Boat Operators Protest Against $1 Ferry Charge

About 200 villagers, including some 40 boat owners, protested in Siem Reap province on Thursday against the company that recently acquired a government contract to manage ferries on the Tonle Sap lake, demanding that the company relax its fee for Cambodian passengers.

The Sou Ching Investment Group takes 50 percent of ticket sales from boat operators on the Tonle Sap, who charge foreigners $3 and Cambodians $1 for a tour of the lake.

The company declined a request from the boat owners to stop taking its share of the tickets for Cambodian passengers during the Pchum Ben holiday, when the number of local tourists peaks.

“The protest happened when the company rejected the request that it should be free for Khmer visitors during Pchum Ben,” said Oung Sam Ol, 47, who was among the protesters.

The protesters briefly blocked the road that leads to the lake in Prasat Bakorng district’s Kompong Phluk commune, according to commune chief Neng Ny.

“They demanded the authorities cancel the contract with this company,” he said.

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