The Siem Reap provincial courthouse has been sold and the court will soon move, the court’s chief prosecutor said Monday.
The courthouse, which is currently located at the corner of National Road 6 and Sivatha street in central Siem Reap, will move to a new location 4 km outside the town, said Suos Narin, a monitor in Siem Reap province for the rights group Adhoc.
So Vat, the court’s chief prosecutor, said that construction on the new courthouse is almost complete. “I heard the old place was sold to the hotel nearby,” So Vat said.
Court Director Ang Mealtey said that he did not know when the move would take place and declined to answer further questions.
Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana said he had heard about the move some time ago but knew little else.
Suos Narin said he understood that the parcel of land on which the old courthouse stood had been swapped for the new courthouse with a local tycoon last year, but he could not name the tycoon. “I think [the new location] is far away,” he said. “It will be difficult for the villagers to travel there.”
Suos Narin added that swapping state-owned property was common in Siem Reap, and cited such examples as the province’s police headquarters, sports stadium, 10 January High School and Siem Reap town hall.
Sok Kong, the president of petroleum giant Sokimex and owner of the luxurious Sokha Angkor Hotel across the street from the Siem Reap courthouse, denied he had obtained the land.