Probe Launched Into Real Estate Advert Offering 1 Hectare of Sea

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1-hectare plot of sea off the coast of Kampot. Image: William Guang

An advertisement offering the land title to a 1-hectare plot of sea off the coast of Kampot is under investigation by provincial authorities following an outcry.

The advertisement, by Blue Star Real Estate, showed boundary poles planted in the water near Troy Koh commune, suggesting it could be filled in for construction.

The company’s director, Keo Socheat, said he had merely posted the advertisement for a man who claimed to have a legitimate land title for the plot.

“He just asked me to do the promotion,” Socheat said.

The supposed land owner, whom Socheat would identify only as Sovannara, claimed he had held the title “for a long time,” Socheat said.

“As for the boundary poles, the land owner planted it a long time ago and we weren’t involved with that. No company would dare to plant the poles. I am just doing the promotion,” he said, adding that he had pulled the promotion after receiving criticism.

Sovannara could not be reached for comment.

Provincial governor Cheav Tay said he had ordered an inspection of the site.

“I have a taskforce working on issues related to the area along the coast,” Tay said, declining to elaborate further on the case.

Yin Vuth, the provincial director of land management, said he was awaiting the results of the investigation, especially in regards to the veracity of any supposed land title.

Khmer Rise Party president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabong was among those who complained of the attempted sale of Cambodian waters.

“On what grounds could they issue a hard land title to someone planting poles in the sea? Was there really a hard land title?” said Sovann Vathana Sabong, who promoted his minor party last year on a platform of immediately evicting all illegal immigrants.

“The authorities have a duty to enforce the law against such people to avoid these cases, to prevent chaotic landfills across Cambodia,” he said, and claimed that there had been other similar cases in Kampot.

In September, the attempted unauthorized reclamation of land off Preah Sihanouk province by the wife of a ruling party senator was halted by Prime Minister Hun Sen. A company owned by Choeung Sopheap, wife of Senator Lao Meng Khin, was allegedly filling in the land off Prek Treng beach in Stung Hav district’s O’Tres commune.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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