Monday, 16 August 2010

Cambodia says sanctions on Iran not a good solution

via Khmer NZ

August 16, 2010

Cambodia's top diplomatic chief said Monday that sanctions imposed on Iran is not a good solution, but negotiations and engagement are better ways out.

Speaking to reporters on Monday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hor Namhong, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs said "to impose sanctions against Iran is not a solution" and that he suggested " negotiations and engagement" should be better ways out.

The minister was attributing his remarks to the experience Cambodia learned after the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled in 1979, during which Cambodia was imposed with serious and critical sanctions, but he said Cambodia was still survived and developed until today.

Hor Namhong made a visit to Iran last week and he had signed a petroleum deal there.

Iran is known as the second largest oil exporter to the world markets.

Since June, Iran has been imposed with new sanctions by the United States, European Union and the United Nations in a way to stop its sensitive uranium-enrichment program which they fear of nuclear weapons production.

But Iran government had denied the charge saying the program was only for a peaceful purpose.

Source: Xinhua

Armed with love and laughter, Granite Bay missionaries take on child sex trade in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

By Stephen Magagnini
smagagnini@sacbee.com  
Published: Monday, Aug. 16, 2010 | Page 1A

BRYAN PATRICK bpatrick@sacbee.com Students crowd into a classroom to learn English at Rahab's House in Svay Pak, Cambodia. Fourteen members of Granite Bay's Bayside Church spent two weeks this summer working at a former brothel converted into a communitXXXXX xxxxxy center by a Rocklin couple. 
SVAY PAK, Cambodia – Two white vans roll up to a converted brothel at 8:30 a.m., and 14 Sacramento-area soldiers of Christ spill out to battle a barrage of physical and spiritual ailments.

They'll minister to pimps, dope peddlers and parents who seem to love alcohol and gambling more than they love their children, whose bodies are sold nightly for as little as $3 – less than the price of a bowl of grapes.

Chang Thy Mean, 24, a former child prostitute rescued by a U.S. nonprofit, now makes $70 a month as a tailor. "I felt my life had no value," she said. "I'm happy now." 
Waves of those children and their brothers, sisters and cousins inundate the missionaries with hugs, smiles and laughter. Little girls fly into their arms to be held.

"This hell hole is now a place of joy!" exclaimed Barbara Wilson, a trauma counselor leading the team from Bayside Church in Granite Bay. "Three years ago there was nothing here – now there are 150 kids."

The Bayside missionaries – teachers, computer experts, moms, a nurse and a respiratory therapist who each paid $3,500 to get here – spent 14 days this summer at Rahab's House, a former brothel named after a biblical prostitute who gave sanctuary to Israeli spies. A Rocklin couple have converted the brothel into a nonprofit community center, which now houses a free medical clinic, school, church and kids club.

"My main mission is to use love as a weapon, because none of the other methods are working," said Gilbert Acevedo, a beefy, tattooed youth pastor who pumps iron with young men – some of them pimps – at the Lord's Gym across the street from Rahab's House.

Wilson said a pimp who entered Acevedo's "Svay Pak Strong Man" contest promised not to sell girls under 18.

The slow transformation of Svay Pak from the pedophile capital of Cambodia into a fulcrum of hope was launched by Don and Bridget Brewster, who moved from Rocklin to Cambodia in 2005 to save the children after seeing a TV special on child sex slaves here.

Their nonprofit, Agape International Missions, now comprises Rahab's House, the Lord's Gym, a cafe and bakery that employs former sex workers, and the Agape Restoration Center – the initial shelter they created in Phnom Penh for 120 girls rescued from Cambodian brothels. The center has a pool, a school, a dormitory and house moms.

In 2007, the Brewsters trained their sights on Svay Pak – a slum of about 5,000 people six miles north of Phnom Penh, where girls as young as 3 are for sale.

The couple started their ministry there in a brothel that had been closed after two girls died in the "virgin room" and several others died of AIDS, Bridget Brewster said. The back door is cemented shut, and the rooms look like cells, but the building now shelters rescued teens.

A five-story brothel was under construction next door, but the Brewsters partnered with the Ratanak Foundation of Canada to convert it to Rahab's House.

"This was designed to be the best little whorehouse in Svay Pak," said Bridget Brewster, who runs Rahab's House.

Children flock to the kids club to play games with the Bayside team, make Play-Doh elephants, take guitar lessons and learn songs, computer skills, English and Bible stories.

"It's amazing how much you can do with just smiles and laughter," said Michele Dawson, one of the missionaries from Bayside.

Sex trade persists

But at night, many of the children still are sold for sex, said Don Brewster.

The sex trade has created a climate of abuse, he said. Before the Sacramento team arrived, two 12-year-old boys in Svay Pak confessed to raping a 10-year-old Vietnamese girl after watching pornography on a cell phone, the Phnom Penh Post reported. Police did not charge the boys because they are under 14, the newspaper reported.

The girl is now at Agape Restoration Center.

"Police here do not cooperate – they don't like us," said Chanta Hem, the Cambodian pastor at Rahab's House who translates for the missionaries.

Before the Brewsters and other missionaries began to shut down brothels, the pimps paid off police every morning, Hem said.

At least three of Hem's 31 disciples – Cambodian youth who volunteer 40 hours a week for Agape – were sold into prostitution by their parents. Others were raped.

A foreigner pays $300 to $3,000 for a virgin depending upon how pretty she is, Hem said.

Nearly every family in town has sold their girls, Hem said. And traffickers bring more girls bought or stolen from families in rural Vietnam.

"They love money more than the kid," he said. "For gambling, alcohol, drugs."

Cambodia has strong anti-trafficking laws. Don Brewster said he knows of 15 mothers in prison for selling their daughters. "But the traffickers don't get sent to prison, and neither do the fathers," he said.

For $10, some village leaders will change a family birth book to make a girl 16, the legal age of consent, Brewster said. In his office on the top floor of Rahab's House overlooking a field of garbage ringed with clotheslines running from corrugated shacks, Brewster produced a map indicating 11 brothels "that are holding pens for pre-pubescent girls," he said. "There's a group of us who go out and confront pedophiles."

Cambodian authorities, with the FBI and nongovernmental organizations, occasionally catch U.S. pedophiles. Five girls the Brewsters helped rescue testified in Los Angeles against Michael Pepe, a former U.S. Marine convicted in 2008 of molesting seven girls while working part time as a professor at a Cambodian university.

Cambodia is 98 percent Buddhist, and monks are often afraid to take on traffickers. Luis CdeBaca, the State Department's top official in the war on trafficking, said Christian missions are working effectively with Cambodian authorities.

He has been to Svay Pak twice. "I remember a feeling of hope," he said. "That this is not insoluble, that there are Cambodians and foreign folks who want this to change."

The efforts to transform

The strongest weapons in the Brewsters' arsenal are love and good will.

A pimp who exercised at the Lord's Gym daily said he "was raping his own 5- and 9-year-old sisters and the police were doing nothing, so we got custody," Don Brewster said. "We told him, 'We hate what you do, but we want to be your friend.'

"Then at church one Sunday, he stands up and says 'I know what I'm doing is wrong and I'm not going to do it anymore.' We got him a $50-a-month construction job, and he's doing OK."

One 100-degree day during the Bayside missionaries' visit, a cool young woman in a red pantsuit and Dalmatian-print shirt appeared at Rahab's House to design new curtains.

Chang Thy Mean, 24, a former prostitute, learned tailoring at Agape Restoration Center and now makes Hawaiian shirts that Don Brewster wears.

Mean previously sold cakes on the streets of Phnom Penh for 7,000 Cambodian riels a day – $1.65. "It wasn't enough to eat," she said. So at 15, she sold herself in Svay Pak.

A foreigner in his 50s paid $300 for her virginity. "I screamed in pain, and he stopped," she said. "The next time I prepared myself."

Mean sent about $400 home monthly, "but I don't know where the money's going." After five years Mean was rescued by International Justice Mission, a U.S. nonprofit, and sent to the Agape Restoration Center.

"I felt my life had no value. I never thought about my future," she said.

Volunteers at Agape taught her to sew – and to dream. "My dream is to be married, have two kids and have my own shop," said Mean. She is now engaged and makes $70 a month.

At the Bloom Cafe and Bakery, 20 Agape girls earn $120 a month. They recently made a sugar house for the Australian Embassy.

Girls as young as 5 are brought to Agape Restoration Center. Every two months, seven girls visit their moms in prison and take them food and shampoo. "I want to do a class on parenting and marriage," said Bridget Brewster.

Several hundred Cambodians show up daily for free medical care provided by registered nurse Allison Seay and her husband, respiratory therapist Steve Seay of the Bayside team.

"They have aches, pains, high blood pressure, really weak bones, females have vaginal issues," Allison Seay said.

They leave with vitamins, medicine and an invitation to church on Sunday.

Missionaries change, too

At the Bayside Christian team's 7 a.m. service on the roof of the Star Royal Hotel, Steve Seay prayed, "Give us the strength to do our best, and may the seeds that we plant here have a ripple effect."

The Bayside team returned home with a plaque noting their service to the people of Cambodia. The team had visited brick factories, bringing rice, face masks, sandals and candy to emaciated 13-year-olds who look 7.

"In America we're so spoiled," said Roma Moffard, the team's co-leader. "And here they're so joyful with what they have."

Wilson said, upon her return, that in the two weeks in Cambodia she formed relationships with the children and realized she could give them hope.

"It's definitely changed my perspective on what I want to do with my life," said Wilson. "My idea of retirement right now is what I can do to serve people around the world."

Her next stop: India in November.

PRESS DIGEST - Thai newspapers - August 16

via Khmer NZ

BANGKOK | Sun Aug 15, 2010

BANGKOK Aug 16 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading stories in Thai newspapers on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

POLITICS AND GENERAL NEWS

- Thailand pushes for a fresh meeting of a border committee with Cambodia, aiming to keep the border dispute on a bi-lateral level and prevent international interference. (BANGKOK POST)

- Thailand's ruling Democrat Party planned to hold forum to gather opinions of motorcycle taxi drivers, many of whom support the opposition, to better address their problems. (BANGKOK POST)

- Prasarn Trairatvorakul, the Bank of Thailand governor designate, reached out for co-ordinated efforts to extend the bank's role to include social issues including better income distribution and the environment. (THE NATION)

- Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the 4,000 city bus project was on the right track but needed to be proven transparent and useful before approval by the cabinet, denying speculation the project is used as a bargaining chip with a coalition partner. (THE NATION)

BUSINESS

- The Excise Department considered overhauling the current tax structure for vehicles, in a bid to increase incentives for environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient cars. (BANGKOK POST)

- Large local banks expect strong growth in corporate banking business for the second half of the year, mainly from improving project finance as well as merger and acquisitions in several sectors. (BANGKOK POST

- Thailand's Government Pension Fund (GPF) plans to increase its investment weight in corporate bonds of the Group of Seven countries (G-7) by 15 billion baht to cash in on the higher rate of return from economic recovery. (THE NATION)

Overseas Chinese mourn Gansu mudslide victims

via Khmer NZ

English.news.cn 2010-08-15

BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Overseas Chinese have held memorial meetings and other mourning activities recently to remember the victims of a massive mudslide in northwest China that killed at least 1,248 people.

During a mourning ceremony on Sunday at a Chinese-language school in Christchurch, New Zealand, overseas Chinese nationals and students observed three minutes' silence for the victims and placed candles in the shape of a heart.

Participants then made donations to the mudslide-hit areas, saying they were deeply concerned about those affected by the disaster.

On the same day, some overseas Chinese and employees of Chinese companies and institutions in Serbia suspended entertainment activities voluntarily to express their condolences for the victims.

In Jordan, people from various walks of life and overseas Chinese residing in the country have offered their sympathy and condolences.

Overseas Chinese in Cambodia have called the Chinese embassy to express condolences, saying they are ready to donate for the reconstruction of the mudslide-hit region.

The death toll from the Aug. 8 massive mudslide in Zhouqu county, northwest China's Gansu province, has risen to 1,248, with 496 still missing, local disaster relief headquarters said.

China is observing a day of national mourning on Sunday, with national flags flying at half mast and all public entertainment activities suspended.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

Surin Want to See Peaceful Resolve over Cambodia-Thailand’s Border Row

Monday, 16 August 2010 11:11 DAP NEWS / Soy Sopheap

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 16, 2010-Visiting ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said on Monday that he wanted to see the border row between Cambodia and Thailand with peaceful settlement.

“We certainly would like to see a peaceful resolution to any problem in ASEAN,” Surin told reporters after meeting with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

He added that he would wait to see the ASEAN foreign ministers’ decision as Cambodian FM Minister Hor Namhong was consulting with them.

On Sunday, Hor Namhong sent a letter to ASEAN Secretary General for help its border spat with Thailand.

International Exercise to Prepare for Severe Pandemic Starts in Cambodia

Monday, 16 August 2010 06:57 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 16, 2010-The international exercise to prepare for pandemic on Monday has started in Cambodia and it taken part with nearly 200 officials from ASEAN, UN, and USAIDS.

This exercise which is a first of its kind anywhere in the world took place in Phnom Penh in august 16-20 August.

Dr Surin Pitsuwan said that the table-top exercise will help us fulfill the wishes of our ASEAN leaders for our region to be ready of pandemics. We will use the exercise to identify our gap in pandemic preparedness and prepare for a regional pandemic plans as called for in the ASEAN socio-cultural community blueprint.

Dr. Nhim Vanda, first president of disaster management said that Cambodia puts its policy about the pandemic affected to other sectors. it brings multi-sector preparedness focus on a regional level and se an example that can be followed on global front,” Dr Nhim said.

Sanction on Iran is Not a Deal: Cambodian FM

Monday, 16 August 2010 06:54 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 16, 2010-Cambodian Foreign Minister on Monday that imposing sanction on Iran is not a deal and only coordination is the solution.

the sanction was imposed on Iran will not deal the matter. Coordination is a good resolution, Hor told media at ministry.

Hor added Cambodia had experience on sanction after Khmer Rouge collapsed in 1979.

Iran was imposed the sanction by the EU and the US.

Last week, Hor went toIran for inking the oil deal for cooperation for the twos.

No Further Bilateral Talks over Border Issues with Thailand: FM

Monday, 16 August 2010 04:39 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 16, 2010-Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong on Monday reaffirmed that border issues with Thailand we do not need bilateral talks further.

“We could resume the border talks unless Thailand approved the border deal that border agreement had agreed, Hor told reporter this morning. PM Hun Sen used to tell local people that Thailand has "culture of inking with hands but using foot to omit agreement," . that we have to remember.

International communities will be the main tool for intervention because Thai government is tricky. Previously, Thailand claimed it did not know 2000 MoU and later it recognized.

Border deal has not approved since 2008 agreement but now when Cambodia asked outsider to help and mediate. Thailand just wakes up from sleeping. And said foreign ministry will seek the approval from the national assembly, analyst said.

Thailand is not keen but Thailand created complicated situation for border issues with Cambodia. After Cambodia got independence from France in 195, Thailand sent troops to invade Preah Vihear temple and Thailand lost case in 1962 at the international court of justice. When Cambodia is trying to list Preah Vihear temple to be world heritage site, Thailand opposed the project. And in 2010, Cambodia is summiting the management plan of Preah Vihear temple, Thailand started to oppose. Why Thailand showed behavior like that? An analyst said.

In July 15, 2008, a week after Cambodia listed successfully the temple as world heritage site. Thailand sent troops to invade 4.6 square km with claiming that area is their land by using secret map that drew unilaterally in 1976. Thailand used a cruel trick through using three people including a monk, layman, and a nun to pray at the temple and Thailand sent troops to ask the three people with that excuse. Their troops did not go back to their sovereignty.

Why Thailand is afraid of international communities to deal it. The answer is very is easy to answer because Thailand will lose reputation because Thailand used the areas as hostage for political gain in Bangkok and if the international communities involved, Thailand will meet a shame in region and the world. Thailand will be accused of invading other countries through using forces. And it opposed the international norms.

Thailand is clever enough for international law, so it should resume for international help because deadlock of border issues need to do in overall context to facilitate the troops to go back home to meet their family urgently. In 2013, Cambodia will host the meeting of world heritage committee in Phnom Penh. Bahrain meeting will be the time that international communities to recognize the management plan of Phrea Vihear temple.

Thailand terminated the diplomatic relationship with Cambodia because Cambodia appointed the former Thai PM Thaksin as government adviser. But if we looked back, Kasit and yellow shirt group cursed PM Hun Sen in Sovanna Phoum airport demonstration that is very big controversial issues for relation. Kasit and Abhisit plan to cut off relationship and Thai troops invaded Cambodia’s sovereignty first. Thailand set up plan of cutting loan that Cambodia asked. Later Cambodia cancelled by itself. Thailand should open eyes for neighboring countries and which countries that Thailand did not have quarrel with. Thailand is economic powerful in region but it could not build good relationship with other neighboring countries.

Cambodia FM Meets ASEAN SG Dr. Surin over Border Issues

Monday, 16 August 2010 03:28 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 16, 2010-Cambodian deputy prime minister and foreign minister Hor Nam Hong on Monday met with ASEAN Dr. Surin over border issues between Cambodia and Thailand after Cambodia asked coordinator from ASEAN chairman and other 8 countries in group.

Hor told reporters after the meeting with Dr. Surin that “Cambodia and Thailand want to see the peaceful deal over border issues,” and Cambodia will resume the bilateral talks with Thailand unless Thai National assembly approved the border deals of border committee made so far.

Cambodia is waiting for the answer from the ASEAN Chairman and other 8 ASEAN countries over border issues with Thailand,” but they also need time to decide on that issues,” Hor replied with question from media.

Cambodia still has kept maximum restraint over border issues, Hor added.

Last week, PM Hun Sen sent two letters respectively to UN secretary general and president of the UN Security Council to circulate the letter to other UN member after Thai PM has threatened to use forces to take land of 4.6 square km near 11th century Khmer Preah Vihear temple. On Sunday, Hor Nam Hong sent a separate letter to ASEAN chairman (Vietnam) and other ASEAN countries to seek peaceful deal over border issues with Thailand to avoid large scale of armed clash conflict. Thailand invaded Cambodia on July 15, 2008. troops now is normal relation at the ground.

“we urge both side to seek peaceful deal and keep restraints,” Dr. Surin told media at Cambodian foreign ministry He said very briefly before he is in car toward joining seminar.

Dr Surin here attends the seminar on major international exercise to prepare for the severe pandemic that take part from the UN, ASEAN, and USAID and health ministry of Cambodia, and other international organizations.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


via Khmer NZ

Royal Family Provides Donation to Poor People

Phnom Penh, August 16, 2010 AKP -- More than 1,000 families of people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans, vulnerable elderly people and disabled from seven districts and provincial town of Siem Reap province have received donation from Their Majesties the King, King-Father and Queen-Mother.

The handover ceremony of the donation, worth US$37,363 in total, was held on Aug. 13 in Sotr Nikum district under the presidency of Cambodian Red Cross President Lok Chumteav Bun Rany-Hun Sen.

The donation included rice, foodstuff, clothes, wheel chairs, etc. --AKP

(By LIM Nary)

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AKP/02

Cambodia Sticks to Peaceful Means to Settle Border Issue with Thailand

Phnom Penh, August 16, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Hor Namhong has reaffirmed Cambodia’s stand in solving the current border dispute with Thailand by peaceful means.

In a meeting here today with visiting ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, the Cambodian deputy prime minister further stressed that Cambodia is ready to defend its territorial integrity against any act of aggression.

Both sides also discussed about ASEAN Community establishment, the cooperation between ASEAN and other regional organizations including the African Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, etc. in order to enhance ASEAN’s prestige and to fight against terrorism, said H.E. Hor Namhong in a short interview upon the meeting.

Regarding the sanctions against Iran, the Cambodian deputy prime minister said sanction is not a solution. The solutions to all problems are negotiation and compromise, he added. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)

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AKP/03

Cambodia Seeks ASEAN’s Assistance in Solving Border Dispute with Thailand

Phnom Penh, August 16, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Hor Namhong has sent a letter to his Vietnamese counterpart H.E. Pham Gia Khiem, chair of ASEAN, seeking his assistance to meditate Cambodia-Thailand border conflict.

The full letter dated Aug. 14 reads as follows:

“Excellency,

I have the honour to recall to Your Excellency that after the inscription of the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR into the World Heritage List on 7 July 2008, despite Thailand’s strong opposition, Thailand sent troops to aggress against Cambodia three times:

- On 15 July 2008, despite Thailand sent troops to occupy the KEO SIKHA KIRI SVARA pagoda of Cambodia.

- On 15 October 2008, the Thai troops crossed into Cambodian territory and clashed with Cambodian soldiers at three locations in the vicinity of the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR, killing two Cambodian troops and injuring two others.

- On 3 April 2009, the Thai troops again crossed the border into the vicinity of the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR, including the area in front of the Temple, and fired heavy weapons, destroying the office of the PREAH VIHEAR Authority and the market located inside the premises of the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR, as well as damaging the main staircases in front of the Temple.

At present, Thailand still maintains the presence of its soldiers at the KEO SIKHA KIRI SVARA pagoda of Cambodia, which is located only around 300 meters from the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR and well inside the territory Cambodia.

Until now, Cambodia has exercised utmost restrain and attempted to find a peaceful solution to the problem bilaterally, but to no avail. Thailand continues to stake territorial claims of the so-called 4.6 km2 area in the vicinity of the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR, on the basis of its secret and unilaterally drawn map, without international legal value. Recently, Thailand’s Prime Minister threatened publicly to use military force to remove the Cambodian troops and local inhabitants out of this so-called 4.6 km2 land which Cambodia does not even know where it is exactly located, as the whole area is inhabited by Cambodian people since ages.

May I further recall that based on the Annex I Map (Dangrek Map), produced by the Franco-Siamese Commission for the delimitation of frontiers between Indochina and Siam which was set up by the Franco-Siamese Convention of 1904, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) adjudicated on the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR case, on 15 June 1962, as follows:

1. The Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia;

2. Thailand is under an obligation to withdraw any military of police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity of Cambodian territory;

3. Thailand is under an obligation to restore to Cambodia any objects of the kind specified in Cambodia’s fifth Submission which may, since the date of the occupation of the Temple by Thailand in 1954, have been removed from the Temple or the Temple area by the Thai authorities.

Therefore, taking into account the above adjudication of the ICJ, the territory in the vicinity of the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR, is under the sovereignty of Cambodia, in accordance with the “Annex I Map” legally and internationally recognized, which is the only map that legally delimits the border in the area of TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR and is binding to both Cambodia and Thailand.

The problem stems from the fact that Thailand continues to exert its territorial claims based on its secret and unilaterally drawn map, without any international legal basis, while Cambodia’s position is to seek a bilateral peaceful settlement on the basis of the legally and internationally recognized documents which have also been recognized by Thailand until the inscription of the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR into the World Heritage List on 7 July 2008.

Bilateral negotiations have lasted more than two years, since 2008, namely three meetings at foreign minister level (July 2008 in Siem Reap, August 2008 in Hua Hin, November 2009 in Siem Reap) and three meetings of the Joint border Commission (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand (November 2008 in Siem Reap, February 2009 in Bangkok, April 2009 in Phnom Penh) have yielded a number of agreed arrangements that could lead to the resolution of the problem. However, the Thai side did not submit them for its own parliamentary approval and to allow the implementation of those arrangements.

As the current stalemate has extinguished any hope on further bilateral negotiations and in order to avoid any large scale armed conflict, while considering the spirit of ASEAN’s solidarity and the fact that both Cambodia and Thailand are fellow members of the ASEAN family, I earnestly seek Your Excellency’s assistance, as Chair of ASEAN, to mediate on the matter under the ASEAN framework either as a whole or on an individual basis involving only certain ASEAN members, in line with the Principles of the ASEAN Charter, Article 2 (c) and (d).

Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.” --AKP

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AKP/04

Malaysia Wants to Import Rice from Cambodia

Phnom Penh, August 16, 2010 AKP -- Malaysia’s Ambassador to Cambodia Mr. Datuk Pengiran Hajimohd Hussen told Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance H.E. Keat Chhon last Thursday that Malaysia is interested in importing Cambodia’s agricultural products such as coconut oil, rubber and especially rice.

The Malaysian ambassador pledged to try his best to strengthen Cambodia-Malaysia cooperation both in bilateral and ASEAN frameworks, and to encourage Malaysian businessmen to invest in Cambodia, according to an official of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Malaysia ranked first among the foreign investors in Cambodia from 1995 to 2000.

In reply, H.E. Keat Chhon warmly welcomed Malaysia’s willingness to import rice from Cambodia and promote its investment in the country.

The Malaysian government has cooperated closely with Cambodia and helped assist and support Cambodia in the national development such as helping train Cambodian government officials and build a portion of railroad from Svay Sisophon to Poipet, the minister was quoted as saying.

He further stressed that the Malaysian investors, as well as other investors in Cambodia, have been protected by both the country’s investment law and the leaders of the Royal Government of Cambodia. --AKP

(By Noeu)

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AKP/05

Interview: Cambodia-China Economic and Trade Relations Very Good: Deputy PM

Phnom Penh, August 16, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said that the economic and trade relations between Cambodia and China are very good, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

In the interview, Sok An said the economic and trade relations between the two countries, which started centuries ago, have been strengthened and expanded significantly in recent years, adding “If you go shopping in Cambodia, you will find many products labeled MADE IN CHINA, ranging from kitchenware to high-tech products such as telecom equipments.”

China has been a significant foreign investor in Cambodia, he said, with thousands of Chinese companies, big and small, operating in sectors such as textiles and garment, hydroelectric power, agriculture and mining. China’s investment, measured in fixed assets, increased to US$930 million in 2009 from US$461 million in 2007, and in the 1st semester of 2010, the investment is US$234 million.

Sok An, also the minister of the Council of Ministers, said that the trade between Cambodia and China has also substantially increased. The bilateral trade (imports plus exports) was about US$138 million in 1998, and it has increased to more than US$946 million in 2008, an increase of about sevenfold over the last ten years.

In terms of tourism sector, the minister said that Chinese tourist arrivals in Cambodia have ranked among the top 5 during the last 5 years. But it moved to the 3rd place after South Korea and Vietnam in the first half of 2010, with the number of tourists reaching 84,335.

The minister also commended Chinese government’s decision to provide duty exemption for 418 items or tariff lines for Cambodian products to enter into Chinese markets, which he considered as an acceleration for more bilateral economic activities between the two countries.

Sok An said “These activities have undoubtedly contributed to the Royal Government’s efforts to reduce poverty and to increase the living standard of the Cambodian people. The Chinese people have also benefited from this good economic relation and cooperation.”

Talking about the future cooperation on trade and economy between the two countries, Sok An said that Cambodia needs more financial and technical support for further development of physical infrastructure such as irrigation system, roads and bridges, as well as for human resources development. “So, I firmly believe that China will consider this positively.”

Cambodia also has great potential in several important sectors such as agriculture, agro-industry, infrastructure, labor-intensive industries, exports-oriented industries, exploration and exploitation of natural resources such as oil and gas, mining as well as tourism. “These sectors offer many investment opportunities,” Sok An said.

Chinese investors are encouraged to explore these opportunities and other business potentials, he said. --AKP

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AKP/06

Finance Minister Meets Tunisian Ambassador

Phnom Penh, August 16, 2010 AKP -- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance H.E. Keat Chhon said that Cambodia-Tunisia ties of friendship and cooperation have been growing better and better.

The deputy prime minister was reported as saying in a farewell meeting on Aug. 12 with H.E. Mohamed Sahbi Basly, out-going Tunisian ambassador to Cambodia.

Along with the ambassador in the meeting was a Tunisian investor who looks for a cooperation with Cambodia.

H.E. Keat Chhon expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia for the successful mission of the Beijing-based Tunisian Ambassador H.E Mohamed Sahbi Basly. --AKP

(By MOM Chan Dara Soleil)

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AKP/07

Brazil To Help Cambodia in Sugar Cane Production

Phnom Penh, August 16, 2010 AKP -- Brazil will continue helping Cambodia’s sugar cane production, said the out-going Brazilian Ambassador to Cambodia in his farewell meeting with H.E. Uch Borith, secretary of state of the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry on Aug. 13.

H.E Edgard Telles Ribeiro, the out-going Brazilian ambassador to Cambodia, stated that in response to the request from H.E. Uch Borith, he will forward the request to the new Brazilian ambassador to Cambodia to coordinate an official visit of an agricultural delegation to study the possibility of the assistance.

According to the ambassador, sugar cane can be processed into ethanol – colorless liquid that can be used for many purposes such as scents, flavorings, colorings, and medicines. In addition, the waste from sugar cane can be transformed into fertilizer and paper as well.

Sugar cane production is one of Brazil’s specialties and the country has long experience in this field.

The Brazilian diplomat acknowledged the support from Cambodia for the membership of Brazil into the United Nations Security Council as well as into other international’s bodies and Brazil will also return its favor. --AKP

(By MOM Chan Dara Soleil)

-------------------

AKP/08

MoI Held Meeting to Review Work Performance in Implementing LEASETC Project

Phnom Penh, August 16, 2010 AKP -- The Ministry of Interior (MoI) held a meeting on Aug. 13 to review its work performance after having a project of the Law Enforcement Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children (LEASETC) implemented.

The project, sponsored by UNICEF and World Vision, is aimed to improve the capacity of the Cambodian national police in rescuing child victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation, investigating cases, arresting offenders, searching for evidence and bringing offenders to trial.

Mr. Richard Bridle, UNICEF country representative, requested for strengthening the capacity of police dealing with the building up of files being sent to the court for trial, the investigation, and the interview, mainly those at provincial, district and commune levels, referring to some negative points being raised in the meeting.

Secretary of State H.E. Prum Sokha of the Ministry of Interior and also chairman of LEASETC project, who presided over the meeting, said the sexual abuse, the sexual exploitation and juvenile trafficking became a global issue and/or a war to be opposed, being treated these like a modern age slavery created in many forms by the criminals.

As the remarks presented by Secretary of State H.E. Prum Sokha, his assessments referred to the impact on the effectiveness, the relationship and sustainability of LEASETC project procedure of mechanism and also to the provision of recommendations on an objective and a strategy so as to enable the royal government, UNICEF and World Vision to help promote Cambodia’s courts system, especially the law enforcement for child victims of exploitation, trafficking, abuse and violence.

It is noted that the Department of Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection (DAHTJP) under the Ministry of Interior sets up a 24 hours Hotline and response unit to help potential victims, their families and third parties report cases of child sex abuse and trafficking of children.

The Hotline is supported by UNICEF and World Vision. --AKP

(By THOU Peou)

-------------------

AKP/09

Cambodia Palm Sugar Exported Abroad

Phnom Penh, August 16, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia palm sugar has been exported to three foreign countries, President of the Association for Promoting Kampong Speu Palm Sugar Mr. Sam Sareoun said recently.

During the five-month of palm sugar production, we produced 31 tons and sold to three local partners and one of them has exported to France, Australia and Malaysia, he said.

Mr. Chhorn Ravuth, an official of a local company Confirel, said this year Cambodia will continue to export palm sugar to the above said countries. --AKP

(By KHAN Sophirom)

Fuel imports down, value up


Photo by: JULIE LEAFE
Motorists queue at a Total station on Rue de France in Phnom Penh. Government data show the value of imports of petroleum products spiked in the first half of 2010 despite a decline in volume.

via khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:05 May Kunmakara

THE value of Cambodia’s imports of petroleum products surged 31 percent over the first six months of 2010 compared with the same period last year, despite import volumes that declined more than 13 percent in the same period, according to a report from the Ministry of Commerce’s Camcontrol department.

Imports of petroleum products totalled US$297 million to the end of July this year, a 31.77 percent increase on the $225 million in the same period of 2009, the report shows.

Industry insiders said the rising price of imports of petroleum products came as oil prices increased on global markets.

Light sweet crude averaged $78.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange during the first six months of 2010, a 52 percent increase on the $51.45 per barrel for oil futures during the same period last year, according to statistics from the US energy information administration.

As oil prices increased on international markets, Cambodian importer PTT’s business division manager Bin Many Mialia estimated, the firm’s imports decreased by between 10 and 20 percent in the first six months of the year, compared with the same period last year.

The Kingdom’s deal with Vietnam to import electricity earlier this year had slowed domestic petroleum imports, he said.

“Cambodia is importing electricity from neighbouring countries, leading Electricite du Cambodge to import less fuel to produce electricity,” he said.

Cambodia imported 440,607 tonnes of petroleum products in the first half of 2010, a 13.54 percent decrease from 509,660 tonnes last year, according to the Camcontrol report, obtained on Friday.

Cambodia imported a range of petroleum-based products, including cooking fuels as well as petrol and diesel, and Camcontrol’s figures had not separated the different types of petroleum products, making it difficult to comment on the dip in import volumes, he said.

“We don’t know for sure what kind of petroleum imports decreased because Camcontrol did not specify,” he said. “If we knew, we could easily analyse the drop.”

Bin Many Mialia declined to release the exact size of PTT’s imports during the period.

Officials at Sokimex – a firm that claims to control 30 percent of domestic retail fuel sales – said international crude prices directly affected its import business.

“We know oil prices have fluctuated this year because we mainly rely on the global market [for purchases],” Sokimex deputy director Heu Heng said.

Cambodia has six large petrol retail vendors, including Tela, Caltex, Total, Sokimex, PTT, Bright Victory, and approximately 47 separate private stations, according to Camcontrol’s report.

Camcontrol director Mak Pichrith was not available for comment on Friday.

ASEAN mediation sought


via Khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:04 Cheang Sokha

Cambodia makes bid to avert ‘armed conflict’ over Thai issue

CAMBODIA has requested assistance from ASEAN chair Vietnam in order to head off any “large-scale armed conflict” that may result from the ongoing border dispute with Thailand.

In a letter sent on Saturday to Vietnamese Foreign Affairs Minister Pham Gia Khiem and copied to all ASEAN foreign ministers, Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong accused Thailand of showing aggression against the Kingdom on several occasions since hostilities first broke out near Preah Vihear temple in July of 2008.

“Until now, Cambodia has exercised utmost restraint and attempted to find a peaceful solution to the problem bilaterally, but to no avail,” Hor Namhong wrote in the letter.

During his weekly television broadcast yesterday morning, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reportedly accused Cambodia of violating the countries’ 2000 memorandum of understanding on the demarcation of their shared border by encroaching on Thai territory, the Bangkok Post said. Abhisit reportedly added, however, that Thailand remained committed to bilateral negotiations.

“Thailand is committed to solve the border dispute peacefully under the 2000 MoU,” Abhisit said.

A statement released yesterday by the Thai government’s public relations department said Thailand had “consistently expressed its opposition over Cambodia’s intrusion upon the disputed land and its filing of the unilateral management plan for the listing of the [Preah] Vihear temple as a World Heritage site”.

Thai authorities would “speedily clarify” the issue to the international community, the statement said.

Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers, yesterday denounced the comments from Abhisit and the Thai government. “Cambodia has never encroached on Thai territory. [Abhisit’s] comments are meaningless, and are just part of a campaign to obscure the fact that Thailand has abused the UN Charter,” Tith Sothea said.

“Thailand has no willingness to resolve the border dispute through the 2000 MoU.”

Hun Sen warned in a speech last week that the border tension could lead to “bloodshed”.

The recent upswing in animosity between the two countries stems from a meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee that concluded earlier this month in Brazil. Cambodian officials submitted a management plan for Preah Vihear Temple that the committee will discuss next year.

Both Hun Sen and Abhisit wrote to the UN Security Council last week to explain their positions on the dispute.

Abhisit reportedly plans to discuss the issue with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a visit to New York next month.

Hun Sen said last week that the issue would be raised during a trip by Ban to Cambodia in October.

Last week, UN officials in Phnom Penh and New York could not confirm that Ban would be visiting.

ASEAN and Thai government officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Swede’s conviction upheld


Photo by: Uy Nousereimoney
Convicted Swedish paedophile Johan Brahim Escori, 63, leaves the Appeal Court after his conviction was upheld.

via Khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:03 Chhay Channyda

THE Appeal Court upheld a guilty verdict against 63-year-old Swede Johan Brahim Escori, who was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in January for child sex crimes.

The court’s decision followed an article that appeared in a Swedish newspaper on Wednesday in which an unnamed 63-year-old Swede being held for sex crimes in Cambodia reportedly bragged about paying a US$11,000 bribe to court officials to secure an acquittal at a Friday hearing.

At the hearing, presiding judge Nhoung Thol produced a printout of the article, published by Stockholm’s Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, and questioned Escori about its contents. Escori admitted having granted a recent interview to a Swedish journalist but denied he had discussed bribery.

“I’ve never had so much money in my life,” he said.

“The journalist asked me, ‘Is the Cambodian court system corrupt?’” Escori said. “I told him I did not know anything about this.”

The unnamed Swede in the Svenska Dagbladet article boasted that a “common, simple bribe of $11,000 means that I will soon be a free man”. He said that he had been coaching his alleged victim to offer supportive testimony at the appeal hearing.

“I am training him so that he says the right things and does not contradict himself,” the man reportedly said.

Martin Schibbye, the writer of the article, said in an email last week that he had the conversation on tape.

Judge Thou Mony said the Appeal Court would open an investigation if the bribery charges were substantiated.

Escori was arrested in May 2009 in the capital’s Daun Penh district, where he was sharing a hotel room with a 9-year-old Cambodian boy who he said was his adopted son. He was convicted on two counts of committing indecent acts and having sex with children after allegedly abusing the boy in Phnom Penh and two others in Preah Sihanouk province.

Escori’s “son” testified against him at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in January. On Friday, however, he recanted this testimony and spoke in support of Escori. “During the time I lived with him, he never did anything bad to me or sexually abused me,” the boy said. He also said he was not 9 years old, as law enforcement officials originally said, but 14.

Nhoung Thol was unconvinced by this change of heart. “You are lying because you are frightened,” he told the boy.

Samleang Seila, director of the child rights group Action Pour Les Enfants, accused Escori of providing financial support to the boy’s family in exchange for favourable testimony.

A law enforcement official, who was not authorised to speak to the media and requested anonymity, said Escori had also been convicted of child sex crimes in Sweden during the 1980s.

Ham Phea, Escori’s defence lawyer, described the verdict against his client as “unjust”.

“He did not do anything like what he is accused of, and the boy said my client is a good father,” he said.

Ham Phea said yesterday that he would meet with Escori this week to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SAM RITH

Thailand is proving the doubters wrong


via Khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:03 roger Mitton

IN a little-noted milestone, Thailand overtook Taiwan as the country with the third-largest number of 7/11 stores in the world after Japan and the United States.

It may not seem such a big deal, but the marker was passed at a time when Thailand was emerging from violent and disruptive street protests in April and May.

During that period of social unrest, experts who should have known better started to write Thailand off.

Newsweek went so far as to report: “Of the nations once touted as the Asian tigers, or tiger cubs, including South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, only Thailand is disintegrating.”

Some disintegration. At the time, just east of Bangkok, Ford Motor Co had launched a major new manufacturing facility that will be completed in 2012. Thailand remains Southeast Asia’s vehicle manufacturing hub, despite periodic political eruptions.

Indeed, everything from 7/11-type convenience stores to giant car-making factories are doing great business. Thailand is booming.

Growth forecasts are revised upward almost daily: The World Bank and the IMF now project that Thailand’s GDP will hit 7.5 percent this year.

And with US$148 billion in its central bank, Thailand has the 10th-largest foreign exchange reserves in the world.

As a result, during the “disintegration”, the Thai baht was one of the strongest convertible currencies in the world. Even at the height of the Red Shirt cataclysm, it was rock solid – unlike the dollar and the euro.

The reason all this is worth emphasising is that many deluded folks still think Thailand’s political volatility has knocked the economy for six. It has not.

When Newsweek wrote that in Thailand “mismanagement and mistakes turned a high-growth democratic paradise into a violent mess”, it could not have been more wrong.

Blindsided by smoke and gunfire, it neglected to appreciate that Thailand is still an economic powerhouse and still posts some of the world’s highest growth rates. According to that sadly diminished news magazine, “Brand Thailand is shattered.”

What unadulterated nonsense. Tell that to Ford and Suzuki and 7/11.

As one of the World Bank’s regional heads told me last week, if Thailand proves anything it is that governments are irrelevant when it comes to fostering and sustaining a strong economy.

By far the best administration is one that interferes as little as possible. And that is something countries like Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, where heavy state intervention continues to shackle their progress, should bear in mind.

Unions threaten mass strike


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Union leader Ath Thun addresses union members in a discussion about strike plans yesterday.

via Khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:03 Kim Yuthana

MORE than 60,000 garment workers have reportedly pledged to hold a one-week strike next month after the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia rebuffed their request to renegotiate the sector’s newly established minimum wage.

Ath Thun, head of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said at a meeting in Meanchey district yesterday that labour leaders had collected thumbprints from more than 60,000 workers who vowed to participate in the weeklong strike next month.

“We have abided by the law, but still they have denied us [further negotiations]. Therefore, a huge strike will occur on September 13,” Ath Thun said.

“We want fairness for workers who work very hard, but receive only very small payment.”

Last month, the Labour Advisory Committee, a body of government officials and industry representatives, elected to raise the minimum monthly wage for garment workers by US$5 to $61, a decision that will take effect in October.

However, labour leaders have said the raise is insufficient and have called for an increase to as much as $93 per month, plus additional benefits.

Ath Thun was part of a group of 13 union leaders who wrote to GMAC and the Ministry of Labour earlier this month to call for a new round of wage negotiations. He said the unionists had yet to receive a response to this request, but that there was still time to avert a work stoppage.

“If there is a positive reply from the ministry before the date set for the strike, then we will meet and talk,” Ath Thun said.

GMAC secretary general Ken Loo said yesterday that union leaders and workers must “respect” and “comply” with the LAC’s decision.

“Obviously, we have to comply with the government’s stance. Going on strike is the right of workers and Ath Thun, but they have to abide by the law,” Loo said.

Oum Mean, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour, said the LAC’s ruling could not be changed.

“It is the law. It was a decision made by the majority, and it satisfied the workers. Therefore, it is not right for the minority to keep protesting,” he said.

Anthony Pa, a member of the Council of Jurists at the Council of Ministers, warned earlier this month that the government would consider bringing lawsuits and criminal charges against any who engage in unlawful demonstrations.

“If Ath Thun keeps making demands like this and we keep agreeing with him, then one day the garment industry will collapse, and tens of thousands of workers will lose their jobs,” Oum Mean said. “Then will Ath Thun be brave enough to take responsibility and go to prison instead of the workers?”

Police seek couple over anti-government fliers


via Khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:03 Meas Sokchea

POLICE say they are pursuing two suspects involved with the distribution of anti-government leaflets in Phnom Penh last week, who are suspected to have ties to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

Last week, police said motorbike-taxi driver Hun Piseth, arrested after the leaflets appeared on Wednesday, had confessed to dropping a woman at the SRP’s headquarters after she distributed fliers around Wat Phnom.

Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth said yesterday that officials were still investigating the leafletter and her husband. The leaflets accused the government of “selling the nation to Vietnam”.

Touch Naruth said that although the SRP was not being accused of creating the fliers, it could be implicated for helping the suspects. He said that the SRP may have helped transport the pair to the offices of the rights group Licadho, where they sought legal advice Friday.

Am Sam Ath, a Licadho investigator, named the two suspects as Cheab Socheat and his wife Chea Daly, and confirmed they were given legal advice.

“If they have not committed a crime, there is nothing for them to be scared of,” he said.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann denied the party was involved in the distribution of the leaflets, but said that it was still willing to help the victims of unlawful accusations.

Sexual assault: Man accused of raping 5-year-old


via Khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:03 Chrann Chamroeun

Sexual assault

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court has charged a tour boat worker with raping a 5-year-old girl and remanded him in custody, officials said.

Wat Phnom commune police chief Un Sam Ath said that Sam Neang, 32, was arrested on Thursday after a complaint from the victim’s mother.

“We sent several police officials to the scene and arrested the suspect from a boat where he was hiding after the rape incident,” he said.

“The suspect confessed to raping the girl and [had previously] threatened that if her mother talked to other people or police officials, she would be killed.”

Daun Penh deputy district police chief Em Saroeun said the court charged Sam Neang with rape on Saturday. He faces between 15 and 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Woman accused of abusing teens


Photo by: Photo Supplied
A 17-year-old domestic servant shows off welts and scars that rights activists say were caused by his employer
.

via khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:03 May Titthara

A PHNOM Penh woman accused of torturing two teenagers she employed as domestic servants has been sent to court for questioning after her arrest on the weekend, police said.

Sao Chanthy, 38, was arrested by police in the capital’s Sen Sok district Friday after a local rights group accused her of splashing hot water on two teenagers working in her house.

On Sunday, the woman was transferred to Phnom Penh Municipal Court following questioning by police officers, said Mak Hong, Sen Sok’s police chief. Police believe the woman doused a 17-year-old boy with hot water after she suspected him of theft.

“She checked the child’s pockets and found 11,500 riels. It caused her to become angry, and she threw hot water on the child’s belly,” Mak Hong said.

Scars found on the 17-year-old’s body and on the body of his 14-year-old sister will be used as evidence to suggest the two were abused, Mak Hong said.

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor of local rights group Licadho, said neighbours brought the case to the group’s attention last week.

“The victim children told us that they always get tortured by the house owner. She throws hot water on them, cuts their faces with a knife and regularly beats them and pokes them in the eyes,” Am Sam Ath said. The two children have recent scars on their stomachs, hands and necks.

The two are originally from Takeo province, but came to work in the capital – the 17-year-old in 2004, and his sister in 2007 – for wages of 50,000 riels per month, Am Sam Ath said.

But he said he was concerned Sao Chanthy would ultimately face no legal consequences for her alleged actions, since her husband is a lieutenant colonel working at the Interior Ministry.

“We are worried that she will not get punished according to the law, even though she used these children as slaves, because her husband is an officer in the Ministry of Interior, and now he will try to use his rank to ask for her to be released,” he said.

Ek Chheng Huot, deputy prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, confirmed yesterday that he had received the case, but he said he would not review it until today.

Risky business
Human rights advocates say domestic workers are particularly at risk of abuse because they spend their days and nights behind locked doors, away from the public eye.

Last October, police launched a raid on a villa in Sen Sok district, freeing an 11-year-old girl, and it was later revealed that she had been abused for months after being sold into domestic servitude.

In February, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Meas Nary to a maximum 20 years in prison for her role in detaining and abusing the girl. The woman’s husband, Var Savoeun, was given a 10-year term.

Chi Kraeng: Villagers given time to find lawyer


via Khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:02 Rann Reuy

Chi Kraeng

The trial against villagers involved in a long-running land dispute in Siem Reap’s Chi Kraeng commune was again postponed after the four asked for time to find a lawyer.

Defendants Chheng Savoeun, Tork Leap, Khlin Eang and Chan Leap appeared in Siem Reap provincial court Friday to face charges of incitement, causing injury and destroying private property during a November 2008 incident.

The court granted the group a delay of seven days.

The case stems from a dispute between residents from Chi Kraeng and neighbouring Anlong Samnor commune. Last year, the court ruled that all the disputed land belonged to Amlong Samnor, setting off conflicts between the villagers. RANN REUY

Factory closes down after mass fainting


via Khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:02 Phak Seangly

MORE than 100 workers were hospitalised after fainting on the job at the Manhattan Cambodia garment factory in Kampong Cham province over the weekend, union officials said.

“One hundred seven of 3,000 workers were hospitalised, while another 30 received treatment at home after they fainted between Thursday and Saturday,” said John Theang, a Free Trade Union representative at the factory, which lies inside the Manhattan Industrial Park in Kampong Siem district. The workers were sent to a provincial referral hospital and a nearby military hospital for treatment, he said.

Sam Seiha, an administration officer at Manhattan Industrial Park, said the wave of fainting was a result of workers not eating enough lunch.

“They had little food for lunch, and that’s why they lacked sugar substance in the body,” he said.

He said that the firm had postponed operations until today and was footing the bill for all of those hospitalised.

After visiting the workplace over the weekend, provincial officials put the fainting spell down to the quality of the air in the factory.

“The departments have asked that the firm improve the air system to balance the air,” said Cheng Heang, the director of the provincial labour department.

Cambodia denies Red Shirt rumour


via Khmer NZ

Monday, 16 August 2010 15:02 Rann Reuy

Siem Reap province

CAMBODIAN officials yesterday denied that Red Shirt protest leader Arisman Pongruengrong was hiding in the Kingdom, following reports that the fugitive Thai had been sighted in Siem Reap.

The Bangkok Post reported on Saturday that Thai tourists had spotted Arisman last Tuesday “singing songs” with a group of around 10 other Thais at the restaurant of the City Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap.

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations, the report said, was working to capture and repatriate Arisman, who is wanted on terrorism charges after massive protests in Bangkok earlier this year that left at least 90 people dead.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When they say this, it makes it seem like Cambodia and my hotel is hiding terrorists.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Despite last year’s appointment of former Thai prime minister and current Red Shirt icon Thaksin Shinawatra as a Cambodian government adviser, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Red Shirt leaders had not been given refuge in Cambodia.

“We reiterate that Cambodia has a policy to not support terrorists,” he said. “We’re very conservative and very careful.”

Arisman was cornered in a Bangkok hotel by Thai security forces during protests in April, but he escaped in dramatic fashion by lowering himself by rope out of a third-storey window and fleeing to safety.

Num Le In, operations manager at the City Angkor Hotel, denied Arisman had visited.

“Neither Arisman Pongruengrong nor any other Thai guests have stayed in my hotel,” Num Le In said. “When they say this, it makes it seem like Cambodia and my hotel is hiding terrorists.”

A report last month from Thailand’s The Nation newspaper also placed Arisman in Cambodia, though this was denied by Cambodian officials.

Last month, Cambodia deported two Red Shirt activists – Kobchai Boonplod and Varisareeya Boonsom, both 42 – who had fled to the Kingdom and are now being held on terrorism charges.

The two were arrested in Siem Reap province in connection with a failed bombing attempt in June at the Bangkok headquarters of the Bhumjaithai Party, part of the Thai governing coalition.

The attack apparently failed after a makeshift bomb detonated prematurely.

Siem Reap deputy governor Bun Tharith said he had received no reports of Red Shirts hiding in his province.

“I know there are some Thai people who are working in Siem Reap’s restaurants and hotels, but I don’t know their political views,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JAMES O’TOOLE