Giving Up the Coast

A series of state land deals are slicing up valuable corners of Preah Sihanouk province to benefit powerful individuals in Cambodia: the prime minister’s family; businesses linked to tycoon Ly Yong Phat and the Prince conglomerate shareholders; the National Police chief and numerous others.
 
A map showing more than 800 hectares of sea off the coast of Preah Sihanouk province's Prey Nob district privatized in 2019 and 2020 for Canopy Sands Development and unspecified purposes. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

Prince-Linked Firm Pours Sand Into 400 Hectares of Bay Without Study

A company with powerful shareholders is creating a new coastline in Ream by pouring an estimated 100 million tons of sand into the Gulf of Thailand. After a year of filling, company and government officials say they’re still in the process of assessing potential environmental and social impacts.

A fence being built near plots granted to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s daughters Hun Mana and Hun Maly across the hilly terrain of Prey Nob district's Ream commune in Preah Sihanouk province, on December 1, 2020. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

Villages Emptied Amid an Extensive Web of Elites’ Landholdings

In the past several months, some of the most powerful people in Cambodia have been granted Preah Sihanouk land that boasts stunning ocean views and proximity to key tourist developments. Much of the area sits empty, and interviews with hired guards and local officials suggest there is a web of elite landholdings as many hold onto the plots while their value steadily climbs.