Gem- and timber-rich Pailin is getting help from a South Korean construction company to rebuild the dilapidated road through the town, a Pailin official said Monday.
Kim Houn, a town spokesman, said the beauty of the deal is that the South Korean firm will foot the entire bill of more than $100,000, in exchange for a financial interest in any gems found along the nearly 4-km stretch to be rebuilt and paved.
“We will not need to take any money out of our own budget to develop the town,” Kim Houn said. He added that the South Korean company isn’t likely to make much money from the deal.
Work began in January. The construction was to be completed in two months, “but I believe it will take more time to finish it,” Kim Houn said.
He said he didn’t know the exact cost of the project, but said it would exceed $100,000. He also said he didn’t know the name of the South Korean company involved in the deal.
Pailin’s governor, Y Chhien, was unavailable for comment Monday.
A spokesman at the Korea Trade Center in Phnom Penh said he was unfamiliar with the project.
Phnom Penh’s authority over Pailin became official last November after a deal was struck between the government and the former Khmer Rouge forces a year prior.
First Prime Minister Ung Huot donated $50,000 earlier this year for a Pailin hospital building.