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Cambodian Red Cross Opens Luxury Hotel in Remote Province

Cambodian Red Cross head Bun Rany Hun Sen gives a speech during ceremonies held ahead of the May 8 World Red Cross Day and Red Crescent Day in Phnom Penh, file photo. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

The local Red Cross branches of Preah Vihear province and Phnom Penh opened a luxury hotel Tuesday, in an effort to earn more revenue for humanitarian causes, organizers say.

The Green Tel Palace, located in Preah Vihear, has six stories and 80 rooms and took three years to build, with funding from the Red Cross branch in Phnom Penh.

Rath Sophea, acting director of the Red Cross in Preah Vihear, told VOA Khmer there was “nothing wrong” with using Red Cross funding for such a purpose.

“We hope that it will generate income to help humanitarian activity, because we only rely on philanthropists,” he said. “Provided we had another funding channel, we could give more support to the poor.” He could not give information on the hotel’s costs.

The Cambodian Red Cross is overseen by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife, Bun Rany, and has been criticized in the past for its close ties to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Phum Chantiny, secretary-general for the Cambodian Red Cross, declined to comment on the hotel.

Lor Chan, Preah Vihear coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said the construction of the hotel was not unethical, if it serves the public interest, but he raised concerns about whether its profits would to go those in need. “We don’t know what is occurring in the internal workings or anything related to the budget, which perhaps will not be able to help the poor or those who face real problems.”