A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Construction firm inks pact for ‘tycoon prison’

Inmates are watched over by guards while they sit in the courtyard of Prey Sar prison in 2009.
Inmates are watched over by guards while they sit in the courtyard of Prey Sar prison in 2009. Heng Chivoan

Tue, 31 May 2016 ppp
Niem Chheng

Work on a private prison complex for inmates with the money to pay for more comfortable conditions will begin next month, it was announced yesterday at a ceremony to sign the construction contract.

Prisons department spokesman Nuth Savana said the Interior Ministry had contracted Konthary Construction to complete the building on a block of land behind Prey Sar prison, which is to the south of Phnom Penh.

“According to the contract, they will start building a month after the deal is signed,” Savana said. “They have already started levelling the land.”

Savana said the company would work with the ministry’s logistics department to design the facility, plans for which were first revealed by the Post in March, but declined to give further details about which company may be brought in to run it.

He did add, however, that the centre would be for “rehabilitation and reeducation” in line with existing prisons.

Announcing the project two months ago, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said prisoners with money could pay to stay at the complex, which he described as “like a hotel”.

At the time, another official said the complex might suit the child of a tycoon who was accustomed to luxury.

Savana yesterday refused to go into details, merely saying the prison would have amenities such as a bed, toilet, fans and a television, which, he claimed, were already available in other prisons.

Initially he said the rooms would not be air-conditioned, but said later, “Aircon can be installed for some prisoners who might suffocate”.

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