Gov’t Orders Halt to Koh Pich Expansion

The owner and developer of Koh Pich in Phnom Penh has been ordered by the government to scale back its expansion of the island, according to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology.

According to a statement posted to the ministry’s website on Wednesday, the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC) has gone beyond its approved artificial expansion of the small island in the Bassac River and has yet to scale back to the approved limit.

The statement says that Bun Hean, a secretary of state at the Water Resources Ministry, had personally inspected the island this week.

“The Koh Pich development company has filled in Koh Pich island beyond its agreement with the government,” the post says.

“The ministry has previously required the company to take away the land…and according to observations yesterday morning some areas have been taken away but there was still one hectare that has to be taken away.”

The statement says a hectare of the unapproved expansion is still to be scaled back but offers no other details, including any information on how much OCIC had originally exceeded its limit.

Neither Water Resources Ministry spokesman Chan Youttha nor OCIC project manager Touch Samnang could be reached for comment.

However, a ministry official at the site Thursday, who refused to identify himself, said the government had recently planted poles in the ground to show OCIC the limit of its approved expansion and added that he would be back regularly to check on the company’s progress.

A worker at the site, who also refused to give his name, said they had been scaling back the island expansion for the past five months and were approximately 80 percent finished with the job.

OCIC has already developed the island extensively, with everything from massive convention halls to restaurants, amusement parks and luxury villas, and has plans to add office buildings and what would be one of the world’s tallest towers if it is ever built.

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