Thursday, October 14, 2010

Business Korean Style?

This is something that has only now come to my attention. There is a pretty large Korean conglomorate that opened a bank, a construction company, and an architectural design office in Phnom Penh a while back.

They had plans to build some De-Castle style condos near the airport. One of their buildings called for a height of 42 meters (I wouldn’t know how many stories that would make it). As it happened, this building was right smack in the landing and take-off zone of the airport and exceeded the permissible structure height as prescribed by air traffic control procedures and aircraft performance criteria.

Now this is a big company and one would have thought they would have some pretty well-educated persons at the top. You know what happened? They wanted to bribe the airport and air traffic control officials to give them an exemption - never mind, air safety.

When their bribery attempts failed, they simply wanted to buy the company that operates the airport. That company is French-owned and they still have some 30 years to go on their concession. Perhaps, the concession is not sellable under the terms of their contract; perhaps, the offer was not good enough; perhaps the profitabiliy is so good that no offer would have been good enough.

Anyway, give me a break. What were those knuckle-heads thinking? Anything goes in Cambodia? A lot does, but not everything.

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