The Interior Ministry on Wednesday confirmed that China will construct a new head office for the National Police in Phnom Penh at no cost in order to accommodate the expanding duties of Cambodia’s domestic security operations.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng made a brief reference to China’s role in the project while discussing a land swap between his ministry and the Royal Palace during a press briefing last week.
He said the government was preparing a master plan for the new headquarters—to be built on land the ministry was taking over from the palace along Sisowath Quay, across from the Dream Land Amusement Park—at China’s request, but did not elaborate on China’s specific role.
On Wednesday, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said China would build the new National Police headquarters gratis.
“China provides everything, the building and construction…and China will pay everything,” General Sopheak said.
The spokesman said China would cover the costs of the office, expected to take the form of a seven-story tower, with a grant, but would not offer any figures.
“A modern seven-story building…you can imagine,” he said.
Gen. Sopheak said the current headquarters of the National Police, next to the Interior Ministry on Norodom Boulevard, would be used for police training and the expanding duties of his own ministry, including a growing identification department and newly created immigration department.
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy said he was not aware of the project. The National Police could not be reached Wednesday.
China is Cambodia’s largest foreign investor and has previously paid for other government buildings, including the imposing Council of Ministers on Russian Boulevard. China is also the country’s largest bilateral sovereign debt holder, and sold Cambodia much of its current military hardware.