Officials say a pair of Chinese companies have started construction on two residential building projects in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district without proper authorization and have ordered them to cease work immediately.
“The [Land Management Ministry] authorities asked them to stop their construction because they do not have letters from the ministry yet,” said Moul Narin, deputy director of the city’s land management department.
“The companies only had agreements with the municipal land management department. But they don’t have licenses from the ministry, so they cannot do any construction,” he added.
Mr. Narin claimed not to know the names of either Chinese firm. But he said local officials had ordered them to stop work two or three times over the past three months.
Tith Khemra, director of the Land Management Ministry’s construction department, said the two companies had applied for construction licenses but had not yet been given the green light because the applications were only recently submitted.
“They just submitted their requests to the ministry and they started construction before they got their letters allowing them to start,” Mr. Khemra said, adding that the firms would be allowed to resume work when the ministry approves their licenses, which are being processed.
“We asked them to suspend work in order to avoid any construction that is different from the plan, and to avoid any loss for the investors,” he said.
Mr. Khemra also said he could not recall the names of the companies.
One of the project sites on Norodom Boulevard has a sign above an entrance that bears the name China Construction Fourth Engineering Division Corporation, a subsidiary of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation.
A woman who identified herself as the assistant to the Chinese project manager declined a request for comment.
The company’s website says the Norodom Boulevard site is one of four construction projects it has in the works in Phnom Penh, valued at a total of $1.51 billion.