Bridge From S’ville to Snake Island Nearly Done

On June 7, Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to officially inaugurate the construction of a bridge connecting Sihanoukville municipality with Snake Island as part of a $300-million project to develop the site, officials said.

Sihanoukville Municipal Gover­nor Say Hak said Thursday the bridge would be the city’s first and will be built by Russian company Koh Puos Investment Group, which signed a 99-year lease to develop property on the island in September 2006.

Nop Heng, director of Siha­noukville’s Public Works and Trans­port department, said the bridge, which is expected to take two years to build, will be 920 meters long and 32.5 meters high.

He confirmed that Hun Sen is expected to attend the inauguration.

“If there is not any change it will [start] June 7,” he said.

According to Koh Puos Invest­ment Group, the bridge will be 950 meters in length and will be constructed by its, partner Sinohydro Corp.

“The construction of the bridge constitutes the first stage of development of Koh Puos Island Project,” Koh Puos Investment Group wrote in an e-mail attributed to Chairman of the Board Alexander Kiryushin and Director Yury Alekseenko.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on March 14 handed down a 13-year prison sentence to Koh Puos Investment Group’s Executive Director Alexander Trofimov, 41, for having sex with a 14-year-old girl, one of 19 girls that have alleged they were abused by the defendant.

It is considered the largest sexual abuse case in the country’s history.

Say Hak declined to comment on Trofimov or elaborate on the project, referring questions to the Council for the Development of Cambodia and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

The investment group did not respond to questions regarding Trofimov.

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay questioned how developing the island could proceed with Trofimov in jail.

He said the government appears not to be concerned by the scandal.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said that the development project and Trofimov’s conviction are two separate issues.

“It is an effort of the government to make Sihanoukville municipality the nation’s tourist site,” he said.

“The government just inaugurates the construction; normally we don’t care about one individual,” he added.

Hun Sen’s Deputy Cabinet Chief Nget Borey said Thursday he did not know if the prime minister would attend the inauguration.

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