Monday, 26 May 2008, By Neth Pheaktra, The Mekong Times
Koh Kong province is to become an investment hot-spot with former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra proposing billions of dollars worth of development.
Thaksin told Prime Minister Hun Sen that Koh Kong had good potential for economic development that would drive poverty reduction for Cambodian-Thai border areas in a May 23 meeting at the premier’s Takmao residence. Saudi Arabian and British investors were also present at the talks.
Eang Sophalet, a personal assistant to Hun Sen, said yesterday that Thaksin’s intended investment focused on the environment. “[Thaksin] spoke of his intention to invest in building a city which is environmentally sound, with hospitals, houses, and hotels.”
An international port and shipyard will also be constructed, Eang Sophalet said.
The newly renovated 152 km National Highway 48, including a 1,560-meter concrete bridge, has piqued investors’ interest in Koh Kong, with several projects planned for the formerly isolated province.
Hun Sen welcomed Thaksin’s ideas, Eng Sophalet said. “Samdech Hun Sen asked Thaksin to cooperate with the Council for the Development of Cambodia to make sure the project contributes to Cambodia’s poverty reduction,” he added.
No information about the total cost of the project was revealed, but the project is thought to be worth billions of dollars. Though there was no timetable for construction, Thaksin has told Thai media he wants Koh Kong to become a “second Hong Kong.”