Sokha Hotel Official Stands by Reported Angkor Ticket Sales

A Sokha Hotel Group official Thursday denied an SRP lawmaker’s recent accusations that the company intentionally underreported Angkor Archaeological Park ticket revenues.

“We want [SRP lawmaker] Son Chhay to thoroughly check and provide us with evidence,” said Khat Saren, an assistant to Sokha Hotel Group President Sok Kong.

He stood by reported revenues of $32.7 million and $25.3 million in 2007 and 2006, respectively.

Son Chhay said this week that the actual ticket revenues were closer to $60 million for each of those years but declined to say where he got those figures.

In a letter dated Jan 10 to Prime Minister Hun Sen, Son Chhay ask­ed that the company’s government con­cession to sell tickets to the park be reconsidered.

But in a March 3 letter to National Assembly President Heng Samrin, Hun Sen responded that no reconsideration of the concession was necessary.

Son Chhay could not be reached Thursday, but Tuesday he also

que­s­­­tioned the number of tickets reportedly sold—about 1.1 million in 2007.

More than 2 million tourists visited Cambodia in 2007 which suggested underreporting, he said.

Khat Saren defended the company, saying that its operation was examined in 2005 before it received a second five-year concession.

“We welcome constructive criticism, but such destructive criticism by Son Chhay is unacceptable. Our patience is limited,” he said.

In February, a National Assembly delegation and officials from the National Audit Authority monitored the company’s transactions at the temples, he added.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap, who led the delegation, dismissed Son Chhay’s allegations.

He said that Cambodia has many places to visit and not all tourists go to Angkor. “Some tourists arrive in Cam­bodia on business and they have already visited Angkor Wat several times,” he said.

Cheam Yeap said the one irregularity that he knew of had nothing to do with underreported ticket sales: “Some tourists enter the Angkor Wat parks without buying tickets.”


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