Cash reserves belonging to Long Chhin Resorts—the developer of luxury homes and apartment blocks the government ordered demolished at Kandal province’s Kob Srov lake last week—amount to only $4,000, an Interior Ministry official said Aug 5.
Saying developments on land created by filling lakes were illegal, government officials last week razed the structures whose construction had begun as far back as 2001. Secretary of State Nuth Sa An said Aug 5 that, after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the Chinese-owned company’s assets frozen, “the Ministry of Finance only found $4,000 in the company’s accounts.”
At the Council of Ministers’ meeting Aug 3, Hun Sen instructed officials to search for other company assets that could be used as compensation for those whose properties were destroyed, Nuth Sa An said, adding that the government would try to assist if seized assets were not enough.
According to Nuth Sa An, during the meeting Hun Sen thanked members of the committee formed to handle the demolition and said that, as the development had been illegal, the demolition was just.
The scandal around the filling-in of Kob Srov lake—which absorbs excess rainwater to prevent flooding in Phnom Penh—spurred the removal of officials including the Kandal provincial governor.
Hun Sen has also ordered the ministries of Land Management, Agriculture and Water Resources to map all of Cambodia’s natural lakes and fishing lots in order to create a sub-decree to manage them, according to a statement released Friday by the Council of Ministers. Touch Seang Tana, a fisheries expert at the Council of Ministers, said that such a map is long overdue and would go a long way towards protecting the country’s fishing stock. “I strongly believe that natural lakes and fishing lots must be controlled by a law, or at least a sub-decree,” he said.
Water Resources Secretary of State Sin Po also praised the planned map saying that protecting the country’s lakes was essential because they served as natural reservoirs for irrigating crops.