Sokimex Planning Hotel on Former Siem Reap Jail Site

siem reap town – The colonial-era prison that held inmates for 55 years in the center of town here is now boarded up and workmen have begun demolishing it.

Its 260 inmates have been transferred to a new prison located on the outskirts of the tourist town. The new jail was built by Sokimex—the prominent local company with interests in oil import, distribution and retail, real estate, and the temples of Angkor—in exchange for the land occupied by the old prison.

“It is our principle to exchange the land….The new prison is three times the size and very nice, very comfortable,” Sorn Sokna, Sokimex deputy director, said Wednesday.

A luxury hotel will be built on the prime real estate located adjacent to the Grand Hotel d’Ang­kor, the most expensive nightly accommodation in Cambodia.

He said architects will start on its design in early March, after the official opening of the company’s 180-room hotel in the port-resort town of Sihanoukville.

But prison staff who Jan 28 moved to the new prison provided by Sokimex say they are unhappy with the land swap.

Some of the prison guards said they had been living on the prison grounds since the early 1980s. They complained last week that they were not considered when the deal was made.

“We lived here for 20 years. Now we have nowhere to live,” said a prison official, adding that they are demanding compensation of $1,000 each. He said he would use the money to buy a motorcycle to make the daily 10-km round-trip journey to the new prison.

Other members of the 50-person prison staff said they needed the compensation to buy land and build a place to live near the new prison.

Similar complaints were made by T3 Prison guards last month in Phnom Penh as that 110-year-old prison closed and prisoners were transferred to a new prison 20 km away.

The new prison outside the capital also was built by Sokimex in exchange for prime real estate that had housed T3 Prison. The parcel is between Norodom Boulevard and the Tonle Sap at Street 154.




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