via CAAI News Media
Cambodia Destroys Tonnes of Oil Used to Make Ecstasy
Friday, 29 January 2010 03:14 DAP-NEWS
Cambodian authorities and Australian police on Thursday began destroying tonnes of a raw ingredient used to make the party drug ecstasy, an anti-narcotics official said.
They started burning 14.6 tonnes of confiscated sassafras oil, which is extracted from a rare tree found deep in Cambodia's jungles, said Moek Dara, secretary-general of Cambodia's national authority for combating drugs.
"If we don't crack down on the oil, a lot of people, not only those in Cambodia, will suffer," he told AFP, adding that it would take at least 10 days to destroy the sassafras.
Sassafras is an ingredient for cosmetics but also a precursor chemical to make ecstasy. Five litres of the oil would produce 10,000 pills of the club drug, officials said.
The oil comes from the rare M'rea Prov Phnom tree, Moek Dara said.
The stocks of sassafras, which were confiscated in anti-drug raids last year, were being destroyed in the northwestern province of Battambang along with nearly six tonnes of other chemical substances, he added.
Cambodia destroyed 35 tonnes of sassafras in 2007 when authorities made the oil illegal.
Impoverished Cambodia has become a popular trafficking point for narcotics, particularly methamphetamines and heroin, after neighbouring Thailand toughened its stance on illegal drugs in 2002. (AFP)
Hun Sen Warns Senior Military Officials
Friday, 29 January 2010 03:13 DAP-NEWS
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday warned senior military officials who he said were not performing thier duties well.
Speaking at a meeting of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), PM Hun Sen said that Som Samnang, director general the of finance unit, used to cheat soldiers of their money. “I agreed to hand each soldier with CR5000 as a bonus but this man gave only CR2000 to each soldier. I want to fire this guy but (defense minister) Tea Banh begged me many times not to,” he said. He also warned Choeurn Chanthon, another top military official, who apparently wanted to be deputy commander in chief of RCAF. “I did not agree to appoint him because this man just came into military services and this man had a conspiracy with Ong Somkhan, former navy commander, to sell the navy headquarters and I did not agree to sell that headquarters,” the PM said.
Chao Pirun, director general of technical unit, was also singled out for his mismanagement of weapons and ammunition of the RCA. “He put the weapons and ammunition in messily in warehouses,” Hun Sen added. He did not fire ny of the men .
The PM also warned against using his name and his wife’s name for cheating money, for logging or or illegal land grabs. He urged the defense minister to inform him first about troop movements. “I am not a scarecrow PM,” he said.
No corruption, illegal land clearance is allowed within Cambodian military.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen warned on Thursday that Cambodian military officials must stay away from corruption and land grabbing, but they rather improve controlling of military hardware stockpiles.
Speaking at the closing militarily seminar of reviewing the last five years of military activities, Hun Sen said that some military officials have been involved with criminal acts of either ripping off payment of soldiers or selling the lands of military bases.
“The selling land of the military bases and the unlawful protecting of businesses are to be blamed for weakening the defense field,” said Hun Sen, who himself was a military commander in 1970s during the country’s civil war.
Other officers were reported of involving with unlawful land clearances as well as sending soldiers to keep security at the commanders’ residences, he said.
“They must not use their powerful positions as military to protect businesses.”
“All the military commanders must stop their support any forms of illegal businesses,” Hun Sen warned.
Prime Minister Hun Sen also said that there has been reported about the corruption of Cambodian military, which cannot be tolerated by the government.
“Any corrupt military commanders must be removed.” He also said his Southeast Asian nation will never allow any foreign forces to use this kingdom as battlefield to fight back their own country overseas. He did not elaborate this.
He also said the last week clashed between Cambodia and Thailand armed forces was regarded as a small incident.
At least six soldiers were killed from both sides since the two Asian neighbors’ military armed clashed which have been locked in a standoff since July, 2008, near at the Cambodian Temple of Preah Vihear.
Rainsy Threatens Complaint to International Community
Friday, 29 January 2010 03:13 DAP-NEWS
Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Thursday said he is ready to file complaints related to his case to international courts, the internal community and other countries according to the October 23, 1991 agreement.
Rainsy’s remarks come after Svay Rieng court on Wednesday sentenced him to two years in jail and fine of nearly CR60 million of destroying public property after he and some local villagers pulled out border markers between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Speaking live from overseas to his lawmakers and other SRP members and activists, Sam Rainsy said that “I have not decided to come back yet as the Cambodian government still does not release the two convicted villagers.”
He also alleged that his case has been marred by interference from the Vietnamese Prime Minister . “To convict the two villagers and I is not important, but the most important thing is that Cambodian land was grabbed illegally by Vietnam.”
The opposition party leader also called into doubt the impartiality of the Cambodian court . He still claimed that he was not guilty as the border markers he pulled out were in Cambodian private land; local villagers’ paddy fields.
However, a government official said that the government is not worried about Rainsy’s threats .
Var Kimhong, Cambodian border committee president, told DAP News Cambodia on Thursday that “The government does not care about Sam Raisy´s complaints and the government is waiting to see who Sam Rainsy brings to talk about the border matters.”
French FM to Visit Cambodia
Friday, 29 January 2010 03:12 DAP-NEWS
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner will visit Cambodia in April to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
“The purpose of French foreign minister’s visit this time is to expand the bonds of friendly countries,” said Koy Kuong, spokesman and undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. “It will bring more success for mutual relations.”
Sok An, deputy prime minister and minister in charge of the Council of Ministers, said at the annual meeting of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts that French Foreign Minister will join the opening ceremony of the first-step restoration of Baphoun temple, which was completed with support from the French Government. The Baphoun, located in Siem Reap province, has been restored with help from the French government and experts over decades, though the Cambodian civil war halted work for years. Repairs have taken nearly 16 years. “French experts have worked with our experts, and it is the best achievement for temple restoration,” Sok An said. “The French government has helped us a lot in culture, including temple restoration.”
France was the colonial master of Cambodia for 90 years (1863-1953) and in 2009, Cambodian leaders including King Sihamoni, PM Hun Sen, and Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong and visited France. Cambodian government also agreed in principle to allow the French oil company TOTAL to invest Cambodian oil and gas exploration off the coast of Preah Sihanouk province after PM Hun Sen visited France last year, though there are rumors the deal has since fallen through.
Taiwanese Man Sen- tenced to 26 Years in Jail
Friday, 29 January 2010 03:11 DAP-NEWS
Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday convicted a Taiwanese man for drug trafficking and sentenced him to 26 years imprisonment and a fine of CR80 million , a court clerk said .
Chhin Sinhan was arrested at thr Phnom Penh International Airport on February 26, 2009, local police said.
The defendant admitted to bringing 2 packages of 1 kg of heroin from Cambodia to Taiwan. he claimed to have debts of US$ 30,000 that the other traffickers told him would be wiped. He said they threatened to kill his family. “Although, it is illegal, I must do it,” he added.
The defendant’s lawyer, Dun Vibol, appealed for leniency in light of his constrained circumstances.
Finance Minister Visits BVB’s Rice Investment
Friday, 29 January 2010 03:09 DAP-NEWS
The Finance Minister on Wednesday visited the VBV rice production facility in Kampong Thom province. General Manager of BVB Investment Doung Vibol told DAP News Cambodia that BVB was established in 2006to invest in agro-industrial projects .
The company has 1,999 ha developed with an Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan.
Doung Vibol said he bought about 3,190 tons of rice from farmers in Kampong Thom.
Finance Minister Keat Chhon was joined by other government officials
The BVB aims to produce at least 100,000 to 200,000 tons of rice a year, and about 12,500 tons of bran and about 4,400 tons od rice husks, he added.
Rice husks will be used to make at least 10 megawatts of power, he said.
Aorund 6,000 sows will also be raised, to be fed on at least 200-250 tons rice bran a day. BVB will construct a slaughterhouse able to kill about 400 pigs a day and produce to clean meat, he said.
Gov’t Official Pledges to Help Detained Cambodians
Friday, 29 January 2010 03:09 DAP-NEWS
Government officials pledged to help six Cambodians who crossed into Thailand territory and were charged and detained by a Thai Surin province court, according to a local Oddor Meanchey source on Wednesday.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Koy Koung told DAP News Cambodia on January 28 that the Cambodian Regional Consul is seeking to help the Cambodians, although they were in Thai territory and had probably committed crimes, the FM spokesman added.
“Cambodia will find defender lawyers to help them; it is not a big problem,” he said.
The Cambodians are liable to prosecution under Thai laws, Koy Koung added.
A local source, Chan Tha, told DAP News Cambodia that seven Cambodians left home to find vines near Surin province in Thailand, but six were arrested by Thai authorities, including four women.
The six Cambodians were identified as Sot Mun, 54, his wife Leav Nhim, 23, Seoung Tok, 36, Tun Sameth, 20, Tounh Kroy, 24, and San Reth, 33.
The seventh Cambodian Leang Kri, 50, escaped.
This is the third recent arrest of Cambodians by Thai authorities in Thai territory. Some Cambodians were shot by Thai soldiers.