Thursday, 13 March 2008

Photographer Dith Pran Released from Hospital

March 10, 2008

Long-time New York Times photographer and AAJA member Dith Pran was released from the hospital March 7 and is staying at a care center in Edison, NJ. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January and was hospitalized for three weeks.

Dith is best known for escaping the Cambodian Holocaust. An estimated 2 million people were killed in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 under the Khmer Rouge communist regime. The killing and burial sites were referred to as the "The Killing Fields." In 1984, a motion picture of the same title chronicled Dith Pran's journey to escape these death camps. Cambodian Actor Haing S. Ngor won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dith Pran.

In 2000, AAJA named the championship trophy for its annual photo competition after Dith. So far the names of seven Asian American up-and-coming photojournalists are now engraved on the trophy.

In 2004, AAJA honored Dith with the "Pioneers in Journalism" award as part of the launching of the organization's 25th Anniversary Endowment campaign. Dith was honored alongside Peter Bhatia of The Oregonian, veteran broadcast journalist Connie Chung, pioneering Asian American male broadcaster Ken Kashiwahara and Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas.

Related Story

Legendary Photojournalist Dith Pran Battling Cancer

Dith Pran, who survived torture under the genocidal Khmer Rouge after helping The New York Times’s Cambodia correspondent for three years, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January. He was hospitalized for three weeks starting in mid-February, and was released to the Roosevelt Care Center in Edison, NJ, on Friday.

After escaping his country in 1979, Dith, 65, became a photographer for The New York Times in 1980, where he remains on staff. [His given name is Pran; Dith is his family name.] He was made famous by the 1984 film “The Killing Fields,” which depicts him in his role as a translator and journalist assisting Sydney Schanberg, then a foreign correspondent for The Times.

Schanberg covered the Cambodian civil war from 1972 until the Communists took over in 1975, creating a slave society, banishing city dwellers to work camps in the countryside and executing anyone perceived as educated. Most Western reporters left the country when the severity of the Khmer Rouge’s rule became apparent, but Schanberg and a handful of others stayed, with Dith continuing to assist.

Visiting a hospital with Schanberg and two other journalists, Dith and the others were arrested and held for execution. Dith saved their lives by convincing the Khmer Rouge that the reporters were neutral French nationals (they were not). Schanberg and the other foreigners soon left the country.

Dith was exiled to a labor camp, where one of the deprivations was being fed only one spoonful of rice a day. In October 1979 he walked to Thailand, where he gained his freedom. In January 1980, Schanberg wrote “The Death and Life of Dith Pran” in The New York Times Magazine. The memoir became the basis for the movie, and Dith’s renown was established.

During the Khmer Rouge regime, about 1.5 million Cambodians were killed or starved to death by the government. Dith, who was born September 27, 1942, lost 50 family members to the Khmer Rouge, including his parents, three brothers, a sister and their families. Only one sister survived.

Dith founded the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project to educate American students about the mass killings. He has testified before U.S. House and Senate subcommittees on East Asia and the Pacific, and was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1985.

In 1997 he compiled “Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors” (Yale). The child witnesses, now grown up, write of babies killed by bayonets and adults killed with the backs of hoes — to save on bullets. In a review of the book in The New York Times, Lance Gould writes, “The overwhelming simplicity of the contributors’ recollections builds a solid, irrefutable censure of one of humanity’s most shocking crimes.”

Despite his accolades, including four honorary doctorates, Dith remains humble and dedicated to his homeland. “Part of my life is saving life. I don't consider myself a politician or a hero. I’m a messenger. If Cambodia is to survive, she needs many voices.”

Cambodian Govt Okays Upgrade of Vietnam Border Gate

Thursday March 13

PHNOM PENH, March 13 Asia Pulse - The Cambodian government has given the green light to a proposal to upgrade the Som Rong-My Qui Tay border gate to international status.

The approval was made at the request of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng and an agreement at the third meeting of Vietnam-Cambodia border provinces cooperation and development.

The border gate will be upgraded to meet the increasing demand for travel and trade between the two countries, especially for those living in joint border areas.

The move is expected to add to the growing socio-economic and political cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam .

The Som Rong-My Qui Tay border gate between Vietnam and Cambodia was first opened on July 31, 2007. It is located in Vietnam's Long An province and Svay Rieng province of Cambodia.


sacravatoons no : " A Famous Karaoke singer of ECCC "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon :

Sacravatoons : " A face to Face debating "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon :

World Water Week

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My family visited Siem Reap, Cambodia last year and visited the staggeringly beautiful temples of Angkor Wat, awesome sights I never imagined I'd see in this lifetime. Our guide Sothi had the glowing inner peace we saw in so many Buddhists on our trip, despite the horrors he and his countrymen had suffered under the Khmer Rouge. Traveling in Buddhist countries put our western lifestyle in a new perspective for me, and I still reflect on the remarkable calm and kindness of the people we met in Cambodia and Thailand.

But the people of Siem Reap are crushingly poor.

Sothi took my family on a boat trip on a large lake from which we were able to observe a village in the course of its everyday life. We saw the residents washing their clothes on the rocks beside the lake, cooking in their open-air huts and going about their humble business, all with water dipped from the lake which also reaked of human waste. Both their humanity and their poverty affected us deeply and we came away asking Sothi how an outsider could help his much-abused country.

Most of their physical problems stemmed from poor sanitation, he explained, and a pump in a village could bring hygiene, safer food and improved health. When a village got a water pump, diarrhea dropped almost to zero and child death rates plummeted.

A pump in a village allowed the children, especially girls, to go to school instead of spending their days carrying water from the nearest river. Families could grow gardens and sometimes establish small businesses. My wife, a professor at NKU, has always believed that education is the key to a better life, and it became clear that safe water was the key to getting an education for these people.

We asked, "How much does it cost to install a pump for a village?"

"Very expensive," answered Sothi. "About one hundred American dollars.

"We stared at each other. How many hundred dollars have we wasted in our lifetimes? Our new mission was clear. Through the organization Journeys Within Our Community we have been financing wells and scholarships since our return home.

One more story: My stepdaughter Mandi took action then and there. She began buying up the handmade bracelets children sell at every tourist stop, usually ten for a dollar. When Mandi returned home she sold the bracelets at her school for two dollars each and ultimately raised enough money to finance eleven village pumps in Cambodia all by herself.
posted by Jim Borgman

German Gets 15 Years for Cambodia Child Sex Abuse


´I did nothing wrong. I will the appeal the case,´ he said as he was led away in handcuffs.
March 13, 2008

A Cambodian court sentenced a German man to 15 years in jail on Thursday for the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl, the latest foreigner to be caught in the southeast Asian nation's drive to stop child sex tourism.

Walter Munz, 61 and from Stuttgart, was arrested last year in a Phnom Penh guest house and accused of sharing a bed with the street girl and sexually abusing her four times.

The white-haired Munz, who appeared before the court in prison overalls, denied the charge and said he had been giving her $60 a month for school fees and food.

"I did nothing wrong. I will the appeal the case," he said as he was led away in handcuffs.

Poverty-stricken Cambodia has long had a reputation as a haven for paedophiles and perverts, due in large part to its corrupt police force and courts. Child rights groups are campaigning hard for Phnom Penh to take the problem seriously.

Vintage car rally to arrive in Phnom Penh

PHNOM PENH, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Unique Southeast Asian classic rally will hit Phnom Penh's streets this week with the arrival of the fleet at the capital's Raffles Hotel le Royal, English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodian Daily said on Thursday.

A total of 35 vintage cars, including a 1928 Rolls Royce Phantom 1, a 1936 Bristol 404 and a 1967 Lotus Elan S3, will arrive from Siem Reap province on Friday as part of the Tiger Rally.

The rally is a slow ride between Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi, stopping at the most elegant hotels along the way and costing each participant some 46,000 U.S. dollars.

The cars, driven by a diverse mixture of nationalities, have already wound through Thai and Lao valleys and are currently rattling across Cambodia's scenic plains before entering Vietnam.

The sight of so many classics will be of great interest for niche followers of vintage cars in Phnom Penh and probably cause astir among the city's car lovers, Julia Fesenberg, manager of marketing communications at the hotel, told the paper.

The cars will be parked in front of the hotel for public viewing and the drivers will contribute to orphanage during their stay in Phnom Penh.

Experts: Gasoline cost may slow Cambodian economy

PHNOM PENH, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Economists have warned that the continuing rise of gasoline prices might affect prices across the board and slow Cambodia's economy, the Mekong Times newspaper said Thursday.

In Phnom Penh, gasoline costs had increased from about 4,500 riel (about 1.13 U.S. dollars) for a liter of premium last week to about 4,750 riel (about 1.19 U.S. dollars) Wednesday, and diesel from about 3,900 (about 0.98 U.S. dollars) riel to 4,200 (about 1.05 U.S. dollars) riel for the same period in some company's petrol stations.

That marks a more than 5 percent increase, the newspaper said.

"It affects everyone directly or indirectly," Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodian Economic Association, was quoted as saying.

The climbing gas prices will raise production and transportation costs, and that will lead to an across-the-board price increase, he said.

It could also slow down the economy, as people will have less disposable income to consume and fuel the economy, he added.

Consumer prices in Cambodia hit a record-high increase of 18.7 percent from January 2007 to January 2008, according to the National Institute of Statistics.

Editor: Bi Mingxin

Church Includes Khmer Culture In Catholic Weddings

Indian Catholic
March 12, 2008

Church Includes Khmer Culture In Catholic Weddings

PHNOM PENH (UCAN) -- Marriage in Cambodia, where Catholics are few and Catholicism does not have deep roots, presents challenges to the Church along with opportunities for inculturation.

"One main difficulty is that a good number of Catholic couples like to celebrate traditional wedding ceremonies before going to church for the Catholic blessing," explains Colombian Father Omer Giraldo, parish priest at Neak Loeung Church, southeast of Phnom Penh.

"We prefer they have only one ceremony at the church, if they indeed want to witness to the Christian faith," the priest of the Yarumal missionary society told UCA News recently.

"Quite often we, as priests, are confronted with the value of the genuine faith experience when couples or families hold two ceremonies," he continued. Nonetheless, he acknowledged that when both the bride and groom are Catholic, "it is easier to agree on things.

" According to Father Gerald Vogin, a Paris Foreign Missions priest, the local Church allows a Catholic to marry someone from another religion in a church ceremony, but with certain conditions.

"Many couples are Buddhist and Catholic, so when they ask for marriage, we require they be engaged for six months. Otherwise, they are not yet really 'old' enough, in the way of responsibility, to be a couple," he told UCA News. "If they asked for marriage rashly, I will reject it," the parish priest of Kompong Cham Church, northeast of Phnom Penh, told UCA News.

According to government figures, Catholics form less than 0.2 percent of Cambodia's 14 million people. Buddhists account for more than 95 percent, and Buddhism is popularly seen as part of the identity of the predominant Khmer ethnic group.

Mary Rat Thida, 31, who was married in 2007, was "very excited" to get married at St. Joseph Church in Phnom Penh.

"Even though my husband is not a Christian, our celebration was Catholic. The wedding ceremony was very simple and full of Cambodian traditions," she told UCA News. Later they also had a traditional wedding steeped in Khmer Buddhist culture.

"Because of his love for me ... he is willing to do whatever I suggest, and he has tried to do so," Thida said, laughing loudly. "Sometimes he wakes me up to go to church now. And he always brings me."

The Catholic woman added: "I reciprocate. I respect his beliefs as well."

Father Vogin described their marriage as somewhat typical, and explained the normal wedding-preparation process.

"The lesson we give them has five steps. First, the couple has to freely choose to be married, even when they are entering a marriage prepared by the parents. The couple must be honest and faithful to one another," he said.

"They cannot have abortions, because a child is a gift from God, and they must agree to educate their child in Catholic thought and traditions," he continued.

"Finally, the couple has to be responsible in society," he said, pointing out that "they need the people around them to help them grow."

Truong Leap Ronluc, a member of the liturgy committee at St. Joseph Church, told UCA News about some of the ancient Khmer traditions the Cambodian Church has incorporated into wedding ceremonies.

One example she cited is bangvel popel, the welcoming ceremony the priest gives the new couple. "In this case the light of Jesus is given to the new couple for a happy life, after the Gospel reading," she said.

"Then there is chong dai, for which the bride and groom carry a sword. They are to be like the weapon -- which also has two faces -- and protect their life through any circumstance or difficulty."

Ronluc added that the bride and groom also go around together to receive help from relatives -- "not only ideas but also material and money." She also pointed to "bach phkasla, which means blessing, done with flowers."

However, Eoung Tri, also of the liturgy committee, told UCA News: "The most important part of the wedding is the ring, which comes with God's blessing and the new spouse's promise."

MTV launches new mobile services in Asia

Written by Patrick Frater
Thursday, 13 March 2008

HONG KONG – Viacom’s MTV is using fast-developing Asia as location for new tech and new media experiments.

Company this week unveiled its first 3G mobile phone play in Cambodia with Cambodia Advanced Communications, and a partnership with Shockwave in Japan.

Deal in Japan is intended to establish a new advertising business model through creation of ‘advergames,’ free online games used for advertising. Games combine corporate logos and demonstrate services in a user friendly fashion. Shockwave is one of the biggest entertainment websites in Japan and a leading music and youth portal.

Pact in Cambodia sees MTV and Nickelodeon content offered to CADCOMMS’s 3G mobile phone subscribers. Provided under the ‘qb’ brand, video content will be delivered in mobile TV form or as video-on-demand.

Fast developing, Cambodia has unusually low penetration of traditional fixed line telephones and poor deployment of Internet services and its consumers appear to be skipping a generation of technology.

According to data from Dublin-based consultancy Research and Markets, Cambodia had only 42,000 fixed line phone connections at the beginning of 2007, but over 1.5 million mobile phone subscribers. It said that mobile subscriptions were rising at a rate of 35% per year.

“The MTV brand and its position in the local market is very strong,” CEO of CADCOMMS Morten Eriksen, said.

The qb launch will be marked by a Stacie Orrico concert in Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium with an anticipated 50,000 spectators in attendance.

Binh Phuoc: Seven landmarks erected on borderline with Cambodia


The southwestern province of Binh Phuoc has completed the planting of seven landmarks at five positions on the Vietnam-Cambodia borderline.

The two sides have defined the location for 13 landmarks at nine positions along their borderline.

Most of major works around the 69th landmark at the Hoa Lu International Border Gate in Loc Ninh District have been finished while the construction work on the seven remaining landmarks is scheduled for completion in April this year.

Under an overall plan on Vietnam-Cambodia demarcation and landmark planting approved by the Prime Minister, Binh Phuoc Province is entrusted to plant a total of 26 landmarks at 18 positions in three districts of Phuoc Long, Loc Ninh and Bu Dop.

(Source: VNA)

Question time, A son missing in Cambodia


Jo Gibson Clark, the mother of Eddie Gibson, who went missing in Cambodia at the age of 19, talks about her four years of anguish

Hannah Pool
The Guardian
Thursday March 13 2008

Tell me about your son Eddie's disappearance?

Eddie went to Cambodia on October 9 2004. He had gone there to have a quiet holiday after having a change of heart about going to university. It was a place where he liked the people and felt he could rest and think about what he was going to do for the rest of his life.

While he was there he met a young Cambodian girl. Her father died and Eddie paid for the funeral; he was due to come home just afterwards, but he never got on the flight.

When did you last hear from him?

I was in contact with him until October 24, when he sent us his last email, saying, "I'm coming home on the first of November. I'm really looking forward to seeing you. Love you - you're the best mum in the world." We went to the airport and he wasn't on that flight. For the first few days I kept thinking he'd be on the next flight, and then the days went by and after three or four days I thought, "This isn't right - something's happened here."

I thought maybe he had had an accident.

I was phoning all the Cambodian hospitals, and of course there's a massive language barrier, and also the time difference, and it was just horrendous.

We tried to do as much as we possibly could and in the end we felt we weren't getting anywhere, so Eddie's father and my eldest son went out to Cambodia and spoke to the British consulate.

They were kind, but there's only four staff there, so there was very little they could do. They couldn't take up an investigation.

Three and a half years down the line, we still don't know what's happened to Ed. There's lots of speculation that the Cambodian girl and her family could have done something with Ed because he had money on him, but you can't go round just blaming people without facts. The Cambodian police say they are carrying out an investigation, but at the end of the day, unless we are actually there and can bang on their doors the whole time, nothing gets done.

What does a child's disappearance do to a parent?

It tears you inside out. I've got a broken heart. You don't know what a broken heart does. You just live with it because there is no alternative. I've got other children, but Ed's my little boy - it's just really, really sad.

How has it changed you?

Before this happened, I didn't think about that dark side, that anything bad could happen, because it happens to other people. But we're normal, average people, and it's happened to us, and it sticks you in a dark hole. I've become a lot more cynical than I ever was, which is not a nice place to be. I don't trust people - you become a little bit aggressive, a little bit angry with everything.

Does the fact that he disappeared in a foreign country make things worse?

When Eddie first went missing, I tried to get guidance as to what to do because we were just thrown into this terrible panic. We couldn't find out any information whatsoever - we were like headless chickens, running around in a frantic state. Kids no longer want to go to Europe or Australia - they want to go to the far east - but these are really dangerous countries, because if something does go wrong, there is nobody who will help you, no official body. It's a nightmare.
Every day we hope we're going to get some information as to what's happened to Eddie. Where is he? I want information and a proper investigation. If something bad has happened to Ed and he's not here any longer, I want to know what's happened, rather than just to live constantly, every single day, with not knowing. I'm not necessarily looking for justice; I just want peace of mind.

Do you have any advice for any other parents who might be going through the same thing?

Don't look into the future too much, don't think about life going on for ever without your child, just take each day as it goes. I always say I was lucky to have Eddie for 19 years. He was a gorgeous boy. Life's not for ever, and some of us are planned to leave before the others.

Samson heads to Cambodia

Bangkok Post
Thursday March 13, 2008


Former prisoner Samson Sor Siriporn is heading to Cambodia to defend her WBC light-flyweight title on April 26.

The 24-year-old will take on Koyoko Ebata in the third defence of her WBC female light-flyweight belt in Phnom Penh.

Samson's manager Choowong Tumkit said the fight will take place at the Indoor Stadium in the Cambodian capital and will be broadcast live on Channel 7 from 2pm.

Choowong said that his motive to have the fight held in the third country is to make money because he has found it difficult to find sponsors in Thailand.

He said his promotional team had lost almost 800,000 baht in Samson's first two defences.
Choowong hopes to get money from selling tickets to Cambodian fans.

''The fight is not for free,'' he said.

''We are targeting up to 10,000 fans to watch this fight.

''I am assured Samson is quite popular there and I will also have Cambodian boxers on the card.''

The vast majority of boxing cards in Thailand are free to watch with the cost being shouldered by sponsors and local hosts.

Choowong said he is keeping the Lopburi-born boxer away from number one-ranked Julie Sahin, of Germany, who he believes will beat the Thai.

Sahin has won all 19 of her fights and is also the current WIBF light-flyweight title holder.

Koyoko has only had one fight, a victory over Nongmai Sor Siriporn last year.

Samson's story might also be made into a film by Women in Focus Productions. A contract is set to be signed on March 27 to get the former drug dealer's biography as the plot.

Choowong said that Samson would not appear in the film because she cannot speak English.

Samson won the WBC title behind prison walls and was released early as a result.

CAMBODIA: A police officer allegedly tortured and illegally detained in custody due to a land dispute

Marie Eng (L) and Police chief Hok Lundy (R), Picture from KI Media

11 March 2008
CAMBODIA: A police officer allegedly tortured and illegally detained in custody due to a land dispute

ISSUES: Torture; ill treatment; pathetic prison conditions; denial of medical treatment; illegal land grabbing
Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that a police was arrested on 19 February 2008 and allegedly tortured and ill treated in police custody in Kep seaside town, Cambodia. He was confined to a windowless cell and shackled at night. Despite having wounds on his body, he has been denied access to medical treatment. While in detention he has been consistently pressurised to vacate the land on which his house stands.

CASE DETAILS: (Sources: Ouch Leng, ADHOC, Phnom Penh; Pring Pov's wife, Yin Neang, Kep village, Kep commune, Kep district, Kep seaside town)

Mr. Pring Pov (40) is a police officer posted at the seaside town of Kep, in the southwest of Cambodia.

According to information received, in the morning of 19 February 2008, Pring Pov was arrested by his superior Mr. Ing Sam Ol, Kep police commissioner, on charges of "disobeying orders from his superiors".

After his arrest, he was handcuffed, shackled and bundled in a car which took him straight to the Police Discipline Unit located at Samaki village, Trapeang Krasaing commune, Russey Keo district, some 20 kilo meters away from Phnom Penh, where he has been detained ever since.

Pring was summoned to a meeting at Kep town police commission office in the morning on the same day.

When his wife Yin Neang was permitted to see him in police custody on February 20, Ping claimed that he had been detained in a 4m x 4m cell without any ventilation and had been shackled at night. He was allowed to go out of his cell during the day on 9 March.

According to Yin Neang, she saw blood and wounds around his wrists and ankles, and bruises on his chest. He was crying and talked very little when other police officers were hanging around him. Even though his mental and physical condition worsened, the National Police Commissioner, Hock Lundy, did not allow any doctor to visit Pring. Yin Neang brought doctors in succession towards the end of February but medical treatment was denied.

According to sources, Pring Pov would be released on condition that he dismantle his house and vacate his land without expecting any compensation, which he has refused to do so far.


On 31 January 2008, senior police officers who were Pring's superiors, including Kep police commissioner Ing Sam Ol and Kep district police inspector Mom Sitha, began to pressurise Pring to vacate his land. Pring recorded all these pressure tactics in his diary. On 17 February, at Kep Police Commission Office and in the presence of Sean, head of Kep village, they forced him and his wife to put the thumbprint on a contract in which Pring and his wife "agree to move out of the land if they are given appropriate compensation". His superiors had the contract, but refused to give a copy of it to Pring and his wife despite Pring's pleas.

His 42m x 60 m plot of land is located in Kep village, Kep commune, Kep district in Kep seaside town. Pring and his family cleared and owned that land since 1991. In 1994, the governor of the town, Chea Chhut, forced Pring to give it to the then Princess Marie Ranariddh whose husband, Prince Norodom Ranariddh was then president of the FUNCINPEC Party of which both Chea and Pring were members. FUNCIPEC was the ruling party after the elections held in 1993.

Chea also ordered Pring to guard the land which was then lying vacant, and receive a monthly allowance of 10 US Dollars and 30 kilograms of rice for his service. Pring received only a month’s allowance after that forced deal and has since received nothing. In 2005, Pring built his house on that land. Meanwhile, Chea, a FUNCINPEC army general, was killed in the 1997 coup. The FUNCINPEC political fortune fell. Marie divorced Ranariddh in 2006, used her maiden name of Eng Marie and became a senior government minister while Ranariddh was ousted from FUNCINPEC's presidency.

However, Eng Marie has never come to see the disputed land. In January 2008, Pring's family received two successive visits from three women from her office. In the first visit, they asked them where the disputed land was located. The women then made a note of everything he had in his house and on his land. They discussed with him the nature and amount of compensation he was expecting. Pring asked for 30,000 US Dollars when the price of a similar plot in that seaside town was around 100,000 US Dollars. Eng Marie then lodged a complaint against him at the Police Department in Phnom Penh.

Pring's arrest was made without any arrest warrant. His detention in police custody has far exceeded the legally permitted period of 72 hours within which he must be brought to court to be charged (art. 96 of the code of criminal procedure). He has had no right to legal counsel within the first 24 hours of his arrest (art. 98 of the same code). Nor does he have any right to medical treatment. The medical treatment of persons in police custody is left to the discretionary power of the prosecutor and the custody officer (art. 99 of the same code).

However, detention exceeding the legally permitted period, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are violations of human rights, and are therefore forbidden and punishable by imprisonment from one to five years (arts.17, 22 and 57 of the UNTAC law of 1992).


In recent years, there land disputes are on the increase in Cambodia. This phenomenon has been known as land grabbing, when the powerful and the rich in connivance with powers that be, grab land from the weak and the poor offering then compensation well below the current market price.

Invariably, in order to forcefully evict land owners from their own lands, land grabbers have an unholy nexus with local authorities, the police and courts officials to force other parties to accept such offers and vacate their homes and lands. Those who resist are falsely implicated and arrested in a bid to oust them. Forced evictions have been carried in recent years, adversely affecting tens of thousands of families. Amnesty International's report on 11 February 2008 says that at least 150,000 people in Cambodia or slightly over one per cent of its population are living at risk of being evicted.

Cambodia has ratified both, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Optional Protocol to it. It has not enacted a law against acts of torture and ill treatment, nor created a national mechanism for the prevention of such acts as stipulated in the Convention and Optional Protocol.


Please write letters to the authorities listed below requesting them to immediately release Pring Pov: conduct an investigation into his arrest and torture; and take action again violators of his rights.

The AHRC has also written letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture and Adequate housing, Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights--Cambodia and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights in Cambodia calling for their intervention in this case.

To support this appeal, please click here:

Hun Sen Gives Clarifications to Mr. Son Chhay

Posted on 13 March 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 551

“Phnom Penh: To respond to the request of a lawmaker from the opposition party to review the authorization of the Sokha Hotel Group to collect revenue from the sale of tickets for visiting the temple areas in Siem Reap, Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, clarified that there was an agreement already before signing the contract, and expenses and income were also thoroughly evaluated.

“Mr. Son Chhay, the Phnom Penh lawmaker from the opposition Sam Rainy Party, said in his request letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen on 10 January 2008 that he had just received technical information that revenue of about US$60 million was collected by the Sokha Hotel Group of tycoon Sok Kong, and similar amounts had also been collected for the previous years. The research was based on the numbers of foreign visitors to the Angkor temples and the types of tickets which were sold in the past.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that money was misappropriated to the Siem Reap provincial adminisstration, to the Ministry of Culture, and to the Cambodian Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap [the APSARA Authority] without passing through the treasury of the Ministry of Finance. Meanwhile the money was spent, without making clear reports or identifying projects. The problem made Khmer and foreign tourists doubt about the bad conditions of some temples in view of the revenue collected.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Cambodian Government, replied via a letter dated 3 March 2008 that the revenue collection by the Sokha Hotel Group, from the sale of tickets for visiting Siem Reap-Angkor is currently managed according to the concession contract dated 17 March 2005 between the firm and the government, which was signed by the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Council for the Development of Cambodia, and the APSARA Authority.

“Samdech said that before reaching the stage of signing the concession contract above, the Council for the Development of Cambodia had held service meetings many times, and had decided to approve the proposal of the Sokha Hotel Group that was interested in the concession contract. Meanwhile the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap [the APSARA Authority] had consulted with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and reported to the International Coordination Committee [ICC] of UNESCO, which is an international committee for coordinating the protection and development of the historical Angkor area, by examining the effectiveness of the management of revenues from the sales of tickets for visiting the temples, according to the regulations stated in the concession contract which identified the Sokha Hotel Group as suited to receive a 50-year concession contract.

“All foreign tourists are required to buy tickets for visiting the temples; there are three kinds of tickets, such as for US$20 for a one-day visit, for US$40 for a three-day visit, and for US$60 for a seven-day visit. But some visitors are not required to buy tickets to visit Angkor Wat, like guests of the government, researchers, international project staff who work on the repair and conservation of temples in the Angkor historical area, the official delegation of the ICC coordinated by UNESCO, and foreign visitors who participate in the meetings of the ICC (twice per year), Cambodian expatriates, children under 12 years, and foreign nationals who just travel across the Angkor National Park.

“It should be noted that in 2006, there were 857,822 tourists visiting the temples. The revenue received from the sale of tickets was US$25,389,520. In 2007, there were 1,106,890 tourists visiting the temples. The revenues received from the sale of tickets were US$32, 741,080.

“To conclude, the collection of revenue from the sale of tickets for visiting the temples in Siem Reap has been effectively carried out by Sokha Hotel Group, ensuring that the revenue goes to the state. The use of the revenue from the sale of the tickets is in accordance with the principles and the existing regulations. Every operation of expenses and incomes was thoroughly examined by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Audit Authority. All the revenue is appropriately controlled by the government to encourage the development of the national economy as a whole and the implementation of projects for various sectors, according to the priorities set by the government.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1590, 12.3.2008

Cambodian court upholds life sentences for Islamic militants

Kuwait Times
March 13, 2008

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia's Supreme Court yesterday upheld life sentences for three Muslims convicted of plotting terror attacks against the British embassy and a UN agency in the capital Phnom Penh. Cambodian Sman Ismael and Thais Abdul Azi Haji Chiming and Muhammad Yalaludin Mading were sentenced in 2004 to life in prison by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for plotting attacks here between 2002 and 2003.

Despite persistent criticism of the prosecutions from rights groups, a five-judge panel ruled that evidence proved the three had helped Islamic militant Hambali, an alleged key member of the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network, to plan the strikes. Hambali, whose real name is Riduan Isamuddin, reportedly spent several months in Cambodia before being captured in Thailand in 2003. He was later handed over to US authorities and is now being held at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

There is enough evidence to prove that the three men facilitated Hambali's group in preparing terror attacks," said judge Khim Ponn, adding that the group had intended to strike the British embassy and the UN children's agency UNICEF. Hambali, an Egyptian and a Malaysian were tried in absentia in Cambodia and sentenced to life in prison in 2004 for their roles in the planned attacks, which Khim Ponn said were intended "to cause the loss of many lives.

All three imprisoned men have repeatedly denied the charges against them, with Sman Ismael saying after yesterday's hearing that the court only used "evidence written on a piece of paper by the United States" to find him guilty. "I am not a terrorist. I had no plan to kill people," he added. The trio's lawyer, Kao Soupha, told AFP that there were no witnesses to prove that his clients were conspiring with international extremists, adding that the court's decision was "unacceptable.

Speaking in Thailand, the wives of the two Thai men protested the decision, accusing the court of trying to curry favour with the Americans. "Our husbands went to Cambodia to work as religious teachers, hoping that they could earn more money than in Thailand," said Asisa Haji Chiming, 33, who has three children with husband Abdul. "But they were accused of being terrorists and planning to stage attacks," Asisa told AFP in Yala province in the Muslim-majority south of Thailand.

We have closely monitored the case for five years with high hopes that they would receive justice and be freed, but we think the Supreme Court has delivered a verdict just to please the US." Asisa and Muhammad's wife, Parida, 42, said they plan to petition to have their husbands moved to Thailand to serve their sentences, so they can ask for a royal pardon for the two men.

JI has been blamed for the October 2002 bombings in the Indonesian resort of Bali that killed 202 people. Washington has lauded Cambodia for its role in the US "war on terror," with the country's leaders earning praise from top American police and military officials seeking better co-operation with Cambodia's government on anti-terror efforts. - AFP

FCm Travel Solutions’ team build homes for families in Cambodia
Thursday, March 13, 2008

Employees of Asia-Pacific based global travel management company, FCm Travel Solutions, have swapped their business travel expertise for bricks and mortar to build houses for Cambodian families desperately in need of support.

A team of 10 employees from Australia has been 100 per cent hands-on in the completion of one house, and have a further three currently under construction, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

The company’s first ever ‘Community House Build Team’ comprises people from FCm Travel Solutions; its parent company Flight Centre Limited; its specialist brands Stage and Screen, and Infinity in Australia.

Each team member has raised a minimum of AUD$950 for ‘Habitat for Humanity’, a not-for-profit, housing organisation that builds simple, affordable houses in partnership with low income families.

The project is being undertaken through FCm Australia's innovative ‘Volunteer Abroad' program, which offers educational leave each year to combine travels with a volunteer project that benefits a small community.

“This initiative is part of our global ‘FCm Community' program and our Corporate Social Responsibility policy, which both aim to deliver tangible, grass-roots support in local communities worldwide,” said FCm’s global executive general manager, Anthony Grigson.

“It has been the most amazing and rewarding experience for our people to build homes with their own hands, for families who would not normally have a stable roof over their heads.

“On completion of the first house, the team celebrated with the local villagers and had a formal house dedication ceremony. Our team also treated 22 local children to a day trip at a water theme park, which was a first-time experience for most of them.

“Our people have been welcomed into the Cambodian community with open arms and have made a hugely positive impact on the lives of those at Samaky 6,” Anthony said.Following the success of the community house build project in Cambodia, FCm Travel Solutions is again partnering with Habitat for Humanity to offer its employees the opportunity to build houses for families in Nepal later this year.

Prime Minister Hun Sen Clarifies About Sok Kong’s Company (Collection of Tourists Entrance Fees to Angkor Wat)

Local and international tourists visiting AngkorWat.

11th March 2008
By Mayarith
Radio Free Asia

Translated from Khmer to English by Khmerization

Courtesy of Khmerization :

Prime Minister Hun Sen has written a letter in response to accusations involving Oknha Sok Kong’s company and the revenue collections from tourist entrance fees to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.

The Prime Minister’s March letter, was written in reply to MP Son Chhay’s January letter which stated that the Sokha Hotel Group belonging to Oknha Sok Kong had, in 2007, collected $60 million in revenues from the tourist entrance fees to Angkor Wat.

MP Son Chhay wrote that the revenues from the Angkor Wat entrance fees were only allocated to relevant institutions after the revenues had been fraudulently misappropriated without going through the State Treasury or the Ministry of Finance.

MP Son Chhay further said that allocated revenues had been misspent without transparent reports or proper accountings.

In his clarification letter, the prime minister wrote that, in 2007 the revenues collected from tourism sector amounted to approximately $33 million.

The prime minister had also stressed that all revenues and expenditures had been properly audited and accounted for.

U.S. says human rights record in Cambodia remains poor+

AOL news

PHNOM PENH, March 12 (Kyodo) - The United States claimed in a report released Wednesday that Cambodia's human rights record remains poor, although there has been a positive turn.

"The country's human rights record remained poor, but noted as a positive turn an unprecedented march and rally permitted in Phnom Penh on December 10 in observance of Human Rights Day and the arrest and detention of five former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime charged by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia with crimes against humanity," it said in the report.

Among the reasons cited for Cambodia's poor rating were security forces that act with impunity, arbitrary arrests, growing concerns over land disputes and forced evictions, endemic corruption, and the remaining challenge of addressing trafficking in women and children, it added.

Om Yin Tieng, chief of the government's human rights commission and adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, refused to give any comment on the report released by the U.S. Embassy, saying he needs to thoroughly study it first.

In a separate report released last week, the Asian Human Rights Commission said during the whole of 2007, criminal lawsuits and arrests in the context of political repression remained a concerning issue in Cambodia.

"Land grabbing was rife and remains one of the serious economic and human rights issues in the country today," it added.

Politiktoons no 1 :" The 49th anniversary of Tibetan People's Peaceful Up Rising Day

Posted by Sacrava
This Toon also post at

re : Dop Prambei Mina,Poem by Hin Sithann

Courtesy of Sacravatoon :

Mother pleas for return of missing daughter

Maria Elfversson with her daughter, Alicia, 6, who is missing and believed to be in Thailand.
Norwegian native Torgeir Nordbo (pictured) is believed to have brought Alicia to Thailand. He has been charged with abduction in Sweden.

Phuket Gazette
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

PHUKET: Maria Elfversson, mother of missing six-year-old girl Alicia Elfversson, has offered a US$10,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to finding the missing girl.

According to Interpol’s website, Alicia was allegedly abducted by her father, Norwegian native Torgeir Nordbo, from her home in Sweden on June 4 last year.

Swedish authorities have since charged Nordbo with abduction in his absence.

Alicia was last seen in Sihanoukville in Cambodia in February this year.

Nordbo is believed to have brought her to Thailand.According to a description written by Interpol a year ago, Alicia is a little over one-meter tall and has a “antenna-shaped birthmark” beside one of her ears.Anyone with information that might help find Alicia is encouraged to contact Interpol Bangkok on 02-263 7280 or email

Awesome ancient sites off the beaten path

By Jonathan Ages
March 12, 2008

At sunrise every morning, crowds gather before Angkor Wat, the jewel of the fallen Khmer empire. Everywhere, are shutter-happy tourists, saffron robe-draped monks and Cambodian children hawking souvenirs. Everyone’s here for different reasons, but there’s one thing they can agree on—the view is spectacular.

As the rising sun silhouettes the temple, it’s easy to snap a gorgeous photo. What’s often difficult, however, is finding inspiration when surrounded by jabbering, fanny-pack wearing tourists and the entrepreneurs who live off their largesse.

That’s why visiting ancient ruins often feels like falling into a tourist trap. But in the best scenarios, tourist dollars feed local economies. They fund restoration projects and support public works projects, often making it easier for tourists to reach sites that used to be off the beaten path. “There was nothing in town,” says Asia Desk travel agency owner G. W. “Sandy” Ferguson of his visit to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat in 1987. “There were 20 guides, and the only foreign language they spoke was Vietnamese.”

Cambodia’s tourism industry grew 18.5 percent between 2006 and 2007; according to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, more than half of last year’s two million visitors stopped at Angkor Wat.

“There’s more money now,” Ferguson says. “People are doing better. It’s really well-organized. There are 400 or 500 people working as guides.”

Stories of the missing loved ones

BBC News
Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The families of missing people are calling on the government to fund a group to provide emotional and practical support. Here are the stories of some of their missing loved-ones.


Eddie Gibson went missing while travelling in Cambodia.

He was last heard from on 24 October 2004 when he sent an email to his parents from Phnom Penh, saying he was planning to fly home from Bangkok.

When they went to meet him at the airport he was not there, and he has not been seen or heard from since.

While it is possible he chose to disappear, it's feared he may have fallen foul of armed gangs in Cambodia.

Eddie was three weeks into a course at Leeds University last year when he decided to leave to travel in Asia.

BarCamp Phnom Penh

Details are Sketchy
March 12, 2008

For you computer nerds, and apparently there are a few, comes a genuine Silicon Valley import.

BarCampPhnomPenh is Cambodia’s first BarCamp to provide people with interest in technologies and Internet to come together for a two-day gathering to learn and share skills and knowledge.

The pace of changes in technology is amazing. Too many people may find not only that this is the Age of Information, but also have to live with the so called ‘information overloaded’. And too many people may tell you that they have been left behind. This event hopes to give an open space for everyone to learn, to catch up, and get the most from the communication technology.

As it hopes to introduce a culture of learning and sharing in an open space the BarCampPhnomPenh will be a place where its participants can learn useful technology and tools available, so that they can make use of them to empower and enhance their operating firms and organizations.

Wikipedia helps explain the name.

The name “BarCamp” is a playful allusion to the event’s origins, with reference to the hacker slang term, foobar: BarCamp arose as a spin-off of Foo Camp, an annual invitation-only participant driven conference hosted by open source publishing luminary Tim O’Reilly.

The first BarCamp was held in Palo Alto, California, from August 19-21, 2005, in the offices of Socialtext. It was organized in less than one week, from concept to event, with 200 attendees.

Since then, BarCamps have been held in over 31 cities around the world, in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Australasia and Asia.

“Foobar” itself is pinched from the U.S. military acronym FUBAR, as in Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition.

Asia shows way to fight dengue as global spread looms
March 12, 2008

By Tan Ee Lyn

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Clarissa Poon was one of an estimated 50 million people who contracted mosquito-borne dengue fever last year. She spent an agonizing week on a drip in a Bangkok hospital as she battled the potentially deadly disease.

"There was not a single moment when I wasn't aching everywhere, dizzy and nauseous. I was so weak I couldn't even stand," said Poon, who caught the illness during a family holiday at a beach resort in Thailand.

"My kids were very worried because the mother of one of their friends died," she added.

From Africa to Asia to Latin America, around 2.5 billion people live in areas that are at risk of dengue fever, a viral disease spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. There is no vaccine or drugs to treat the illness which killed an estimated 22,000 people last year, most of them children.

Due to international travel and climate change, the Aedes aegypti mosquito's habitat is spreading.

In January, health officials warned that the disease was poised to move across the United States.

It has been spreading aggressively in Latin America and the Caribbean, reaching epidemic levels last year.

Dengue is endemic in Southeast Asia where a tropical climate and monsoon rains provide ideal conditions.

Strategies developed in places such as Singapore might provide vital information for other countries seeking to combat the virus and the mosquitoes that spread it. Family doctors in Singapore look out for patients with suspicious symptoms. When cases are confirmed, researchers try to nail down the specific dengue virus subtype, of which there are four, and the location of the outbreak.

"You need to monitor what (subtype) is going around ... You want to limit the damage, the fatalities," the World Health Organisation's advisor in Asia, John Ehrenberg, told Reuters.

While dengue and malaria share geographical patterns, dengue is more dangerous because its mosquito carriers thrive indoors. Mosquitoes that carry malaria are rarely found in urban areas.

Dengue fever is endemic in more than 100 countries in Africa, the Americas, eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and western Pacific. Of the 50 million people who contract the disease every year, about one percent get potentially deadly severe dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which requires hospitalization.

There is no cure or vaccination for dengue fever. Sufferers such as Poon, face an increased likelihood of developing DHF if they contract the disease again, which is not uncommon for those living in the tropics where the mosquito carriers flourish.


International travel has made the spread of dengue inevitable, experts say.

"There is always a risk for the borders ... In central America, you have a lot of people moving up north," Ehrenberg said. "There is a risk of people moving in with dengue."

Ehrenberg says there is little to stop dengue from spreading. He compares it to West Nile virus which appeared in New York in 1999 and then spread across the United States, Canada and Mexico. West Nile killed 98 people in the United States last year.

"As you can see with West Nile virus, there is hardly anything you can do to control its spread in the U.S. It's all over the place now. There's always the risk of introducing, when the climatic conditions are right," Ehrenberg said.

Both dengue and West Nile are spread by mosquitoes.

"It's a neglected disease because no one pays attention in between outbreaks, except in places like Singapore, where there is very good surveillance," Ehrenberg said.

In Singapore, health workers aggressively control breeding sites by regularly spraying pesticides in parks and gardens. Government inspectors fine people for allowing water to build up in flower pots which is a favorite breeding site.

Singapore reported 14,000 dengue cases in 2005, but that fell to 3,597 cases in the first half of 2007, according to the


With 42,456 cases in 2006 and 45,893 in 2005, Thailand figures near the top of the dengue list.

Fanned out across the country are 500,000 volunteers who educate villagers on mosquito control, chiefly by removing stagnant pools of water.

Kitti Pramathphol, head of Thailand's dengue control, said more inspections would be made to remove potential breeding sites before the rainy season in June and July, when the disease peaks.

"Its eggs can hide in crevices and survive for a year without water in tropical climates and in normal temperatures. Once there is rain or water, they will hatch into larvae," he said.

Compared to its cousin, the Culex mosquito, the Aedes aegypti is considered a weaker species.
"It is slender and has thin wings. Culex likes to breed in drain water, but Aedes will die in such dirty water. It likes rain water, relatively clean water," Pramathpol said.

"It is usually indoors and has problems surviving outdoors," Pramathphol said, adding that another strategy was to trap it indoors with insecticide-laced curtains.

Drugmaker Novartis AG has designed a drug which it hopes can combat all four dengue viruses.
"If the safety is acceptable, we hope to go into human testing, hopefully next year," Paul Herrling, head of corporate research, said in a telephone interview.

(Editing by Megan Goldin)

Tribunal Alerts Staff to Money Shortfall

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
12 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 12 (954KB) - Listen (MP3)

Khmer Rouge tribunal administrators held a meeting with Cambodian staff members Tuesday to warn them of a money shortfall at the end of April, a spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

More than 200 staff and officials of the ECCC, or Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, were present at the meeting, said Helen Jarvis, chief spokeswoman for the courts.

"Administration director Sean Visoth held a meeting with all the Cambodian staff yesterday," Jarvis told VOA Khmer. "Now we are very clear that the budget will run out by the end of April. So then, all the staff must be informed."

Jarvis said she was confident the tribunal would find funding from outside countries, which are considering a proposal and are waiting for clarifications. "We are not in a panic situation," she said. "We don't think that the ECCC will be closed."

Rupert Skilbeck, head of the tribunal defense section, said the tribunal needed to move forward to the trial stage for five jailed Khmer Rouge leaders "as quickly as possible."

"The ECCC is not allowed to keep people in custody if there is no prospect of trying them within a reasonable time," he said. "And so the concern is that if the process is in any way delayed by the financial and management questions of this court, then the rights of the accused may not be looked after properly."

Tribunal prosecutor Robert Petit, too, said he thought the courts would find a budget.

"If the Cambodian staff cannot or are unwilling to work, it is clear that we will not be able to continue," he said.

The Cambodian government pledged more than $13 million of the $56 million originally expected for the tribunal, and the shortfall for the original budget is about $8.1 million.

About $4.9 million of that should come from the Cambodian side, officials have said.

However, tribunal officials estimate they will need an additional $114 million to extend the trials through 2011.

Groups Support Role of UN Rights Critic

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
12 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 12 (1.12MB) - Listen (MP3)

Human rights groups said Wednesday they support a UN envoy's role in raising Cambodia's human rights violations at a meeting in Geneva later this month.

The International Human Rights Council will meet March 19, where UN special envoy Yash Ghai is expected to deliver a critical rights report on Cambodia.

"The office of the UN Special Representative on Human Rights in Cambodia needs to continue, as increasing political acts of violence, intimidation and suppression will contribute to destabilization of the country, due to the lack in rule of law, impacts and culture of impunity," Ouk Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights said in a statement.

Ghai has maintained a prickly relationship with Prime Minister Hun Sen, and government officials declined to meet with him on his last in-country visit.

Courts Uphold Terrorism Verdict for 3 Men

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
12 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 12 (1.43MB) - Listen (MP3)

The Supreme Court Wednesday upheld life sentences for three men found guilty of charges related to domestic terrorism.

Cambodian Sman Ismael and Thais Abdul Azi Haji Chiming and Muhammad Yalaludin Mading were sentenced in 2004 to life in prison by Phnom Penh Municipal Court for planning attacks on the several Western embassies.

The men were linked in court to Jemaah Islamiya, the reported Southeast Asian branch of al Qaeda, though human rights groups criticized the proceedings for a lack of transparency and evidence.

Supreme Court Judge Khem Pon, who presided over the five-judge court, said in his decision that the three men had conspired to terrorist acts and helped facilitate the preparation of terrorist attacks on US, British and Australian embassies in Phnom Penh.

"I think the Supreme Court has no justice, because there was no evidence and no witnesses against my clients," Kao Sopha, lawyer for the three men, said, adding that he would seek another way to free his clients.

"I am not a terrorist," Sman Ismael told reporters as he was moved from the courtroom into a prison van with the two other men. "I hope Prime Minister Hun Sen will help me, because I am a Cambodian national, and I only practice the Islamic religion. I have no intention to kill humans at all."

Mangos Aplenty Mean Less Profit for All

By Ros Sothea, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
12 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 12 (1.43MB) - Listen (MP3)

Improved techniques that have led to increased mango yields are driving market prices down, and vendors said ahead of mango season they were struggling to make a profit.

Mango growers have been able to produce two or three seasons' worth of mangos in a single year, and that has raised the number of mangos in the markets over the past few years.

Heng Hun, 53, has more than 400 mango trees on a one-hectare farm in Kandal province.

"We are very worried, because we have spent a lot of time to grow and protect our mangos, but if there's no market, we will not have income and will end up living in hard conditions," he said.

Cambodia still lacks the means to export mangos abroad to alleviate the influx on local markets, which drives prices down, officials said.

"Now it is true that there are a lot of mangos, because this is the season of mangos," said Hean Van Horn, deputy director of the Department of Agronomy in the Ministry of Agriculture. "But for the reason why the price of mango is decreasing, the ministry is studying the problem, and we are trying to find a way to export mangos abroad, especially to markets in Japan and Korea, where they import all their mangos from Asia."

Police Assailed for Alleged Torture of Own

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
12 March 2008

The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission demanded the release of a police officer in detention in the coastal town of Kep Tuesday, claiming he had been ill-treated and tortured for his role in a land dispute.

The Rights Commission said Tuesday Pring Pov had been forced to give land to then prince Marie Ranariddh, who is now divorced from Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Police officials said they had detained Pring Pov by order of National Police Chief Hok Lundy.

"The land was owned by [Marie Ranariddh], and following the request of intervention on this land from her to [Hok Lundy], we called him in to educate him," said Kep Police Chief Ing Sam Ol.

The Rights Commission said Pring Pov "was confined to a windowless cell and shackled at night.

Despite having wounds on his body, he has been denied access to medical treatment. While in detention he has been consistently pressurised to vacate the land on which his house stands."