A new speedboat company started by Tea Vichet, the son of navy commander Tea Vinh, will begin offering regular service connecting Sihanoukville with popular island getaways Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem today.
The company will charge $20 for its four daily departures on its two 25-seat and one 50-seat speedboats, said Heng Kimsor, general manager of Mr. Vichet’s GTVC. That’s the same round-trip price as its speedboat competitors on the coast.
Tang Sochetkresna, director of the Preah Sihanouk provincial tourism department, said 42 boat operators already ply the route, but that GTVC’s boats were faster and newer.
The company had been offering private chartered trips to destinations around Preah Sihanouk province since June and was expanding to offer regular service to the general public, Mr. Kimsor said on Monday.
Seng Hour Leang, whose Koh Rong Dive Center was the first speedboat operator connecting the islands, said the competition would boost service quality and lower prices.
“The cheaper the better,” he said, adding that the additional services would force operators to “focus on the quality of the transportation.”
Though not himself a member of the military, Mr. Vichet has many well-placed friends and family in Cambodia’s armed services. His Facebook page shows photographs with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son, Hun Manet, a lieutenant general in the military.
Mr. Vichet’s uncle is Defense Minister Tea Banh. Another of Admiral Vinh’s sons, Tea Sokha, is the commander of maritime security overseeing the waters off the coast of Sihanoukville.
Speaking to reporters last year, Vietnamese fishermen illegally harvesting squid from Cambodian waters said that they were permitted to do so after making regular payments to one of Adm. Vinh’s sons, whom they knew only as “Ma Tor.” Adm. Vinh said at the time that he knew nothing of the illegal squid fishing.