Ministry orders demolition of Sihanoukville building

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The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction ordered a nine-storey building in Sihanoukville’s Mittapheap district to be demolished after deeming it technically inadequate and of poor quality. FACEBOOK

The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction ordered a nine-storey building in Sihanoukville’s Mittapheap district to be demolished after deeming it technically inadequate and of poor quality.

This is just one out of over 100 cases where projects have been suspended, Provincial Department of Land Management director Cheng Srong told The Post on Monday.

A ministry press release dated Friday and obtained by The Post on Sunday said the ministry and a provincial Department of Land Management technical working group inspected the construction site, in Commune IV’s Village IV, and ordered the construction to be suspended immediately.

“The working group ordered them to remove the construction because it is not safe and did not meet technical standards.

“People living in the neighbourhood have been told to leave their homes immediately until the area has been made safe,” the press release said.

Srong told The Post that the building was being constructed by Chuon Win Construction Engineering (Cambodia) Ltd.

He said that on Thursday, the building had sunk between 40mm and 80mm. The following day, Srong said, the west of the building fell 28mm and there was a drop of 9mm on its east side, followed by more and more subsidence.

Additionally, he said, the ground floor walls were cracked and were continuing to deteriorate. The building was structurally flawed throughout. “We are waiting to see if the building’s owner complies with the order.

“We don’t have any detailed reports on how many projects have been suspended, but we estimate that there are more than 100 cases. All of the projects are required to make corrections in order to comply with industry standards. The commission will release a detailed report when the research is complete,” Srong said.

The Post was unable to reach the owner or Chuon Win Construction Engineering for comment on Monday.

Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, supported the move and urged the authorities to continue inspecting buildings because she said people living near Chinese-constructed buildings are concerned for their safety.

She said the authorities should formally warn owners and construction companies because they do not seem to be afraid or willing to obey Cambodian law.

“People told me that they saw a company pumping seawater mixed with sand to build a building. Technically, it’s impossible to use seawater and sea sand to build a building. But I don’t know what the risks are, and the authorities should look into that,” Sotheary said.

Separately, the Ministry of Interior has ordered a company called Target Estate and Asset Management to suspend its development of privately owned land in Kampot province’s Teuk Chhou district.

The company was working on a project to build beachfront tourist residences in Chum Kriel, Kampong Samrong and Trapaing Sangke communes, but ownership of the land is disputed.

The ministry on Friday sent a letter, signed by ministry secretary of state Sak Setha, to Target CEO Sok Heng regarding the company’s application for a permit.

It said the ministry had received a report from the Kampot provincial administration regarding the project and ordered Heng to suspend all activities related to the beachfront residences so the administration could examine the case and make a decision.

The Kampot provincial administration report sent to the ministry on May 17 said the land under development is owned by a person named Keo Chea.

It said that in 2008, Chea split the land into lots and sold them to some 20 people, but he had not yet issued them land titles.

The report said Chea later gave the overall land title to Heng in place of debt he was unable to pay back. Heng then claimed the land and was planning to develop the beachfront residences.

The Kampot provincial administration has proposed a compromise between the 20 land buyers, Chea and Heng. The report said the land was currently occupied by the people who are owed land titles.

If the company wants to develop the site, the report said, it should buy the land from the people who are occupying it.