9 Apr 2019

Fiji revokes approval of Chinese resort development

11:35 am on 9 April 2019

Fiji has reportedly revoked the approval of a Chinese resort project on Malolo Island.

Solevu Village on Malolo

Solevu Village on Malolo Photo: Supplied

The developer Freesoul Real Estate had begun building a 350-bure resort without the required permits, causing substantial environmental damage.

Aspects of the project were to be challenged in court this week but the website Newsroom reported that the Department of the Environment had now revoked the developer's Environment Impact Assessment approval.

The lawyer for two Malolo landowners said he doubted Freesoul had the means to restore the once pristine land to its original state as it would cost millions.

The tourism development had been promoted as part of the Chinese government's Belt and Road policy.

Last week, Fiji's prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, said the conduct of Freesoul had been deeply concerning to him personally for some time.

His comment came after New Zealand journalists, who had visited the site, had been arrested by who Mr Bainimarama called rogue police officers.

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