Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Large-Scale Farm Deals Endanger Local Control, World Bank Says

via CAAI

September 07, 2010
By Sandrine Rastello

Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Foreign purchases of agricultural land from Mozambique to Cambodia pose “significant risks” to the livelihoods of farmers in countries with “weak land governance,” the World Bank said in a report.

Large-scale purchases raise “a real concern about the ability of local institutions to protect vulnerable groups from losing land on which they have legitimate, if not formally recognized claims,” according to the report by the Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development department.

“The veil of secrecy that often surrounds these land deals must be lifted so poor people don’t ultimately pay the heavy price of losing their land,” World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigerian finance and foreign minister, said in a statement. The acquisitions “can come at a high cost,” he said.

Rising prices of rice, corn and palm oil in 2008 triggered deadly unrest in some parts of the developing world. The report, Rising Global Interest in Farmland, said that over the next year farmland investment spiraled, with 10 times more property bought in developing countries by nations seeking food security.

Nations dependent on food imports, such as Saudi Arabia and South Korea, stepped up efforts to buy land and lock-in overseas resources to ensure food security, the bank said. Foreign investment in Sudanese agricultural land in 2009 was estimated to increase five-fold by 2014, according to a Sudan Investment Ministry estimate last year.

Environmental Impact

Investor deals also have an environmental impact in countries such as Brazil, where deforestation was pursued to enable farmland expansion, the report said. The report reviewed data from 14 countries in Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia between 2004 and 2009.

“The question will be what will the bank be able to do to change these dynamics,” said Vince McElhinny, who is a project manager for The Bank Information Center, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. that advocates for transparency and public accountability within the World Bank. “In practice what we’re seeing is a trend that suggests that it will be able to do very little.”

Foreign agricultural investments have sometimes met with resistance. Protests by local communities in Madagascar caused that country to abandon a $6-billion farming agreement last year with Daewoo Logistics Corp.

Governments were “unprepared” for the increase in such land deals after the food and fuel crisis, the report said.

The report noted that private investors had the potential to increase productivity in less-developed countries with technological help. “In many cases, however, the desired benefits were not achieved,” the report said. The World Bank is trying to develop voluntary principles for responsible agricultural investment, it said.

-- Editors: Christine Spolar, Christopher Wellisz

To contact the reporter on this story: Sandrine Rastello in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

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Japanese Youth Goodwill Mission Visits Cambodia

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 10:16 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, SEPTEMBER 8, 2010-A Japanese goodwill mission, consisting of 10 youths aged from 18 to 30 years old and selected from all over Japan, one national leader and one sub-leader, is currently visiting Cambodia from September 3-18 under the Youth Exchange Program 2010 of the Cabinet Office of Japan, the statement from Japanese embassy said on Wednesday.

It added that the Youth Exchange Program aims to promote mutual friendship and understanding between Japanese and foreign young people, and to broaden the international perspectives of Japanese young people so as to foster the spirit of international cooperation.

It said that during the stay in Cambodia, the goodwill mission will visit sites related to social, economic and cultural affairs, as well as Japanese non-governmental organizations

(NGO) projects in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and other provinces.

They will also participate in the Cambodia-Japan Youth Forum at the Phnom Penh Hotel this week. At the end of the visit, a farewell reception will be held, with the participation of the Japanese delegation, officials from the Ministry of Educations, Youth and Sports and NGO staff.

Women Take Their Place in Parliament

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 08:41 DAP NEWS

- Cambodian lawmakers hear about temporary special measures as a means to increase women’s political participation

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, SEPTEMBER 8, 2010-Cambodian leaders joined UN officials and international and regional experts in calling for a redoubling of efforts to increase the number of women in the country’s legislative body to 30 percent, a target required to achieve the Millennium Development Goal by the target year of 2015.

The message was the focus of the “Workshop on Achieving MDG 3 by 2015” which was attended by senior members of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Members of the Cambodian Parliament, UN representatives, regional and international legislators and experts, and members of civil society organizations.

H.E. Men Sam An, Deputy Prime Minister, reaffirmed government’s commitment to improve women’s status.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia has been taking steps to increase to the maximum proportion of women’s participation in all levels of national institutions,” she said in her opening remarks at the workshop.

“However, more concerted efforts are required to address the remaining challenges,” she added.

Women now hold 27 of the 123 seats – or 21 percent in comparison to men – in the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament. Their representation increased on average 2 percent every five years for the three elections between 1993 and 2003. The last election in 2008 saw that number go up to 12 percent. Meanwhile, in the Senate, the upper house of parliament, women hold 8 of the 61 seats, representing only 13 percent, below both the global and regional averages. Before the MDG 2015 deadline, the National Assembly and the Senate will be required to increase the number of female lawmakers by 9 percent and 17 percent, respectively. But time is of the essence as both Houses have only one election cycle left in which to fill the gap. The next Senate election is in 2012 and the National Assembly in 2013.

Despite some progress, overall Cambodian women continue to face socio-economic disadvantages compared to their male counterparts. Gender parity in literacy for women aged 13-24 has almost been achieved but only a third of domestic violence victims will seek help. And five women die giving life every day.

To give new momentum to MDG 3, the UN Secretary-General recently created UN Women, an agency which is tasked with consolidating and strengthening the UN’s gender policies and work globally. The aim is to enable the UN to mobilise significant resources, both financial resources and technical expertise, to support the global achievement of MDG 3, Mr. Douglas Broderick, UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia, said in his remarks at the workshop.

In Cambodia, he said, gender continues to be a pillar and cross-cutting issue of focus for the work of all UN agencies in the next five years. He also noted that MDG 3 might fall into the off-track category unless gender-based domestic violence is tackled aggressively.

“Women make up 52 percent of Cambodia’s population, and yet represent only 13 percent of the seats in the Senate and 21 percent in the National Assembly. Without adequate representation, women’s voices are simply not being heard,” Mr. Broderick said.

“Far more important to achieving MDG3 will be mobilising the political will and commitment to bring more women into the political arena. By supporting and training women candidates, by mentoring women who are Members of Parliament, by coaching women in Government at all levels, we can ensure that women’s voices are heard,” he said.

“I’m pleased that the Cambodian government has set a target to elect 30 percent women to the Parliament. The global experience has shown us that temporary measures need to be adapted to each country. Half of the countries in the world now have temporary special measures, something that only happened over the last 10-15 years. Interestingly, these measures are both controversial and popular,” said Prof. Drude Dahlerup from Stockholm University.

Two leading political science professors from Sweden and South Korea discussed the use special temporary measures as a means of increasing female political representation in their respective countries. Members of Parliament from Viet Nam, Timor-Leste, and Lao PDR also shared their own experiences with progress and challenges in ensuring adequate women’s political representation in their own countries.

The workshop was held as part of the “MDG3 Week” from 6-10 September with the support of UNDP and in collaboration with the Cambodian Parliament, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, UNIFEM, the UN Millennium Campaign, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and ActionAid.

PM Hun Sen Sends Message for International Literacy Day

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 05:32 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, SEPTEMBER 8, 2010-Cambodian PM Hun Sen has appealed the local authorities to pay attention further on the education and non-formal education to enhance the education equity for local people, the statement from Pm Hun Sen obtained on Wednesday.

This event is very important for persons who have the basic right for education, PM Hun Sen said in his message for the international literacy day.

The government always encouraged all partners to contribute developing the education system in the country. And promote education for all people, he said, adding that literacy is very crucial for contributing poverty reduction for local people. Especially women need to push development.

He also appealed to factories to provide more vacation training and literacy for their staff to build their own capacity in their life skills.

Cambodian has to promote education for all. 73 per cent of Cambodians could read and write.

Cambodia Promotes Gender and Women’s Political Participation

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 04:35 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, SEPTEMBER 8, 2010-Cambodian government and international community here on Wednesday conducted a workshop on achieving millennium development goals by 2015, attended by senior members of the government, members of Cambodian parliament, international partners and civil organizations.

Speaking at the workshop, permanent deputy prime minister Men Sam On said the progress the government had made toward mDG3 to promote gender equality and empower women, to increase the number of women in the parliament over the past 15 years. “A lot more need to be done to meet the target, she said.

We set an ambitious target of 30 per cent because as you know, 30 per cent women’s representation in national legislatures is well recognized as the crucial mass needed for women to be able to make a meaningful contribution in an otherwise male-dominated domain, she noted. we have chosen to focus on women’s political participation because this is an area that is lagging we need to fast track and strengthen our focus on women’s empowerment and gender equality, she said.

Women now hold 27 of the 123 seats – or 21 per cent in comparison to men in the national assembly, the lower house of parliament. Their representation increased on average 2 per cent every five years for the three elections between 1993 and 2003.

The last election in 2008 saw that number goes up to 12 per cent. Meanwhile, in the senate, the upper house of parliament, women hold 8 of the 61 seats, representing only 13 per cent, below both the global and regional average. Before the MDG 2015 deadline, the national assembly and the senate will be required to increase the number of female lawmakers by 9 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively. But the time is of the essence as both house have only on election cycle left in which fill the gap. The senate election is in 2012 and the national assembly in 2013.

To give new momentum to MDG3, the UN Secretary General recently, created Un women, an agency which is tasked with consolidating and strengthening the UN’s gender policies and work globally. The aim is to enable the UN to mobilize significant resources, both financial resources and technical expertise, to support the global achievement of MDGs, Douglas Broderick, UN resident coordinator in Cambodia, said in his remarks as the workshop.

In Cambodia, he said, gender continues to be a pillar and cross-cutting issues of focus for the work f all UN agencies in the next five years. He also noted that MDGs might fall into the off-track category unless gender-based domestic violence is tackled aggressively.

Women make up 52 per cent of Cambodia’s population, and yet represent only 13 per cent of seats in the senate and 21 per cent in the national assembly. Without adequate representation, women’s voices are simply not being heard, he added.

Far more important to achiving MDgs will be mobilizing the political will and commitment to bring more women into the political area. By supporting and training women candidates, by mentioning women who are members of parliament , by coaching women in government at all levels, we can ensure that women’s voice are heard, he said.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


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WB Vice President Appreciates Cambodian PM’s Leadership

Phnom Penh, September 8, 2010 AKP -- Visiting Senior Vice President of the World Bank (WB), Mr. Justin Yifu Lin has praised Cambodia for its successes, which he said reflected the wise and right leadership of Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.

Mr. Lin also lauded the Kingdom for its economic development despite the global financial crisis, Ieng Sophalet, assistant to the Cambodian premier told reporters here on Tuesday upon the meeting between Samdech Techo Hun Sen and Mr. Justin Yifu Lin.

The WB senior vice president further said that Cambodia is among the five countries that have achieved the Millennium Development Goals.

He also informed the Cambodian prime minister of his first visit to Cambodia, the purpose of which, he said, is to learn more about Cambodia’s development and to contribute to helping the country towards development as WB has done so far.

For his part, Samdech Techo Hun Sen detailed his guest of four of the ten priorities set out by the Royal Government of Cambodia since 1987 to promote national economic development, including construction of irrigation system for the agricultural field, development of physical infrastructure and telecommunications, resolution to electricity issue and human resource development.

WB Senior Vice President Mr. Justin Yifu Lin arrived here on Sept. 6 for a three-day visit. During his stay, he has held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister H.E. Keat Chhon and witnessed the signing ceremony of credit and grant agreements to support Cambodia’s higher education project. He also visited ACLEDA Bank Plc. to learn about its rapid development and the country’s banking and financial sector as well. --AKP

(By OU Sokha)

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PM: Literacy Is the Basic Right in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, September 8, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen considered literacy is the basic right for all Cambodian people and the key development of the country.

The remarks were made in Samdech Techo’s address on the National and International Literacy Day on Sept. 8.

In his address, Samdech Techo Hun Sen urged for more cooperation between state and private sectors as well other relevant non-governmental organizations so as to help reduce the illiteracy rate.

To develop a country, we have to develop the human resources with knowledge, health and social morality, said the Cambodian premier. --AKP

(By KHAN Sophirom)

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The Expanded Meeting of the Friends of the ECCC Held at the Council of Ministers

Phnom Penh, September 8, 2010 AKP -- The Expanded Meeting of the Friends of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) was held here on Sept. 7 in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sok An, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers.

The meeting was attended by visiting Special Expert to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on UNAKRT Mr. Clint Williamson and other foreign diplomats from 22 nations and the European Union.

The talks focused on reviewing the ECCC’s achievements in the long-awaiting trial of Case File 001 being successfully completed in August this year and conducting the 2010-2011 fundraising for ECCC to help define its completion process.

In his remarks, Mr. Chan Tani, secretary of state of the Office of the Council of Ministers, who participated in the meeting, said the challenges remain on the financial front, both for the national component and the UN component of the court.

As of June 30, 2010, the UN side had a funding shortfall of US$6.4 million for 2010 and US$29.8 million for 2011, he said.

The national side had a funding shortfall of US$1 million for 2010 and as to 2011, only US$4 million has been pledged including US$1.1 million from the Royal Government of Cambodia as against the overall budgetary requirement of US$11.7 million, he told the meeting.

In order to save the future and the legacy of the ECCC, he said, additional funds are critically needed to enable the court to discharge their historic mandate.

In his speech, H.E. Sok An said on behalf of the royal government of Cambodia, he expressed the firm commitment to support the independent judicial process of the ECCC.

He also expressed his willingness to work constructively with Cambodia’s partners and stakeholders to ensure the ECCC completes its mandates in an orderly manner so that it is recognized as a success by Cambodians as well as the international community. --AKP

(By THOU Peou)

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DPM Sok An Receives IMF Delegation

Phnom Penh, September 8, 2010 AKP -- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers H.E. Sok An received here last Monday a visiting delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Mr. Olaf Unteroberdoester.

The IMF delegation came to Cambodia to learn more about the country’s economic development.

In the meeting, H.E. Sok An told the delegation of the key factors contributing to ensure and maintain Cambodia’s economic development, including peace, security and national unity, which he said are the opportunities for sustainable development.

To ensure the sustainability of the economic development, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has also paid attention to the reform of civil servants and the anticorruption law, he said.

The meeting also touched on the oil and gas issue. The Cambodian deputy prime minister said Cambodia hopes to get the first drop of oil explored by Chevron Company in Bloc A by Dec. 12, 2012 at noon as agreed by the company and RGC.

The IMF delegation recognized and highly evaluated RGC’s endeavors in the national economic development. --AKP

(By CHEA Vannak)

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WB Extends US$23 Million for Higher Education Project in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, September 8, 2010 AKP -- The World Bank (WB) has provided US$23 million in credit and grant to support the Higher Education Quality and Capacity Improvement Project in Cambodia.

The credit and grant agreements were signed here yesterday by Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Finance Secretary of State H.E. Aun Porn Moniroth, and WB Country Director Ms. Annette Dixon.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister H.E. Keat Chhon, Education Minister H.E. Im Sethy and many other government officials as well as visiting WB Senior Vice President Mr. Justin Yifu Lin witnessed the signing ceremony.

According to a press release of the Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance, the total amount of funding comprises of US$11.5 million in credit and US$11.5 million in grant.

The five-year Higher Education Quality and Capacity Improvement Project is aimed at improving the quality of education, management and research capacity at the higher education, and to provide scholarships to 1,000 poor students, the press release said.

“Since 1993, WB’s total assistance to Cambodia reached to US$1,059 billion, of which grants amounted to US$345.5 million and credits to US$713.5 million,” said H.E. Aun Porn Moniroth on the occasion. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)

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Cambodian Buddhist Monk To Receive Equator Prize 2010 for Forest Protection

Phnom Penh, September 8, 2010 AKP -- A Cambodian Buddhist monk has won the Equator Prize 2010 from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The monk, Bun Saluot, 39, has played leading role in the protection of The Monks Community Forest (MCF), which covers an area of 18,261 hectares in Samrong and Anlong Veng districts of the northwestern province of Oddar Meanchey.

Venerable Bun Saluot will leave Cambodia next week for New York to attend the awarding ceremony with other 24 Equator Prize winners around the world.

The MCF is now the largest among the 12 community forests in the country, ensuring that 3,500 families of poor villagers have got benefits from its resources, said venerable Saluot.

Mr. Long Rattanak Koma, deputy director of Forestry and Community Forest said that the Equator Prize will encourage not only the local community to continue to protect the forests, but also the royal government to provide support to other forest communities throughout the country. --AKP

(By Théng)

From Slovakia, with pomp


Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:00 Heng Chivoan

Slovakian President Ivan Gasparovic is greeted by an honour guard at Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday. Gasparovic is leading a Slovak delegation on a four-day visit to the Kingdom, during which he is set to meet with King Norodom Sihamoni, Prime Minister Hun Sen and Cambodian business leaders.

Waterwheels


Photo by: Heng Chivoan

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Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:00 Heng Chivoan

A motorcyclist rides down Street 63 in Chamkarmon district shortly after a rainstorm earlier this week.

Rainsy trial ready to proceed


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy speaks to his supporters from France via videolink during a press conference at the Sam Rainsy Party’s Phnom Penh headquarters in January.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:05 Meas Sokchea and Sebastian Strangio

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court will today hold its first hearing to address new charges facing opposition leader Sam Rainsy, amid scepticism about the likely fairness of the trial.

The Sam Rainsy Party president faces charges of spreading disinformation and falsifying public documents in connection with his ongoing campaign to expose alleged Vietnamese encroachments into Cambodian territory.

The seasoned opposition leader, who is living in self-exile abroad, will not attend the hearing, but his lawyer has vowed to fight the charges in court.

“I have already prepared myself to defend my client. I have already studied the case and seen that my client had not committed the offences that the court has accused him of,” Choung Choungy said.

Sam Rainsy has had a two-year jail term hanging over his head since January, when Svay Rieng provincial court convicted him of uprooting demarcation posts close to the Vietnamese border in Chantrea district in October last year.

Two other villagers were also sentenced to a year in prison in relation to the incident. The Appeal Court is to hear that case on October 5.

The current charges were filed against the politician after he released maps at a video press conference on February 15, which he said indicated that border posts in Chantrea district had been shifted up to 500 metres inside Cambodian territory.

If found guilty on both counts, Sam Rainsy could face up to 18 years in prison.

Choung Choungy said he would present the court with two documents prepared by mapping experts showing that Sam Rainsy did not create a new map, but merely drew from maps that were previously available. “All the previous accusations against Sam Rainsy are incorrect. Sam Rainsy has not acted illegally by faking maps and spreading disinformation,” he said.

Government lawyer Ky Tech, who filed the complaints against Sam Rainsy, declined to comment in detail yesterday, but said that if Sam Rainsy was innocent he should appear at the court in person.

“If [his client] does not have an offence he can make his claims in the hearing. It is up to the court. I do not dare to say if he has a fault or not. It is the court’s decision,” Ky Tech said.

Opposition officials, however, said there was little hope for a fair hearing in such a “political” case.

“The ruling party is using the courts as a tool to muzzle the opposition,” said SRP spokesman Yim Sovann.

He said SRP lawmakers would be on hand to observe the “theatre” of today’s trial, but that no amount of evidence would be sufficient to produce an acquittal.

“Everybody knows that the government is a puppet of the Vietnamese government,” he said. “That is why we can’t say anything. We try our best to protect our country, but the government is trying to hide the truth.”

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said the trial was unlikely to throw up any surprises, and that it would probably add a few more years to Sam Rainsy’s existing sentence.

The new charges, he said, could very well be used to press the opposition leader into accepting a compromise in order to pave the way for his return, thereby weakening his domestic political position.

However, Ou Virak noted the lack of outcry on the eve of the trial, saying the public and the international community had perhaps grown weary of Sam Rainsy’s legal travails.

“People are getting tired of the whole thing,” he said. “[Rainsy] is using up all of the credits he has with the international community.”

Municipal court Judge Chea Sok Heang and deputy president Ke Sakhan, who is in charge of the case, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Judge Chang Cinat declined to comment.

Inept birthday boy gets six years


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Wednesday, 08 September 2010 17:21 Chrann Chamroeun

A French man who said he robbed a Phnom Penh bank of about US$300 because his mum didn’t wish him a happy birthday has been sentenced to six years in a Cambodian prison.

The bungled robbery came undone when the Francois Chateau, 48, reportedly dashed with his loot straight into a glass door, a mistake he put down to intoxication.

Though Chateau confessed to charges of robbery and illegal use of a weapon during the trial, he expressed disappointment at the sentence, which he believed failed to take into account extenuating circumstances.

“I was completely drunk after finishing a bottle of whisky and I didn’t intentionally do it,” he said.

“I regret my mistake because I was really disappointed that my mother didn’t wish me a happy birthday.” … read the full story in tomorrow’s Phnom Penh Post or see the updated story online from 3PM UTC/GMT +7 hours.

Report raises alarm over Cambodian child deaths


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Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:05 Brooke Lewis and Mom Kunthear

THE national reduction in the child mortality rate has not been applied uniformly across socioeconomic groups, and children from the poorest 20 percent of families are three times less likely to reach age 5 than those in the top 20 percent, a new global report from the NGO Save the Children has warned.

The report, titled A Fair Chance at Life: Why Equity Matters for Child Mortality, argues that Cambodia would be on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal pertaining to child mortality had child health gains been spread more evenly. Instead, the report says, the gap in survival rates between wealthy and poor children appears to be increasing.

According to the report, Cambodia’s progress towards achieving the child mortality goal, which calls for the mortality rate to be reduced by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015, has been slower than the average of 31 other developing countries analysed.

Cambodia has paled in comparison to countries such as Bangladesh, which has managed to reduce child deaths at almost double the rate – and in a more “equitable way” – despite recording a lower annual growth rate in GDP per capita.

Anika Rabbani, communication manager for Save the Children, said Bangladesh’s progress was due to “immunisation, diarrhoea treatment, family planning and of course gender empowerment”, among other factors.

The local and UK offices of Save the Children could not be reached yesterday.

Viorica Berdaga, chief of UNICEF Cambodia’s Child Survival Programme, said yesterday that the government’s National Strategic Development Plan and other plans addressing health “clearly state that equity is a guiding principle”. She highlighted a plan to expand health equity funds – which cover expenses for the poor – nationwide and increasing services in poor and remote communities.

“The government takes it quite seriously. The challenge is operationalising this principle – for example, when you have staffing shortages and geographical barriers,” Berdaga said.

The report was released to coincide with the 2010 MDG Summit to be held later this month in New York.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

WHO warns of swine flu risks


Photo by: Sovan Philong
Cyclists ride down Sisowath Boulevard yesterday wearing masks, which were noticeably more common when swine flu broke out last year

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:04 Cameron Wells

WORLD Health Organisation Director General Dr Margaret Chan yesterday warned that swine flu still posed a risk in Southeast Asia despite its having been downgraded from pandemic status.

Speaking at a conference in Bangkok yesterday, Chan said the virus, known formally as A(H1N1) influenza, would circulate globally “for some years to come”.

“In the current post-pandemic period, we expect to see localised outbreaks of different magnitude, and some continuing ‘hot spots’ will continue to show high levels of H1N1 transmission,” she said. “We expect the H1N1 virus to take on the behaviour of a seasonal influenza virus and continue to circulate for years to come.”

Nima Asgari, a Phnom Penh-based public health specialist for the WHO, said the decision to downgrade the virus was based on global trends, and that the process of the virus becoming a seasonal flu would be standard.

“In Cambodia during the wet season, every year there is an increase in general flu cases,” he said. “The H1N1 swine flu subtype is becoming the dominant flu virus in Cambodia, but that’s normal.”

He said the H1N1 strain is a relatively mild virus, noting that it had claimed just seven lives in Cambodia.

“The reason it was a pandemic is because it was a new virus,” he said. “But it literally is everywhere. It’s now the dominant flu virus circulating the country.”

Chan warned yesterday that swine flu still posed a significant risk in the region. “In the immediate post-pandemic period, the virus is likely to continue to cause serious illness in a younger age group,” she said.

Health ministers across Southeast Asia met yesterday at the beginning of the four-day conference to discuss health issues including injury prevention, maternal health, acute diarrhoea, respiratory infections and universal health coverage.

The Bangkok Declaration on “Urbanisation and Health”, adopted yesterday by those in attendance, pledged to combat health problems caused by unplanned urbanisation in developing cities.

Railway-port agreement drafted


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Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:02 Catherine James

CAMBODIA’S restored railway is set to have full access to Sihanoukville’s port after key stakeholders agreed in principle to a link following months of talks.

The US$141 million restoration of 690 kilometres of the Kingdom’s tracks, jointly funded by the Asian Development Bank and AusAID, had always included plans to access the port's freight terminal – enabling trains to transport goods easily across its network.

But, according to ADB’s senior transport economist Peter Broch, the connection plan had stalled over its “technical implementation”.

“There was a memorandum which goes back to 2007 between the parties, but it had a different solution [for port access]. We have now found an alternative.... In fact there will be a new container railway terminal,” he said yesterday.

“The end result is that the railway will have equal access to the port, meaning it can move containers as easily, in principle, as trucks.”

The negotiations, involving railway operator Toll Royal Railway, Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, the port’s development sponsor Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, were resolved last week.

“We have in-principle agreement. We don’t need to have any more meetings,” port chief executive Lou Kim Chun said. A final draft of the agreement was now being drawn up for signing, he said.

Toll Chief Executive David Kerr declined to comment on the latest developments.

Earlier he said though, that the economics of the railway project would be affected if direct container port access was not facilitated.

Peter Broch agreed that it was a valuable link. “In terms of the railway, container freight is important because it forms a valuable source of traffic demand. If the railway couldn’t handle it, it would be cut totally out of that market,” he said.

A JICA spokesperson said: “It is important to harmonise the container terminal and railway. Overall, it is about trade promotion and economic development.” A ministry official dealing with the project was not available for comment yesterday.

Preah Vihear trio request hearing delay


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Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:04 Chhay Channyda

THREE villagers locked in a battle with an NGO in Preah Vihear province accused of human rights violations have asked the provincial court to delay their scheduled interrogation, saying they fear arrest if they appear at the hearing.

The villagers – 45-year-old Sath Savoeun, 41-year-old Kim Sophal and 62-year-old Srey Sophan, all of Preah Vihear’s Choam Khsan district – have been summoned to appear at the court Thursday on suspicion of incitement, fraud and disinformation, according to copies of summonses signed last week by investigating judge Sor Savuth.

Kim Sophal said yesterday, however, that the villagers planned to remain in Phnom Penh, where they joined a Monday press conference to discuss their case, for the time being.

“We will not go to court this week because we are afraid of arrest,” Kim Sophal said. “We need a lawyer first.”

The villagers could face three years in prison if convicted of the charges, said Chan Soveth, senior investigator for local rights group Adhoc. Adhoc wrote to the court yesterday to request that the hearing be rescheduled so that Adhoc lawyer Long Lun, currently busy with a case in Ratanakkiri province, could represent the villagers, he said.

The three villagers are part of a group in Choam Khsan district’s Kantout commune who say they have been terrorised by staff members from the Drugs and AIDS Research and Prevention Organisation, an NGO run by a one-star general. Rights groups say employees of the NGO, which received a 556-hectare social land concession in Choam Ksan district in 2007, have issued threats, forced dozens of families off their land and even raped local residents.

Investigating judge Sor Savuth said yesterday that he would not delay tomorrow’s hearing. The villagers could face arrest if they do not comply with the summons.

“This is a misdemeanour case, so they do not need a lawyer to come along,” Sor Savuth said.

Although community representatives have collected thumbprints from Choam Khsan residents accusing DARPO of human rights abuses, Sor Savuth said the Preah Vihear provincial court had found no evidence to support these claims.

“Based on our investigation, the villagers live under local authority,” Sor Savuth said. “There are no rapes and no violence – the NGO has helped find funding for villagers and has built wells, schools and a market.”

Adhoc filed complaints last week with the Ministries of Interior, Justice, Defence and Land Management calling for their intervention in the case.

DARPO Director Pen Loem, who also serves as an adviser to Senate President Chea Sim, could not be reached for comment yesterday, though he said Monday that the aggrieved villagers represented only a small percentage of local residents. He denied having filed the complaint against the three representatives, and said that it had been filed by other Choam Khsan residents who had benefited from his organisation’s presence.

Donors discuss KRT funding


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Deputy Prime Minister Sok An speaks with French Ambassador Jean-Fran?ois Desmazières at a meeting yesterday of government and Khmer Rouge tribunal officials and donors.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:04 Cheang Sokha

REPRESENTATIVES of the Cambodian government and the United Nations met with donor countries yesterday in an attempt to drum up support for Cambodia’s cash-strapped war crimes tribunal.

Government officials and representatives from 22 countries joined Clint Williamson, the UN’s special expert to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Khmer Rouge tribunal, to discuss fundraising and a completion strategy for the court.

“We ask you to continue to give full support to the tribunal and its endeavour to bring justice to victims of the Khmer Rouge,” Deputy Prime Minister Sok An told the gathering.

The UN side of the hybrid court faces a budgetary shortfall of US$6.4 million for this year and $29.8 million for 2011, according to Chan Tani, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers; the Cambodian side faces shortfalls of $7.7 million for next year and $1 million this year, he said. A report issued last week by the Open Society Justice Initiative said the national side is short $3.6 million for this year.

Japanese Ambassador Masafumi Kuroki urged donors to come forward with donations, calling increased funding “crucial” as the court prepares for its second trial. Sok An noted that the court is “the least expensive of all existing UN-assisted tribunals”.

Court monitors have alleged that the government has failed to offer full support to the tribunal, citing a decision by six senior government officials to ignore summonses to testify in the court’s second case. Sok An said yesterday, however, that the government was committed to the work of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as the tribunal is formally known.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to ending impunity for the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge,” Sok An said. “We fully support the ECCC, and respect its independent judicial process.”

Chi Kraeng civil complaint dropped


Photo by: Rann Reuy
Villagers at Siem Reap provincial court hold up photos related to an ongoing land dispute during a hearing last month.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:04 Rann Reuy

Siem Reap province
RESIDENTS of Anlong Samnor commune in Siem Reap province yesterday withdrew their civil complaint against eight villagers from neighbouring Chi Kraeng commune stemming from a long-running land dispute.

But the accused are still to be tried today on criminal charges.

“The defendants will not be responsible for civil compensation after the withdrawal of the complaint, but we will still consider the criminal charges,” Judge Chhay Kong said.

He said the charges – filed after a November 2008 altercation – included incitement, causing injury and destruction of private property. He said the court would hear the testimony of 10 more people today.

The row dates back to 1986, when one large village was divided equally between Chi Kraeng and Anlong Samnor communes, leaving an unspecified amount of farmland in dispute. Last year, the provincial court ruled that all of the disputed land belonged to Anlong Samnor, triggering conflicts between the two communes.

According to Monday’s agreement, which was endorsed by representatives from both communes and handed out at the court, the Chi Kraeng villagers will cease demanding rights and access to the disputed land in exchange for a promise from Anlong Samnor representatives to withdraw and cease all complaints.

Bun Tharith, Siem Reap deputy provincial governor, said officials had tentatively agreed on Monday to provide a social land concession to the Chi Kraeng villagers. However, he said he did not know where the concession would be located, or the amount of land each family would receive.

He said that authorities would need to collect data on the Chi Kraeng households before distributing land.

Optimism on child mortality


Photo by: Sovan Philong
Bun Seilla, 28, and her 1-year-old son, San Soben, at the National Maternal and Child Health Centre in Daun Penh district yesterday.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:04 Brooke Lewis and Mom Kunthear

THOUGH considerable gaps remain between poor and wealthy families when it comes to child health, experts yesterday said they were optimistic that Cambodia could meet the Millennium Development Goal pertaining to child mortality.

The global goal calls for the baseline rate of 124 deaths per 1,000 live births to drop to 41 by 2015. To meet a nationalised version of the goal, the rate would need to fall to 66 deaths per 1,000 live births.

A report released yesterday by the NGO Save the Children said national progress towards the goal had not been spread evenly across socioeconomic groups, and indicated that Cambodia was off-track to meet the global goal.

Sharon Wilkinson, country director for Care International in Cambodia, said that while she hadn’t read the report, she agreed with its central contention that economic growth had affected different wealth brackets differently.

This, in turn, may have contributed to a rising gap in the rate of child mortality for the country’s richest compared to the country’s poorest, she said.

“While as a country infant mortality is decreasing, and that is a good thing, the 20 percent living in poverty, that lowest quintile, are still not surviving,” she said.

She said the overall decrease could be attributed to “a multitude of factors”, including the expansion of educational opportunities for women and access to clean water and the extension of immunisation and family planning services.

Linking the child mortality rate to the maternal mortality rate, which for Cambodia has remained stubbornly high, she said further decreases could be contingent on an expansion of emergency obstetric care.

“There is certainly a correlation between maternal mortality and child mortality,” she said. “We need to see a lot more political will and resources directed toward emergency obstetric care.”

Addressing the child mortality goal generally, she said, “We can reach it, but it will take enormous political will and commitment.”

Viorica Berdaga, chief of UNICEF Cambodia’s Child Survival Programme, was even more optimistic with respect to the national goal of 66 deaths per 1,000 live births. “For sure Cambodia will meet this MDG, and depending on the success of the programmes Cambodia plans to implement, they might achieve it with equity,” she said.

But Ou Kevanna, manager of the National Nutrition Programme at the Health Ministry’s National Maternal and Child Health Centre, acknowledged that it would be difficult to overcome inequalities between the wealthy and the disadvantaged.

“There is always a gap between the rich and the poor because the rich can find good professional health officials or go to the hospitals with modern medical things, but the poor people cannot,” he said.

When asked about Cambodia’s prospects for reaching the child mortality MDG, he said: “I expect that Cambodia will reach the goal to reduce child mortality in 2015, but the Health Ministry cannot do it alone. We need cooperation from the relevant institutions, pregnant women and local authorities.”

Conservation: Forestry monks win $5k award


via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:04 Sun Narin

Conservation

MONKS Community Forestry, a conservation group based in Oddar Meanchey province, has been named a winner of the 2010 Equator Prize, the United Nations Development Programme said this week.

Awarded by the Equator Initiative, a New York branch of the UN Development Programme that aims to reduce poverty through conservation, the prize comes with a US$5,000 grant.

According to a letter sent to the group by the UNDP in July, the MCF was awarded the prize for its “strong demonstration of the ingenuity of community-based work”.

MCF director Bun Salouth said he was “very surprised” to learn of the honour. “I am absolutely delighted to be one of 25 winners,” he said.

The MCF was established in 2001, and now has 60 members tasked with guarding the roughly 18,000 hectares of forest under their watch.

The prizes will be distributed at a ceremony on September 20 in New York, during which five of the winners will receive an additional $15,000.

Urban evictees fear a second relocation


via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:03 Khouth Sophakchakrya

FORMER residents of Phnom Penh’s Sambok Chab community say they fear losing their homes again after local authorities prevented them from repairing wooden structures at a relocation site in Dangkor district.

Yang Sorphon, whose family was among the more than 1,000 families evicted from Sambok Chab in June 2006 and relocated to Andoung village, said that Kok Roka commune authorities yesterday prevented families at the site from fixing their wooden homes.

“The commune authorities warned they would bulldoze our aged wooden cottage and relocate us to another area if we try to rebuild it,” she said.

Last month, villagers complained that authorities had also ordered families at the site to abandon temporary wooden homes and purchase 4-by-5-metre brick homes costing US$1,000 each.

“We are concerned of being homeless and relocated again because we can’t earn the money to pay them,” said Pich Sophea, another resident.

Phy Nop, Kok Roka commune chief, said yesterday that villagers had been given until October 7 to destroy their shacks so that living standards could be raised at the site.

Court accused of misconduct


via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:03 May Titthara

A 60-YEAR-OLD man in Kampong Speu province yesterday accused the provincial court of questioning him prematurely while investigating a complaint related to an ongoing land row involving a Cambodian People’s Party senator.

The Phnom Penh Sugar Company, owned by Senator Ly Yong Phat, has been granted a 9,000-hectare concession in Omlaing commune, located in Thpong district, that residents and rights groups say has affected 2,000 families.

Chhuon Chuon, a 60-year-old teacher living in Omlaing, said yesterday that he went to the provincial court on Monday afternoon in response to a summons he received late last week. The summons stemmed from a complaint filed by Nget Sarun, director of the Thpong district Land Management office, accusing him and another Omlaing resident of living on land belonging to the company.

The teacher said he went to the court on Monday to request that the questioning, scheduled to be held yesterday, be delayed.

Instead, he said, court officials insisted on conducting the questioning session then and there despite the fact that no lawyer was present.

“I couldn’t find a lawyer, so I went to the provincial court to request a delay for the summons,” he said. “Instead, they began questioning me immediately. I was very surprised.”

He said court officials asked him about various documents he had submitted in support of his claim to land in Om-laing, and that at one point he was asked why he was living on land that didn’t belong to him. He said that he was asked to thumbprint his responses before leaving.

“I answered all of the questions,” he said, “but I wonder why I have this problem with the company and why there was a complaint filed against me.

In fact I think the company told [Nget Sarun] to file the complaint against me when I did not agree with the company’s relocation policy.”

Chhuon Chuon said yesterday that he did not know the whereabouts of Sok Than, another man accused of living on company land who was also summoned to appear at the court yesterday.

Moth Dara, the deputy prosecutor at the provincial court who Chhuon Chuon said led Monday’s questioning session, stated yesterday that he could not remember whether any questioning had occurred. “I can not remember all of the cases because I have a lot of them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the rights group Adhoc yesterday provided the names of five villagers accused by company representative Chheng Kimsruon of illegally detaining her for several hours during a confrontation related to the land dispute last month. They are You Tho, Khun Vuthy, Min Pek, Phal Vannak and Hang Boeun.

Chheang Kimsruon yesterday reiterated her position that the complaint was personal and did not involve the company.

But You Tho, who was held in prison for five days in late March in connection with the same dispute, accused the company of trying to use the court system to stifle villagers’ protests.

High hopes for the new anti-corruption efforts


via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:00 Marker Zhour

Dear Editor,

Despite the oaths taken by officials from the newly formed Anticorruption Unit that they will fight graft, the ACU will probably still be perceived as ineffectual – in the words of an opposition Sam Rainsy Party spokesman: “oaths to preserve territorial integrity, to fight corruption, to protect national assets – these are not enforced in practice....”

As well, a senior investigator for the local human rights group Adhoc asserted that as long as ACU officials are members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, it would be impossible to eliminate corruption in the Kingdom.

In interviews with the Post, students and grassroots activists who live on shoestring budgets expressed little hope that the newly approved anti-corruption law, as implemented by the ACU, will completely rid the Kingdom of corruption.

Too many instances of corruption are found in almost every government sector, but graft is especially problematic in areas related to public services, for example medical treatment, the judiciary, land management, traffic regulation, and even education and employment.

Because of this, corruption has become a part of the Cambodian identity – something that is known by all Cambodians and even abroad.

We, Cambodian citizens, really appreciate and support such unprecedented legislation as the Anticorruption Law.

But as I said before, we are worried because we know that many laws exist only on paper, especially those that are likely not to have any direct benefit for [government officials].

Many existing laws seem simply to be tools to serve the interests of government officials, rather than to work for Cambodia’s citizens or in the national interest.

We don’t want this condition to exist, but corruption has already prevailed in many cases. Now we are waiting to see how effective, transparent and just ACU officials are in executing this new Anticorruption Law, regardless of what oaths they’ve taken or vows that they have pledged.

Most cases of graft are typically buried in public entities for reasons such as: (1) insufficient salary for lower-ranking civil servants, (2) ambition and greed in the ranks of senior officials, (3) individualism rather than nationalism and, (4) networking by public officials for private business interests.

I know that these problems are not unique to Cambodia, but occur also in other developing countries.

In order to effectively implement the Anticorruption Law ... I support whatever ideas and procedures that are proposed by ACU, such as a drop box where people can lodge criticisms, a website, a property-declaration policy.

We roughly 14 million citizens are keeping our eyes on the ACU’s performance and are waiting to see its effectiveness and achievements. We do hope at least some changes will prevail.

Marker Zhour
Phnom Penh

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Send letters to: newsroom@phnompenhpost.com or PO?Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length. The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

Chief economist meets Hun Sen, praises Cambodia


Photo by: Pha Lina
World Bank Country Director Annette Dixon, World Bank Chief Economist Justin Yifu Lin and the government's Aun Pornmoniroth

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:02 Nguon Sovan

THE Chief Economist of the World Bank Justin Yifu Lin praised Cambodia for its economic development at a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday.

“Despite the world facing the financial crisis, Cambodia’s GDP is still positive,” Lin was quoted by Eang Sophalleth, spokesman for Hun Sen, as saying during a courtesy call to the Council of Ministers office in Phnom Penh.

The World Bank estimates that gross domestic product will rise 4.4 percent this year.

The spokesman said that Lin, who is also senior vice president of the World Bank, congratulated the premiere on the Kingdom’s development.

In response, Hun Sen highlighted that the government was trying to improve the economy through agricultural enhancements, physical and telecommunications infrastructure improvements, and energy and human resource development.

Ministry of Finance Secretary of State Hang Chuon Naron said: “During his visit, he discussed policy matters – financial, agricultural, and industrial development – because he has experience in these fields. He is one of the founders of China’s economic reform policy, and he shared his experiences with us.”

Hang Chuon Naron said Justin Yifu Lin recommended that the government improve financial systems to ensure medium-sized banks can focus lending on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Yesterday, Justin Yifu Lin and the Finance Minister Keat Chhon witnessed the signing of US$23 million worth of credit and grant agreements, for a five-year higher education project.

CAA expands as flights fill up


Photo by: Pha Lina
A Cambodia Angkor Air plane takes to the skies from Phnom Penh International Airport earlier this year.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:01 May Kunmakara

THE number of passengers on Cambodia Angkor Air flights has risen this year, enabling aircraft to fly 61 percent full, reaping higher revenue for the national carrier.

Cambodia Angkor Air passenger load – which measures the percentage of occupied passenger space – has risen from just 20 to 30 percent a year ago to from 57 to 61 percent today.

Airlines begin to generate revenue when passenger load is above 50 percent, according to officials.

Loads on routes between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap were now 57 percent, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, were 61 percent, and Siem Reap and Saigon were 57 percent.

“Our success is running alongside an increase in the number of tourists arriving,” said Soy Sokhan, undersecretary of state at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, the organisation in charge of the Cambodian side of the joint enterprise.

Tourist arrivals to Cambodia rose more than 12 percent in the first half of the year to 1.221 million, from 1.086 million in the same period of last year.

Air arrivals had increased by about 14 percent during the same period, according to Tourism Ministry data.

Soy Sokhan said that passenger loads began to pick up late last year before rising to today’s highs, after CAA launched in July 2009.

CAA is a joint venture between the government and Vietnam Airlines.

It received an air operator certificate from the SSCA last month, after operating under VA’s permit. But some members of the tourism industry are still concerned about the carrier’s prices.

Ho Vandy, President of World Travel Express Tour, said yesterday that high CAA ticket prices would impact industry growth.

VLK Royal Tourism General Manager, Lav Heng, agreed that CAA should offer “better prices” for the success of the tourism sector.

Mai Xuan Long, deputy director of CAA, said yesterday that the CAA could consider its pricing levels if the market improved.

But despite criticisms, CAA plans to extend its fleet and routes throughout the Asia region.

Soy Sokhan said the carrier plans to import a new Airbus 321 in April, and that another is due in August.

It also plans to expand operations to South Korea, China, Singapore, Bangkok and Hanoi.

Cambodia and Vietnam are also preparing to open a new route from Da Lat, in central Vietnam, to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, a move already approved by Cambodia’s Council of Ministers.

Late last month, during an economic meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, provincial Vietnamese authorities also asked Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh to help launch direct flights from Siem Reap to Vietnam’s Thua Thien Hue province.

Port update: Shipments rise through Phnom Penh


via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:01 Chun Sophal

Port update

FREIGHT shipments through Phnom Penh Autonomous Port rose by 35 percent in August, compared to the same month last year.

Port data showed that 6,932 containers were shipped through the port to and from the Vietnamese deep water port Cai Mep last month, compared to only 5,133 TEUs in the same month last year.

Hei Bavy, director general of the Phnom Penh Port, said the increase was a result of rising shipments of goods such as construction materials for hydroelectric dams and rail parts.

“We hope that the port will continue to experience growth in shipments next month because Cambodia’s economy is in stable situation, which will lead to growing demand,” said Hei Bavy.

From January to August, the port shipped 40,306 containers in and out, a 46.75 percent increase compared to 27,465 in the same period last year.

Police Blotter: 8 Sep 2010


via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 15:00 Sun Mesa

Assailant, alarmed by victim’s screams, flees
A man allegedly attempted to rape his sister-in-law in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district on Monday, but stopped and fled when the victim screamed unexpectedly. According to testimony from the victim, the suspect entered the victim’s room and placed his hand over her mouth. The suspect later confessed to police that he had intended to rape her and had also threatened her with a pair of scissors, but he was startled when the woman shouted loudly for help despite the fact that her mouth was covered.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Burglars used scissors, screwdrivers, cops say
Five people were arrested on suspicion of burglary following a raid on a guesthouse in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on Monday. Police confiscated a K-54 pistol, a pair of big scissors and a pair of smaller scissors, a screwdriver and two motorbikes during the raid. Police said they believed the gang was using these tools to rob houses in the area.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Alleged thief nabbed while scaling wall
Five people were arrested in Pailin province’s Tuol Lvea district on Thursday after residents spotted a man scaling their wall in what was seen as an attempted burglary. Police said the man and four others were detained after the man climbed the wall in order to show the remaining four how to get in. The homeowners saw him and called the police, who intervened and arrested the group. Police said the gang had previously attempted to rob the same house but had been unsuccessful.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

Soldier reportedly threatens to kill mum
A military police official was arrested on Saturday after threatening to kill his mother and steal US$5,000 from her in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district. Police said the suspect was high on heroin at the time following the breakup of his engagement.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Village chief axes wife, hides body, police say
A village chief fled the scene after killing his wife and hiding the body at a car park in Oddar Meanchey province’s Samrong district on Sunday, police said. The suspect allegedly argued with his wife before striking her with an axe and hiding her corpse in a parking garage. Police said his motive was unknown.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Slow death for builder who suffered shock
A 19-year-old man died at Calmette Hospital on Sunday after being electrocuted while building a bridge in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district. Reports said the initial shock occurred on August 26, and that the man died from complications arising from cuts to his hands as a result of the electrocution.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA