A prominent monk on Friday urged the government to force NagaWorld to follow through on its promise to construct a new archway and boundary fence for the adjacent Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh, after the structures were damaged during the casino’s construction project.
The institute’s ornate archway was demolished in May 2014 to accommodate underground construction spanning the area between NagaWorld and a planned entertainment complex down the road, while the fence suffered gradual damage over the course of the project.
Speaking to a small group of reporters and fellow monks at the Buddhist Institute on Friday morning, But Buntenh, president of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, said NagaWorld had signed a contract with the Ministry of Cults and Religion, which oversees the institute, promising to rebuild the archway and fence.
But when laborers employed by NagaWorld began making minor repairs to broken sections of the fence earlier this month, the monk said, he realized the casino had no intention of building a new one, and feared the archway might not be replaced, either.
“They promised to build a new gate in the original style, but now they are just renovating” the fence, But Buntenh said.
“You come to operate cheap gambling in Cambodia—please don’t cheat the Khmer nation,” he added, saying he would write to Prime Minister Hun Sen and incoming Cults and Religion Minister Him Chhem and ask them to compel NagaWorld to follow through on its promises.
Seng Somony, a spokesman for the ministry, said the casino would be made to replace the archway when construction was finished, but that it never agreed to build a new fence.
“Obviously the fence was not seriously impacted, and now they are renovating it,” he said.
Representatives of NagaWorld could not be reached for comment.