The owners of the Jin Ding casino, which was closed earlier this year for operating without a license and pollution, has applied to build a new casino in another location, local media reports.
The Chinese-owned casino was ordered to close in May for operating without a license, promoting illegal online betting and releasing untreated sewage into the ocean.
By law, the casino is due for demolition, but the structure still stands to this day, to the dismay of environmental activists in the region.
Last month, a group of Cambodian monks and environmental activists took part in a nine-day march to Sihanoukville to demand the demolition of the casino.
Activists have also blasted Cambodian authorities for dragging their feet in enforcing the law, pointing to possible corruption.
Seemingly defending the recent application from the owners of the Jin Ding Casino, Preah Sihanouk province spokesperson Kheang Phearum said “they are not refusing to remove [the old structures]. They just want more time to construct a new building,” he said.
Phearum added that authorities regularly monitor the former structures to ensure that business operations there have not resumed.
“We are now waiting to see how they proceed with the authorized work,” he said.
However, activists have not been satisfied with the government’s response.
Speaking to RFA, Thun Ratha, an activist with the environmental advocacy group Mother Nature, said that the provincial authorities only stand to benefit by keeping the structure intact.
“Surely the public will see that what the authorities are doing is just a kind of theater meant to show that they are enforcing the law when they are actually concerned only with business interests,” he said.