sihanoukville – The municipality has ordered all bars and restaurants on Sihanoukville’s Victory Beach to be dismantled by Sunday, after awarding the beach to a little-known Russian company on a 99-year lease, officials said.
A notice signed by Sihanoukville Municipal Governor Say Hak on Sept 15 states that the removal of the businesses is part of an Aug 11 arrangement between the municipal authorities and Sea Snake Investment Group Co Ltd.
The notice adds that clearing the beach of all other businesses is necessary for “beautification, improved order and the promotion of hygiene.”
Municipal Deputy Governor Chev Kim Heng said Sea Snake Investment Group is connected to the Russian firm Koh Pos Development Co Ltd, which purchased a 99-year lease last month for Hawaii beach and Koh Pos island. Under that deal, Koh Pos Development Co Ltd pledged to invest $300 million in redeveloping the island and to pay a minimum of $80,000 each year to the government.
Nikolay Dorashenko, a representative for Sea Snake Investment Group and the owner of Sihanoukville’s Snake House restaurant, said Monday that Sea Snake Investment has been awarded a 99-year lease of Victory Beach.
The company will develop both Koh Pos and Victory Beach and will invest about $3 million in the projects, Dorashenko said
Sea Snake Investment will build a museum, aquarium, tourist center, parking lot and harbor for tourist boats on Koh Pos and Victory Beach, he said.
Joe Royal, a 45-year-old Briton who co-runs Cafe Chinna on Victory Beach, urged the municipality to extend the removal deadline for the beach’s tenants.
“Leave it for four months…and at least let us recoup our investment,” he said.
Andre Couderchet, a French national who runs the L’Embar Cadere bar on the beach, also said he opposed the removal.
“This is crazy…a problem for all,” he said.