtained by The Post on
Sunday said the ministry and a provincial Department of Land Management
technical working group inspected the construction site, in Commune IV’s
Village IV, and ordered the construction to be suspended immediately.

“The working group ordered them to remove the construction because it is not safe and did not meet technical standards.

“People living in the neighbourhood have been told to leave
their homes immediately until the area has been made safe,” the press
release said.

Srong told The Post that the building was being constructed by Chuon Win Construction Engineering (Cambodia) Ltd.

He said that on Thursday, the building had sunk between 40mm and
80mm. The following day, Srong said, the west of the building fell 28mm
and there was a drop of 9mm on its east side, followed by more and more
subsidence.

Additionally, he said, the ground floor walls were cracked and were
continuing to deteriorate. The building was structurally flawed
throughout. “We are waiting to see if the building’s owner complies with
the order.

“We don’t have any detailed reports on how many projects have been
suspended, but we estimate that there are more than 100 cases. All of
the projects are required to make corrections in order to comply with
industry standards. The commission will release a detailed report when
the research is complete,” Srong said.

The Post was unable to reach the owner or Chuon Win Construction Engineering for comment on Monday.

Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc,
supported the move and urged the authorities to continue inspecting
buildings because she said people living near Chinese-constructed
buildings are concerned for their safety.

She said the authorities should formally warn owners and construction
companies because they do not seem to be afraid or willing to obey
Cambodian law.

“People told me that they saw a company pumping seawater mixed with
sand to build a building. Technically, it’s impossible to use seawater
and sea sand to build a building. But I don’t know what the risks are,
and the authorities should look into that,” Sotheary said.

Separately, the Ministry of Interior has ordered a company called
Target Estate and Asset Management to suspend its development of
privately owned land in Kampot province’s Teuk Chhou district.

The company was working on a project to build beachfront tourist
residences in Chum Kriel, Kampong Samrong and Trapaing Sangke communes,
but ownership of the land is disputed.

The ministry on Friday sent a letter, signed by ministry secretary of
state Sak Setha, to Target CEO Sok Heng regarding the company’s
application for a permit.

It said the ministry had received a report from the Kampot provincial
administration regarding the project and ordered Heng to suspend all
activities related to the beachfront residences so the administration
could examine the case and make a decision.

The Kampot provincial administration report sent to the ministry on
May 17 said the land under development is owned by a person named Keo
Chea.

It said that in 2008, Chea split the land into lots and sold them to
some 20 people, but he had not yet issued them land titles.

The report said Chea later gave the overall land title to Heng in
place of debt he was unable to pay back. Heng then claimed the land and
was planning to develop the beachfront residences.

The Kampot provincial administration has proposed a compromise
between the 20 land buyers, Chea and Heng. The report said the land was
currently occupied by the people who are owed land titles.

If the company wants to develop the site, the report said, it should buy the land from the people who are occupying it.

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