Thursday, 19 August 2010

REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea : Workers from a local construction firm, KC Gecin Enterprises, shout slogans behind incense and prayer offerings during a strike in Phnom Penh August 19, 2010

A worker from a local construction firm, KC Gecin Enterprises, (R) applies make up during a strike in Phnom Penh August 19, 2010. Around 20 workers protested for the fourth day against the management's dismissal of 60 co-workers over plans to form a union, according to Moeun Tola, the head of the labour unit at a local NGO. The sign on the woman's shirt reads: "Please, employer, respect the labour law of the Kingdom of Cambodia." REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea


Workers from a local construction firm, KC Gecin Enterprises, light incense to pray for luck during a strike in Phnom Penh August 19, 2010. Around 20 workers protested for the fourth day against the management's dismissal of 60 co-workers over plans to form a union, according to Moeun Tola, the head of the labour unit at a local NGO. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Workers from a local construction firm, KC Gecin Enterprises, shout slogans behind incense and prayer offerings during a strike in Phnom Penh August 19, 2010. Around 20 workers protested for the fourth day against the management's dismissal of 60 co-workers over plans to form a union, according to Moeun Tola, the head of the labour unit at a local NGO. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Workers from a local construction firm, KC Gecin Enterprises, shout slogans during a strike in front of the company in Phnom Penh August 19, 2010. Around 20 workers protested for the fourth day against the management's dismissal of 60 co-workers over plans to form a union, according to Moeun Tola, the head of the labour unit at a local NGO. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Worker from a local construction firm, KC Gecin Enterprises, apply make up during a strike in Phnom Penh August 19, 2010. Around 20 workers protested for the fourth day against the management's dismissal of 60 co-workers over plans to form a union, according to Moeun Tola, the head of the labour unit at a local NGO. The sign on the woman's shirt reads: "Justice needed for workers and let them go back to work". REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

PM: Border row can be settled


via Khmer NZ

Published: 19/08/2010

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has again expressed confidence that the border dispute with Cambodia can be settled through diplomatic channels.

"If we handle the negotiations gently the situation will improve, no one will lose and the people of both countries will benefit," Mr Abhisit said on Thursday.

He said his government can resolve the rift with the Cambodian government over the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

There were two essential in solving the border row. The Thai and Cambodian governments must each show their sincerity in solving the issue through peaceful means, and people from both countries must work together to ease the tension along the disputed frontier area.

"But Thai people need to show their unity first, because having conflict among ourselves makes the problem even more difficult to solve.

"The problem is not easy to solve, but the government will do its best," the premier said.

Negotiations between the two sides must fall within the rules and regulations of the United Nations, he added.

Mekong region rail network to move a step closer

http://news.asiaone.com/

via Khmer NZ

Thu, Aug 19, 2010
AFP

HANOI - A railway system connecting more than 300 million people who live around one of the world's great rivers, the Mekong, will come a step closer on Friday.

A plan for connecting regional rail lines is expected to be endorsed in Vietnam by ministers from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, said the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

It is "the first step in developing and implementing an integrated railway system in the sub-region," Kunio Senga, director general of ADB's Southeast Asia department, said in a foreword to the 25-page plan.

Except for a line that connects China and Vietnam, the six nations' national railway systems do not link up, and Laos has no rail network at all.

The plan cites four possible ways of connecting the region but it says one is most viable. It would stretch from Bangkok to Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and up to Nanning and Kunming, largely using existing lines or those already under construction.

The only missing link on that route is between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh, it says, estimating a cost of 1.09 billion dollars for completion. This does not include roughly seven billion dollars in additional funding needed to upgrade the existing lines.

By 2025, an estimated 3.2 million passengers and 23 million tonnes of freight are forecast for the completed route, the document says.

It calls for the region to be connected with at least one link by 2020.

Railway integration is a "huge" task, whose success will lie in the efficiency of rules and procedures governing cross-border trade and transport, the plan says.

The goal coincides with an effort by Mekong nations to develop "economic corridors" around new road links, which would help to reduce poverty and would be complemented by railway connections, the ADB said.

"The GMS (Greater Mekong Sub-region) railway network needs efficient interconnections with other modes, especially road and inland waterways, for maximum connectivity," the rail plan says.

The Greater Mekong Sub-region is an ADB-supported programme that began 18 years ago to promote development through closer economic links. It includes five Southeast Asian countries as well as China's Yunnan province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Between 1992 and 2006 the area grew at an average 8.3 percent annually, the rail document says.

The favourable growth trends along with increasing trade openness suggest "growing demand for transport of goods and increasing pressure on existing transport systems," it adds.

Infrastructure investment into the area over the past decade has reached about 11 billion dollars, said Arjun Goswami, who heads the ADB's regional cooperation and integration group.

He said the bank, whose mission is to reduce regional poverty, provided about one-third of that figure.

Given the high cost of projects such as the railway, public-private partnerships will be important, Goswami told AFP in an interview.

"We've, I think, helped pioneer that in Cambodia," he said.

Cambodia's rail system is being rehabilitated for 140 million dollars, financed by ADB along with others including the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the rail document says.

Although they are growing fast, the Mekong nations - except for Thailand - still have the lowest per capita gross domestic product among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

While much has already been done to develop East-West and North-South road links through the Mekong countries, transport routes must be turned into "economic corridors" to promote investment and development in the periphery, not just the major cities, Goswami said.

"And I think the opportunities that that will bring to smaller urban centres... is very important for poverty reduction," he said.

Large Number of Fake Visas from Cambodia Seized in Shenzhen

http://www.szcpost.com/

via Khmer NZ

Published on August 19, 2010
by Connie

Shenzhen border sector made announcement yesterday that large quantity of travelers holding Cambodian visas are trying to enter and exit through Shenzhen ports. But the border sector found a large number of those Cambodian visas are of counterfeit suspects, after which, relevant department informed the Cambodian Consulate General in Guangdong about this and confirmed that all the visas of the type are counterfeited.

From August 16, Shenzhen port has discovered that the sticking and electronic visas of Cambodia that part of the travelers from and to Shenzhen held are of the suspect of falsification. The border sector immediately made investigation and check with Cambodian Consulate General in Guangdong, confirming that those visas are all counterfeited. The checkpoint has made administrative penalty on over 50 fake-visa users according to immigration laws and seized all the fake sticking and electronic visas.

Through investigation, the border sector found out those fake visas were bought illegally from tourism companies or travel agencies who applied visas on travelers’behalf. Some travelers who did not know the truth bought the visas due to its cheap price and short issuing time. The suspects who making and selling the fake visas will be punished by the border sector jointly with relevant department according to laws so as to project the legal interest of the travelers from and to Shenzhen.

By Shenzhen Post Elaine

ASEAN urged to mediate intra-regional conflicts


via Khmer NZ

Mustaqim Adamrah
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Thu, 08/19/2010

ASEAN should establish a mechanism to help in resolving conflicts between member states as the region moves toward a fully pledged security community in 2015, say experts.

Parahyangan University international relations expert Bonggas Adi Chandra said Wednesday ASEAN’s non-interference principles were among the reasons the bloc seemed to be reluctant to bring disputes among member states to regional forums.

“In any regional organization, conflicts among members are indeed inevitable,” he said.

“But as we’re heading toward the ASEAN community [in 2015], it is important [for us] to have a mechanism of regional conflict resolution, with an emphasis on solidarity.”

Bonggas cited other regional organizations, such as the EU, that had their own mechanism to settle dispute among member states.

He said such a mechanism would need plans in place prior the implementation and member states would have to hold routine meetings discussing conflict resolutions among their top priorities.

But he said in doing so, each member state would need to “loosen up” their sovereignty.

Echoing Bonggas, Padjadjaran University international relations expert Dudy Heryadi said ASEAN should be bolder when conflicts between its members occurred.

“ASEAN could show its teeth in the event of conflicts between member states by actively offering solutions, instead of letting disputing parties negotiate bilaterally,” he said.

He said ASEAN had been bolder in the past than it was now, citing the way it mediated disputes between Cambodia and Vietnam before either had joined the regional community.

“The conflicts between Vietnam and Cambodia at the time were outrageous,” Dudy said. “But ASEAN mediated, effectively putting them in two separate rooms, then ASEAN met with them one at a time.”

He was speaking of the invasion of Cambodia by Vietnam in 1978, which resulted in the removal of Khmer Rouge regime and the end of the Cambodian genocide.

The most recent dispute between member states involve an incident between Indonesia and Malaysia in disputed waters and between Thailand and Cambodia over the ownership of an ancient temple.

Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry inspectors detained seven Malaysian fishermen in Tanjung Berakit waters, Riau Island Province, last Friday for allegedly trespassing and illegally fishing in Indonesian waters.

But a Malaysian Marine Police patrol boat intercepted them and requested the fishermen be released. Unheeded by the Indonesian officers, the Malaysian patrol fired two warning shots.

All of those arrested during the incident were eventually released Tuesday.

Indonesia condemned the arrest of Indonesian inspectors and has said the Malaysian patrol boat and the Malaysian fishermen had violated “Indonesia’s sovereignty”.

Meanwhile, Cambodia and Thailand have been locked in a troop standoff at their border since July 2008, when the ancient Preah Vihear temple was granted UNESCO World Heritage status.

The World Court ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, although its main entrance is in Thailand.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry director general for ASEAN affairs Djauhari Oratmangun said disputes between member states could escalate if there was no forum like ASEAN to discuss them.

“Moreover, it’s a tremendous achievement to have no open regional conflicts in the 43 years since ASEAN was established,” he said during a discussion in Jakarta.

Thai, Cambodian PM expected to meet during ASEM meeting in Brussels

via Khmer NZ

August 19, 2010

Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen are expected to meet when they attend the upcoming Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) early October in Brussels, the Nation online reported Thursday.

ASEAN Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, who was on transit to capital Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday, expressed the hope that the two leaders would take the opportunity in Belgium's capital to discuss bilateral issues of mutual concerns.

Premier Abhisit and Hun Sen will join the other Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN leaders to meet their European counterparts in Brussels, where the EU headquarters is situated.

In a related development, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has reiterated here that Thailand wants only bilateral talks with Phnom Penh to settle the border conflict.

Surin's revelation came after his trip to capital Phnom Penh, Cambodia, early this week leading a Thai-Muslim delegation to visit Cambodian-Muslim community at the invitation of Hun Sen, the Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

The ASEAN Secretary General also presided over a table-top exercise on pandemic management among the ASEAN members.

Cambodia and Thailand have been at loggerheads over the 11th- century Hindu Preah Vihear temple, which in 1962 was awarded to Cambodia by the International Court of Justice.

On July 29 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee (WHC) decided to reschedule its discussion on Cambodia's management plan for the Preah Vihear temple to its 35th annual meeting in Bahrain in 2011.

The WHC decision of rescheduling its discussion on Cambodia's management plan for the Preah Vihear temple was made at the 34th WHC annual meeting in Brazil.

Thailand and Cambodia have historically laid claim to the site, which is located on a mountain top on the Thai-Cambodia border. The disputed area of 4.6 square kilometers has not been demarcated.

As the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Preah Vihear temple belonged to Cambodia, but the 11th-century Hindu temple can only be easily accessed from Thailand.

The Asia-Europe Meeting, which was initiated in 1996 when the ASEM leaders met in Thailand's capital Bangkok, is an informal trans-regional platform for dialogue and co-operation between the two regions.

Source: Xinhua

Suthep: Both sides must first agree on multilateral intervention


via Khmer NZ

Published: 19/08/2010

The Preah Vihear dispute cannot be raised at a multilateral level without the mutual consent of both the governments of Thailand and Cambodia, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Thursday.

"If Cambodia wants to raise the dispute alone at the multilateral level, this cannot be done. The consent of both countries involved is needed," said Mr Suthep.

"I think that the dispute can be solved through talks between the two countries."

Mr Suthep was responding to the Cambodian move to seek intervention by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to help resolve the border spat, to avoid any large scale armed conflict.

Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga was quoted as saying in a statement on Tuesday that "as Asean chair, Vietnam is actively consulting other Asean countries about the proposal that Asean should mediate the Preah Vihear dispute".

Media reports quoted Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan saying he expected Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to meet and discuss the dispute on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem), scheduled for Brussels in October.

Mr Suthep said he had no knowledge about the matter. However, Mr Surin might have directly contacted Mr Abihisit about the matter.

He said the dispute over the contested 4.6 sq km border area around the cliff-top temple is a big issue and that it will take time to settle the problem.

Meanwhile, Mr Abhisit expressed confidence that the border dispute with Cambodia can be settled through diplomatic channels.

"If we handle the negotiations gently the situation will improve, no one will lose and the people of both countries will benefit," Mr Abhisit said on Thursday.

He said his government can resolve the rift with the Cambodian government over the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

There were two essential needs in solving the border row. The Thai and Cambodian governments must each show their sincerity in wanting to solve the issue through peaceful means, and people from both countries must work together to ease the tension along the disputed frontier area.

"But Thai people need to show their unity first, because conflict amongst ourselves makes the problem even more difficult to solve.

"The problem is not easy to solve, but the government will do its best," the premier said.

Negotiations between the two sides must fall within the rules and regulations of the United Nations, he added.

Cellphones help Cambodian students -- to cheat

via Khmer NZ

2010-08-19 13:34
By Dara Saoyuth

PHNOM PENH, Thursday 19 August 2010 (AFP) - Standing in front of a school in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, Than Vichea read out answers over his mobile telephone to his sister who was taking national exams inside.

He was not alone. Even the police deployed outside schools to stop relatives providing answers to the more than 100,000 students who sat the tests last month could not prevent cheating in many of the exam centres.

"What would happen if they fail?" asked Than Vichea. "We have to think about our expenses for schooling, part-time studies and fuel costs, and especially our time."

Several students interviewed by AFP said they had bribed teachers to allow them to check notes they had smuggled into the exams, or answer sheets allegedly sold in advance by teachers outside the schools.

One said he had paid about 30 dollars to teachers during two and a half days of exams so they would turn a blind eye to cheating and keep watch for school inspectors.

Others said they had bribed teachers to allow them to use their mobiles to phone relatives for help during the exams, the results of which will be announced on August 20.

"Besides copying answers from each other, candidates in my room could even make a phone call outside during the exams to get answers," said a female student who asked to remain anonymous.

"And when there was only one correct answer sheet, it was hard to pass from one to another. So those who use modern phones took a photo of that sheet and then sent it to each other via the Internet on their phones," she said.

After decades of civil war and the mass killing of educated people and intellectuals by the communist Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s, Cambodia is trying to restore its educational system. But it is a slow process.

"Our country was severely destroyed during the Khmer Rouge, so, as a child, we have started rebuilding," said Mak Vann, a senior official with the Ministry of Education.

"We have trained more teachers and up to now it's still not enough. We still lack educational tools, and more teachers need to be trained as well."

Cambodia's schools were obliterated under Khmer Rouge rule. The regime killed nearly two million people -- including many teachers -- as it emptied cities in its bid to forge a Communist utopia.

School buildings, documents and other educational resources were destroyed.

More than three decades later, a lack of infrastructure, human resources and educational tools, as well as low wages for teachers, are hindering efforts to improve standards in schools.

Not all students interviewed said there had been cheating in their exam rooms.

"In my room, it was very strict. We could not even look at each other during the exams. No cellphones were allowed," said one, Bun Keo Voleak.

But the apparent acceptance of bribes by many teachers reflects rampant corruption in general in Cambodia that is seen by many as a growing barrier to quality in human resources for the Southeast Asian nation.

Cheating and paying bribes are common during exams, but Rong Chhun, head of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said the problem appeared to have worsened this year.

"Weakness in the educational system cannot help our country to develop," he said.

Cambodia was ranked 158th out of 180 countries in anti-graft organisation Transparency International's index of perceived public sector corruption in 2009.

It was also ranked the second most corrupt Southeast Asian nation after Indonesia in an annual poll by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy.

"Corruption exists and sometimes it seems to be open, such as teachers collecting money from students even in public class," said In Samrithy, executive director of NGO Education Partnership.

He said Cambodia was lagging behind neighbouring countries in terms of the quality of education.

"Allowing students to cheat is dangerous for their future because what they write for their teachers is not their real knowledge, so when they face a real situation, especially in a competitive job market, they will have problems."

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

Cambodia Expressed Concern about Child Birth Rate for 40,000 Per Year

Thursday, 19 August 2010 09:42 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 19, 2010-Cambodian scholars and researcher on Thursday expressed their concern about the child birth rate in human resources when the neighboring countries stand about one million child birth rate per year like in Vietnam and Thailand but Cambodia has birth spacing policy.

According to the research, our country gets the 40,000 child birth rate per year after the health ministry set up the policy of birth spacing in the family in purpose of reducing poverty and help the mother to live with healthy and firm, Klot Thida, head of royal academy of Cambodia said in a seminar about using chemicals.

Sometimes, we could not compete with neighboring countries in terms of human resources because we have small number of population. And sometimes, the diseases also caused the baby die. Using chemicals in food and other materials including in milk is one of concern for growing child and those who are human resources from the country, she said.

In Cambodia, birth spacing is widely spread for Cambodian families to reduce number of children and the government also helps people to meet with millennium development goals.

For Cambodia, the total population rose to 13.4 million in 2008 and on July 11th, 2010, it will have 14.3 million with population growth rate about 1.55 percent in each year; Cambodia families have 3-4 children in average. So, in 2025, Cambodian population could increase to 17.5 million.

The report added that the population in the whole world is about 6,855 million and will rise to 7, 000 million at the end of 2011. In every second, 4-5 babies in average are born on the planet and a woman could be able to deliver 2-3 babies in average. The women living in developed countries have about one or two children and the women living in developing countries have 4-5. The number of babies was born is estimated at 130 million for each
year.

According to statistics, about 50 million people die of other factors including half million of women dying related to pregnancy and delivering babies each year. Accordance with data, the population in the world every year will increase by about 80 million, which are the challenging matters for the future, he noted.

Press Release of Office of the Council of Ministers Press and Quick Reaction Unit

Thursday, 19 August 2010 05:35 DAP NEWS



AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


via Khmer NZ

AKP/01

NA President Receives Out-going S. Korean Ambassador

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010 AKP -- Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly, met here on Aug. 18 with out-going Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Cambodia H.E. Lee Kyung-Soo.

The out-going S. Korean diplomat said during his diplomatic mission, he noted remarkable democratic and economic development in the Kingdom. “This shows the efforts from both Cambodian legislative and executive bodies,” he said.

The trade exchange between Cambodia and S. Korea has also developed significantly, he added, pledging to continue to help promote the relationship and cooperation between the two nations even though he completed his diplomatic mission in the Kingdom.

In reply, Samdech Chakrei Heng Samrin expressed deep thanks to the government and people of the Republic of Korea for their precious assistance to Cambodia, especially in training human resource, receiving Cambodian labor and providing grants and loans for infrastructure construction.

In Cambodia, he said, S. Korea is in the lead in eight key domains - investment, tourism, cultural exchange, vocational training, Information Technology (IT), construction, finance, and airline services.

The Republic of Korea further supported Cambodia’s candidacy as a member of the World Heritage Committee in Paris 2009, he stressed. --AKP

(By Théng)

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AKP/02

PM Supports DK Fund’s Projects

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010 AKP -- Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has expressed his full support to the projects of the DK Fund of the Republic of Korea in Cambodia.

The projects include the creation of a vocational training center in Preah Sihanouk province, scholarship granting to Cambodian poor students and the construction of a medical school, Ieng Sophalet, assistant to the Cambodian premier told reporters after the meeting here on Aug. 18 between Samdech Techo Hun Sen and visiting U.S.-based DK Fund’s President Mr. Dong Koo Kim.

During the meeting, added the assistant, Mr. Dong Koo Kim told Samdech Techo Hun Sen that he will provide scholarships to Cambodian poor students for a 10-year period starting from 2010 onwards. He further explained he decided to provide scholarships to Cambodian students because Cambodia and the Cambodian people have good relationship with other countries, including the Republic of Korea.

In reply, Samdech Techo Hun Sen warmly welcomed and supported the above-said projects and recommended Mr. Dong Koo Kim to work with the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)

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AKP/03

ADB Pledges to Provide US$597.7 Million to Cambodia

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010 AKP -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged to provide US$597.7 million in grant and loan to Cambodia for a three-year period, from 2011 to 2013.

The promise was made known here on Aug. 18 upon the meeting between Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance H.E. Keat Chhon and ADB Country Director Mr. Putu Kamayana.

Of the total amount, some US$558.5 million will be used to support 23 development projects in nine fields including agriculture, natural resources and rural development, communication, energy, urban development, clean water supply, education and vocational training, financial development, and public and private development, according to a press release of the Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The rest, US$39.2 million, will be used for 36 local and Greater Mekong Subregion-framework projects, it said.

Mr. Putu Kamayana said the ADB’s assistance to Cambodia for the next three years saw an increase if compared with that of the last three years. This is due to Cambodia’s commitment and endeavors in developing the country and alleviating poverty.

For his parts, H.E. Keat Chhon said ADB continued to play key role in Cambodian development. --AKP

(By LIM Nary)

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AKP/04

Commerce Minister Attends GMS Ministerial Meeting in Hanoi

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Senior Minister and Commerce Minister H.E. Cham Prasidh left here on Aug. 17 for Vietnam to join the Greater Mekong Subregion Ministerial Meeting, taking place on Aug. 19-20 in Hanoi.

According to a press release of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the purpose of the meeting is to promote regional cooperation, especially to find out long-term development strategy for the 2010-2022 period.

The participants are also expected to discuss a strategic project on regional railway link, a plan of action on environment, agricultural support program and renewable energy program, etc.

The meeting is attended by ministers from the GMS member countries – Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – as well as ADB officials.

Besides the meeting, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh is scheduled to attend an ASEAN meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, said an official of the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)

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AKP/05

Cambodia Opens Trade Fair to Promote Investment and Trade Chances

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia opened trade fair on Wednesday with an aim to promote investment and trade opportunities in this country.

The three-day trade fair opened Wednesday through Friday is expected to bring in more than 200 international exhibitors and millions of dollars of investment and trading opportunities, reported Chinese News Agency Xinhua.

The fair is organized by Cambodia Investment & Business Development (CIBD) and supported by Cambodia Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and Cambodia Professionals Network (COMPRONET)-- is held at Diamond Island Conventional & Exhibition Center, in a newly developed island in Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh.

The trade fair brings in about 60 booths taken up mostly by the foreign companies, include companies from ASEAN countries, South Korea, China, Japan, India, and others which are interested to explore the investment and trading opportunities, according to Mong Lina, spokesperson for the event.

H.E. Cham Prasidh, senior minister and minister of commerce, said in his message for CIBD that the CIBD Fair 2010 will be one of the catalysts that ensure our investment and trading activities are uninterrupted and will further fuel demand for our local made products internationally.

“The convergence of business interest, cultural diversity and natural attraction in Cambodia offers new, unique and high value trading and business opportunities, which we hope delegates will explore,” H.E. Cham Prasidh said.

He added that the commitment shown by the organizer has opened up a platform for international trade to bring in the much needed investment fund and job opportunities for Cambodia.

The organizing Chairman of CIBD, L.L. Koong said in his speech during the launching ceremony that, in looking at economic opportunities in Cambodia, one always needs to look at them in the context of Cambodia’s larger relationship with the region.

“In 1999, Cambodia became a member of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), a political grouping which groups 10 countries with a total population of about 550 million and a GDP of something under US$600 billion - at purchasing power parity, US$1.8 trillion,” he said.

He commended that Cambodia is one of the most open economies in this region.

According to the Heritage Foundations index of Economic Freedom, Cambodia ranked 35th among 170 countries in terms of economic freedom.

This puts it on a par with Japan and well ahead of several of its neighbors.

The organizer is putting in efforts to organize comprehensive business matching session to enable the entrepreneurs from overseas to have direct and close interaction with the Cambodian entrepreneurs and government officers. --AKP

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AKP/06

Integrated Efforts Crucial in Helping Cambodia to Respond to Climate Change

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010 AKP -- The Royal Government of Cambodia and its development partners on Wednesday stressed on the need for integrated efforts under different climate change-related initiatives to ensure high efficiency in helping the country to respond to the impact of this global problem.

The message came during the inception workshop of the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance (CCCA) which was held today (Aug. 18). The event marked the beginning of a new implementation phase of the CCCA following its launch on Feb. 25 this year, said a press release of the Cambodian Ministry of Environment.

H.E. Dr. Mok Mareth, Senior Minister and Minister of Environment, Chairman of the National Climate Change Committee, opened the workshop by reiterating the high attention of the Royal Government of Cambodia is tackling impacts of climate change as a strategic priority for reducing poverty.

“We are undertaking this task at a time when climate change-related issues are becoming more and more serious, requiring the utmost attention in our national development agenda,” the minister said in the occasion of opening session.

“Because climate change is a cross-sectoral issue directly concerning ministries and institutions that are charged with tasks of national development, the Royal Government of Cambodia has recognized the need to streamline climate change issues into the national policy and the socio-economic development plan at national and sub-national levels, as well as into other relevant sectors,” he added.

Cambodia, where some 80 percent of the population live in the countryside and depend on agriculture for livelihoods, is deemed vulnerable to impacts of climate change events such as drought, erratic patterns of rain falls, and flooding. However, along with these challenges there are also opportunities for funding to least developed countries like Cambodia. But Cambodia needs to prepare and strengthen its institutional capacity to make use of those opportunities for sustainable socio-economic development.

The CCCA, a multi-donor funded initiative, was created for this objective. The CCCA will strengthen the key institutions – including the National Committee on Climate Change, the Climate Change Department, and key climate change functional units within sectors at national and sub-national levels. The aim is to support the integration of climate change considerations into policy and planning processes to build a national adaptation system.

The CCCA initiative is supported by the Climate Change Trust Fund of US$8.9 million – which covers the period 2010-2012 – from the European Union, UNDP, SIDA, and DANIDA, the representatives of which also attended the workshop on Wednesday.

For climate change impacts are too big for any single project, ministry or development partner to act alone, it is crucial to consolidate and harmonise different initiatives through the promotion of a National Programme for climate change, Rafael Dochao Moreno, Chargé d’Affaires, European Union Delegation to Cambodia, said in his speech on behalf of all the CCCA donors.

“The CCCA is NOT a programme of the Ministry of Environment; it is a programme of the National Climate Change Committee and as such requires commitment and engagement from all ministries,” he said.

“We propose that a consolidated effort be made by all involved in climate change to support the establishment of a National Programme for climate change – to be established by the Government, with the support of development partners and civil society organizations – to align climate change initiatives and donor support with national strategies and priorities,” he said.

“A programmatic approach can reduce transactions costs, strengthen national ownership and leadership, and enhance efficiency and effectiveness in order to promote greater impacts,” he added.

Following the launching of CCCA early this year a programme team was assembled to draw up plans for the next phase of the programme implementation.

The aim of the workshop was to assist the team to understand and take ownership of the objectives and the expected results of the programme. It will also include, among other issues, review of the progress made during the inception phase, discussion of grant guidelines, discussion of capacity development approach and harmonization and expected results of the work of the CCCA initiative first year, 2010-2011. --AKP

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AKP/07

Minister of Justice: Wild Animal Trade Endangers Cambodia’s Natural Resources

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010 AKP -- Minister of Justice H.E. Ang Vong Vathana has asked his ministry’s officials to further cooperate to stop wild animal trade.

The wild animal trade has been endangering Cambodian’s natural resources, he said when presiding over the opening workshop on wild animal crime held here yesterday.

This workshop is an important occasion for the law enforcement officials to learn about this crime, and local and cross-border cooperation to help combat and crack down all illegal wild animal trade, he said.

The workshop was jointly organized by the Cambodian Ministry of Justice, the U.S. Department of Justice and the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) and sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). --AKP

Khan Sophirom

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

AKP/08

Books of Duch’s Verdict Become a Document of a Great Value

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010, AKP -- Books of Duch’s verdict have become a document of a great value for courthouse of Kandal province.

Officials from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal handed over copies of Duch’s judgment to judges, prosecutors and court clerks at the Courthouse in Kandal province on Aug. 17.

Mr. Kranh Tony, the tribunal’s acting director of administration, said the books were useful for lawyers, law students and researchers to understand the half-UN-Cambodian tribunal and the trial proceedings of international justice standards.

He said the judgment was a remedy for treating for the injury of the feelings to the long-awaited victims.

He stressed that the development of the law field was also in response to the legal and juridical reform of the Cambodian royal government.

The substantive part of the trial against KAING Guek Eav, alias Duch, started on Mar. 30, 2009. Closing arguments ended on Nov. 27, 2009 after a total of 72 trial days, during which 24 witnesses, 22 Civil Parties and nine experts listened to the court hearings. More than 28,000 people followed the proceedings from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Mr. In Vanvibol, head of the Kandal provincial court thanked officials from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for the books, saying that court officials would study the judgment from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as the tribunal is formally known.

5,000 copies of the 450-page judgment and 17,000 copies of 36-page summary version have been printed, according to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. --AKP

(By THOU Peou)

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AKP/09

Russia to Train Cambodian Military

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010 AKP --- The Russian Federation has agreed to train Cambodian military officers with military technical skills in its country.

The information was made known here recently during a meeting between Cambodian military trainees and Russian military attaché to Cambodia, Col. Nikolay Nikolayuk.

According to Keo Sambath, deputy director of International Relations Department of the National Defense Ministry, 20 young officers will be sent for training in Russia in the near future.

Russia had suspended its military relations and cooperation with Cambodia in the 1990s and has resumed in 2007, he said.

Col. Nikolay Nikolayuk said the Russian Federation always helps Cambodia in training human resource, including military officers and civil servants. --AKP

(By CHEA Vannak)

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

AKP/10

Cambodia, Vietnam Fight Against Border Crimes

Phnom Penh, August 19, 2010 AKP -- The Police forces of Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province and Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Phuoc signed on Wednesday in Binh Phouc a cooperative program to fight against crimes in border areas, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

According to Director of Binh Phuoc provincial Police Department Nguyen Chi Cuong, police forces of the two provinces will exchange information relating to border criminals and work closely to facilitate border demarcation and marker planting between the two countries, VNA said.

They will also tightly control all border travel of citizens of each country and create favorable conditions for people of both countries to exchange goods, visit family members and undertake medical check-ups, it added.

The police forces of Mondulkiri and Binh Phuoc provinces have worked together to prevent illegal wood product transportation, drug trafficking and the trading of stolen motorbikes, said VNA. --AKP

Taking the plunge


Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:00 Uong Ratana

A boy leaps into the Tonle Sap river just north of the Japanese Friendship Bridge yesterday.

Man on wires


Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:00 Uong Ratana

An Electricite du Cambodge employee tries to make sense of a mass of tangled power lines on Norodom Boulevard on Monday.

Trofimov confesses in court


Photo by: AFP
Russian Alexander Trofimov covers his face while exiting Sihanoukville Municipal Court in August 2008, following an appeal against his conviction on child sex charges.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:03 Chrann Chamroeun

IN a stunning reversal, convicted Russian paedophile Alexander Trofimov yesterday admitted to a raft of child sex charges and offered apologies to his victims and their families in a bid to secure a reduced sentence.

At a hearing of the Appeal Court yesterday, presiding Judge Seng Sivutha read out a letter in which the 42-year-old Russian man confessed to charges in two of the three cases against him.

“I acknowledge and confess my guilt on two of the three counts, and for the third count I would like the charges lifted against me,” Seng Sivutha read to the court.

“With my confessions of guilt, I would like to make my apology to all Cambodian people and families of the victims who have been sexually abused by me, and I would like to request that the court cut my sentence down to the minimum.”

Trofimov, who was not present for yesterday’s proceedings, was once director of the US$300 million Koh Puos development in Preah Sihanouk province. In October 2007, he was arrested in Sihanoukville on suspicion that he had sexually abused up to 19 Cambodian girls since 2005.

In March 2008, Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Trofimov under Cambodia’s old debauchery law and sentenced him to 13 years in prison – a term reduced to six years on appeal.

In November 2008, Preah Sihanouk court sentenced him to eight more years for purchasing child prostitution, and added a further three years in January 2009 for a separate case involving 17 underage girls. All three cases were heard yesterday at the Appeal Court, and a verdict in all three cases is expected on August 26.

After the letter was read out to the court, Trofimov’s defence lawyer, Saing Vannak, requested that the court merge all three charges into a single charge, meaning that his client could face a maximum total of eight years prison – nine less than the sum of his current sentences.

“I would like to request the court to cut the sentence down against my client and absorb the convictions into the maximum sentence,” he said.

Peng Maneth, a lawyer provided to the victims by child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, opposed the request.

“I request that the court not absorb the convictions, which is impossible because the three cases were separate,” she said.

She also requested that the court deport Trofimov to Russia following the completion of his sentence.

After the hearing, APLE lawyer Nuon Panith described Trofimov’s confessions as “very surprising and interesting”.

“We applaud Sasha’s courage and bravery in confessing his guilt,” he said.

Eventful case
Trofimov’s in-court confession caps a colourful trial history in Cambodia’s largest-profile paedophile case.

In June last year, Prum Piseth, a Justice Ministry official, was arrested for allegedly forging documents, including one that approved the extradition of Trofimov to his native Russia, where he is also wanted for child sex crimes. The official was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined 10 million riels ($2,380).

A concurrent civil case was held against the official, in which Trofimov’s assistant Keo Valy demanded that Prum Piseth return $253,500 Trofimov allegedly paid to have the documents forged.

In the same month the official was arrested, Trofimov was reportedly allowed to leave prison to visit his investment project in Preah Sihanouk province. The prison director was later demoted over the scandal.

Couple flees country over leaflet accusation


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:03 Meas Sokchea

TWO opposition Sam Rainsy Party activists suspected of distributing antigovernment leaflets in the capital last week have fled to Thailand for fear of arrest, but continue to deny any involvement in the incident.

Chea Socheab and his wife Chea Daly came under suspicion after the fliers appeared around Wat Phnom on the morning of August 11. A motorbike-taxi driver arrested in connection with the incident told police that he took Chea Daly to distribute the leaflets on that day and then dropped her off at the SRP’s headquarters on Sothearos Boulevard.

The two fled to Thailand soon afterwards. Speaking by phone yesterday, Chea Socheab denied any involvement in the scattering of the fliers.

“My wife has been pregnant for five or six months; how was she able to do that? The government must find clear proof to accuse us,” he said. “I have wondered so much about why they have accused us like this.”

He said that the pair had no idea about the origin of the fliers, which lambasted the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and accused senior officials of being stooges of Vietnam.

Chea Socheab, a longtime SRP activist who was briefly arrested during election campaigning in 2003, said that he and his wife fled because they did not trust the Cambodian court system to try their case fairly.

Phnom Penh municipal police chief Touch Naruth said Tuesday that police had sent the case to the court and he would pursue the couple if requested.

“If an offence has occurred, I must follow it. I will not give up,” he said.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said yesterday that police have not yet received an arrest warrant for the pair, and that there was little evidence tying the two to the leaflets. “If he flees it is up to him. We do not have anything to put the heat on him,” he said.

Chan Soveth, a senior investigator for local rights group Adhoc, confirmed that the pair had contacted his organisation from Thailand seeking help, and called on the authorities to drop the charges.

“We must receive the criticism. We are public officials,” he said.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann declined to comment.

ASEAN to consider border talks


Photo by: Sovan Philong
ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan shakes hands with Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong in Phnom Penh earlier this week.

via khmer NZ

Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:03 Cheang Sokha

ASEAN chair Vietnam has said it is considering mediation in the long-running border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand, with bilateral talks between the two countries currently stalled.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong wrote to Vietnamese foreign minister Pham Gia Khiem last week to request ASEAN involvement in the dispute in order to prevent “large-scale armed conflict”.

This followed a letter, written by Prime Minister Hun Sen to the UN Security Council, in which the premier called for international intervention, later warning that tension could lead to “bloodshed”.

“As ASEAN chair, Vietnam is actively consulting other ASEAN countries about the proposal that ASEAN mediates over the Preah Vihear dispute,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said in a statement Tuesday.

Nguyen said that Vietnam hoped to see a peaceful settlement of the dispute, and called on Cambodia and Thailand to refrain “from armed conflict and from acts that could affect ASEAN solidarity”.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said the government welcomed Vietnam’s move to open dialogue on the issue.

“Cambodia and Thailand are members of ASEAN, so in order to avoid bloodshed or large-scale armed conflict, we need to utilise a multilateral mechanism initiated by

ASEAN,” Koy Kuong said.

Thai officials have repeatedly said they favour bilateral negotiations through the existing Joint Border Committee, though JBC negotiations have been stalled since last year pending approval of the committee’s latest agreements by the Thai parliament.

Yesterday, the Thai government said a planned parliamentary vote to approve these agreements had been postponed, prompting charges from Cambodian officials that Thailand was intentionally delaying the process.

A report from Thai state media yesterday quoted Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban as saying that Thailand was still against international mediation.

“Mr Suthep reiterated that the solutions to the border demarcation dispute between Thailand and Cambodia should be sought through bilateral negotiations, and that there was no need for either party to ask an international body to step in to help solve the conflict,” the report said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

Stronger wildlife laws needed, officials say


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:02 Chhay Channyda

NEW laws and harsher penalties are needed to prosecute people who trade in illegal wildlife, government officials said yesterday.

Speaking at the opening of a two-day regional anti-wildlife trafficking workshop in Phnom Penh, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana said that a lack of concrete wildlife management legislation combined with weak penalties for illegal traders meant there was little to deter would-be perpetrators.

“Wildlife trade is a serious problem threatening the national resources of Cambodia,” he said.

According to Article 93 of Cambodia’s Law on Forestry, passed in 2002, individuals found guilty of trading illegally in wildlife face prison sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up to 100 million riels (US$23,518).

Tim Sipha, director of the Legislation and Law Enforcement Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that 44 suspects had been sent to court charged with wildlife crimes so far this year.

“Wildlife crimes happen most in northeastern parts of the country where there are many forests,” he said.

Suon Sovann, deputy director of the Forestry Administration’s Legislation and Law Enforcement Department, said the government considered wildlife to be state property, and that it was therefore the state’s responsibility to protect species from poaching.

He said that most Cambodian wildlife trafficking was across the border for sale in neighbouring Vietnam and Laos.

Trafficking hearings often flawed: report


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:02 Irwin Loy

CAMBODIA’S judges and court officials may have a poor understanding of the Kingdom’s controversial anti-human trafficking legislation, leading victims to be “re-victimised” as their cases proceed through the legal system, a new report suggests.

The report, released yesterday by the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, found problems associated with attempts to prosecute cases using the 2008 Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. CCHR trial monitors observed 18 trials between August and December last year and found evidence to suggest that judges need a better understanding of the laws they are implementing.

“It is clear that the application of the law has been inconsistent at best and incorrect at worst,” the report says.

Though trial monitors found that judges usually informed suspects of the charges they were facing and the relevant laws, they also found that satisfactory explanations were rare. This finding, the CCHR report says, “casts doubt on the judiciary’s understanding” of human trafficking laws.

The report says that many victims involved in human trafficking cases are juveniles, and that courts may be ill-prepared to deal with young victims.

“The data revealed no clear evidence that the courts possesses a deep understanding of issues relating to juvenile justice,” CCHR stated.

In one case, a defence lawyer for a 51-year-old man accused of forcing an 11-year-old girl to perform sex acts was permitted to ask the victim questions in a loud, intimidating voice. The trial judges, meanwhile, frequently left the courtroom and spoke on their telephones.

In a separate case, trial monitors suspected that a 19-year-old suspect was allowed to contact his 6-year-old alleged victim before the trial. The victim’s lawyer also did not ask that her identity be kept secret.

The rights of the accused, as well, may not be adequately protected, CCHR found. Trial monitors found that public notices for human trafficking hearings were rarely posted, and that unacceptable delays to trials were common.

In one case, a hearing was delayed five times. In most cases, delays were attributed to lawyers or judges who failed to show up to hearings.

“Undue delay of trials is not only a violation of the rights of the accused, but can have negative psychological impacts on the victim as well as increasing the opportunities for intimidation of the victim prior to testifying,” it states in the report.

Trial monitors raised “major concerns” over the length of pretrial detention. In one case, an accused person was held in pretrial detention for 20 months – five times the maximum allowed.

The report did note some positive findings. Trial monitors were pleased to find a high proportion of female lawyers representing female trafficking victims, with 11 of 15 trials that proceeded to court including female lawyers.

In June, the United States state department removed Cambodia from a watchlist of countries judged to be making insufficient gains in fighting human trafficking, saying the Kingdom had stepped up the apprehension and prosecution of offenders.

American officials have noted “confusion” in the government’s implementation of the trafficking law, however, as “trafficking” was sometimes conflated with non-coerced sex work and other offences.

Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana said yesterday that he could not comment because he had not yet seen the report.

Migrant workers repatriated after working ‘hell’ abroad


Photo by: Uy Nousereimony
Trafficking victims wait at the office of local rights group Licadho yesterday, after returning to Cambodia from Thailand and Malaysia.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:02 May Titthara and Will Baxter

SIXTEEN migrants who were trafficked to Thailand and Malaysia returned to Phnom Penh yesterday after being detained for several months in a Malaysian prison.

Mom Sokchar, programme manager for Legal Support for Children and Women, a local rights group, said yesterday that 14 men from the group had been trafficked through Samut Prakan province in Thailand and later forced to work without pay on Thai fishing vessels.

“They were forced to work like slaves on the boat,” he said. “They never received their salary, and some of them were working at sea for 10 years.”

The men eventually escaped by jumping overboard when their vessel docked near Malaysia and subsequently asked to be “arrested” by the Malaysian police, he said, and some of the men were held in prison for as long as 10 months.

The men, who hail from seven provinces, were “cheated” by traffickers who promised them well-paid jobs in factories, and in the construction and fishing industries.

“They had no jobs in Cambodia so when they heard that they could get US$16 per day they had to go,” he said.

Bun Sarei, a 31-year-old trafficking victim from Battambang province, said that he was deceived by a broker to whom he paid a fee of about $32 to secure a job working on a dock in Thailand.

“I was cheated and forced to work as a fishermen at sea,” he said. He said that he had been drugged and had later woken up on a fishing vessel.

“I was surprised when I woke up because my body was surrounded by the sea,” he said. “At first I cried, but then I was beaten by the boat captain until I stopped. It was like hell.”

Manfred Hornung, a legal adviser with Licadho, called the case a “stereotypical story” involving the “movement of people with an element of deceit [and] with the purpose of exploitation”.

Mom Sokchar said the lone woman from the group travelled to Malaysia with the aid of a recruitment firm and had been paid to work as a maid, but fled after being abused by her employer.

Another man worked in a Malaysian garment factory, but had been forced to pay off a large fee to the broker who secured his job, he said.

According to a study conducted last year by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, almost one-quarter of deportees returning through Poipet are trafficking victims. The study also suggested that men were twice as likely to have been cheated or trafficked.

In May, eight men returned to Cambodia after escaping from a Malaysian fishing vessel where they had been forced to work as virtual servants for one to three years.

Four injured in acid attack


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Keo Savorn, 23, is comforted by her aunt at Calmette Hospital after she was attacked with acid outside a garment factory yesterday.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear and Kim Samath

ONE woman was critically injured and three others suffered mild burns in an acid attack outside a garment factory in the capital’s Dangkor district yesterday morning.

Keo Savorn, a 23-year-old garment factory worker who was badly burned in the attack, said she was leaving the Chantex Garment Company building to buy refreshments during a lunch break at 11:45am when a man poured a half-litre of acid over her face.

“When I was walking to buy sugarcane juice I saw the man walking in front of me carrying a bottle of acid,” she said from her bed at Calmette Hospital, her face shrouded in plasters and bandages.

“I thought it was pure water because all workers always carry a water bottle in their hands when they leave work,” she added.

Keo Savorn said she had noticed the man shortly before he attacked her and knew that he worked in the laundry department at the Chentex factory.

“I could recognise his face because I saw him before he threw acid on me, but I don’t know his name,” she said. However, she said she had never spoken to the man and suspected that someone else had hired him to attack her.

“I filed a complaint to the authorities to arrest the suspect and the mastermind behind the case, and to punish them through the law,” she said. She said she plans to request US$10,000 in compensation.

Three people standing near her had also been splashed with the corrosive liquid, she said, but they were not seriously injured, and the attacker fled the scene on a motorbike.

Hen Sokheang, a 20-year-old worker at the factory, was also sent to Calmette for treatment yesterday.

“I was very shocked when I got the acid attack, but I am lucky because it burned only my heel,” she said.

She said the other two victims, both vendors who sell refreshments outside the factory, had received medical treatment for minor burns at another hospital.

Born Samath, district police chief, said that the victims had provided a description of the attacker, and that police expected to be able to make an arrest within the next couple of days.

“I will not allow the suspect to be free, and maybe two days later we can arrest him because we know his identity already,” he said.

He said he believed the attack had been intended to target only Keo Savorn.

Ouk Kimlek, an under secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior and deputy director of a government committee tasked with drafting new legislation designed to curb acid violence, yesterday urged police to prosecute the attacker.

“The suspect or perpetrator must be responsible for the crime they committed, and they have to be punished through the law,” he said.

Representatives of the committee, which was formed in February following a spate of acid attacks that began late last year, originally said that they expected to finalise a draft of the new law shortly after Khmer New Year, but later said that more time was needed to revise the draft.

Early drafts of the law provided for harsher sentences for perpetrators of acid violence, including life imprisonment for the most serious attacks.

Ouk Kimlek said yesterday that the government committee would try to complete the law “as soon as possible”.