Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Phnom Penh denies Thai red shirts trained for unrest in Cambodia

http://www.earthtimes.org/

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Wed, 02 Jun 2010
By : dpa

Phnom Penh - The Cambodian government on Wednesday rejected claims carried by a Thai television station that Thai opposition supporters crossed into western Cambodia and were trained in fomenting unrest.

A government spokesman said Cambodia followed a policy of peaceful co-existence with all nations, and would not interfere in another country's internal affairs.

ASTV on Monday carried a report in which a Thai military commander claimed that red shirts had crossed into Oddar Meanchey province, where they were trained in techniques to stir up social unrest.

The Thai commander, identified by the Cambodian government as Vivalit Chhonsomrit, then alleged that the training was a step towards declaring that north-eastern Thailand was under opposition control.

The Cambodian government said foreign military bases were not permitted on its territory, and called on the Thai media to refrain from distributing "baseless information, which would mislead national and international opinion."

The two-month showdown between anti-government protestors and the Thai government left at least 88 people dead and hundreds injured in Bangkok. Troops finally dispersed the demonstrators on May 19, sparking off rioting that destroyed numerous buildings in the capital.

Thailand's fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who has close ties to the protest movement, is an ally of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Thaksin's appointment last year as an adviser to the Cambodian government sparked a diplomatic rift between the two nations that has still not healed.

Cambodian high court says lawmaker defamed prime minister


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Jun 2, 2010

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court's ruling that an opposition legislator had defamed Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The court also upheld a 4,000-dollar fine against former women's affairs minister Mu Sochua.

Speaking outside the Supreme Court, she called the ruling 'a travesty of justice' and pledged to go to jail rather than pay.

'I have been found guilty of a crime I have not committed,' she said. 'This is not justice. This is justice for sale, and for the powerful people only.'

Mu Sochua and several dozen supporters from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party then tried to march to the annual meeting of foreign donors, which began Wednesday.

But armed riot police blocked their path, and they were forced to abandon the march.

Donors are expected to pledge around 1 billion dollars to the government during the two-day conference.

Mu Sochua said donor nations must exert pressure on Phnom Penh.

'You have as much responsibility as any development partner to hold the government to account,' she said. 'And that means justice, equality, a fair trial and human rights that must be upheld for Cambodia to move forward.'

Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling was the culmination of a yearlong battle between Mu Sochua and the prime minister.

It began after a speech in which Hun Sen used the term 'strong leg,' described by some as derogatory, against an unnamed woman from Kampot province.

Mu Sochua, who represents Kampot province, said the comment was aimed at her and was defamatory. Hun Sen countersued, saying that her allegation of defamation was itself defamatory.

Her case was dismissed in court, her lawyer quit after coming under political pressure.

The case against the opposition lawmaker was one of several brought against the government's critics over the past 18 months, and led to fears of increasing repression.

Foreign donors meet in Phnom Penh for aiding Cambodia

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PHNOM PENH, June 2 (AP) - (Kyodo)—International aid donors opened the annual Consultative Group meeting here Wednesday to decide on the level of aid disbursements to the country for 2010.

More than 100 representatives from 16 donor countries, including Japan and the United States, and from seven international financial organizations such as the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, are attending the forum. They are expected to make aid pledges at the end of the two-day meeting.

The group has met annually since 1996, and as of today, Cambodia has received foreign aid worth about $4 billion.

In December 2008, considering the global economic crisis, Cambodia had sought about $500 million for 2009, but it received $951.5 million, almost double, as China pledged $257 million, followed by the European Union with $214 million and Japan with $113 million.

Cambodia received aid pledges of $690 million in 2008.

Delivering a speech at the opening of the forum to the group, Prime Minister Hun Sen promised that his government will continue to tackle several key issues including corruption, judicial reform, and land disputes, all of which have been often cited by the donors as being areas of concern.

On Monday, Global Witness, a London-based environmental advocacy group, urged international donors to tackle the gross mismanagement of the country's natural resources.

"The Cambodian government has been promising to reform for years, but nothing had changed," said Global Witness Campaigns Director Gavin Hayman.

Three days ahead of the meeting, members of parliament of Cambodia's opposition Sam Rainsy Party issued a statement praising and acknowledging the progress made in several areas but saying more work remains in key sectors.

Cambodia is one of the world's poorest nations with some 35 percent of its 14.5 million people living below the poverty line, defined as earning less than $1 a day.

DAP News ; Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

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Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority wins industry water award 2010 from Sweden

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 11:21 DAP-NEWS by Tep Piseth

Phnom Penh water supply authorities announced Wednesday that it named Phnom Penh water supply to get 2010 industry award for its role effective role in water management that classified in world model,” the statement from the Stockholm International Water Institute said.

It said that the 2010 winner is the Cambodian Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) under the leadership of General Director Ek Sonn Chan, for its world class performance in water supply and self-sufficiency.
“The PPWSA has successfully fought corruption and shown this can be achieved in a developing country on a large-scale basis using simple but effective management techniques that are based on well-accepted business principles and strategies.

As a self-sufficient company, operating without subsidies from the state, PPWSA today provides 24-hour service and 90 per cent coverage to a city of 1.3 million and fully recovers its costs as it continues to develop both its infrastructure and management.

Cambodia refused “Thai Red Protesters train for social unrest activities in Thailand”

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 11:41 DAP-NEWS by Tep Piseth

The Spokesman of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday totally rejected a Thai ASTV report dated 31 May 2010 at 09:00 am that “the Thai Regional Military 2 commander, Vivalit Chhonsomrit, claimed that there are a number of armed Red Shirt elements who moved into the Cambodian territory in Anlongveng district of Oddor Meanchey province, where they are trained how to carry out social unrest activities and create political upheaval in Thailand prior to the setting up of a command headquarter in Thai Sokonnakhan province, in a move to announce that the country’s northeastern region is under Red Shirt’s control.”

The Spokesman of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers is duty-bound to bring clarification to the national and international public that the Kingdom of Cambodia is bound by its Constitution, of which Article 53, paragraph 2, 3, and 5 stated as follows: “The Kingdom of Cambodia follows a policy of peaceful co-existence with its neighbors and with all other countries throughout the world.”

“The Kingdom of Cambodia shall not invade any country, nor interfere in any other country's internal affairs, directly or indirectly, and shall solve any problems peacefully with due respect for mutual interests”, and “The Kingdom of Cambodia shall not permit any foreign military base on its territory and shall not have its own military base abroad, except within the framework of the United Nations.”

In order to maintain bilateral and friendly relations between Cambodia and Thailand, the Spokesman of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers insists that Thai officials and military officers as well as its media must be cautious not to disseminate baseless information, which would mislead the national and international public opinion and unnecessarily cause misunderstanding between Cambodia and Thailand.

U.S. found winners for Cambodian students on Mock Trial

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 11:43 DAP-NEWS by Chantha

The students from the Royal University of Law and Economics has won 2010 National Mock Trial Competition which supported by The US embassy in Cambodia, the statement from US embassy said on Wednesday.

It added that a team from Royal University of Law and Economics won the fourth annual Mock Trial Competition, which tests the legal and advocacy skills of talented Cambodian law students.

It noted the three-day event, which concluded with an awards ceremony on Friday, May 28, was sponsored by the United States through USAID and hosted by the Royal University of Law and Economics.

“I am so happy to have won this competition, it’s my dream,” said Kim Maryan, a member of the winning team was quoted by the statement a saying. “I have learned a lot of new skills and techniques especially advocacy and case analysis that will help me in law school and in my future career.” She said.

The statement added that the competition featured nine teams of five students and was presided over by a mixed panel of international and Cambodian legal professionals. The contest is designed to improve the effectiveness of the Cambodian legal system by strengthening the skills of students who will soon embark on careers as lawyers and judges.

It stated that through several rounds of competition, the teams were presented with difficult legal cases and had to organize evidence around a theory and persuasively argue their case to the panel of judges. The team from the Royal University of Law and Economics won the silver medal.

In addition to the winners, teams from eight Cambodian law schools participated in the competition. The law schools represented were University of Cambodia, Pannasastra University of Cambodia, Norton University, Royal University of Law and Economics, Cambodia Mekong University, Build Bright University, National University of Management and the Cambodian University for Specialties.

USAID, together with its implementing partners East West Management Institute, The Asia Foundation and the American Bar Association, has provided approximately $5 million in assistance this year to support legal education strengthen Cambodia’s legal system by training judges and lawyers, and provide the public with greater access to information.

Cambodia, Indonesia share common benefits from visa exemption

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 11:23 DAP-NEWS by Tep Piseth

Cambodia and Indonesia, the two countries ASEAN on Wednesday inked an agreement on visa exemption tourism industry to share the common benefits between the two countries.
Hor Namhong, Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the visiting Marty Natalegawa, Indonesian foreign minister inked the agreement for visa exemption.

The visa exemption will provide for benefits for tourists from Indonesia to Cambodia and from this agreement, Cambodian people will be able to go to Indonesia easily,” Hor told reporters after signing ceremony.

According to the statement from foreign ministry, Marty Natalegawa paid a three-day official visit to Cambodia and he paid the courtesy call on Chea Sim, president of the Senate, Heng Samrin, president of the National Assembly and Prime Minister Hun Sen. Marty Natalegawa will also be received a royal audience by King Norodom Sihamoni.

Cambodia will look forward to inking other agreements on visa exemptions with other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in the Asian region and in Europe.

Cambodia has inked similar agreements with other members in ASEAN except Brunei, Myanmar and Thailand. ASEAN countries are walking forward to building ASEAN community in 2015.

Cambodian Supreme Court uphold for defamation between opposition lawmaker and PM Hun Sen

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 11:18 DAP-NEWS by Chantha

Cambodia's Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the verdict from lower court that ruled opposition legislator Mu Sochua had defamed Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The lower court convicted former women's affairs minister Mu Sochua to lose the defamation with Prime Minister Hun Sen and the courts ordered her to pay Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen with 2,000 US dollars as compensation and fined other 2,125 US dollars to government. After the top court announced the verdict, she told reporters outside : I lost the case because the court is biased. “The court was provided injustice for me,” she said.

I will not pay the money and allow the police to arrest me better than pay the money,” she stresses. The court dealt the case that filed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, But it did not take up my complaints against PM Hun Sen.

Prime Minister Hun Sen Said on Third Cambodia Development Cooperate Forum (CDCF)

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 10:02 DAP-NEWS

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, June 2, 2010 - “Last year’s global economic crisis was a litmus test to measure sound achievement that we have made so far and to test the capacity of the Government in leading socio-economic development. While going through the hardest period of this crisis, Cambodia has gained lessons and experiences through designing and implement necessary policies to contain the interconnected measures aiming at helping the sectors that were directly hit by the crisis, by strengthening social safety nets for Cambodian people and giving priorities to sectors that has the potential to generate high economic growth and support the effort for economic diversification and poverty reduction, as well as improving livelihoods of the overwhelming majority of Cambodian people in the rural areas, namely the agriculture sector.

From these lessons and experiences, we must have a social security system that is formal, comprehensive and consistent with the capacity and needs of Cambodia. In the meantime, the conceptual framework for a social security system has already been developed, and we are taking a step further to transform this conceptual framework into concrete mechanism for implementation”. PM Hun Sen said.

"Based on experiences and lessons we have learnt, we clearly realize that when the global financial meltdown has subsided we must seek ways to define various policy measures that we must implement in order to ensure that Cambodia is on the pace of high economic growth, strengthen and expand our achievements in poverty reduction and sustainable development. We must also ensure that the Cambodia’s economic structure will be modernized and the basis for economic growth will be more comprehensively strengthened along with the progress of national and regional integration. Thus our key issue is to strengthen the competitive advantages of Cambodia. I believe that major priority that I have stressed earlier including the detailed policy measures stated in the Updated National Strategic Development Plan will help pave the way for spearheading the ship of Cambodia to move toward achieving the vision and strategic objectives of realizing the ambition set out by the Royal Government in the Rectangular Strategy II." he added.

PM Hun Sen Assures Donors Transparency, Fights Graft, and More Invest in Social Sectors

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 09:39 DAP-NEWS/ Ek Madra

CAMBODIA,PHNOM PENH, June 2, 2010– Prime Minister Hun Sen assured donors on Wednesday that he will ensure that the revenues from the extractive industry, vowed to fight graft and to further invest in social sectors as well as establishing stock market all of which for the benefit the Cambodian people.

Speaking at the third development cooperation forum (CDCF), known as donor meeting, Prime Minister said that “the government will strengthen the government capacity in collection and efficient, transparent and accountable management of revenues from all extractive industries, especially from gold mining, oil and gas”.

The Premier said that he encouraged all walks of lives in society to participate in fighting against corruption, which urged by donors as pressing issue needed to be implemented.

Prime Minister assured “the implementation of all important reforms by the government must aim at strengthening good government, through the reform of public administration, legal and judicial reform including anti-corruption.”

“In the context of this vision, the government considers the fight against corruption as a top priority,” said Hun Sen, who has been in power over the last 30 years.

The Cambodian National Assembly in March approved the long-awaited anti-corruption law, which will be used by the government as a legal tool to fight graft but the critics said the law is not transparent could lead to the failure in tackling the corrupt acts.

Hun Sen also said that Cambodia committed to further invest in social sectors such as education, especially in agriculture, a country’s backbone economy, employed nearly 80 percent of the country’s jobs.

The Kingdom has high potential in agriculture followed by tourism and garment.

The country has been successful with rice production in the last decade and this prospect remains unchanged. The kingdom produced an estimated 7.3 million tones of rice for 2009/2010 of which the country saw another surplus of rice of 3.1 million tones available for exports.

“I would like to urge all stakeholders and partners, especially the private sector to support the effective implementation of those measures in order to ensure poverty reduction, improving the living standard of Cambodian as well as promoting the country’s sustainable development,” he said.

Hun Sen also said that Cambodia, who has set out ‘financial sector development strategy 2006- 2015’, will soon have stock market expected in September this year.

“By fast tracking the establishment of Cambodia’s exchange market to mobilize financial resources from both sides and outside the country for national development,” he said in his remark on first day of the meeting to end on Thursday.

It was not immediately known how much Cambodia was seeking from donors this week. The National Assembly of this former war-torn nation on Monday approved $6.3 billion, a policy blue print for National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2009- 2013, as investment budget. Cambodia expected donors to fix the shortfall of the investment budget.

The funds will be invested in social, economic, infrastructure and services, Chhay Than, minister of planning, told donors.

Last government-donor meeting in 2008, Cambodia received $951.5 million in assistance, the biggest aid ever since 1994, from donors who urged the country to more reforms including combating graft, land grabs and judicial reform.

The World Bank Country Director Ms Annette Dixon said in her remark “Cambodia has made significant progress in economic growth, poverty reduction and social development in the past decade.”

Cambodian growth hit almost double digits from 1998 to 2007. This Southeast Asian nation projected at 4.4 pct for 2010 and higher at 6 percent for 2011 thanks to the regional economic recovery. The country’s poverty line is now said 30 percent out of the country’s total nearly 14 million from nearly 50 percent in early 1990s when the factional leaders agreed to end the conflicts followed U.N. sponsored election in 1993.

Cambodia Rejects Thais Commander Claims Armed Red Shirt Trained in a Former Khmer Rouge Stronghold

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 07:38 DAP-NEWS/ Ek Madra

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, June 2, 2010 – Cambodia “totally rejected” a Thais media reported that the Red Shirt are gathering in Cambodian Oddarmenchey province where they are trained how to carry out social unrest activities in Thailand, said the Spokesman of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.

The Thai Regional Military 2 commander, Vivalit Chhonsomrit, claimed that there are a number of armed Red Shirt elements who moved into the Cambodian territory in Along Veng district of Oddormeanchey province, where they are also trained how to create political upheaval in Thailand, in a move to announce that the country’s northeastern region is under Red Shirt’s control, according to an ASTV reported on 31 May.

“The Killing Fields” leader Pol Pot died in 1998 in Along Veng district borders with Thailand.

The Spokesman of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers is duty-bound to bring clarification to the national and international public that the Kingdom of Cambodia is bound by its Constitution, of which Article 53, paragraph 2, 3, and 5, said the release.

“The Kingdom of Cambodia follows a policy of peaceful co-existence with its neighbors and with all other countries throughout the world.”

The release said that “the Kingdom of Cambodia shall not invade any country, nor interfere in any other country's internal affairs, directly or indirectly, and shall solve any problems peacefully with due respect for mutual interests”.

“The Kingdom of Cambodia shall not permit any foreign military base on its territory and shall not have its own military base abroad, except within the framework of the United Nations,” it said.

Cambodia urged Thais media and officials must be cautious not to disseminate groundless information, which would mislead the national and international public opinion and unnecessarily cause misunderstanding between Cambodia and Thailand.

“In order to maintain bilateral and friendly relations between Cambodia and Thailand, the Spokesman of the Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers insists that Thai officials and military officers as well as its media must be cautious not to disseminate baseless information, which would mislead the national and international public opinion and unnecessarily cause misunderstanding between Cambodia and Thailand,” said the release.

Rainy season preparations

Photo by: Uy Nousereimony

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:00 Uy Nousereimony
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A farmer begins ploughing before 6am on Sunday in Kampong Chhnang province.

Prison marks Children’s Day

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
An inmate at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison plays with her daughter during an event organised to mark International Children’s Day on Tuesday. Rights workers visited the prison and handed out gifts to young inmates as well as to children staying with their incarcerated mothers.

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:04 Mom Kunthear and Phak Seangly
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MORE than 800 child inmates as well as 54 children whose mothers are incarcerated were presented with soap and food packages prepared by the rights group Licadho on Tuesday to mark International Children’s Day.

At the capital’s Prey Sar prison, the annual visit also included a traditional dance performance.

Yim Ngang, a representative of the Interior Ministry’s Prisons Department, stressed the rehabilitative aspects of incarceration in remarks before more than 400 young inmates housed in Prey Sar’s Correctional Centre 2.

“The correctional centre is not the place for punishing all of you, but the place for training and educating you to become good people who can learn some skills as well,” he said. “You have to change your mind and try to learn the skills in the centre in order to help to develop our country when you all leave from here.”

Inmates at CC2 are currently taught carpentry and mechanics basics as part of vocational training programmes. CC2 director Chat Sineang said that of the 412 minor inmates incarcerated there, 380 are being held on robbery charges or have been convicted of robbery. In addition, 14 children are staying at the facility because their mothers have been convicted of a range of crimes, he said.

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Inmates at Prey Sar prison accept gifts of food and soap from the rights group Licadho on Tuesday.

Figures distributed by Licadho prison researcher Chheav Hourlay on Tuesday revealed that there are 829 child inmates in 15 correctional facilities nationwide, along with 54 children of inmates.

Ros Chanmoly, 40, who was convicted on human trafficking charges while pregnant with her daughter, now 2 years old, said that while she appreciated the visit, she was upset that her daughter had spent her whole life behind bars. “My daughter was born in prison,” she said.

“I have been in jail for three years, and I have to wait 12 more before I can leave.”

Firms begin RCAF pairings


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:04 James O’toole and Cheang Sokha
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OFFICIALS from the private sector have reported uneven implementation of the controversial partnerships between military units and local businesses that were announced three months ago and drew concerns that the arrangement would further obscure government finances and leave soldiers beholden to private interests.

A document signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and dated February 22 set forth a list of roughly 60 partnerships between military units, government offices and private companies in a bid to drum up support for the Kingdom’s armed forces. Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan explained at the time that the government hoped to foster a “culture of sharing” in which companies would provide their partner units with food, shelter and other charitable donations.

Opposition and civil society members have since warned that the programme carries serious risks. In a statement released ahead of the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum – a two-day meeting in which donors will assess the government’s progress on a number of reforms and make new aid pledges – corruption watchdog group Global Witness called the partnerships one of “a series of revelations of high-level corruption and governance failures over the last 18 months” that donors must address. Global Witness campaigns director Gavin Hayman said in a March statement that the arrangement was “tantamount to sanctioning a mercenary force”.

Ministry of Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat said Tuesday that military units and private companies were “continuing to form partnerships”. He did not have figures on the number of companies participating in the scheme, but he said that broad support from the private sector “boosts morale on the front lines and encourages soldiers to behave more bravely”.

On Friday, officials from Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) Division 3, the Council of Ministers and the Kraek Rubber Plantation Company signed an agreement formalising a partnership that was first set forth in the February document, RCAF Division 3 commander Srey Doek said.

The Council of Ministers, Srey Doek added, had donated roughly US$4 million to the division, and Kraek Rubber Plantation Company agreed to build an artillery training centre and a base for the division’s tank battalion, valued together at $220,000.

“The donations and support from the government and the private sector will help relieve the difficulties facing soldiers and their families at the base,” Srey Doek said.

Tan Monivan, deputy director general of the Mong Reththy Group, said his company had provided financial support, food, solar panels and generators to the RCAF units with which it had been partnered: Region 3’s Battalion 827 and Region 5’s Messenger Unit. He declined to put a dollar figure on the company’s contributions, though he said they had fallen short of the units’ demands.

“We offered them about 80 percent of what they asked for, based on what we could afford,” Tan Monivan said.

Representatives of other companies named in the original announcement, however, said they were not aware of any contributions to the military made by their firms.

Mobile-phone operator Mobitel, owned by the Royal Group, is listed in the document signed by Hun Sen in February as the benefactor of RCAF Region 4’s headquarters and Battalion 793. Mobitel General Manager David Spriggs said Tuesday, however, that he was “not aware of any specific request” from the military or government. Royal Group chief financial officer Mark Hanna said he had no knowledge of such a partnership, while Royal Group CEO Kith Meng declined to comment.

Canadia Bank vice president Dieter Billmeier said he had “no idea” whether his company had participated in the programme. Canadia Bank is paired with RCAF Region 5’s Battalion 815 and Brigade 14 in the February document.

Billmeier said there is “nothing in the expenses, nothing in the balance sheet” to indicate that Canadia is involved in these partnerships, though he noted that senior executives may have chosen to contribute private donations.

Stephen Higgins, CEO of ANZ Royal Bank, said in an email on Tuesday that his company had declined to participate in the programme despite being listed as supporter of RCAF Division 3’s Brigade 8 and Region 4’s Battalion 905.

“As a global organisation, operating in many countries, it is not appropriate for ANZ to provide financial support to the Military, in any country in which it operates,” he wrote.

Ly Yong Phat, a senator from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and head of the LYP Group, confirmed in March that he would be providing support to the military under the new programme. Observers say Ly Yong Phat’s manipulation of his military partnership thus far demonstrates the dangers of such an arrangement.

Residents of Kampong Speu province’s Thpong district said in March that troops from RCAF Battalion 313, assigned for support from Ly Yong Phat under the new programme, had been deployed to protect a land concession of the senator’s against which local villagers had protested.

“I think that’s a conflict of interest, and the corruption is there,” said Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann. “You see that [with] Ly Yong Phat, the CPP senator and also Okhna, and you can see that more than 100 military forces have forced the people from their land.”

Chhum Socheat said he was aware of this case, but that he did not believe it was cause for concern.

“I heard about the case of the land dispute between the Ly Yong Phat company and the villagers in Kampong Speu, but I do not have documents to prove whether the soldiers, the company and the villagers are right or wrong,” Chhum Socheat said.

“Anyway, I don’t think this is a problem because we are all under the law, and if any side does anything wrong, we have the law.”

Vice raids filling jails to capacity in S’ville


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:04 Chhay Channyda and Brooke Lewis
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THE number of inmates in Preah Sihanouk provincial prison has increased by roughly 50 percent since January because of a crackdown on vice ordered by Prime Minister Hun Sen, stretching the facility to its capacity and necessitating the transfer of some prisoners, officials said Tuesday.

Hun Sen has issued multiple calls for officials to raid venues suspected of permitting gambling, drug use and prostitution this year.

On March 19, for instance, he told an audience at the National Institute of Education that raids should not be carried out in fits and starts, but as part of an ongoing effort to curtail such activities. “Do not just do like a heavy rain, and then finish. You must continue cracking down on these operations like drizzling rain that doesn’t stop,” the premier said.

Vun Ngoun, deputy director of Preah Sihanouk provincial prison, said Tuesday that the campaign had caused the number of prisoners at his facility to jump to 306 by the end of May, up from around 200 at the begining of this year.

“Before, the law was too loose and some judges reduced jail terms or acquitted charges when the suspects paid money,” Vun Ngoun said. “But now, the number of prisoners is jumping up. It must be more difficult to release the suspects.”

He added that the facility would have exceeded its capacity of 350 – a fairly common occurrence nationally – had 48 convicted prisoners not been sent to Banteay Meanchey province last month.

“We decided to relocate 48 convicted prisoners who had received long-term jail sentences,” he said. “I thought that transferring some prisoners could reduce some of our work, but then around 35 new prisoners just came in after another vice raid.”

Heng Hak, director general of the Interior Ministry’s Prisons Department, said the campaign against vice had swollen occupancy at prisons in select provinces throughout the country.

“The vice crackdown has increased the number of prisoners in some big provinces – like in Phnom Penh, Koh Kong, Kratie and Siem Reap – which are the main tourist and business areas,” he said.

“It’s a problem, but what we can do is to transfer prisoners from crowded prisons to less-crowded prisons. It is difficult to handle, but we do our best.”

But Naly Pilorge, Licadho’s executive director, said such transfers could potentially exacerbate the problem of overcrowding by delaying the processing of individual cases in court.

“In the past six months there have been a lot of transfers, and that causes some confusion,” she said. “There has been a lot of shuffling to deal with the overpopulation.”

Vice in Sihanoukville
Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Tak Vantha said that the jump in arrests in his province reflected increased vigilance on the part of law enforcement, as well as high crime rates in Sihanoukville in particular.

“We can say we catch at least one suspect every two days, or an average of 17 suspects per month,” he said in reference to vice raids in Sihanoukville.

“We do not want crimes to happen so that we can arrest people for our achievements, but we want crimes to be eliminated or our people will not be living peacefully,” he added.

Tak Vantha emphasised that there is no sign that the arrests will let up.

“We have to crack down on whoever does anything against the law,” he said. “Our drizzling rain action is still continued.”

City Hall could force retailers to ban plastic


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:04 Khouth Sophakchakrya
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MUNICIPAL authorities in Phnom Penh may ban the use of plastic bags in retail shops as early as this month, officials said Tuesday.

Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said officials are considering implementing a total ban on plastic bags handed out by retailers. Instead, retailers would be encouraged to distribute only bags made from biodegradable materials.

“We must say no to plastic bags. Combating climate change and plastic bags is our common duty,” he said.

Mann Chhoeun said authorities were tired of seeing discarded plastic bags fluttering about on local roads and in public parks. The bags can clog the city’s drainage system, he added.

Some local retailers, however, said it would be difficult to run their businesses without plastic bags.

Meas Rithy, a fish vendor at Old Market, said alternatives are hard to come by.

“We can easily buy plastic bags almost everywhere. But it’s hard to find other products,” he said, and added that vendors are merely responding to consumer demand. “We use plastic because that’s what buyers ask for.”

Rithya Lauv, the marketing systems manager at Lucky Market, said shoppers ask for plastic bags even though cloth bags are available for a price. He said the company would support the municipality’s ban scheme, though he could not offer a timeline on how long it would take to phase out plastic.

Leng Simen, deputy director of Phnom Penh’s waste management department, said plastic, including bags, makes up roughly 10 percent of the city’s total waste, which he estimated at 1,000 tonnes per day.

NA nixes SRP Takeo border investigation


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:03 Meas Sokchea
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THE National Assembly has said that a group of Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers will not be permitted to visit a border area in Takeo province that is the site of alleged Vietnamese incursions, party officials said.

On Monday, the SRP wrote to Assembly President Heng Samrin to inform him that lawmakers would be travelling to Anchanh village in Borei Cholsa district to survey the location of border post No 270, which villagers say has been planted inside Cambodia.

“We want to see with our own eyes, as members of parliament. We want to hear what the people have to say,” SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said Tuesday, describing the trip as a “fact-finding mission”.

But in a letter Tuesday, Heng Samrin wrote that he “would not allow and would not be responsible” for the SRP’s trip.

Another letter from the National Assembly’s secretariat stated that if the SRP wanted information about the border-demarcation process, it should direct questions to the government.

SRP spokesman and lawmaker Yim Sovann said Tuesday that the party still plans to make the trip, and that permission is not needed.

“We just informed the assembly president we would go,” he said. “The law and regulations of the assembly do not state that before going to visit people and fulfilling our duties throughout Cambodia it is necessary to ask permission.”

The Takeo allegations come amid an SRP campaign that has drawn attention to alleged border encroachments in Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district. In January, SRP president Sam Rainsy was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail after he joined villagers in pulling up wooden border markers in October.

Tith Sothea, a member of the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, said local authorities will block the lawmakers if they try to travel to the Takeo border area.

“They are afraid of these people’s representatives falling down into anarchy, the same as Sam Rainsy’s case in Svay Rieng province,” he said, and added that the allegations of encroachment are “baseless”.

Census begins in KChhnang as fishing villages face relocation

Photo by: Sam Rith
A floating village on the Tonle Sap river in Kampong Chhnang province is shown earlier this year. A census of an estimated 2,000 families along the river has begun as part of preparations to move some of them.

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:03 Vong Sokheng
via CAAI News Media

OFFICIALS in Kampong Chhnang province have begun recording information on an estimated 2,000 families living in floating villages on the Tonle Sap river, part of preparations to relocate some of them in response to dwindling fish catches and increasingly insanitary conditions.

Hok My, the chief of the Phsar Krom community, said the census began last month, adding that he did not know when it would be completed.
Established shortly after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, the community is composed of ethnic Vietnamese, Khmer and Cham Muslim families.

“About 60 percent of villagers living in the floating community can no longer catch enough fish to sell in the market,” Hok My said. “The riverbank has eroded, the water level is lower, and villagers in the community release about 1 tonne of waste every day, so the conditions are very unsanitary.”

He added that he had received “requests from a number of poor villagers” to be granted farmland.

Sam Chankea, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said the relocation of some of the families had been discussed since 2000, but that officials had never settled on a definitive plan.

Reached on Tuesday, provincial governor Touch Marim confirmed that the census had been launched, but said he did not know when any relocations would take place.

“We need to resolve this problem,” he said. “Otherwise there will be damage to the environment and no waterway for traffic.”

Embassy in UK hits out at graft watchdog


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:03 Sebastian Strangio
via CAAI News Media

THE Cambodian embassy in the United Kingdom has ramped up its feud with anticorruption watchdog Global Witness, again accusing the group’s campaigners of suffering from “mental disabilities” and engaging in “hugely damaging smear campaigns” to discredit the Cambodian government.

In a statement released Tuesday, the embassy ridiculed calls from Global Witness for foreign donors to emphasise good governance issues at this week’s Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum.

“It is naive for Global Witness to imagine that Cambodia’s development partners are not fully aware of the way this pressure group engages in virulent and malicious campaigns,” the statement said.

In a statement Monday, Global Witness called for donors to tackle the “gross mismanagement” of the country’s natural resources during the meeting.

“The political elite has no intention of loosening its stranglehold over the country’s natural resource wealth. Donors simply cannot continue to turn a blind eye,” campaigns director Gavin Hayman said in the statement.

Chi Kraeng villagers get day in court


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:03 Rann Reuy
via CAAI News Media

SIEM REAP PROVINCE

SIEM Reap provincial court has begun questioning villagers arrested on accusations of stealing rice from disputed farmland last year, in the latest development stemming from a 25-year-old land dispute in Chi Kraeng commune.

Chin Lyda, a lawyer provided by rights group Licadho, said he accompanied three of the jailed villagers to court on Tuesday. “We will bring three more villagers to court on Wednesday, and three on Thursday,” he said.

“I do not think they should turn this case into a criminal case, because it remains unclear who the actual owners of the disputed land are.”

The land dispute stretches back to 1986, when one large village was divided equally between Chi Kraeng and Anlong Samnor communes, leaving an unspecified number of hectares of farmland in dispute. The fight over the land became heated a few years ago when two businessmen came forward, each claiming they had documents proving their ownership of the land.

In January 2009, the provincial court ruled that all of the disputed land belonged to Anlong Samnor, triggering conflicts between villagers from the two communes. On March 18, military police opened fire on Chi Kraeng villagers agitating for the right to farm the disputed land, injuring four of them. No military police officers have faced charges over the incident.

A total of 11 villagers were subsequently arrested after they were caught harvesting rice from the disputed land on March 22.

Ten Kumheap, the wife of jailed villager Chheng Savoeun, said officials questioned her husband about the alleged “rice robbery” on Tuesday. She contended that the rice in question was planted by the villagers themselves.

“No villagers stole any rice,” she said. “We planted the rice, so we harvested the rice.”

Lawyer Chin Lyda added that as long as the villagers languished in prison, the protracted dispute would be “difficult to settle”.

Investigating Judge Sok Leang was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

NGOs urge donors to press govt on land fights, forced evictions

Photo by: Rick Valenzuela
Boeung Kak resident Chum Chamnan prepares a ceremonial tray at her lakeside home in August 2008. That same day, developers started filling the lake with sand.

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:03 May Titthara
via CAAI News Media

INTERNATIONAL donors must pressure the Cambodian government to resolve land disputes, local groups said Tuesday on the eve of a major donor conference.

At a press conference organised by the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of the NGO Forum, said that donors will be guilty of negligence if they overlook disputes affecting thousands of people.

Donors “have spent a lot of money on issues like land reform. But a number of donors still keep quiet,” he said.

So far this year, rights groups have recorded at least 81 new land disputes that could affect more than 1,300 families, he said. These include five high-profile disputes, all of which involve companies claiming farmland occupied by villagers.

In Phnom Penh, roughly 4,000 families stand to be displaced as part of the massive Boeung Kak lake development. Many of the affected families have complained that the World Bank-funded Land Management and Administration Project, which was aimed at creating an “efficient and transparent” national land administration system, severely hurt their chances of obtaining land titles and avoiding eviction.

“We just want to use our rights to get titles to our land,” Huot Mony, a Boeung Kak villager who stands to be affected by the development, said Tuesday.

Local NGOs who work on land issues are preparing to present recommendations to both the government and donors today.

“We hope the government will think about this issue, and we want donor countries to put their money in the right direction,” Chhith Sam Ath said.

Tith Sothea, a member of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers, said Tuesday that NGOs failed to provide balanced accounts of land disputes.

Mu Sochua stands firm on fines

Photo by: Sovan Philong
Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua leads a march near Olympic Market after Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted her of defamation in August 2009.

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:03 Sebastian Strangio and Meas Sokchea
via CAAI News Media

OUTSPOKEN opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua has reiterated her stance that she will refuse to pay any fines associated with a long-running defamation case involving Prime Minister Hun Sen, as the Supreme Court prepared to make a final ruling on the case today.

In August, Phnom Penh Municipal Court found the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian guilty of defaming Hun Sen and ordered her to pay 16.5 million riels (around US$3,975) in fines and compensation, a verdict that was upheld on appeal in October.

Mu Sochua said she is hoping for a fair hearing, but that she would prefer to face jail rather than pay the fine.

“That’s been my position from the beginning,” she said. “I have not committed any crime. My conscience is clear.”

The SRP lawmaker was sued by Hun Sen after she filed her own defamation suit, accusing him of insulting her during a speech in Kampot province in April 2009. Her own accusations were thrown out by the Appeal Court in October.

On Tuesday, she said the outcome of the case was about more than the prime minister’s insult.

“The Cambodian people are living in fear, and it is time to stand up,” she said. “This is not about my case – it’s about the national interest.”

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the party will stand behind Mu Sochua if she refuses to pay the court-ordered fines. “We are leaving that up to Mu Sochua. We don’t mind what her decision is,” he said.

Ky Tech, the government lawyer who represents Hun Sen, said that if Mu Sochua fails to carry out any court order she could be criminally liable. “If I win a case in the Supreme Court, I would request the court to enforce its decision,” he said.

In a legal analysis of the case made public Tuesday, the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) stated that the lower courts had failed to uphold Mu Sochua’s right to a fair trial and ignored her right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the Constitution.

According to Article 63 of the UNTAC Penal Code, defamation is defined as “any bad faith allegation or imputation of a given fact which harms the honor or reputation of an individual”. CCHR, however, claims government lawyers failed to convincingly prove that Mu Sochua had harmed Hun Sen’s reputation or did so in “bad faith” – both key elements of the law.

“In this case it is difficult to look at the facts of the case and evidence presented and conclude that major doubts did not exist as to whether the elements of the offence had been proven,” the analysis stated.

Other observers said the Supreme Court’s ruling would be a litmus test for the Cambodian judiciary.

“It will be a crushing defeat for freedom of speech if the result goes against Mu Sochua,” said Hang Chhaya, executive director of the Khmer Institute for Democracy.

He added that the protracted legal battle also reflected poorly on the country.

“It’s cost a lot of time and is not setting a good example for Cambodia,” he said.

Calls for international action
An NGO briefing paper released by 15 NGOs on Tuesday struck a similar tone, saying that foreign governments should address the issue of freedom of expression – including legal attacks on opposition lawmakers – when they meet in the capital today for a government-donor forum.

“For over a decade the international community has provided aid to Cambodia but most have remained largely quiet as human rights have been violated and democratic space eroded,” it stated.

“We call on the international donor community to take responsibility and speak out against the deterioration of rights and democracy in Cambodia. Doing nothing may be judged as tantamount to complicity.”

Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said that in cases involving high-ranking or powerful figures, the Supreme Court was often swayed by political considerations.

Parents ask that rape complaint be axed


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

via CAAI News Media

KANDAL provincial court on Tuesday charged an 18-year-old man with raping a 15-year-old girl, but the parents of the alleged victim said they hope the complaint will be withdrawn because they believe the pair to be in love.

Rompol Makara, 18, was arrested Sunday after a complaint from the girl’s parents. But Rorn Srey Much, provincial coordinator for the rights group Licadho, said the parents had since decided that they “wanted to withdraw the complaint from court after meeting with the suspect’s father, who promised to them that his son would marry the victim”.

Prosecutor Uk Kimseth said Rompol Makara would be made to serve pretrial detention regardless of the parents’ wishes.

Meanwhile, Daun Penh district police on Monday arrested a 35-year-old monk accused of raping an 18-year-old student in Kandal’s Ponhea Leu district after spiking her drink with an unknown substance.

“The victim said she fell unconscious and awoke naked,” deputy district police chief Bun Kimheng said, and added that the suspect had been sent to Kandal provincial court.

Woman allegedly declines settlement over rape attempt


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:02 Tep Nimol

via CAAI News Media

A26-YEAR-OLD ethnic Kreung woman in Ratanakkiri province has filed a complaint against a military commander based in Voeun Sai district who she said tried to rape her, then offered to pay for her silence with 10,000 riels (US$2.40), a chicken and some alcohol.

Phan Dina, the provincial police chief, said the complaint had been filed at the provincial police station on Monday, and that the case will be difficult to investigate because the woman has already discussed the possibility of reaching an out-of-court settlement with her alleged assailant.

The woman, a resident of Voeun Sai district, said on Monday that the commander, who is also her brother-in-law, attacked her on May 25 when she went to his home in search of her sister, and that she fought him off and called to neighbours for help.

“I did not love him because I am already married,” she said. “We have known each other for over 10 years already, and I never thought he could do something like this because he is also married and has many big children.”

She said authorities in her community – including the village chief, village elders and 30 others tasked with processing such cases – had on Saturday ordered the military commander to pay 4 million riels (US$953) in compensation.

But the suspect refused, she said, and had presented a counter offer of 10,000 riels, one chicken and a jar of alcohol. After reportedly refusing to accept those terms, the woman filed her complaint with police.

Phan Dina said that no charges have been laid in the case.

“We are making inquiries with the victim and witnesses, and examining the scene. We are not clear yet whether the case was true or not,” he said. “We need to investigate before we can record the case and send it to the prosecutor in accordance with legal procedure.”

A report on sexual violence in Cambodia released in March by the international rights group Amnesty International lambasted what its authors described as the common practice of police and court officials’ arranging for rape victims to receive illegal out-of-court payments rather than bringing perpetrators to trial.

Officials should pursue prosecutions even when complaints are not filed by victims, provided there is sufficient evidence, the report said.

Court hears complaint on errant livestock


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:02 Thet Sambath

vai CAAI News Media

A FARMER in Ratanakkiri province who has accused a rubber plantation owner of charging excessively high compensation for damage caused by his buffalo was questioned by provincial court officials on Monday.

Yoeung Hampil, a 36-year-old resident of O’Chum district who first took his case to the rights group Adhoc in April, said Tuesday that he had been asked to explain the nature of his complaint against Hoeung Khoeung, who is also the deputy governor of the district.

“I met deputy prosecutor Mam Vanda on Monday to explain my complaint against Hoeung Khoeung, who forced me to pay her two buffalo and US$100 after five of my buffalo caused damage to her rubber plantation,” he said.

Hoeung Khoeung, who could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, had originally demanded $1,300 in compensation, but instead settled for two buffalo, valued at $600 each, along with $100 in cash.

Chhay Thy, an investigator for the rights group Adhoc, labelled Hoeung Khoeung’s demands “excessive”.

“It is an injustice that the farmer was forced to pay such a high compensation, especially since there was no proper investigation before he paid,” he said.

Commune chief Vong Doung said he did not believe Yoeung Hampil should have been fined at all.

“According to our traditions and agreement within the ethnic minority community, cows and buffalo can be allowed to roam freely from December to mid-May,” he said. “It was during this period that Yoeung Hampil was fined and his buffalo were detained.”

Liquidity issues dog lenders

Photo by: Pha Lina
A woman walks through the main Canadia Bank branch in November. Cambodian bank officials say profitability is down so far this year, but that a rise in lending is a good sign that consumers are overcoming fears of borrowing as the global financial crisis abates.

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:02 Nguon Sovan

via CAAI News Media

However, officials see increase in loans so far this year as a signal of recovery

SURGING deposits in Cambodia’s banks over more moderate growth in loans are slowing bank profitability, banking officials say, but demand for loans is slowly increasing as people resume borrowing after the financial crisis.

“We have a huge increase in deposits.... This reflects that the confidence and trust of the general public in Cambodia’s banking system is strong,” Canadia Bank Vice President Dieter Billmeier said Monday.

Deposits at Canadia Bank stood at US$738 million for the five months ending in May, a 53.7 percent increase from $480 million on the same date last year, meaning that the bank had to pay more in interest to its depositors, he said.

On the other hand, outstanding loans totalled approximately $420 million on May 31, a 16.9 percent climb from the date a year ago.

Growing deposits had pushed the bank’s liquidity ratio to approximately 90 percent, compared to the National Bank of Cambodia's requirement of 50 percent, he said.

Liquidity ratio measures a firm’s ability to pay off short-term debt by comparing its liquid assets against its obligations.

But a cautious recovery in loan demand will continue over the rest of the year, he predicted.

“We expect total outstanding loans at the end of 2010 between $430 million on the low and $450 million at the high side. Our prudent loan application examination approach and process has not and will not change.”

Billmeier predicted positive overall growth in 2010 for Cambodia’s banking industry, adding positive trends will continue, provided that the recovery of global trade and economic development is not interrupted.

The bank’s profits before tax increased 17.2 percent in the first five months of the year to $9.5 million from $8.1 million a year ago, but he warned that Canadia’s bottom line could decline over the rest of the year.

“Historically, the second half of the year should be stronger. However, this year the interest expense due to high deposits might influence the performance of the whole year, not only for us, but for everybody like ACLEDA, ANZ Royal, Campubank, FTB,” he said.

Interest rates for fixed deposits began to fall within the last four to five months and will continue to do so, Billmeier predicted, whereas the interest rates for loans are stable and in line with last year’s rates.

Non-performing loan (NPL) rates were not a major concern for the bank, he said.

“We expect to hold the NPL rate for the whole of 2010 between 4 percent and 5 percent.”

Sector recovery
Angkor Capital Bank officials also said the banking environment is much stronger than it was at this point last year.

“Deposit at our bank grew about 22 percent to $23.5 million in the first five months of this year versus the same period last year, and lending grew about 18 percent to $17.8 million,” general manager Alex Ng said Monday.

“Customers’ repayments of loans are also better than that of last year because now the economic situation is recovering.”

The bank, which launched in Cambodia in November 2008, forecasted its deposits and lending to grow to $30 million and $24 million, respectively, this year.

ACLEDA Bank officials said that the bank was trying to keep deposits at their current rate, and had taken measures to promote lending instead.

“The bank has lowered interest rates on fixed deposits and encourages more lending by offering lower interest rates on loans,” ACLEDA’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, Chhay Soeun, said Tuesday.

The bank reported that deposits increased by 34 percent to around $796 million in the five months to May this year, from $593 million for the same period last year, while outstanding loans rose by 36 percent to around $603 million, from $442 million at the end of May last year.

Net profits after tax stood at $7.5 million for the year as of May 30, from $4 million in the first five months last year, Chhay Soeun said.

He added that he expects profits of at least $15 million for the year.

National Bank of Cambodia Director General Tal Nay Im declined to comment Tuesday on the sector’s first-five-month performance, as did NBC Vice Governor Neav Chanthana.

Vietnam trade: Trade rose 43pc up until May: official


Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:02 May Kunmakara

via CAAI News Media

Vietnam trade

BILATERAL trade between Cambodia and Vietnam through the end of April rose 43 percent over the same period in 2009, according to the most recent Vietnamese embassy figures, but trade fell month on month between March and April as contracts came up for renewal, officials said. Two-way trade totalled US$572 million from January until the end of April, from $400 million during the same period last year. “The figures are on target to reach $2 billion in trade this year, because a lot of Vietnamese companies come to invest in Cambodia,” said Le Bien Cuong, The Vietnamese embassy’s commercial counselor. Cambodia’s exports to its eastern neighbour increased 54.4 percent to $105 million, from $68 million in 2009. Vietnam exported $467 million worth of goods – an increase of 41 percent. However, $139.5 million in two-way trade during April of this year represented an 18 percent drop compared to March. The decline in month-on-month trade was at least partly attributable to the regular turnover of business contracts, Le Bien Cuong said. “The decrease is because contracts between Cambodian and Vietnamese firms often expire at the end of the quarter [in March] and they need to be renewed.”

Police Blotter: 2 Jun 2010

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:00 Sen David

via CAAI News Media

EERIE PREMONITION COMES TRUE AT PARTY
A 29-year-old man is recovering in hospital after he received a vicious beating during a village dance party in Kandal province Sunday. The victim said that he had been busting loose on the dance floor when an ominous feeling suddenly overcame him: He felt that someone wanted to kill him. So he decided to stop dancing and sat down near some police officers who had joined in for the festivities. When the officers left, a masked man burst onto the scene and beat the victim, who insisted he had no idea why anyone would want to hurt him.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

TRAFFIC TRAGEDY LEAVES ONE DEAD
Police in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district have reported that a 23-year-old man died after a car crashed into him on the side of a road Monday. Police said the victim was driving a motorbike when a car crashed into him from behind. The man managed to jump away from the wreckage. Unfortunately, a second car smashed into him as he leaped away, and he died immediately. Police said the second car driver had been speeding and was very drunk. Police said he escaped at first, but that they caught him quickly. Witnesses said they felt a great deal of pity for the victim.
DEUM AMPIL

MAN’S GAS CLAIM WAS IN FACT JUST HOT AIR
A 29-year-old man was arrested in Kampot province Saturday after residents claimed he had repeatedly convinced them to give him their empty gas containers by telling them he worked for “the gas company”. Police said the man would offer to fill empty gas containers. Instead, however, he would sell the containers for his own profit, police said. When caught, the man allegedly admitted to his scam.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

FATHER AND SON DUO FACE COURT DATE
A father and son duo were arrested in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district Sunday after they were accused of destroying public property in Svay Pak commune. The pair are in police custody and will be sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court, police said. The crimes allegedly happened last August.
DEUM AMPIL