Hotel Leaseholder Must Leave by Tuesday

The leaseholder of the historic Renakse Hotel has until next Tuesday to vacate the hotel she has managed for more than two decades, Min Khin, CPP secretary of state at the Ministry of Cults and Religion, said Wednesday.

The Renakse’s current leaseholder and manager Kim Chantha said that she received a letter on Wednesday informing her of her expulsion from the premises by Oct 31, which was signed by a lawyer representing Prime Mini­ster Hun Sen’s ruling CPP, which owns the building.

Khim Chantha said the notice was posted to the hotel’s front gate Wednesday afternoon and that it was the first official notice she had received informing her that the hotel had been sold and the CPP   is breaking its 49-year lease agreement with her.

“I won’t leave here, and I will continue to complain by law,” she said, adding that she is urging senior government officials and other influential people to take note of her plight and ensure the ruling party abides by the law and honors its lease agreement.

But contacted by telephone on Wednesday, Min Khin, who had a hand in the sale, said Kim Chan­tha had until next Tuesday, and not Oct 31, to leave the hotel.

Kim Chantha was given such short notice because the government needs the building to use as temporary offices for staff from the Council of Ministers, Min Khin said.

The CPP, he added, will pay Kim Chantha $200,000 in compensation. However, if she does not leave before Sept 30, Min Khin said he would use legal means or “armed force” to remove her from the building.

The French-colonial hotel with its characteristic wooden shutters and intricate tile floors was built in 1934 and had been under care of Kim Chantha for two decades.

Khim Chantha said she has invested a lot of money in the hotel and started renovating the building at a time when nobody took interest in it.

“I took care of and love this place, and now they have taken away everything,” she said.

Guests currently staying at the Renakse, located opposite the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, said they were sad to hear the hotel would close so soon.

“I feel very sad to hear about this,” said a 31-yaear-old French tourist by the name of Gregoir. “There is something special about this place,” he said.

“The way it is organized is more personal than other big hotels and I can get breakfast with a view of the Royal Palace,” he added. “It is strange it gets closed so soon.”

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said by phone Wednesday that he was not aware that Council staff would be moving to the Renakse.

(Additional reporting by Paul Vrieze)



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