Dozens of business owners occupying more than 8,000 square meters of prime real estate behind Phnom Penh’s Wat Ounalom have been ordered to vacate their premises by the local conglomerate Sokimex Group, an official from the firm said Wednesday. Though the firm declined to say what plans are in store for the land—which sits just two blocks away from the Royal Palace—residents said Wednesday a team of workers had entered the area last week to dismantle a strip of popular barbecue restaurants on Street 13. Other businesses including a nightclub, a restaurant and a bus company have already been shuttered. … The real estate in question measures more than 8,000 square meters and is worth approximately $3,000 per square meter. … Street vendors said Wednesday the restaurants on the land were manually demolished during an afternoon late last week by a team of construction workers. … Sokimex Group has a large business portfolio in Cambodia including a nationwide chain of gas stations, several upscale hotels and the Thansur Bokor Highland resort in Kampot province. The firm possesses the concession to operate ticketing at the Angkor Archeological Park.
Aun Pheap and Joshua Wilwohl