ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Sand dredging chaos in Cambodia
Janet Newman, the owner of the Rainbow Lodge eco-tourism resort, said yesterday that seven boats, three that arrived for the first time on Monday, had begun dredging “enormous” amounts of sand just 200 metres from her property.
“We found out one of the customers was actually talking to the crew because they’d tied one of the boats to a tree and were actually sitting on my property in one of the hammock huts,” Newman said.
“It was chaos on the river. You just wouldn’t believe how many boats there were in total. It was so bad that they couldn’t even get past each other.”
Ruling party senator Ly Yong Phat’s LYP Group was awarded a concession totaling more than 32 square kilometres to dredge sand for export on the Tatai river in September 2010.
Ly Yong Phat said last week that LYP Group had halted export operations, which had been ongoing for the past year, due to lack of demand from Singapore.
Mao Hak, director of river works at the Ministry of Water Resources, said yesterday that a technical expert had “thouroughly examined all corners of the impact from dredging”.
“We clearly limited the coordinates for the company. Therefore, if the company follows the rules, there will be no impact.”
A total of nine cranes including “monstrous machines that have digger buckets and a conveyor belt” had moved into nearby areas on the Tatai river, Newman said, claiming they were staffed by Vietnamese and Chinese crews.
Koh Kong provincial deputy police chief, Sin Sen, said he had yet to receive any reports of alleged trespassing by LYP Group staff members but vowed to investigate the claims if the complainants came forward.
“I think that if that is actually happening and there are complaints to the police we will conduct an investigation because it is an illegal activity if they are doing that,” Sin Sen said.
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