Phnom Penh Floating Nightclub Forced To Cast Off Again

Pontoon Lounge, a floating bar and nightclub in the capital, has been ordered to move from its current mooring on Koh Pich island in Chamkar Mon district due to security concerns, according to island management.

Susi Tan, Koh Pich project manager at the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation, which has a 99-year lease on the island, said that the company had rescinded permission for the nightclub to moor there primarily for security reasons but also to make way for further development of the area. The deadline for the boat to leave passed yesterday, she added.

“One of the major reasons we want them to move is to reduce the security risk,” Ms Tan said, adding that a reported fight last month on Koh Pich between people Ms Tan said were Pontoon customers had resulted in serious injuries.            “My understanding is that a person died,” she said of the fight.

Chamkar Mon district police chief Ouch Sokhon declined to comment yesterday.

Alan Chaby, who described himself as a “sponsor” of Pontoon, said by telephone yesterday that Koh Pich management had given the nightclub twenty days to leave, which broke a previous agreement. “They agreed that we could stay for three years, but now they want to build something here,” Mr Chaby said.

The eviction was not linked to a fight on a main Koh Pich road last month at about 7 pm that was unrelated to the nightclub, which was closed at the time, he said.

“It was between people on the island and nothing to do with us,” Mr Chaby said.

Staff members interviewed yesterday at Pontoon said the boat would relocate very soon and also said that there had been a fight near Pontoon in August that had reportedly resulted in a death but did not involve patrons of the establishment.

This is the second time Pontoon has moved from a location on Phnom Penh’s riverfront. It reopened on Koh Pich earlier this year after leaving its position on Sisowath Quay ahead of the 2009 Water Festival.

    (Additional reporting by Van Rouen)

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