Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Luxury golf course for Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge zone: PM

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday that he wants a luxury golf course to be built in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Pailin, adding that even ex-rebels liked to hit the greens.

"Now if Pailin had a golf course, it would be a good thing," the premier said, speaking at a road construction project in the remote town near the Thai border that was one of the last refuges of the communist guerrillas.

The area is already home to a number of casinos, and has become increasingly open to tourism since the Khmer Rouge surrendered in 1996, which was the last year that Hun Sen was in Pailin.

In Pailin "the sound of monks chanting has replaced the sound of gunfire," Hun Sen said, adding that Pailin governor Ee Chhean, a former rebel fighter, was no stranger to the greens.

Cambodia doubled its number of luxury golf courses last year to four and hopes to have eight by 2010 in a bid to lure more high-end tourism from the fast-growing sport in Asia.

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