Thursday, 19 June 2008

Hairy Nosed Otter gets new Home


Divemaster News19th June 2008 The world's only known hairy-nosed otter in captivity, one of the rarest and little known of otter species, got a new home and a Buddhist blessing today.

Dara, a frisky young male rescued when his mother was killed by a fisherman, was released into a large new enclosure built for him at Phnom Tamau Zoological Garden and Rescue Centre, located near Phnom Penh. The release was celebrated with a blessing by Buddhist monks, a Cambodian tradition when a family moves into a new residence. Dara, which in the Khmer language means "star" or "precious" was brought to the wildlife center in December. He had been living in a small cage since his capture.

The natural habitat for this rare species in Cambodia is the seasonally flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Great Lake. Conservation International (CI) and Cambodia's Fishery Administration are working together to extend the Kampong Prak fish sanctuary at Tonle Sap Lake up to 20,000 hectares to include vital otter habitat. The expansion includes large areas of flooded forests where at least two species of rare otters are known to exist, the hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana), and the smooth-coated otter (Lutragale perspicillata).


Due to factors such as civil war and poor infrastructure, Cambodia has retained vast areas of forest and wetlands, and almost 25 percent of the entire country is managed primarily for conservation. In neighboring countries, these natural habitats and their wildlife have been lost due to logging or agriculture. Cambodia is now a stronghold for many rare species that have been driven to extinction elsewhere in Southeast Asia.


Thought to be extinct in the 1990s, the hairy-nosed otter is known to survive only in a few regions of Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Sumatra. Otters in Asia are increasingly threatened by the illegal international fur trade. They are also captured for pets or killed for use in traditional medicines. Another growing threat is loss of habitat, due in part to impacts from global climate change.

"Climate change may well lead to changes in flow regimes

"Climate change may well lead to changes in flow regimes from the Mekong, along with the many hydro dams on the Mekong that that would mean the otter's habitat the flooded forests would be mostly lost. This means the species would either be lost or we need a protected area to support it. We are doing just that with this freshwater sanctuary," said David Emmett, CI's regional director in Cambodia.

"Scientists recommend establishment of a breeding population in captivity to ensure survival of this species," explained Annette Olsson, CI's research and monitoring manager in Cambodia. "Dara could be the founder of such a captive population, if and when we find him a wife, of course."

CI has several activities at Tonle Sap to protect the otters there, including research and monitoring, training of local law enforcement rangers, education and awareness for local communities and schools, and discussion groups with local fishing communities to address human-otter conflicts.

In the Tonle Sap region, otters are often killed by poor fishermen who consider them pests because otters sometimes break their fishing nets and traps and steal their catch. At the same time, fisherman can sell the furs to dealers, who frequently will provide wildlife traps to the fisherman.

CI scientists have been researching otters in Cambodia since 2006, and Olsson is leading the 2008 review of the hairy-nosed otter for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Currently, the listing status is Data Deficient, but Olsson said that will very likely be changed to a higher category of threat following the 2008 review.

The IUCN Otter Specialist Group considers this otter species to be the world's rarest, and all evidence currently indicates that it will be in a highly threatened category. The new listing status will make this species a higher priority for protection and conservation funding.

Residue of fear

The Oregonian
Thursday, June 19, 2008

limits engagement Chanly Bob, Cambodia

Chanly Bob's most prized possession, the one that inspires him, is a blurry photograph in a large frame: the only existing picture of his father.

Bob's father was executed in 1975, the year the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, and drove thousands of civilians out of the cities, forcing them to become farmers in communes.

They aimed to forge a radical agrarian, classless, subservient society. Bob, then 2 years old, and his mother and siblings were sent to a collective farm. Bob's father, a wealthy landowner and a community leader, was killed .

An estimated 1.5 million to 2 million people died of execution, starvation and forced labor under the Khmer Rouge. Many Cambodians crossed the border into Thailand to seek asylum. For years, Bob and his family lived in refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodian border, then one in the Philippines, finally to be sponsored in the U.S. by a Lutheran church in Albany.

It's no wonder then, Bob says, that Cambodian immigrants living in Oregon have such a hard time trusting government. It's not part of the culture to be outspoken, and the grip of fear and post-traumatic stress keeps people at home.

"I don't see enough civic engagement in our Cambodian community, because it is out of our comfort zone," Bob said. "Our community just goes with the flow; they don't want to complain too much."

He has worked hard to overcome fear, cope with his past and learn to speak up. Being part of Engage '08 was a step, one he took to honor the father whose face he does not remember, except for the prized photograph.

"This is building my confidence," Bob said about the seminars. "It's helping me be more courageous, teaching me how to say things so it comes out meaningful and powerful.

Bob, who is an Oregon State University graduate and an information technology consultant, sees civic engagement not only as a local issue but also as a global one. Locally, he would like to represent his community so city and county politicians could understand that his people are still healing and need help to become more comfortable and involved in civic matters.

He also hopes to connect the local community to the global one by way of humanitarian work. He has revisited his home country several times, and with the help of the Cambodian American Community of Oregon started Beyond Ordinary Borders in 2005. He hopes to take more Oregonians, especially young people, to do humanitarian work in Cambodia next year.

"I need to be engaged, I have to," he said. "I have an obligation to give back."

-- Gosia Wozniacka

Literary Awards Welcome Release of Lost History of Royal Cambodian Dance


Earth in Flower - Kiriyama Prize and Nautilus Award
________________________________
A wartime twist of fate gave the author rare access to the formerly sequestered troupe of royal dancers. Following his escape from Cambodia and years of research his study essentially vanished, only to be seen by a handful of scholars…until now. This book is a milestone in Asian history.
_______________________________

PR Web, Press Release Newswire
Press Releases for June 19, 2008

In the midst of a Southeast Asian warzone, Paul Cravath conducted groundbreaking research on Cambodia's sacred royal dancers. Thirty years later, the Kiriyama Prize and Nautilus Awards have recognized his newly released book: Earth in Flower- The Divine Mystery of the Cambodian Dance Drama.

Honolulu, HI (PRWEB) June 19, 2008 -- Two prestigious awards welcome the release of the long anticipated history of Cambodian dance, Earth in Flower, previously featured on the cover of Publishers Weekly magazine. This definitive study reveals the mysteries of Cambodia's 1,000 year old dance tradition; a cultural legacy nearly destroyed by the Khmer Rouge genocide.

Kiriyama Prize judges selected Earth in Flower as a 2008 Notable Book. The Kiriyama Prize recognizes books about the Pacific Rim and South Asia that encourage greater mutual understanding of and among the peoples of this vast, culturally diverse region. In 2007, Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin won the Kiriyama non-fiction prize.

The Nautilus Book Awards promote growth, conscious living, high-level wellness, and responsible leadership. Judges recognized Earth in Flower as a Silver Award Winner in the Indigenous/Multicultural category.

Dr. Cravath's title offers new insights into the long-hidden history of this beautiful Asian performing art. Publisher Kent Davis adds "The book's surprise is learning how these Khmer women profoundly affected Asian history for a millennium as living goddesses, priestesses, queens, concubines, hostages and diplomats."

Davis concludes, "A wartime twist of fate gave the author rare access to the formerly sequestered troupe of royal dancers. Following his escape from Cambodia and years of research his study essentially vanished, only to be seen by a handful of scholars…until now. This book is a milestone in Asian history."

AUTHOR: Dr. Paul Cravath is a scholar, teacher, actor and theatre director with extensive Asian research experience. Cravath is now Professor of Theatre at the University of Hawaii-LCC.

Cambodian king to pay state visit to Vietnam, honour Ho Chi Minh

M & G Asia-Pacific News
Jun 19, 2008

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni is scheduled to visit Vietnam next week during which he is to lay a wreath at the mausoleum of former Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, palace officials said Thursday.

The king is also to pay visits on a number of top-ranking Vietnamese officials, including President Nguyen Minh Triet, who visited Cambodia in February, according to an itinerary obtained from the palace.

The three-day state visit is aimed at strengthening ties between the two neighbours, a palace official said.

Ho Chi Minh, who died in 1969, is an heroic figure in Vietnam for his role in leading the country to independence from France - a battle Cambodia also fought, aided by Sihamoni's father, former king Norodom Sihanouk.

Sihamoni is scheduled to arrive in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, June 26 and return to Cambodia June 28, the official said.

Cambodian Olympic hopefuls receive "appropriate" bonus

www.chinaview.cn
2008-06-19

PHNOM PENH, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Each athlete of Cambodia's official team to the Beijing Olympics has received 600 U.S. dollars of extra bonus, together with tickets to fly forth and back, said English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodian Daily Thursday.

"I think that money is appropriate, not a lot, because the Olympic committee has a lot of work to do," 18-year-old Olympic swimmer Hem Thon Ponloeu was quoted as saying.

Meas Sarin, secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), said that NOCC recently gave every athlete a one-time 400 U.S. dollars of bonus, and Tourism Minister and NOCC President Thong Khon earlier also personally donated 200 U.S. dollars for each of the six Cambodian athletes and trainers heading for the Beijing Olympics.

In addition, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is paying the Cambodian delegation's travel expenses to Beijing, he added.

Each Olympic candidate used to receive only 30 U.S. dollars of stipend every month from NOCC, which they have complained is too few to meet the usual demand.

Cambodia will send a 15-member delegation to take part in the Beijing Games. King Norodom Sihamoni and Education Minister Kol Pheng are also planning to attend the opening ceremony.

It is not the first time Cambodia has sent athletes to the Olympics. The first post-war delegation of five Khmers competed at the Atlanta Games in 1996, and Cambodia subsequently sent four athletes to both Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

Editor: An Lu

A Relentless Campaign Of Intimidation And Its Boomerang Effect


Courtesy of Khmerization

Editorial by Khmerization
____________________________

“Mr. Hun Sen should look around himself and see the fates of other fallen dictators. Many have died a terrible and agonising death. Adolf Hitler was incinerated in a bunker (1945). Mussolini was hanged upside down by his own people (1945). Ceaucescu of Romania was sentenced to death by a firing squad by his own people (1991). Zia Al-Hug of Pakistan died of a plane crash, presumably from an assassination. Laurent Karbila of The Congo also died in a plane crash, presumably from an assassination (2000). Najibula of Afghanistan was hanged upside down by the Taliban(?) in 1989. Last but not least, Saddam Hussein, but not yet Saddam Hun Sen, was hanged by the Iraqi and the Americans soldiers in 2006.”
___________________________


Prime Minister Hun Sen is in his irrational and manic mind again. His erratic behaviours and his belligerent political manoeuvres of late is worrisome. The latest developments in the Cambodian political spectrum is a cause for concerned. As a concerned citizen who followed the political event in Cambodia very closely, I am saddened to see PM Hun Sen devoting all his entire energy and time to a campaign of political intimidation and victimisation of his political nemesis.

I am of the opinion that Mr. Hun Sen’s use of Mr. Hor Namhong’s defamation suit as an excuse to suspend Mr. Sam Rainsy’s parliamentary immunity and his decision to revisit a finished business of the 1998 mortar attack on his motorcade was nothing more than an attempt to thwart and hijack Mr Sam Rainsy’s electoral victory. (Full details here).

People may recall that some time ago, I have written that when one said the truth one said it for the interests of the public and the truth is defendable in a court of law. It was the undeniable fact that Mr Hor Namhong was indeed a chief of Boeng Trabek Prison and Mr. Sam Rainsy’s speech, whether malicious and vexatious or not, was the truth and said in the public interests.

I, like many others, believe that the 1998 mortar attack on Mr. Hun Sen’s motorcade was a set up, organised and orchestrated, by Mr. Hun Sen himself in order to use it as a pretext to arrest Sam Rainsy and Ranariddh when they refused to accept him as the PM during a post election political stalemate. So, the reactivation of this case is to open up an old wound with the intention of bullying his way into a PM job again, should he loses the upcoming election.(Full details here).

A long term observers of the Cambodian political situation would view the latest political developments with cynicism, with sinister perception and with a sense of déjà vu. With this kind of relentless campaign of terror and political intimidation, Cambodia and the Cambodian people could never have peace in their mind. A sense of fears would discourage them from participating in the election process and create an atmosphere not conducive to the holding of a free and fair election.

The lesson of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s should be learned. When people’s legitimate political rights and freedom had been suppressed and a campaign of terror and victimisation was unleashed against them, the resultant effect was that they opted for an armed struggle. I am not an apologist of the Khmer Rouge and never will be, but many would have agreed with me that their armed struggle was not of their own choice but rather it was forced upon them as a result of the suppression of their legitimate political rights and freedom. I am drawing a parallel here as I want to wake up Prime Minister Hun Sen to the fact that his suppression, oppression and victimisation of opposition activists would see a return to the 1960s style of political movement turning into an armed movement. We could also see some aspects of vengeance and revenge killings against Lon Nol’s officials by the Khmer Rouge and the revenge killings against Khmer Rouge cadres after Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1979.

Coming back to the real issue, I believe that the reinvestigation of the 1998 mortar attack on Mr. Hun Sen’s motorcade and the request for the suspension of Mr. Sam Rainsy’s parliamentary immunity, is nothing short of a political witch hunt against Mr. Hun Sen’s political opponents. The investigating team, which consists of amateurs, resembles a vigilante group set up to hunt down Mr. Hun Sen’s political opponents in order to bring them to his kangaroo court.

Now, let’s look at the investigators’ credentials and their expertise or the lack of it. Meas Sophea and Mol Roeub are army generals who have no experience or expertise in the police investigation. Lek Bun Nhean, a Sam Rainsy Party defector from the countryside, was probably nothing more than an unemployed farmer who is seeking an opportunity to make a fortune from his defection. In an independent judiciary, these three people appointed by Hun Sen’s to investigate an attack of that magnitude would be called a vigilante group because they have no jurisdiction or expertise to investigate such a case, which should fall under the jurisdiction of the police.

One could not comprehend Mr. Hun Sen’s relentless campaign of terror against Mr. Sam Rainsy other than to say that it might be born out of a personal, a political and a vindictive vendetta, as Mr. Sam Rainsy is the only serious contender who could cause Mr. Hun Sen’s political downfall. Apparently, Mr. Hun Sen is building up a case against Sam Rainsy in order to use it against him after the election should the latter chooses to get in the way of his prime ministership. And one could say that a pattern of Mr. Hun Sen’s bellicose behaviours at this stage is reminiscence of the 2005 case when Mr. Sam Rainsy, Mr. Chea Poch and Mr. Cheam Channy were stripped off their parliamentary immunity, arrested and exiled.

Mr Hun Sen’s latest actions has reinforced the belief that he has no intention of relinquishing his grip on power should he loses the election. His campaign of terror cannot ensure a smooth election, let alone a smooth transfer of power should Sam Rainsy wins. The lifting of Rainsy’s parliamentary immunity could see him arrested any time soon and sent to long prison term. Should this scenario is to occur, we would see the darkest episode of Cambodia’s present day politics.

Does Sam Rainsy have any weapons to fight back?

Should the scenario that has been unveiled above is to occur, Sam Rainsy has to exhaust and unleash all options. In a tit-for-tat, Mr. Sam Rainsy should fight back through legal channel. There is a belief that Prime Minister Hun Sen was linked to a range of crimes and a possible war crime. It might be a wishful thinking, however, it is possible that Sam Rainsy can try to request for the FBI to release its investigations into the 1997 grenade attacks in front of the National Assembly which killed 19 people and wounded approximately 190 people, including one American. Victims and their families can lodge a law suit against Mr. Hun Sen in the Cambodian court, if the FBI investigations linked him to that crime. Secondly, Sam Rainsy can request to the Cambodian court to reinvestigate the murder of actress Pisith Pilika, which many people believed was masterminded by Hun Sen’s wife, with him as an accessory. Thirdly, the tortures and executions of Ranariddh’s loyalists after the 1997 coup can constitute a war crime. There is a belief that Prime Minister Hun Sen had ordered their tortures and executions after they surrendered. This crime is prosecutable in the International Criminal Court and is punishable by long prison term. Fourthly, as Mr. Hun Sen was a former Khmer Rouge’s high-ranking cadre, he is a suitable candidate for prosecution by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, which is currently still in full operation.

Of course, this is just a wishful thinking. With Mr. Hun Sen at his firm grip on power, prosecuting him for any crimes would be hard, if not impossible. But Mr. Sam Rainsy should exhaust all options in order to fight back.

What is the boomerang effect on Mr. Hun Sen’s latest actions?

Mr Hun Sen must realise that no one, including himself, could live forever and therefore, rules forever. Mr. Suharto of Indonesia, with his military might, lasted for 30 years, after his military abandoned him. Mr. Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines lasted 21 years when the people power rose up against him and his military abandoned him. Mr. Augusto Pinochet of Chile lasted 17 years, again, after his military refused to go along with his brutal rule.

Furthermore, Mr. Hun Sen should look around himself and see the fates of other fallen dictators. Many have died a terrible and agonising death. Adolf Hitler was incinerated in a bunker (1945). Mussolini was hanged upside down by his own people (1945). Ceaucescu of Romania was sentenced to death by a firing squad by his own people (1991). Zia Al-Hug of Pakistan died of a plane crash, presumably from an assassination. Laurent Karbila of The Congo also died in a plane crash, presumably from an assassination (2000). Najibula of Afghanistan was hanged upside down by the Taliban(?) in 1989. Last but not least, Saddam Hussein, but not yet Saddam Hun Sen, was hanged by the Iraqi and the Americans soldiers in 2006.

These are just some examples that Mr. Hun Sen needs to reflect on his future fate. He had ruled long enough, amassed more than enough personal fortunes and so he should retire quietly and enjoy his stolen wealth in a foreign country, presumably in Vietnam.

Day in Pictures : Bridge inauguration in Kampong Speu

To be a prime minister of Cambodia is cool as ice. Why? Because prime minsiter of cambodia no need to have office nor working at parliament, all he has to do is going from place to places and barking that's all .... Did CPP has the same style as Sangkum Reas Yum (sihanouk)?
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen gestures while giving a speech at a bridge inauguration in Kampong Speu province, 40km (25 miles) west of Phnom Penh June 18, 2008. Cambodia's general elections is on July 27. Picture taken June 18, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen gestures while giving a speech at a bridge inauguration in Kampong Speu province, 40km (25 miles) west of Phnom Penh June 18, 2008. Cambodia's general elections is on July 27. Picture taken June 18, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) greets his supporters during a bridge inauguration in Kampong Speu province, 40 km (25 miles) west of Phnom Penh June 18, 2008. Cambodia's general elections is on July 27. Picture taken June 18, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen greets his supporters during a bridge inauguration in Kampong Speu province, 40 km (25 miles) west of Phnom Penh June 19, 2008. Cambodia's general elections are on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Testimonials from former prisoners of the Boeng Trabek Camp under the direction of Hor Nam Hong between November 1977 and January 1979

Courtesy of KI Media at http://ki-media.blogspot.com

Translated from French
La version française se trouve en bas du texte anglais

These testimonials from people still alive now, were published in the
January 1990 issue of the Non Communist Resistance Bulletin
Published by the Non-communist Anti-Vietnamese Resistance
(Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s Funcinpec and Mr. Son San’s KPNLAF)

Testimonials by Mr. and Mrs. Ieng Kounsaky

We, Ieng Kounsaky and Keo Bunthouk, having known Mr. Hor Nam Hong since 1969 and having lived two years under his authority as the director of the Boeng Trabek re-education and forced labor camp near Phnom Penh, between 1977 and 1978, have the duty to reveal the following truths below:

As a very zealous director of this camp, Mr. Hor Nam Hong had as his aids: his wife who was the “President” of the women group, and his son who was “chief” of the youth group.

Testimonials from Mr. Sao Kim Hong

It is useful to recall that Hor Nam Hong’s family [at the Boeng Trabek camp] consisted of a family of presidents:

- Mr. Hor Nam Hong, vice-president [whom I knew since the old camp] at Chraing Chamres, became President after the departure of Mr. Van Piny in 1977.
- Mrs. Hor Nam Hong, née Borey, [women] vice-president, became President following the departure of Mrs. Van Piny in 1977.
- Their eldest son Thoun [Hor Sothoun] still assumed the position of youth president.

Testimonials from Mrs. Sisowath Ayrawadi

(…). There were about 60 people [in Section B32 of the Boeng Trabek camp]. It was in this center that I and my family lived until April 1978.From January to November [1977], B32 was directed by Mr. Van Piny, the President of the center, Mr. Hor Nam Hong, the vice-president, was his right hand man.When Mr. Van Piny and Chorn, his wife and the women president, were taken away, [Mr. and Mrs. Hor Nam Hong replaced them as B32 President and women president, respectively.]
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TEMOIGNAGES D'ANCIENS DETENUS AU CAMP DE BOENG TRABEK SOUS LA DIRECTION DE HOR NAM HONG DE NOVEMBRE 1977 A JANVIER 1979

Ces témoignages de personnes encore vivantes à ce jour, ont été publiés dans le numéro de
Janvier 1990 du Bulletin NCR (Non Communist Resistance) publié par la Résistance non-communiste anti-vietnamienne
(Funcinpec du prince Norodom Sihanouk et FNLPK de M. Son Sann)

Témoignage de Mr et Mme Ieng Kounsaky

Nous soussignés Ieng Kounsaky et Keo Bunthouk, ayant connu M. Hor Nam Hong depuis 1969 et ayant vécu pendant deux années sous son autorité de directeur du camp de rééducation et de travaux forcés en 1977 et 1978 à Boeng Trabek près de Phnom Penh,

Avons le devoir de révéler les vérités ci-dessous.

En qualité de directeur très zélé de ce camp, M. Hor Nam Hong avait comme aides son épouse "Présidente" du groupe des femmes, et son fils "chef" du groupe des jeunes.

Témoignage de Mr Sao Kim Hong

Il serait utile de rappeler que la famille Hor Nam Hong formait [dans le camp de Boeng Trabek] une famille de présidents:

- M. Hor Nam Hong, vice-président [que je connaissais depuis l'ancien campement] à Chraing Chamrès, devint Président après le départ de M. Van Piny en 1977.
- Mme Hor Nam Hong, née Borey, vice présidente [des femmes], devint Présidente après le départ de Mme Van Piny en 1977.
- Leur fils aîné Thoun [Hor Sothoun] assumait toujours la fonction de président des jeunes.

Témoignage de Mme Sisowath Ayravadi

(…). On y compte une soixantaine de personnes [dans la section B32 du camp de Boeng Trabek]. C'est dans ce centre que moi et ma famille avons vécu jusqu'en avril 1978.De janvier à novembre [1977], le B32 a été dirigé par M. Van Piny, Président du centre, secondé par M. Hor Nam Hong, vice-président.Quand M. Van Piny et son épouse nommée Chorn, présidente des femmes, ont été emmenés, [Mr et Mme Hor Nam Hong les ont remplacés respectivement comme Président du B32 et présidente des femmes].

Testimonials from a former prisoner of Boeng Trabek: Princess Nanette’s Ordeal

Courtesy of KI Media at http://ki-media.blogspot.com

Testimonials from a former prisoner of Boeng Trabek

Translated from French
Le texte original en français se trouve en bas du texte anglais

Princess Nanette’s OrdealPrincess Sisowath Nanette, the older sister of Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, arrived at the Boeng Trabek camp in October 1977, directly from France, to join her husband, Prince Sisowath Metheavy. The latter, a former diplomat who remained faithful to Prince (currently King-Father) Norodom Sihanouk, returned to Cambodia since 1976, one year after the power take over by the Khmer Rouge regime.

Following a short stay in Chraing Chamres, Prince Metheavy was sent to the Boeng Trabek re-education camp in February 1977, along with a group of former diplomats and high-ranking officials like himself, such as Chau Seng, Chea San, Norodom Phurissara, Ang Kim Khoan, Ieng Kounsaky, Van Piny and Hor Nam Hong.

Nanette lived in Boeng Trabek for six months only before she and her husband were taken away to be executed in April 1978. At his arrival in October 1977, Van Piny was nominated as the camp president by the Khmer rouge, and his right hand man was Hor Nam Hong who held the title of vice-president.

The Metheavy-Nanette couple was not particularly mistreated under Van Piny. However, the situation changed quickly when Van Piny was replaced by Hor Nam Hong in November 1977. Hor Nam Hong (who was also known as Mit (Comrade) Yaem) and Borey (Mit Ry), his wife, took a perverse pleasure to make Nanette suffer morally and psychologically.

Toward the end of 1977, following a visit by a Chinese delegation, Hor Nam Hong criticized Nanette of “trying to steal the limelight,” because she “knew that people know her,” whereas everybody should tried to hide their identity in the presence of foreign visitors.

Striking event: Hor Nam Hong remained impassive when Nanette kneeled in front of him, begging him to intervene in her favor so that she can return back to France to be treated for her seizure. She told him that she was a French citizen and a baptized (Catholic). Hor Nam Hong remained stoic.

Mit Ry, Hor Nam Hong’s wife, persecuted Nanette in particular. One day, Mit Ry severely reprimanded Nanette because she spoke a few words in French, either by habit or by inattention. On another occasion, because she tried to make up somewhat her hair, Nanette earned the following reprimand from Mit Ry: “Stop being a Parisian. You are disconnecting yourself from the revolution.”

At the Khmer New Year, around mid-April 1978, Nanette picked some flowers to offer to Hor Nam Hong, hoping to obtain from him some friendship or pity. Hor Nam Hong rejected this submission gesture, and he scolded Nanette for her “bourgeois habits. He promptly turned his back to a crying Nanette.

Several days after the Khmer New year, the Metheavy-Nanette couple was taken away by the Khmer Rouge to be later executed.

--------

Témoignage d'un ancien détenu de Boeng Trabek

LE CALVAIRE DE LA PRINCESSE NANETTE

La Princesse Sisowath Nanette, sœur aînée de la Reine-Mère Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, est arrivée au camp de Boeng Trabek en octobre 1977, venant directement de France pour rejoindre son mari, le Prince Sisowath Metheavy. Celui-ci, ancien diplomate fidèle au Prince (actuellement Roi-Père) Norodom Sihanouk, était rentré au Cambodge depuis 1976, un an après la prise du pouvoir par les Khmers Rouges.

Après un séjour à Chraing Chamrès, le Prince Metheavy a été envoyé au camp de rééducation de Boeng Trabek en février 1977, avec un groupe d'anciens diplomates et hauts fonctionnaires comme lui, notamment Chau Seng, Chea San, Norodom Phourissara, Ang Kim Khoan, Ieng Kounsaky, Van Piny et Hor Nam Hong.

Nanette a vécu à Boeng Trabek pendant seulement six mois, avant d'être amenée avec son mari pour être exécutés en avril 1978. A son arrivée en octobre 1977, le président du camp nommé par les Khmers Rouges était Van Piny, secondé par Hor Nam Hong qui avait le titre de vice-président.

Le couple Metheavy-Nanette n'était pas particulièrement maltraité sous Van Piny. Mais la situation changea rapidement quand Van Piny fut remplacé par Hor Nam Hong en Novembre 1977. Hor Nam Hong (qui était connu aussi sous le nom de Camarade ou Mit Yaem) et sa femme Borey (Mit Ry) prenaient un malin plaisir à faire souffrir moralement et psychologiquement Nanette.

Vers la fin de 1977, après le passage d'une délégation chinoise, Hor Nam Hong reprocha à Nanette de "chercher à se faire voir", parce qu'elle "se savait connue", alors que tout le monde devait s'éclipser devant des visiteurs étrangers.

Scène bouleversante: Hor Nam Hong est resté impassible quand Nanette s'est mise à genoux devant lui, le suppliant d'intervenir en sa faveur pour qu'elle puisse repartir en France, pour reprendre ses médicaments contre l'épilepsie. Elle lui disait qu'elle était française et baptisée (catholique). Hor Nam Hong restait de marbre.

La femme de Hor Nam Hong, Mit Ry, s'acharnait particulièrement sur Nanette. Un jour, Mit Ry réprimanda sévèrement Nanette parce que celle-ci avait prononcé, par habitude et par mégarde, quelques mots en français. Un autre jour, parce qu'elle mettait un brin d'élégance dans sa coiffure, Nanette s'attira cette remontrance de Mit Ry: "Cessez d'être Parisienne. Vous vous déconnectez de la révolution."

Au nouvel an khmer, vers la mi-avril 1978, Nanette avait cueilli des fleurs pour les offrir à Hor Nam Hong en espérant obtenir de lui un peu d'amitié ou de pitié. Hor Nam Hong a repoussé ce geste de soumission et a reproché à Nanette ses "habitudes bourgeoises". Il tourna aussitôt le dos à Nanette qui pleurait à chaudes larmes.

Quelques jours après le nouvel an khmer, le couple Metheavy-Nanette fut amené par les Khmers Rouges pour être exécutés.

Support where it's needed

Penrith residents Raviseng San, Stephanie Adams and Kristine Blackford are among the latest graduates from the Corporate Partners for Change Aged Care Work program.

Western Weekender
Jun 19, 2008

Cambridge Gardens resident, Raviseng San, has been without paid work for over four years, but now, with the help of the Corporate Partners for Change (CPC) Aged Care Work program, she will be able to support an area that suffers from skill shortages and gain meaningful employment.

Ms San had a disrupted education when growing up in Cambodia, and said the CPC program provided her with the employment skills she missed as a young woman.

Minister for Western Sydney, Barbara Perry, congratulated Ms San, as well as Penrith residents Stephanie Adams and Kristine Blackford, and 11 other students, who will be embarking on careers as carers for elderly residents, following their graduation from the CPC program.

“These graduates are now able to care for some of the most vulnerable members of our community thanks to Corporate Partners for Change’s specialised training, which is directly linked to career opportunities particularly in skills shortage areas,” Ms Perry said.

“The program provides students with free education, training and practical experience to help them succeed in their chosen field.

“Combine this with our strong partnerships with local employers and today’s graduates stand an excellent chance of gaining meaningful and secure employment.”

Ms Perry said some graduates were re-entering employment after as many as 14 years out of the workforce, and were hopeful of securing jobs as aged care workers with the lead corporate partner UnitingCare, and other partners including Anglican Retirement Villages, Anglicare Chesalon Aged Services, Clinic One, Minchinbury Manor, St Hedwig Village, Summit Health Care and Wesley Mission R. E. Tebbutt Lodge.

“Since CPC’s inception, more than 630 graduates are now working in fields with an identified skills shortage including aged care nursing, business administration for people with disabilities, childcare, disability support work and electrical trades,” Ms Perry said.

S Korean tourists to Cambodia decline early this year

www.chinaview.cn
2008-06-19

PHNOM PENH, June 19 (Xinhua) -- The number of South Korean tourists visiting Cambodia showed some decline early this year, local media reported Thursday, citing South Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Shin Hyun-suk.

According to a South Korean airline company, the number of South Korean tourists decreased 17 percent in the first four months of this year when compared with the same period last year, Shin Hyun-suk told the Mekong Times newspaper in an interview.

A worldwide economic recession, high oil, energy and food prices, the increase of the exchange rate between South Korean currency won against the U.S. dollar and South Korea's domestic political situation have all contributed to the negative trend, he said.

However, Shin Hyun-suk is still cautiously optimistic about the future arrivals of South Korean tourists to Cambodia.

He said that in the medium term, once many tourism development projects in Cambodia are completed and as the world economy recovers its strength, the number of foreign and South Korean tourists will pick up again.

Editor: Jiang Yuxia

Taiwan telecom company to enter Cambodian market

www.chinaview.cn
2008-06-19

PHNOM PENH, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Chunghwa Telecom Co., the largest telecommunications operator of China's Taiwan, has announced plans to enter the Cambodian market, local newspaper the Cambodian Daily reported Thursday.

Chunghwa Telecom Co., which is traded on both Taiwan and New York stock exchanges and offer mobile phone and internet services, said recently that the company would collaborate with Viettel Co. in a 30 million U.S. dollars joint venture, the English-Khmer language daily said.

However, the company does not have any concrete plans in Cambodia so far, it added.

Khuon Bora, Viettel's deputy chief of marketing in Cambodia, said that details of the agreement with Chunghwa were unavailable.

Viettle began providing internet service in Cambodia at the end of 2007, but is still building infrastructure for its forthcoming 097 mobile phone network.

Editor: Jiang Yuxia

Pol Pot radio broadcasts

Radio Australia

Transcripts of radio broadcasts made during the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s have been handed to a Cambodian organisation, which could strengthen evidence against former senior regime leaders facing trial for crimes against humanity.

According to the Mekong Times, the transcripts include speeches of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot and other surviving senior leaders. They were intercepted by the US government's Foreign Broadcast Information Service.

Presenter: Chhieng Yuth Speakers: Sok Sam Oeun, legal expert with the Cambodia Defenders Project; Reach Sambath, Tribunal Spokesperson; Youk Chhang, Director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia

Ambassador expects more S Korean investment to Cambodia

www.chinaview.cn
2008-06-19

PHNOM PENH, June 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korean ambassador to Cambodia Shin Hyun-suk has said that he expected more investment from his country to the kingdom, local media reported Thursday.

"I am optimistic about further (South) Korean investment (to Cambodia)," Shin Hyun-suk told the Mekong Times in an interview.

In 2007, Cambodia became the 6th biggest host of South Korean investment after China, the U.S., China's Hong Kong region, Vietnam and Malaysia, he said.

"Recently, some South Korean investors who had invested in China and Vietnam have been moving into Cambodia. With this trend, South Korean investment in Cambodia has been diversified," he added.

Initially, South Korean investment was concentrated on the garment manufacturing sector, he said, adding that banking, agro-industry, manufacturing, real estate development and IT sectors are the dominating fields of South Korean investment in Cambodia now.

Beginning in the late 1990s, South Korean investors began to look at Cambodia as the country regained political and social stability, Shin Hyun-suk said.

In particular, South Korean investment in Cambodia has increased sharply since 2006, as Cambodia recorded high economic growth and achieved further political and social stability, he added.

Editor: Jiang Yuxia

$ 3 million to fund Khmer Rouge trial

The Japan Times
Thursday, June 19, 2008

PHNOM PENH (Kyodo) The government will provide almost $ 3 million to Cambodia for the U.N.-backed trial of Khmer Rouge leaders, according to the Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh.

"Japan places great emphasis on the progress of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, for it believes this process will promote democracy, the rule of law and good governance in Cambodia," the embassy said in a statement Wednesday.

It said the $ 2.952 million is to be used for administrative work of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the joint Cambodia-U.N. tribunal set up to bring former Khmer Rouge leaders to trial for crimes against humanity during their 1975-1979 rule.

In 2005, Japan provided $ 21.5 million to a U.N trust fund, an amount that accounted for half of the U.N. share of the initial $ 56.3 million budgeted for the three-year tribunal.

Japan's latest contribution will help Cambodia finance its share of the total cost, which amounts to $ 13.3 million.

The pledge comes just ahead of a donor meeting Friday in New York during which the ECCC will explain its budget request and its fundraising strategy.

Early this year, the ECCC said it had raised $ 170 million, well above its original appeal for $ 56.3 million.

Cambodia: Naga Corp Triumph Over Phnom Penh

Goal.com
6/18/2008

In one of the biggest game thus far in the Cambodia Premier League, Naga Corp FC edged city rivals Phnom Penh Empire 3-2 at the National Olympic Stadium.

And Naga was quick on the draw in front of well over 7,000 fans in attendance when they went two goals in front before the first quarter of the game off N. Pierre in the fifth minute and N.D. Herve Ernest three minutes later.Rattled, Phnom Penh pushed hard for their first goal of the match and duly scored from Chan Rithy in the 43rd minute before grabbing the equaliser four minutes after the restart from Sam Minea.

But all hopes for a draw and the one point were dashed for Phnom Penh when Chhim Sambo slammed home the winner on 75th minute.

Cambodian Youth “Coming Together” To Make Movie, Learn Heritage

By Carla M. Collado
Staff Writer
19/06/2008

When six local Cambodian teenage girls pre-screen their film, “Coming Together” at Long Beach City College on Saturday, they’ll make public the fruits of an almost yearlong journey to learn about their parents’ experiences as refugees of war and to explore their own identities as first-generation Cambodian-Americans.

“I feel more complete in a way,” Jennefer Heng, 17, said of working on the film. “It helped me understand my identity, where I came from.”

The girls — ages 14-18 — from Long Beach’s Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) started working on the film in October 2007 as part of the How I See It: Youth Digital Filmmakers project. The project was sponsored by the California Council for the Humanities, which gave KGA a $30,000 grant to put together its film.

For months, the teens explored the disconnections of life in America (particularly culture, language, socio-economic status and education) to find connections they have with refugees of the Khmer Rouge war, KGA Executive Director Suely Ngouy explained.

They interviewed their parents, relatives and other members of the community, such as the founders of Cambodia Town. They worked closely with Karen Quintiliani, anthropology professor at California State University, Long Beach, to learn about the history of Cambodians in Long Beach and to place the film’s stories into a historical context.

The group also worked with Mar Elepano of Visual Communications (and faculty member at the University of Southern California) to develop their story-telling skills and learn about camera techniques. Each girl had her own video camera, developed her own story line, wrote her own interview questions and produced, directed and edited her piece of the film, Ngouy said.

She explained that one of the biggest challenges for the girls was finding people who were willing to open up about their traumatic experiences escaping the Khmer Rouge and witnessing genocide, and about the hopes and dreams they have for their children.

Heng’s main interview source was her father, who was a victim of the war.

“He never talked about it at all with me,” Heng said. “I actually had to interview him several times…. It was really emotional for me to hear about my dad’s story. It made me respect him more, understand him more.”

One of the reasons she decided to participate in the film project was to discover more about her culture and her people’s history, she said.

“It was a personal experience for me,” Heng said. “It wasn’t just about making a film.”

Ngouy said that one of the most common “connections” between the teenagers and their war-refugee relatives was a desire to find a “home” or place of belonging in the world.

“They’ve really questioned, explored and discovered an aspect of their identity that they otherwise wouldn’t have discovered if they hadn’t gone through this process,” Ngouy said of the girls.

She said that the film reflects the group’s desire to inspire Long Beach’s Cambodian community — the largest outside of Cambodia — to work together to bridge generational gaps and to improve the community.

“It often takes the children or grandchildren to be able to tell the stories,” Ngouy said. “I hope that this will be a healing process for the community, to be able to begin a dialogue…. Whatever history is passed on is going to have to be passed on through the younger generation.”

The 30-minute film, “Coming Together” will pre-screen at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at LBCC, Dyre Hall Room FF 107 (1305 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.), and will premiere at noon Sunday, June 29, at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The group also hopes to show the film at local schools throughout the year, Ngouy said.

Visit www.californiastories.org or www.kgalb.org.

Thaksin set to invest big time in Cambodia

The Bangkok Post
Thursday June 19, 2008

Khmer minister: Koh Kong just his first stepWASSANA NANUAM

Thaksin Shinawatra is planning large-scale investments in Cambodia with Koh Kong province serving only as his first step in his business ventures in the country, Cambodian Defence Minister Gen Teah Banh said yesterday.

Lauding Mr Thaksin as ''a capable person with a sharp vision'', the general said Mr Thaksin would not only lead foreign businessmen to invest in Koh Kong, but they would also take part in tourism and energy ventures both inland and in maritime areas.

''We welcome all investors who will help develop Cambodia,'' Gen Teah Banh said.

Koh Kong, which is opposite Trat, has been eyed by Mr Thaksin as a prime location for his casino and entertainment complex development.

According to former deputy army chief Gen Vichit Yathip, Mr Thaksin would co-invest in the project with businessmen from the Middle East. A prospective investor would be Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed, he said.

Both Gen Vichit and Gen Teah Banh denied any link between Koh Kong and other development projects initiated by Mr Thaksin and Phnom Penh's move to nominate the Preah Vihear temple as a new World Heritage site.

Besides the Koh Kong project, according to Gen Teah Banh, Mr Thaksin plans to develop new tourist attractions in Phnom Penh and other major cities. He also wants to work with Cambodia to make use of natural gas deposits in the overlapping maritime area between Thailand and Cambodia.

The general admitted Mr Thaksin wanted to invest in joint natural gas development, but said that the project required further talks.

''I insist we've never talked about a trade-off between Preah Vihear and natural gas with Mr Thaksin,'' Gen Teah Banh said. ''How could we make such an agreement?''

Gen Teah Banh, also deputy prime minister, said the Preah Vihear issue has been used as a political tool to attack both the Thai and Cambodian governments. In Phnom Penh, he said, his government is also under heavy criticism by the opposition ahead of the general election on July 27.

Cambodia not claiming any Thai land: Noppadon

By Piyanart Srivalo, Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation
Published on June 19, 2008

Thailand has not lost a single square centimetre, as the new map drawn up by Cambodia to propose the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear as a World Heritage site claims nothing beyond its right, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said yesterday.

Cambodia honoured an agreement reached in Paris last month to propose only the temple and did not include the overlapping area claimed by both sides, Noppadon told a press conference yesterday.

Thousands of protesters earlier marched to the Foreign Ministry accusing the minister of losing territory to Cambodia and demanding he resign.

They believe Noppadon made a deal with Cambodia to help ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's business interests. They called on civil servants at the ministry to resist Noppadon.
Lt-General Daen Meechu-at, chief of the Supreme Command's Royal Thai Survey Department and who also attended the press conference, said a ground survey conducted from June 9-11 using a satellite based Global Positioning System indicated the new map did not claim any part of Thai territory. The nearest point, the left corner of the temple, is 3 metres away from Thai territory, while the farthest point is 30 metres away, he said.

"The questioned naga stairs is 10 metres away from the Thai boundary," he said, "I confirm there is no part of Cambodia's claim on Thai soil."

The Foreign Ministry later released the map to the public on its website.

Noppadon has signed a joint statement with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on the matter, enabling Phnom Penh to submit its proposal for consideration of Unesco's World Heritage committee. The committee will make its final decision next month at a meeting in Quebec.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear Temple belonged to Cambodia.

Cambodia: Donors Must Hold Government Accountable

HUMAN RIGHTS NEWS
_________________

"The $5 billion in aid plowed into Cambodia in the past decade has yielded little in return for the donors or the Cambodian people. "
Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch
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Banning of Forest Report Mocks Commitments to Human Rights

(New York, June 15, 2007) – Cambodia’s international donors should not accept any more empty promises from the Cambodian government on human rights, the rule of law and good governance, Human Rights Watch said today. The annual Consultative Group meeting of donors is scheduled to take place in Phnom Penh on June 19-20, and donors are expected to pledge more than US$600 million in additional aid for the next year.

Human Rights Watch said that the Cambodian government has made virtually no progress in the past decade on key pledges to donors on the rule of law or judicial independence. Impunity for human rights violations remains the rule. Corruption is rampant. Natural resources are still being plundered. Those who report on such abuses are threatened or harassed and sometimes subject to violence.

“The $5 billion in aid plowed into Cambodia in the past decade has yielded little in return for the donors or the Cambodian people,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The meeting has become an empty annual ritual, with the government making and breaking promises every year. There will be more promises made this year, but without serious donor pressure they, too, will be broken.”

Human Rights Watch called on the Cambodian government to rescind its June 3 order to “ban and collect” the recent report by Global Witness. The report, “Cambodia’s Family Trees,” alleges illegal logging by individuals close to Prime Minister Hun Sen. It also claims that the government’s promises to end illegal logging have been broken, that the army, military police and police are deeply involved in illegal logging, and that funds from illegal logging support Hun Sen’s personal bodyguard unit, which has been responsible for human rights abuses.

The government should officially repudiate reported statements by Kompong Cham provincial governor Hun Neng, Hun Sen’s brother. Hun Neng reportedly said on June 11 that “If they [Global Witness] come to Cambodia, I will hit them until their heads are broken.”

“The government’s reaction to the Global Witness report shows its lack of commitment to freedom of expression and public debate, and its continued thuggish behavior,” said Adams. “Donors should insist that the government undertake a credible judicial investigation into the criminal activities detailed in the report, rather than resort to violent threats against its authors. Donors often complain about a lack of political will from the government, but this will be a test of their political will, too.”

Human Rights Watch said that donors have a major role to play in determining Cambodia’s future by continuing their assistance to civil society and insisting that the government fully comply with commitments made at successive donor meetings dating back to 1993. After billions of dollars of donor support over the past 14 years, it is time for a clear and unambiguous signal to be sent to the government. Donors should make it clear that they can no longer accept previously unmet promises.

For more than a decade, donors have been providing aid equivalent to roughly half Cambodia’s national budget. As donors have noted, good governance is directly linked to a country’s pace of development. There is little doubt that Cambodia’s development continues to be slowed by the country’s poor governance.

“If donors are serious about development in Cambodia, they should start generating momentum for real reform,” said Adams. “They need to emphasize, not marginalize, the links between human rights and development.”

Development assistance and budgetary support should be contingent on the government meeting agreed benchmarks on human rights, the rule of law, and good governance, such as:

-Tackling impunity for human rights abuses, including the many extrajudicial killings carried out during and after the July 1997 coup by Hun Sen’s government;

-Ceasing to harass and threaten civil society activists and opposition party members;

-Ensuring that the rights of individuals and organizations to defend and promote human rights are protected, including the right to peacefully criticize and protest government policies, in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1998 United Nations General Assembly Declaration on Human Rights Defenders;

-Creating an independent and restructured National Election Committee;

-Liberalizing electronic media ownership rules, including allowing transmitters of private, critical media to be as strong as those of pro-government private stations;

-Complying fully with previous Consultative Group commitments to address corruption and misuse of natural resources and other state assets; these include public disclosure of information concerning management of land, forests, mineral deposits and fisheries, as well as the location of military development zones; and,

-Passing legislation on asset disclosure and anti-corruption that meets international standards, and appointing an independent, international external auditor for government finances.

Past meetings of the Consultative Group have been attended by 18 countries and five intergovernmental organizations: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the Asian Development Bank, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Development Program, and the World Bank.

“The donors’ list of conditions hardly changes over time, and the government simply ignores them year after year,” said Adams. “Hun Sen continues to run circles around the donors, making the same empty promises every year and laughing all the way to the bank.”

Cambodian real estate market heated up by S Korean projects

www.chinaview.cn
2008-06-18

By Long Heng, Xia Lin

PHNOM PENH, June 18 (Xinhua) -- South Korean investor GS Engineering and Construction held here Wednesday the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of its 52-story skyscraper, the tallest one to be built in Cambodia and latest one to stir up the heated market and trigger off mixed comments.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said at the ceremony that the construction shows the close relations between South Korea and Cambodia and the confidence of foreign investors for Cambodia in its political and economic stability.

"The project will provide hundreds of jobs and contribute to the economic development of our country," he said.

The skyscraper, a model role from the private sector in developing the country, will become the historic building and the tallest in Cambodia and become a center of tourism, culture and engineering. he added.

GS Engineering and Construction, the largest real estate developer in South Korea, will take 45 months to complete the billion-dollar International Finance Complex (IFC) project near the Tonle Bassac River around March 2012, according to a press release.

The 68,461 square meters project includes a 52-story office block, a 32-story residential block with 275 units, an international school and a shopping mall with 1,064 units, it said.

"The plan is to expand business domain not just to architecture and housing, but to a broader area of plant, civil engineering and development," it added.

GS Engineering and Construction president and CEO Kevin Kab Ryul Kim said that the recent interest of the Cambodian government in city development welcomes South Korean company's development projects with advanced technologies like us.

"IFC Phnom Penh projects will open the gates to more South Korean companies entering the Cambodian market," Kim said, adding that with this project, GS will lead the real estate and development market of Cambodia, newly rising in the Indochina peninsula.

The plan is to expand business domain not just architectures and housing, but to a broader areas of plant, civil engineering and development, he added.

Meanwhile, Mu Hion Woo, the developer's Chief of Business Division in Cambodia, told local media earlier last week that the project is not only a business but also a contribution to the development of Cambodia.

"If you want to see the potential of Cambodia, you can see it in this project," he added.

Currently, a second South Korean real estate developer is constructing a 42-story skyscraper of comprehensive functions, namely the Golden Tower, in downtown Phnom Penh and a third one developing a satellite city named Camko in the suburbs.

These South Korean projects will transform the skyline of the capital, as it is now dominated by buildings only four- or five-story high.

And, the GS project seems to compete with the Gold Tower and the Camko City in the ever booming real estate market of Phnom Penh.

The three mega projects are widely considered as new achievements of the Cambodian government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen. People are waiting and want to see them turned into reality.

Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodian Economic Association, expressed concern over the new buildings' inconsistency with the previous style of the city.

"We all welcomed the construction of the highest skyscrapers in Phnom Penh and other places in Cambodia. We also requested for the government to conserve the houses built in the French colonial era," he told Xinhua.

If conservation and development work well with each other in style and construction, Phnom Penh will be a city both modern and classic, more beautiful and with more cultural hints, he said.

In addition, he asserted that these projects has mirrored the confidence of foreign business people in the political and economic stability of the country and will therefore bring in more foreign investors and benefit the local people.

However, Chan Sophal is also worried that skyscrapers can't really meet the market demands.

The skyscrapers have drawn much public attention, because the Cambodians never saw these things before, but in regard of their essential choice, they prefer to live at the ground floor of a house with a garden and some trees.

"Only rich people will buy apartments at the skyscrapers, because the price is unaffordable for most people," he said.

Some wealthy people subscribe to houses at the top floor of these skyscrapers, but they won't live there.

"They buy them for investment. When sold again, there will be profits," he added.

Nov Rathana, general manager of the Gold Tower project, said that his project will finish in May 2011, adding that market competition is a good impetus for developers.

Sung Bonna, director of the Sung Bonna Real Estate Agency, said that house and land are hot topics for the Cambodians now.

"People like to talk about land, house and their prices. Most of them buy land and houses for investment, and expect fat rewards when they sell them out," he said.

According to industry statistics, land and house prices have spiraled in Phnom Penh and neighboring provinces as result of 10 years' stable development of the country. Top villa in downtown Phnom Penh now sells over one million U.S. dollars, 10 times the previous price.

The mega development projects of skyscrapers have just fueled the vogue and drive land and house prices even higher, said Sung Bonna.

"Phnom Penh still has huge land, waiting for us to develop," he added.

Editor: Bi Mingxin

Kiva Update

About a year ago, we signed up for Kiva, which is a microlender. One of our first loans went to Sith Saron, who lives in Siem Reap Province in Cambodia. She needed a $1,000 for a cow, seeds, and a motorcycle for her farm.

Sith Saron is 37 years old and the mother of 7 children. She sells Khmer traditional cakes such as Num Korm, Num Bot, and Num Krouk to the people in her community and usually earns up to $4 each day. Her husband, meanwhile, works in his rice paddy growing crops as well as several kinds of vegetables. Two of her children are employed at a hotel, but the others are students.
The loan had a 18 month pay back date, and just a couple of weeks ago (about 10 months after taking out the loan), she paid the loan in full.

Kiva is focused on serving the working poor

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world. The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material.

When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

I really like the last pay it forward part, so the lender can elect to take the money out of Kiva's system or loan it out again, in effect the last business is putting capital back into the system to help the next entrepreneur. Additionally, big props to Paypal which supports Kiva by acting as a transaction processor and waiving fees. What's all this mean? As Tom Barnett says:

everyone who wants to make a difference should just go ahead and get their own foreign policy and stop waiting on change from above.

I added the bold, because the bottom up tools that Kiva, Paypal and the Web give us are really unique, and really powerful to enable through microloans - entrepreuners who we may never meet in countries we may never go to be successful.

Kep: Cambodia's Secluded Beach Retreat

A long abandoned villa, the legacy of the Khmer Rouge.Credit: Richard Thomas


Fishing boats off Rabbit Island. Credit: Richard Thomas

By Rich Thomas
published Jun 18, 2008

Kep was once the beach resort of Cambodia. Located near the luxury hotel, casino, and hill station atop Bokor Mountain, it was part of a popular retreat for French colonial administrators. After independence and the end of French Indochina in the mid-1950s, the officials of the Royal government and the small middle class of Phnom Penh became the main patrons there. All that came to an end in with the rise of the Khmer Rouge; Kep was sacked and abandoned. Since Cambodia re-opened to tourism in the late 1990s, the port city of Sihanoukville has become the main focus of beach activities in Cambodia. However, as Sihanoukville becomes more and more like a bad knock-off of the Thai beach city of Pattaya, the quiet, seaside charms of the village of Kep are coming more to the fore.

Getting There

Kep can be reached from Phnom Penh by bus or share-taxi, with the share-taxi costing perhaps ten times as much. Depending on the bus company in question, you will be boarding the bus to the neighboring town Kampot, which will run past Kep on its way there, and drop you off just outside of the village.

The simplest way to get back and forth from Kampot, the nearest town, is to bargain for a trip on the back of a fellow's motorbike ("moto"). This is a common means of transport in Cambodia, and pretty much anyone passing on a motorbike may be willing to double as a bike-taxi.

It is also possible to get to Sihanoukville by share-taxi, but these must be chartered.

What to Do

Kep is a small fishing village, set off of a strip of sand and pebble. These are typically busy on the weekend, but quiet during the week. Kep is a popular weekend holiday location for expats and middle class Khmers from Phnom Penh. The expats will be mostly French and working for the UN or some other NGO, and are getting a kick out of being in their former colonial retreat. Very few "proper" international tourists find their way to Kep, so when the weekend visitors go home, these will be the only tourists around, creating a very tranquil, sleepy atmosphere during the week.

World's only captive hairy-nosed otter gets new home


Huliq News
Posted June 18th, 2008
by harminka

The world's only known hairy-nosed otter in captivity, one of the rarest and little known of otter species, got a new home and a Buddhist blessing today.

Dara, a frisky young male rescued when his mother was killed by a fisherman, was released into a large new enclosure built for him at Phnom Tamau Zoological Garden and Rescue Centre, located near Phnom Penh. The release was celebrated with a blessing by Buddhist monks, a Cambodian tradition when a family moves into a new residence. Dara, which in the Khmer language means "star" or "precious" was brought to the wildlife center in December. He had been living in a small cage since his capture.

The natural habitat for this rare species in Cambodia is the seasonally flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Great Lake. Conservation International (CI) and Cambodia's Fishery Administration are working together to extend the Kampong Prak fish sanctuary at Tonle Sap Lake up to 20,000 hectares to include vital otter habitat. The expansion includes large areas of flooded forests where at least two species of rare otters are known to exist, the hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana), and the smooth-coated otter (Lutragale perspicillata).

Due to factors such as civil war and poor infrastructure, Cambodia has retained vast areas of forest and wetlands, and almost 25 percent of the entire country is managed primarily for conservation. In neighboring countries, these natural habitats and their wildlife have been lost due to logging or agriculture. Cambodia is now a stronghold for many rare species that have been driven to extinction elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Thought to be extinct in the 1990s, the hairy-nosed otter is known to survive only in a few regions of Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Sumatra. Otters in Asia are increasingly threatened by the illegal international fur trade. They are also captured for pets or killed for use in traditional medicines. Another growing threat is loss of habitat, due in part to impacts from global climate change.

"Climate change may well lead to changes in flow regimes from the Mekong, along with the many hydro dams on the Mekong that that would mean the otter's habitat the flooded forestswould be mostly lost. This means the species would either be lost or we need a protected area to support it. We are doing just that with this freshwater sanctuary," said David Emmett, CI's regional director in Cambodia.

"Scientists recommend establishment of a breeding population in captivity to ensure survival of this species," explained Annette Olsson, CI's research and monitoring manager in Cambodia. "Dara could be the founder of such a captive population, if and when we find him a wife, of course."

CI has several activities at Tonle Sap to protect the otters there, including research and monitoring, training of local law enforcement rangers, education and awareness for local communities and schools, and discussion groups with local fishing communities to address human-otter conflicts.

In the Tonle Sap region, otters are often killed by poor fishermen who consider them pests because otters sometimes break their fishing nets and traps and steal their catch. At the same time, fisherman can sell the furs to dealers, who frequently will provide wildlife traps to the fisherman.

CI scientists have been researching otters in Cambodia since 2006, and Olsson is leading the 2008 review of the hairy-nosed otter for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Currently, the listing status is Data Deficient, but Olsson said that will very likely be changed to a higher category of threat following the 2008 review.

The IUCN Otter Specialist Group considers this otter species to be the world's rarest, and all evidence currently indicates that it will be in a highly threatened category. The new listing status will make this species a higher priority for protection and conservation funding. -Conservation International

Construction of Cambodia's tallest building begins

Associated Press
06.18.08

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -
The developer says construction has begun on a building that will be Cambodia's tallest structure, with completion expected in 2012.

The 52-story International Finance Complex, worth about $1 billion, will house service apartments, a convention center and an international school upon its completion, says a statement by its South Korean developer, GS Engineering and Construction.

Covering an area of 737,000 square feet, the complex will dramatically change Phnom Penh's skyline, where the tallest building now is a 15-story hotel.

Companies from South Korea have become the leading investors in Cambodia following the resumption of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1997.

Rare otter gets sanctuary in Cambodian zoo

Buddhist monks blessing Dara, the hairy-nosed otter

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AFP) — The world's only captive hairy-nosed otter is living in a new home in a Cambodian zoo, in a move conservation officials said Wednesday could help ensure survival of the rare species.

The young male named Dara was released into its new home Tuesday at Phnom Tamau Zoo, located near Phnom Penh, said representatives from Conservation International (CI).

Two Buddhist monks walked into the enclosure with Dara to bless the animal's new home, following Cambodian tradition.

"Scientists recommend establishing of a breeding population in captivity to ensure survival of this species," said Annette Olsson, a CI researcher in Cambodia.

"Dara could be the founder of such a captive population, if and when we find him a wife, of course," she said.

The animal, a member of the rarest of otter species, had a fraught journey to the enclosure. It was first rescued when its mother was killed by a fisherman in Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake, Olsson said.

Dara then lived at the Angkor Zoo in Cambodia's tourist hub Siem Reap, she said. But authorities closed the zoo last year after scores of rare animals disappeared or died.

Hairy-nosed otters were thought to have been extinct until they were re-discovered less than a decade ago.

They are now known to live in a few areas in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Sumatra, and are threatened by illegal fur trade and loss of habitat due to climate change.

Prosecutors Asked for Suspension of Sam Rainsy’s Immunity

Posted on 18 June 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

“The Phnom Penh Court sent a letter to the National Assembly president Samdech Heng Samrin through the Minister of Justice asking to suspend the immunity of the opposition party president Mr. Sam Rainsy over a case, numbered 693, dated 22 April 2008, from the Prosecution Office to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“A letter numbered 110 from the Prosecution Office to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court was sent, asking the National Assembly president Samdech Heng Samrin to suspend the immunity of the parliamentarian Sam Rainsy, a parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, over the lawsuit of Mr. Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on 22 April 2008, regarding Mr. Sam Rainsy, on the accusation of defamation and disinformation, which is a crime stated in the new Article 63 of the amendment of Article 63, and of Article 62 of the criminal law.

“It should be remembered that on 17 April 2008, at the Choeung Ek genocidal memorial site at Meanchey District, Phnom Penh, Mr. Sam Rainsy said publicly that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hor Namhong, was the chief of the Boeng Trabaek Prison during the Khmer Rouge Regime. He said that being the chief of the Boeng Trabaek Prison was not by chance; unless Khmer Rouge leaders ordered that he could be the prison chief, and that the prison chief was very powerful, that is why they do not want to try all of those [former] Khmer Rouge leaders.

“The same letter shows that after the opposition party leader Mr. Sam Rainsy said these words, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hor Namhong, submitted the lawsuit through Mr. Kar Savuth as his lawyer on 22 April 2008, accusing Mr. Sam Rainsy of defamation and disinformation. After an initial investigation, the Prosecution Office to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court checked and has collected evidence that Sam Rainsy is suspected of defamation and disinformation, and a proposal to suspend his immunity as parliamentarian from Phnom Penh was sent to the National Assembly. This letter was issued by the prosecutor Uk Savuth, but so far, the the National Assembly has not yet decided to suspend his immunity. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, has won a court case in France against the Great Heroic King Norodom Sihanouk over the same issue; therefore he will continue to sue anyone who accuses him that he was related to the Khmer Rouge killing field regime.”

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #29, 18-20.6.2008

Courts Seek to Pull Opposition Immunity

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
18 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 18 June (1.37 MB) - Download (MP3)
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The National Assembly is not likely to meet in an emergency session following a request issued by Phnom Penh Municipal Court that opposition leader Sam Rainsy have his parliamentary immunity suspended, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

The National Assembly also has not yet received the request, said Nguon Nhel, first vice president of the parliamentary body.

The Sam Rainsy Party late Tuesday issued a copy of a letter from Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor E Chheng Huot, addressed to National Assembly President Heng Samrin through Justice Minister Ang Vong Vattana.

The letter, dated June 16, requests the temporary suspension of the parliamentary immunity of opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who is facing a defamation and disinformation suit.

"I am not concerned about the arrest at all," Sam Rainsy said Wednesday. An arrest by the ruling Cambodian People's Party would mean a loss of popularity for the CPP, he said.

The court has been investigating remarks made at an April 18 rally by Sam Rainsy implicating Foreign Minister Hor Namhong as a member of the Khmer Rouge, and E Chheng Huot said in his letter he had gathered enough evidence to suspect defamation.

"The National Assembly is likely unable to convene a two-thirds majority…to suspend Sam Rainsy's immunity, while the election campaign approaches, because many members of parliament have gone to the provinces to meet the people," Nguon Nhel said.

The move to strip Sam Rainsy of his immunity comes with the national election little more than a month away and follows the recent arrest of opposition newspaper editor Dam Sith on similar charges.

Police have also said they are opening an investigation into allegations made by opposition defectors that members of the opposition have been involved in violent plots against the government. Sam Rainsy has called such accusations "unbelievable."

The attempt to suspend Sam Rainsy's immunity met with criticism from one US Embassy official and a rights worker.

"We very much regret the legal controversy that has [come] on the eve of the election process," embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle said Wednesday. "We think it risks poisoning the open political atmosphere that is necessary for a fully democratic election process."

Ouk Vireak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, called the request "a threat to Sam Rainsy, so that Sam Rainsy dare not speak freely."

"This is also a message to other parties so that they dare not do what they want," he said.

Workers, a Potential Voter Block Disbursed

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
18 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 18 June (1.28 MB) - Download (MP3)
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[Editor's note: In the weeks leading into national polls, VOA Khmer will explore a wide number of election issues. The "Election Issues 2008" series will air stories on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a related "Hello VOA" guest on Thursday. This is the second in a two-part series examining the role of workers.]

Though unions are able to exercise some influence on their members, the worker vote is widely disbursed, as many find it easier to register in their home provinces than in Phnom Penh, a labor leader said.

Some leaders of Cambodia's 28 labor unions say they will push workers to join the vote on July 27. Nearly all of these unions are aligned with a political party, and more than 20 of them support the ruling Cambodian People's Party, said Chea Vichea, president of the Free Trade Union.

Cambodia's 394 factories employ about 340,000 people, but most of them are not registered in Phnom Penh. They are registered in their home provinces, because they find it easier to register, Chea Mony said, and registering in Phnom Penh is difficult, because they don't know the city.

Chuon Mom Thol, president of the Cambodian Union of Civil Servants, whose union of more than 7,000 members supports the CPP, told VOA Khmer recently he will inform his workers to join the vote, and if they have no ability to vote, he will hire a truck to them.

He believes all of his members will vote for the CPP, because the workers believe in the party's policy of a $6 wage increase earlier this year.

The environment is different compared to 2003, when 80 percent of workers supported the ruling party. Now 90 percent to 95 percent of workers support the party, he said.

Chea Mony, whose union has more than 80,000 members, officially supports the Sam Rainsy Party, he said. Free Trade members believe the opposition assists them in strikes in the name of workers or when they meet with violence, he said.

In the upcoming period, he said, he expects to rally at least 10,000 more workers to vote for the party, he said.

In addition to encouraging workers to vote for the opposition, Chea Mony said he also wrote a letter to the National Election Committee and the Ministry of Labor asking them to support the workers' right to vote.

Japan Adds $3 million to Tribunal Budget

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
18 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 18 June (820 KB) - Download (MP3)
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Japan will donate $2.95 million the Khmer Rouge tribunal, to cover the wages of Cambodian administration staff, the embassy announced Tuesday.

The money will be added to donations by France and Australia, totaling $1.5 million, which have already made operation of the Cambodian component of the tribunal feasible through the end of 2008.

"There are five detained [former Khmer Rouge leaders], and the investigation is ongoing to find their criminality," said Yoshimatsu Kaori, third secretary at the Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh. "With this additional assistance, we hope that the process will bring more justice and equity."

Japan is the largest donor to the tribunal. In 2005, it gave more than $21 million to the UN side of the hybrid courts, ending an early financial crisis at the tribunal. That was nearly half of the UN's $43 million estimated for three years of tribunal operation.

The $3 million comes as the tribunal is submitting a report on its financial need to donors in New York. Tribunal administrators submitted a revised budget to a steering committee of donors Monday, and a full meeting and presentation is expected Friday.

The revised budget comes to nearly $100 million, reduced from a figure submitted to donors in January of $114 million.

"We are extremely appreciative of Japan's announcement," tribunal spokeswoman Helen Jarvis said by e-mail Wednesday. "This comes at a very opportune time, as the donors are meeting in New York to consider the court presentation of its needs in the coming period."

Complaint Changes NDI Debate Schedule

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
18 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 18 June (979 KB) - Download (MP3)
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The National Democratic Institute on Wednesday moved its political debates from a principle of "equity" to one of "equality," a move election and party officials described as a legally fair act.

The new debate schedule will ensure more time for smaller parties but will take away some time from debate between the major parties. NDI changed its schedule at the behest of the National Election Committee, which had received complaints from smaller parties that the previous schedule had been unfair.

"We changed our scheduled program debates to equality for all political parties and reduced the number of scheduled debates from 31 to 22," Ly Sothearayuth, a senior NDI official, said Wednesday.

Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha called the change "justice for political parties...which provides more interest to the voters."

"And this move will benefit free and fair elections in July," he said.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha welcomed the NDI decision, describing it as a "positive step in conformity with Cambodian election law and the principle of democracy for all political parties."

"NEC and NDI are moving to strengthen their cooperation to work toward free and fair elections," he said.

Court asks National Assembly to strip Sam Rainsy of parliamentary immunity

Tracey SheltonSam Rainsy on the hustings, 2007. Supporters fear that a court request to strip Sam Rainsy of his parliamentary immunity is a prelude to the opposition leader's arrest.

The Bangkok Post

Written by Cheang Sokha and Cat Barton
Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy faces arrest, his supporters warn, after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court requested that the National Assembly strip Rainsy of his parliamentary immunity.

The move comes as the court is preparing to investigate Rainsy on charges of defamation and disinformation, allegations made by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

Sam Rainsy Party officials called the request an attempt by their main rival, the Cambodian People's Party, to force Rainsy to flee the country ahead of the July 27 general election.

Speaking to the Post on June 18 from Kompong Speu province, Rainsy said the ruling party hopes that by portraying him as a criminal, it can deflect attention away from its own shortcomings as polling day approaches.

"The CPP is not able to solve the issues that affect the country and make people miserable. Land grabbing, inflation – the CPP cannot solve these problems so they try to divert public attention with these tricks," Rainsy said June 18.

In a letter issued to National Assembly President Heng Samrin on June 16, the court’s chief prosecutor, Ouk Savuth, and deputy prosecutor, Ek Chheng Huot, asked the Assembly to "temporarily suspend the immunity of Sam Rainsy," saying that the court had collected enough evidence to warrant further investigation into accusations of defamation leveled against Sam Rainsy by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

Chheng Huot confirmed he made the request but offered no further comment.

The National Assembly is not currently in session. It is not expected to meet again until after the election in July. Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said that convening parliament to debate Rainsy's immunity would be "highly unusual," and such a move would likely indicate a larger political conspiracy.

Namhong’s allegations stem from an April 17 speech made by Sam Rainsy in which Rainsy accused Namhong of directing the Khmer Rouge’s Boeng Trabek prison, a detention center for intellectuals and members of the royal family.

Namhong has said repeatedly that he was an ordinary prisoner at Boeng Trabek, denying that he worked for the regime whose 1975-79 rule over Cambodia resulted in 1.7 million deaths.

"Hor Namhong filed a complaint against Sam Rainsy for defamation and disinformation on April 22," said the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Post on June 17."

The court has investigated the case and collected evidence that Sam Rainsy is suspected of defamation and disinformation," the letter said.

The court request follows the week-long detention of opposition newspaper editor Dam Sith, who was jailed last week for quoting Rainsy’s allegations in the newspaper Moneaksekar Khmer. Sith was released June 15 pending trial.

Opposition party members fear the court's request is a prelude to Rainsy's arrest.

"We are preparing for the worst, which is that he will have to go to Prey Sar [prison]," said Sam Rainsy Party Deputy Secretary General Mu Sochua.

"If Rainsy has to go to jail, Rainsy will go to jail. But we are strong," she said.

Rainsy last lost his parliamentary immunity in 1995 while he was in self-imposed exile in France, shortly before he was convicted of defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen in a case that drew heavy international criticism.

Although he was later pardoned and returned to Cambodia, Rainsy said the ruling CPP is still trying to shut him down.

"I am used to this kind of harassment – I know the ruling party is trying to stop my activities. They are very concerned ... they want to threaten me to push me out of the country," he said, dismissing the upcoming polls as "meaningless" in the face of the CPP's political maneuvering.

"They have secured victory even before voting day, as they have harmed the opposition.
They're using the courts, fake witnesses, fake evidence, to crack down on the opposition," Rainsy said, referring to recent statements by Hun Sen that an opposition party defector has accused Rainsy of involvement in a number of violent plots, including a 1998 attempt on the prime minister's life.

"This election is not a real election; it is just a facade of election -- a travesty," he said. "Now they want to silence the opposition altogether by arresting the leader of the opposition."

(Additional reporting by Kay Kimsong)