Koh Rong Sanloem casino ordered to close down

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Jinding Casino on Koh Rong Sanloem will close on March 22 after breaking several official guidelines. Photo supplied

Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities have ordered the Jinding Hotel and Casino in Koh Rong Sanloem to close on March 22, saying it had failed to follow official guidelines by flushing raw sewage into the sea.

It had also made excessive noise and possessed an expired business licence, provincial authority spokesman Y Thearin said on Wednesday.

“The closure of Jinding Casino, which is owned by Chinese national Zhou Jianhua’s 168 Jinding International Entertainment Co Ltd, was made in a letter dated Monday by the provincial administration."

“The casino’s owner had the building constructed on the beach too close to the sea and violated some terms and conditions."

“We ordered [Jianhua] on Monday to completely close it on March 22 in order for his staff to find other jobs. We are not closing it immediately. We have instructed him on many occasions but he failed to comply with our directives,” Thearin said.

Koh Rong Sanloem district administrative officer Keo Ratana told The Post he could not elaborate as he had only been accompanying provincial officials during the operation.

“I know the provincial authority decided to close it, but I cannot give you any more information. Please ask the provincial administration,” he said.

The authority’s letter said a working group inspected the casino and found it was “completely built on the sandy beach, was causing sewage to flow into the sea, was disturbing its neighbours with loud music and its licence had expired”.

Jianhua could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Cambodian National Research Organisation director Sok Sokhom said on Wednesday that he applauded the authority’s decision because the casino had had a series of scandals and violated several of the authorities’ guidelines.

He asked for similar action to “rain down” on violating companies because some other operations were also contravening rules imposed by the provincial authority.

“Let these measures rain down on other casinos who fail to abide by the law. Implement measures like this strictly as a warning to owners of other hotels and buildings."

“I also ask the authority to inspect all casinos, guesthouses, hotels and important sites in order to prevent them doing as they please,” Sokhom said.

The provincial administration’s letter, signed by governor Yun Min, said a complaint had been filed by 77 families – letter number 013/19, dated March 4 – after which the Koh Rong Sanloem commune chief, backed by the provincial administration, assigned a working group to inspect the site.

The group found that the casino was not equipped with a proper sewage filtration system, was adversely affecting the beach environment and had failed to properly obey a letter from the Council of Ministers – whereby the location and construction of the building were subject to the approval of the local authorities and relevant institutions.