Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Office apsaras


Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via CAAI

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:01 Soeun Say

Apsara dancers perform at a ceremony yesterday marking the official inauguration of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s new office. King Norodom Sihamoni attended the inauguration, which came one day after a blessing ceremony. In prepared remarks, Hun Sen said the five-storey building, at 50,790 square feet, was larger than the adjacent Chinese-funded building currently occupied by the Council of Ministers, which he reportedly declined to use for his own office space last year because he was unhappy with its design. “This building is an achievement for Cambodia’s children, the national budget, and the engineers and architects and constructors who designed the inside and outside of the building, which is real Khmer,” Hun Sen said.

Police Blotter: 20 Oct 2010


via CAAI

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:01 Sen David

Thieves take hammer to motorbike-taxi driver
One of three men accused of using a hammer while trying to rob a motorbike-taxi driver in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on Sunday has been arrested. Police said the suspects assaulted the victim with a hammer, but that the victim managed to shout for help. Local residents then arrived and detained one man, but the remaining two managed to escape. The victim has been sent to hospital, and police plan to hold onto his motorbike until he recovers fully.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Bystanders nab suspect after robbery of student
Police have arrested a 25-year-old man who robbed a student in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district on Sunday. The victim said that on the day of the incident he was walking to class when two men approached him and robbed him at knifepoint. After taking his money, phone and watch, the men began to flee, and the victim shouted for help. Local residents managed to catch one suspect, but the other one managed to escape.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Police stop woman from jumping, for kids’ sake
A 24-year-old woman was stopped by police from jumping off a bridge in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district on Sunday. A police officer who monitors the bridge said he spotted the woman as she was about to jump, and immediately grabbed onto her. She was momentarily detained, and told officers she had been angry at her husband because he assaulted her “almost every day”. The woman’s mother said her daughter is poor and also accused the husband of beating her. Police said she shouldn’t kill herself because she had three children.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Man threatens to raze house for lack of food
Police have arrested a 42-year-old man in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district who threatened to set fire to his own house because his wife hadn’t cooked rice for him. After the woman returned home from work, she apparently did not begin cooking fast enough for her husband, who became incensed and threatened to set the house on fire. A neighbour immediately called police. Officials said they had educated the man.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Toxic coffee poisons monk, city police say
A novice monk was sent to hospital in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district after drinking poisoned coffee on Monday. Police said the 17-year-old fell ill immediately after drinking the coffee near his pagoda. The seller of the coffee said she did not know why it was tainted, but promised to “fix the issue” before selling more.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

World Bank encourages local tax reforms


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Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:01 Jeremy Mullins

A WORLD Bank economist called for reform to the Kingdom’s tax system yesterday, as a new report highlighted that government revenues as a share of gross domestic product were lower than in neighbouring countries.

Some 11.5 percent of domestic GDP was collected as government revenues last year, compared with 15.5 percent for Indonesia, 16.6 percent for Thailand, along with high rates for resource-rich countries, such as 28.3 percent for Papua New Guinea and 32.9 percent for Mongolia, according to the World Bank’s October 2010 East Asia and Pacific Economic Update.

Though World Bank economist Chea Huot said that the Cambodian government was doing well at increasing its revenues, he suggested a number of steps yesterday to improve collection.

Chea Huot said some firms – particularly small and medium-sized enterprises – did business outside the formal system, resulting in lost revenues that could be destined for state coffers.

“There should be some reform,” he said at the report unveiling in Phnom Penh yesterday.

“Make it simpler for business to pay tax, so they don’t feel uncomfortable.”

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There should be some reform ... make it simpler for businesses to pay tax, so they don’t feel uncomfortable.
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Revenues increased by 17.5 percent for the first half of 2010 year on year, led by value-added taxes, as well as excise and import duties, while state expenditures had declined 3 percent, according to the report.

The introduction of a property tax, a doubling of the road tax on vehicles, and anti-smuggling efforts could all contribute to state revenues, it added, which were expected to rise to 13.3 percent of GDP in 2010 and 13.6 percent in 2011.

But Cambodia has also granted exemptions, such as the suspension of the 1 percent Advance Profit Tax for members of Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia until 2012, which meant less revenue for the state.

In some cases, revenue exemptions were “overly generous”, Chea Huot said.

The report was released days after the Council of Ministers approved 2011’s draft budget, with expenditures set at US$2.4 billion. Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon said the government would “educate people about their obligation to pay tax” at the budget announcement, according to media reports.

Din Virak, official at the Economic, Social, and Culture Council of the Council of Ministers, said yesterday the government was enacting laws to boost investor confidence as well as taking measures to increase state revenues.

“We expect [the anti-corruption institute] will reduce corruption and increase the tax revenue”, he said.

The World Bank’s estimate for the Kingdom’s 2010 GDP growth stayed steady at its previous 4.9 percent estimate, near the 5.0 percent the Asian Development Bank pegged last month.

Although World Bank senior country economist Stephane Guimbert did not comment directly on the budget, he said there was a consensus among the government and observers over the need to unwind fiscal stimulus in the Kingdom.

Regionally, the report said that East Asia was leading the global recovery, but its success has attracted a surge of capital that has inflated currencies, posing a risk to exports and future growth.

But Guimbert said the World Bank was keeping an eye on a potential surge in investment to Cambodia, adding excessive capital inflow was not yet a major issue.

The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief


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Man held in rape case

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:01 Kim Yuthana

A 19-YEAR-OLD man in Battambang province’s Rukh Kiri district has been accused of raping his two sisters on multiple occasions, police said yesterday. Thol Yuthea, chief of the provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau, said the suspect was arrested in Battambang town after the two girls filed complaints against him. “They alleged that their father was also involved with the rapes, and he remains at large,” he said.

Mother, sister accused of covering up killing

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:01 Mom Kunthear

POLICE in Pursat province have arrested the mother and older sister of a 6-year-old girl who was raped, robbed and killed late last week, saying they tried to help the culprits cover up the act. So Sahong, deputy police chief in Pursat’s Phnom Kravanh district, where the crime occurred, said the two women were arrested on Monday and sent to the provincial police station. “We arrested the ... mother and sister because we suspected that they were involved in this case because they helped by hiding the girl’s clothes,” he said. The two men suspected of committing the crime, both cousins of the victim, were arrested in Batttambang province, apparently while trying to flee to Thailand.

Even biased sources can be worth considering


via CAAI

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:01 Michael Hansen

Dear Editor,

I was interested to read the criticism by Sophal Ear and Geoffrey Cain of Stuart Alan Becker’s article on Noam Chomsky (October 18), but a little perplexed at the seeming dismissal of Hilderbrand and Porter’s book Cambodia, Starvation and Revolution because it contains a “propaganda picture” of a Khmer Rouge hospital operating room.

My copy of the book, published in 1976, contains a small photograph of an operation in what is said to be an NUFK rural clinic. Things look pretty basic.

Medical staff, one of whom is holding a syringe, wear masks and work by the light of a hand-held electric light.

That, however, is as far as modern equipment goes, and I doubt anyone looking at it would think it had any propaganda value at all.

The general tenor of the book is predictable, which is not surprising as it came from the socialist Monthly Review Press, which was, and is, devoted to what has been called “committed left publishing”.

Nonetheless, the first chapter, “The Politics of Starvation in Phnom Penh”, gives a graphic and fair overview of the situation in Phnom Penh before it fell.

The sources are mostly drawn from United States official publications and major newspapers, and international organisations like the IMF.

Whatever view is taken of the obvious bias in the rest of the text, the authors should be given credit for this chapter, at least.

The evacuation of Phnom Penh after the Khmer Rouge took over was such a dramatic event that the terrible conditions prevailing before April 1975 are sometimes overlooked. And they were terrible, particularly for the children of poor families who did not have access to food aid and could not afford black market prices.

Let the record speak for itself. With Lon Nol still in power, the Office of the US Department of State Inspector-General of Foreign Assistance made this comment about the condition of the thousands of starving and malnourished children in Phnom Penh: “It requires little imagination to picture these wretchedly frail and sickly little bodies, borne away in their weak mother’s arms, carried to an alley somewhere, to die; certain to suffer, untreated, unhospitalised, unfed.”

It does no service to the victims of the Khmer Rouge to gloss over this situation and ask why it occurred. Hilderbrand and Porter gave their opinion and it is worth considering.

Michael Hansen
Phnom Penh

AMK, Amret see profits soar during third quarter


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Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:01 Nguon Sovan

THE Kingdom’s fifth-largest micro-lender, AMK, reported yesterday that its net profit increased by 76 percent quarter on quarter.

Profits at the microfinance institution in the third quarter climbed to US$567,415, up from $322,611 in the second quarter.

AMK Chief Executive Officer Pete Power, said yesterday that the rise was the result of a 12 percent increase in outstanding loans.

Loan value rose to $31.81 million in the third quarter, from $28.34 million at the end of the second, and non-performing loan ratios fell to 2.29 percent from 2.52 percent.

“During quarter three farmers need cash to inject into their farming activities, so the demand for credit is increasing,” he said.

“We expect that loans outstanding will hit $33 million, and the NPL rate will decline to below 2 percent by the end of this year.”

Chairman of Cambodian Microfinance Association Chea Phalarin, who is also general manager of the second largest MFI Amret, said yesterday that his firm also saw the net profit rise by around 20 percent to $1.2 million over the last quarter.

Lending grew 9 percent in quarter three, while the number of borrowers increased to 230,000 from 215,000.

“There is a better business environment, more customers approached us for loans in Q3,” he said, and added that the bad loan rate dropped to 1.2 percent from 1.9 percent.

With statistics for the whole industry due to be released late this week, Chea Phalarin was optimistic about the forthcoming results.

“In general, it’s expected that better profit would be experienced among all the micro-lenders in Q3,” he said.

Last week, the Kingdom's largest micro-lender Prasac reported a 99 percent increase in net profit over the last quarter.

OZ drilling yields poor result


Photo by: Bloomberg
Terry Burgess, managing director and chief executive officer of OZ Minerals Ltd.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:01 Jeremy Mullins

AUSTRALIAN miner OZ Minerals said yesterday that some of its exploration activities in Modulkiri province had “failed to return any significant mineralisation”, but that it had entered into a new joint venture in Cambodia.

Based on drill testing results, its Okvau-North site in Mondulkiri had been considered a “promising area”, according to a July quarterly update. But OZ said yesterday in a filing to the Australian stock exchange that follow-up drilling had not returned significant results.

The firm has encountered similar results at another Cambodian site. Assay results from the first drill hole tested at its Okvau North-West site had “failed to return any significant intersections”, the firm said. But the report added that another two drill holes testing the same area were planned for the fourth quarter. Okvau North-West is located some 1.6 kilometres from its Okvau inferred gold resource, identified at 605,000 ounces.

According to the report, the miner has also signed a joint venture to explore Phnom Peam Louk, which it says has many geological similarities to its existing Cambodian gold projects. OZ would hold 85 percent equity in the project, if mined. The firm would also continue drilling at the O Khlek Khlok joint venture in the fourth quarter, some 60 kilometres from Okvau. The amount of ore the firm mined at its flagship Prominent Hill operation in Australia grew to 3,318,790 tonnes during the quarter, from 2,566,096 tonnes.

Several officials from the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy could not be reached yesterday. The firm slid 3.1 percent in ASX trading yesterday, ending at A$1.59 (US$1.56) a share.

Trade with Thailand leaps 70pc


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Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:01 May Kunmakara

CAMBODIA’S trade with Thailand has increased over 70 percent in the first eight months of this year, compared to the same period of 2009.

Kriegn Kria, the deputy director of the Thai Business Council of Cambodia, said trade was strengthening along improving bilateral relations and economic growth.

Two-way trade increased 70 percent to US$1.79 billion this year to the end of August, from $1.052 billion for the same period in 2009, according to statistics obtained from the Thai Embassy’s foreign trade promotion office yesterday.

Ministry of Commerce Secretary of State Chan Nora said he agreed that the improved political situation – which has seen ambassadors reinstated following the resignation of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser to the Cambodian government – was creating a beneficial atmosphere for traders.

But he added that international trade had continued despite the dispute.

Total trade between the two countries fell 22.16 percent to an annualised $1.658 billion in 2009, from $2.130 billion in 2008, according to FTPO
figures.

Festival promises plenty for film fans


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THE first annual Cambodian International Film Festival opens up three days packed with 120 films from 28 countries tomorrow at Chenla Theatre with the Australian-Iranian film My Tehran for Sale.

It closes with the world premier of Cambodian filmmaker Chhay Bora’s Lost Loves on Saturday night, also at Chenla Theatre.

The “basic concept” of the festival “is to educate, inspire, and entertain”, said Mariam Arthur, CEO of Kmy Films and one of the organisers. At a price of $1 per film, or $5 for the entire festival, attendees can almost certainly get all three. Screenings are free for students with school ID.

Cedric Eloy of the Cambodian Film Commission said that they selected films with the conscious intention to lead a revival of Cambodian cinema by engaging with different perspectives from international film. “The idea of this program is to present feature film from around the world in a narrative way that is different from Cambodia,” he said.

Films include features, documentaries, a selection of films that have won top prizes at Africa’s largest international film festival, anime, shorts, French classics, and several 1990s Cambodian films, with several new releases.

Highlights include Agrarian Utopia by Thai filmmaker Urupohn Raksasad, who filmed two farming families in his village in Chiang Rai for over a year. The documentary was awarded at a festival in Toronto last year.

Ali Zaoua by Nabil Avouch tells the story of four 12-year-old street kids in Casablanca who must find a way to give a proper burial to one of them who dies during an altercation with a rival gang. It won the top prize in 2001 at Africa’s largest film festival.

In My Neighbour My Killer (USA/France), documentary filmmaker Anne Aghion investigates the effectiveness of the open-air tribunals in Rwanda. Rwandans must grapple with past violence in a radically different venue from Cambodians. The tribunals are led by citizens who must try perpetrators who have been released from prison.

Woman on Fire Looks for Water is a film by Malaysian Woo Ming-jin, about a father and a son in a small village and their relationships with the women in their lives as one faces death and the other manhood.

A central purpose of the festival is also to promote the revival of the Cambodian film industry, with 15 local films as well as six documentaries shown. Director Rithy Panh will be honoured by showing The Rice People (1994) and An Evening After the War (1997). The festival is hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and organized by FX Entertainment, the Cambodian Film Commission, and the Bophana Audiovisual Center.

45 years sought for Duch (Updated)


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Tuesday, 19 October 2010 20:37 James O’Toole and Cheang Sokha

Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal are seeking a 45-year prison term without parole for former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, saying that the 30-year sentence he received in July is “plainly unjust”, according to an appeal made public Tuesday.

In their 66-page appeal, the prosecutors asked that the former jailer, better known as Duch, receive a life sentence that would then be commuted to 45 years due to his unlawful pretrial detention.

They also requested that “a further reduction be made as appropriate for the very limited mitigating circumstances” in the case, a reduction that international co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley said should be five years “at an absolute maximum”.

The prosecutors said the gravity of the crimes committed had led them to “an unmistakable conclusion that the Trial Chamber failed to exercise its sentencing discretion properly”.

“The facts are stubborn. They will not go away,” the prosecutors wrote in their appeal.

“There comes a point where the crimes committed are sufficiently grave and the offender sufficiently notorious, or in such a position of authority, that the highest sentence must be imposed. That point was reached and passed here.”

Duch became the first person sentenced at the tribunal in July when he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for his role as head of the Khmer Rouge secret police and his leadership of Tuol Sleng, a facility in which nearly all of the perhaps 14,000 prisoners who passed through were eventually killed.

The Trial Chamber judges initially settled on a 35-year sentence, rather than a maximum life term, because of mitigating circumstances including Duch’s cooperation with the court and his “limited” expressions of remorse.

They deducted an additional five years because of the period of unlawful detention Duch served at a military court following his arrest in 1999.

With credit for time served, Duch stands to be released in roughly 19 years, a sentence that a number of victims charged was unacceptably short.

Cayley said the decision to appeal had been driven both by legal analysis and public opinion.

“We certainly listened to the public in making this decision, and certainly to the victims, which we have an obligation to do, but I also think we examined the judgment very carefully and we felt that too much consideration was given to the mitigating circumstances,” Cayley said.

During closing arguments last year, the prosecution requested that Duch receive a 40-year prison term.

Anne Heindel, a legal adviser at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, said that in view of international precedent, the nature of Duch’s offences could augur an increased term.

“The average seems to go up when you’ve committed crimes over an extended period,” Heindel said. “I do think that that is an important factor that should weigh in.”

Duch’s defence lawyers have also announced plans to appeal against the judgment, charging that their client does not fall within the tribunal’s mandate to investigate “senior leaders and those most responsible” for crimes committed under Democratic Kampuchea.

The prosecution has requested that appeal hearings be held publicly, and Cayley guessed that they would begin “towards end of this year or the beginning of next year”.

Tuol Sleng survivor Chum Mey said the appeal was in accordance with victims’ wishes.

“I think if the court sentences [Duch] to 45 years in prison, we would accept it because we consider that the same as a life sentence,” Chum Mey said.

Sustained floods claim more lives (Updated)


Photo by: Sovan Philong
The body of a 23-year-old drowning victim is carried to an ambulance in Dangkor district yesterday morning.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 19 October 2010 21:50 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Three more people have drowned as a result of recent flooding and the government has warned that tailwinds from Typhoon Megi, which is currently crossing the Philippines, are expected to hit coastal areas of Cambodia this weekend.

Prak Vuthy, Kampong Chnnang deputy police chief, said the body of a 30-year-old woman had been found after she reportedly fell from a boat into the flood roughly 30 metres from her house on Monday.

In Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, deputy police chief Chhin Ra said the body of a 23-year-old man was found in floodwaters in Spean Thma village on Monday.

“The victim was drunk, and he drove his motorbike to the flooded area to swim,” he said.

“At the same location, two boys were rescued.”

Meanwhile, Ung Rina, deputy director of the Department of Water Resources and Meteorology at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, has said that tailwinds from Typhoon Megi would hit the coasts of Sihanoukville, Kep and Kampot on October 23.

“According to our predictions, the new typhoon will be crossing the Philippines’ western areas on October 19 and 20, and it will pass China’s southern areas from October 24 to 26,” he said.

“The Megi typhoon will slightly hit Cambodia’s coastal areas with strong winds and storms from October 23 to 25 as it passes China’s southern areas.”

Keo Vy said the government was “worried” that the typhoon would add to damage already caused by the recent floods.

Parents, daughter murdered in Phnom Penh (Updated)


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Tuesday, 19 October 2010 22:13 Kouth Sopheak Chakrya and Sen David

A mother, father and their 16-year-old daughter have been found murdered in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district, their bodies apparently slashed with knives and beaten with bats.

Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said the bodies of the three victims –Ry Nalin and her parents, 52-year-old Ry Saron and 46-year-old Ne Sovannary – were found in their home in Village 7 with their hands tied behind their backs and their throats cut.

He said the three victims had multiple injuries inflicted with a variety of weapons.

“The suspects used a rope and killed the victims by stabbing them with a knife, [and also attacked them with] an axe and a bat. It is a cruel murder,” he said.



He said police suspected a group of men had taken part in the killings, and that there was a high likelihood the suspects had some kind of relationship with the family.

“I can say with 90 percent [certainty] that the suspected men knew the victims before, or they had a business relationship,” he said.

Village chief Toch Koun said he believed Ry Nalin had probably been killed when she returned home from school unexpectedly at around 10am.

He said the bodies were discovered by Ry Nalin’s 22-year-old brother, Ry Ratha, who visited the house at around 11am.

Chan Soveth, senior monitor for the rights group Adhoc, said there appeared to have been an increase in murders recently.

“I have not yet summed up the number of murders for this year. However, I notice that murders in Cambodia have gone up. We are concerned about it,” he said, and added that the “majority of suspects escape”.

The killings bring to five the number of multiple murders reported in Cambodia since July.

The most recent such case occurred on October 9, when a 47-year-old woman, her 24-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old waitress were shot dead in Kandal province’s Takhmao town.

Jailed journalist gets day in court (Updated)


Photo by: Pha Lina
Jailed journalist Ros Sokhet enters the Appeal Court yesterday. He is appealing a two-year sentence handed down by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in November last year on disinformation charges.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 19 October 2010 22:08 Chhay Channyda

The Appeal court in Phnom Penh has heard the case of jailed journalist Ros Sokhet, who last year received a two-year sentence after Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted him of disinformation.

The case against Ros Sokhet stems from a series of text messages he sent to prominent commentator and news anchor Soy Sopheap.

During his trial, the prosecution said Ros Sokhet used the messages to accuse Soy Sopheap of demanding money from a woman arrested for firing a pistol illegally in exchange for keeping her story out of the press.

During the hearing, Ros Sokhet noted that the date announced for the verdict on the appeal – October 28 – would fall exactly one year to the day after he was first imprisoned.

“I filed the appeal because I am not satisfied with the decision of this court, which hadn’t clearly investigated this case but arrested me and convicted me immediately after,” he said. “They acted just like they are gods.”

Ros Sokhet’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, reiterated the defence’s position that the information in the messages had been passed to Ros Sokhet by colleagues, and that he was sending them along to Soy Sopheap for clarification.

Last week, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith and representatives of the Press Council of Cambodia met to discuss Ros Sokhet’s request for government intervention in his case.

PCC president Sok Sovann said that a Khmer translation of the minutes of the meeting would be sent to the Justice Ministry. “I believe that the Appeal Court will lift the decision and set him free,” he said.

Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment.

CMEX on backburner Updated)


Photo by: bloomberg
Cotton is set to be traded on the Kingdom's first commodities exchange, which has been delayed.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 19 October 2010 22:01 Catherine James

Regulations have yet to be drawn up to govern Cambodia’s delayed commodities exchange.

The privately-owned Cambodian Mercantile Exchange was due to launch on July 30 and begin online trading of 11 commodities by mid-August, according to its backers.

Since its failure to launch, CMEX officials have repeatedly declined to comment on the reasons for the delay.

However, Ming Bankosal, director general of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia, has broken the silence.

He said that the exchange could not open until the regulations to govern both it and the Cambodian Stock Exchange – which is due to launch in July “at any cost” – were in place.

“We asked the CMEX not to operate because we need the regulations to be set up first and [then] they need to apply for the regulation,” he said.

“Now our priority is stetting up the stock exchange, but at the same time, side by side, we also have some staff working on commodity regulation.”

Once regulations were created, Ming Bankosal said, related ministries – such as the Ministry of Agriculture – would need to be consulted before a final draft was available.

He declined to comment on a time frame.

When contacted, CMEX Chief Operating Officer Kushal Kumar Shrestha declined to comment further and said management had decided not to be involved in any publicity at this time.

Commentators, however, said that a number of other factors could be at play.

John Brinsden, vice chairman of ACLEDA Bank, which is likely to be the banking partner for both exchanges, said: “It’s not just a question of regulations. You’ve got to have the infrastructure, and also educate people how to use it.

“These are things that take time, and in Cambodia, it always takes a little bit longer.”

Despite the apparent delay, he was confident that CMEX would have a positive impact once established.

“Cambodia has never had a commodities exchange before, and it’s getting by without it, but it would be good to have one at some time in the future as the agriculture market develops,” he said.

He said he did not feel that the government was dragging its feet and said officials were seeking advice and consulting widely because the concept was so new.

A mercantile exchange helps to monitor and regulate the price of the goods being traded by setting a market price for goods based on broader supply and demand.

Commodity traders usually use futures contracts, which can help farmers because they can hedge the cost of their produce when they know the future price they will receive for their goods on delivery.

CMEX said in July that, initially, 11 commodities would be listed on the Kingdom's exchange.

These were gold, silver, cotton, crude oil, heating oil, natural gas, soya-bean oil, soya beans, wheat, copper and coffee.

South Korea boosts Cambodia’s military (Updated)


via CAAI

Tuesday, 19 October 2010 21:58 Cheang Sokha

Cambodia has received a donation of boats and military equipment from South Korea.

Although precise details about the shipment were unavailable, the defence trade website Defence Professionals reported on Monday that South Korea had donated three utility boats, 100 manoeuvering vehicles, 24 “engineering tools” and 36 “medical tools”.

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said the donation was emblematic of the growing ties between South Korea and Cambodia.

“Korea had never supplied any military equipment to Cambodia previously,” Chhum Socheat said.

“This military cooperation is the same as for other countries in the region.”

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander in Chief Pol Saroeun was in South Korea for a regional security summit, Chhum Socheat added.

“Relations between Korea and Cambodia have been deepened in the current administration, and military ties are also improving,” an official at South Korea’s Ministry of Defence told Defence Professionals. “Utility boats are going to be operated aimed at inspecting drug and human trafficking through waterways.”

The draft budget law for 2011, approved last week by the Council of Ministers, calls for US$298 million in defence spending, a 7 percent increase over last year. Defence spending in the 2010 budget represented a 24 percent increase over the previous year.

In June, China provided the Kingdom with a donation of more than 250 military trucks. This replaced a donation of similar size that was cancelled by the United States in retaliation for Cambodia’s deportation to China of 20 Uighur asylum seekers last year.

In September, military officials announced the purchase of 100 tanks and armoured personnel carriers from Ukraine.

Ties with Cambodia strained over reds

http://news.asiaone.com/

via CAAI

Wed, Oct 13, 2010
The Nation/Asia News Network

Thailand and Cambodia have found their newly restored relations at another highly delicate juncture after a Thai police investigation revealed militant red shirts were allegedly trained in Siem Reap.

The Cambodian government yesterday denied that red militants had been trained on its soil to carry out acts of terror in Thailand, while in Bangkok the government tried to cushion the impact on bilateral ties by saying Phnom Penh leaders had no policy of supporting such alleged training.

The bombshell allegations were made by the Department of Special Investigation on Monday and backed up by the National Security Council (NSC) yesterday.

Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said his country would receive no benefit from either sheltering or training red militants, while the spokesman's office for the Cambodian government said the report was a fabrication, and that giving weapons training to foreigners was against its constitution.

A statement released yesterday by the spokesman's office claimed the allegation was a Thai government plan to undermine the red-shirt movement for political gain.

"It's a nonsense that Cambodia would want to have problems with anyone for no reason," the statement said.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) cited interviews with 11 men accused of seeking weapons training, who were arrested recently at a Chiang Mai resort.

And it released details of similar weapons training for another 24 men in Cambodia.

DSI director-general Tharit Phengdit said yesterday details about Cambodia's training of some 39 red militants needed further verification.

Media reports cited different numbers of red militants becoming active after completion of weapons courses they attended, either in Thailand or elsewhere.

The total number mentioned is 64 overall, with four allegedly assigned as bodyguards for wanted militant Arisman Pongruengrong.

Details from interviews with the 11 men, who have sought protection with the DSI and given much more information, will forwarded to the government's Centre for Resolution for the Emergency Situation (CRES).

It will then decide how to deal with the issue, with advice from the Foreign Ministry.

Spokesman Panitan Wattanaya-gorn said Cambodia's denial about weapons training was being verified, but the issue would be discussed between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his counterpart Hun Sen at the 17th Asean meeting in Vietnam on October 28-30.

He said Hun Sen had pledged to look into the matter to determine "how credible it could have been" after he met with Abhisit at the Asia Europe Meeting in Brussels on October 4 and 5.

Panitan said the Brussels meeting had a good atmosphere and both leaders made an unofficial pledge to exchange intelligence tip-offs about criminals from one country fleeing to the other.

He said the weapons training courses included bomb-making, demolition, use of firearms and grenade launchers, and given only to successful candidates.

The CRES was keeping a close watch on hard-core red-shirt groups.

"Security officials will keep pressuring them to prevent them from being fully active," he added.

NSC secretary-general Thawit Pliansri had confirmed the DSI's intelligence report about the red militants receiving weapons training in Cambodia.

Justice Minister Pirapan Sali-rathavibhaga said more details were being gathered to verify that Arisman had been linked to the weapons training before Thailand decides whether to ask Cambodia to extradite him to face indictments here. -The Nation/ANN

Charity holds benefit for Cambodian children's hospital

 via CAAI

October 19, 2010
by Heather Mayer, DOTmed News Reporter

In order to raise money for Cambodia's Angkor Hospital for Children, New York-based Friends Without a Border is hosting its 11th annual benefit Saturday in Tenafly, N.J.

The hospital, completed in 1999, has treated more than 650,000 children, according to FWAB.

"We feel very strongly that this is one hospital that's making a difference in Cambodia," an FWAB spokeswoman told DOTmed News by e-mail.

The teaching hospital, which also has a large, growing outreach program, engages in community-building and education.

This year's event features a multi-course meal prepared by a Cambodian caterer, and it will include Cambodian-flavored shrimp, fish and vegetables. Benefactors will participate in a silent auction, featuring hand-sewn silk pouches, bamboo-woven containers and colorful scarves.

Ankgor Hospital for Children serves as the pediatric department for Siem Reap's Provincial Hospital, providing outpatient, inpatient, acute, emergency, surgical, low-acuity, dental and ophthalmologic care. Patients are asked to pay a small, fixed fee if they can afford it, but all treatment and inpatient care is free.

The benefit will be held Sat. from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. John Banquet Hall in Tenafly, N.J. Tickets are available for children ages 10 and under for $45 and adults for $75. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.fwab.org/help_event.php or call (212) 691-0909 to purchase by phone.

GSMA Pulls Funding for Cambodian Mobile Money Service


via CAAI

­The GSM Association is reported to have pulled funding for a mobile money transfer service in Cambodia following concerns that the service is not complying with local regulations. Local mobile network, Mobitel launched the mobile money service without a license from the Central Bank, although it has claimed that it doesn't need any licenses for its service.

GSMA has now suspended grant payments, worth up to US$5 million, until the situation is resolved, according to a statement obtained by the Phnom Penh Post. The GSMA said that Mobitel's parent company, CamGSM was working with the National Bank of Cambodia to develop the appropriate regulatory framework and secure a formal licence.

"To this end, the two parties have agreed to suspend the payment of further grant monies until the GSMA MMU Fund Panel is satisfied that CamGSM has secured all necessary regulatory approvals," it said.

"GSMA encourages dialogue between mobile money providers and regulators, however regulation is a matter for the government in each country in which such services are developed."

World Banks Sees 5 Percent Growth for 2010

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer

Phnom Penh Tuesday, 19 October 2010

via CAAI
 
Photo: AP
Garment export was expected to rise about 12 percent this year, compared to the year before, with tourism rising 12 percent over the same period, the Bank said.

“Apparel exports rose by 15 percent over the first six months of 2010, reflecting growing personal consumption expenditures in the United States with 16,000 new jobs created since January 2010 after a loss of 43,000 jobs in 2009.”

The World Bank on Tuesday raised expectations for Cambodia's economic growth in 2010 to nearly 5 percent, up from a 4.4 percent forecast in April.

The Bank cited recovery in the garment and tourism sectors, along with steady growth in agriculture, for its 4.9 percent economic growth estimate. The government has projected a 5 percent growth rate this year.

“Apparel exports rose by 15 percent over the first six months of 2010, reflecting growing personal consumption expenditures in the United States with 16,000 new jobs created since January 2010 after a loss of 43,000 jobs in 2009,” the World Bank said in its 2010 East Asia and Pacific update.

Garment export was expected to rise about 12 percent this year, compared to the year before, with tourism rising 12 percent over the same period, the Bank said.

Growth for 2011 would be bolstered by agriculture, especially rice, which has gained more attention from the government for export but is also facing weather trouble.

”The sector has weathered the global crisis well, but crop production might be negatively affected by the sporadic droughts in some parts of the country,” the Bank said.

Still, export of milled rice is high, with 2010's six-month volume already surpassing the annual export volume from 2009.

However, recovery in foreign investment and construction remained “subdued” in 2010, and consumer price inflation was likely to reach 5 percent, the Bank said.

Vikram Nehru, the Bank's chief economist for the region, said Cambodia still needs to develop the infrastructure and links that will allow it to connect with its neighbors and increase trade.

King Inaugurates Chinese-Funded Government Building

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer

Phnom Penh Tuesday, 19 October 2010

via CAAI
 
Photo: by Taing Sarada
The “Friendship Building” will house the Council of Ministers, which administers executive work as the prime minister's cabinet, although the prime minister and his advisers will work in a separate building.

“I profoundly thank the government of People's Republic of China and those who are architects and engineers that provided funds and helped to build a very good Friendship Building for the Council of Ministers.”

King Norodom Sihamoni inaugurated a new building for the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, thanking China for a reported $50 million contribution.

The “Friendship Building” will house the Council of Ministers, which administers executive work as the prime minister's cabinet, although the prime minister and his advisers will work in a separate building.

“I profoundly thank the government of People's Republic of China and those who are architects and engineers that provided funds and helped to build a very good Friendship Building for the Council of Ministers,” Norodom Sihamoni said.

The king recently returned from China on Oct. 10, following a two-week visit, where he took part in the Shanghai World Expo. His father, former king Norodom Sihanouk, remains in Beijing for health reasons.

“China has constantly provided Cambodia in all domains,” Norodom Sihamoni said Tuesday.

Chinese Ambassador Pang Guang Xue said China would “continue its assistance” to “a good friend, a good neighbor, good brothers and sisters, and good partners.”

Cambodia has maintained a close relationship with China for decades, including military and political support. China recently provided several rounds of military equipment shipments, including one of military trucks after the US suspended a similar package for human rights concerns.

WB raises Cambodia's GDP growth to 4.9% in 2010

via CAAI

October 19, 2010

The World Bank (WB) raised its projected GDP growth for Cambodia to reach 4.9 percent for 2010, increased 0.5 percentage point from its April's forecast of 4.4 percent, driven by a rebound in garment exports, tourism, and the uninterrupted growth of agricultural production, according to the WB's report on Tuesday.

"Apparel exports rose by 15 percent over the first six months of 2010, reflecting a pickup of shipments to the U.S.," said the WB's 2010 East Asia and Pacific Economic Update report. "This helped create 16,000 new jobs since January 2010 after a loss of 43,000 jobs in 2009."

It predicted that Cambodia's garment exports are expected to post a 14 percent growth this year.

Tourism picked by 12 percent in the first half and is projected to grow by 9 percent for 2010 as a whole.

Growth prospects in 2010 and 2011 depend on the performance of the agriculture sector, particularly, rice paddy, which benefited from the recent adoption of paddy production and rice export policy.

"The sector has weathered the global crisis well, but crop production might be negatively affected by the sporadic droughts in some parts of the country,"it added.

The exports of milled rice are up 3.5 times in the first half of 2010 year-on-year in value terms (the 6-month volume is already above the annual total volume exported in 2009).

The report stated that the recovery of foreign investment and construction remains at a much slower speed: construction and foreign direct investment (FDI) permit approvals remained subdued despite a slight increase of imports of construction materials (up by 5 percent) suggesting that recovery took place in small construction activities only.

The World Bank estimates Cambodia's FDI would grow to 639 million U.S. dollars in 2010 and 799 million U.S. dollars in 2011, up from 515 million U.S. dollars in 2009; and the inflation rate stands at 5 percent in 2010 and 2011.

In the first half of the year, revenues rose by 17.5 percent year-on-year while expenditures fell 3 percent.

"The increase in revenues was led by VAT, excise and import duties collections. Revenues also benefit from a doubling of the road tax on vehicles and the introduction of a property tax,"said the report.

In recent weeks, the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund predicted the Cambodia's growth for 2010 of 5 percent and 4.8 percent respectively. The forecast is in line with the government's prediction of the growth by 5 percent this year.

Source: Xinhua

Cambodia prosecutors seek life for K.Rouge jailer

Kaing Guek Eav was sentenced in July to 35 years for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people

via CAAI

By Michelle Fitzpatrick (AFP)
PHNOM PENH — Prosecutors at a UN-backed court in Cambodia on Tuesday demanded an increased sentence of life imprisonment for a former Khmer Rouge prison chief convicted of crimes against humanity.

Kaing Guek Eav was sentenced in July to 35 years for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people in the late 1970s, reduced to 30 years on the grounds that he had been detained illegally for years before the tribunal was established.

"We are asking for life imprisonment," said international co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley, after his team submitted their appeal document.

But he said the sentence should be shortened to 45 years because of the unlawful detention.

Prosecutors said the request for a tougher sentence reflected doubts over the remorse of the former jailer, better known as Duch, who apologised during his trial but shocked the court in November by finally asking to be acquitted.

"Frankly now, after he said he should be released... we are not convinced about this man's contrition," said Cayley.

Duch, 67, was the first former Khmer Rouge cadre to face an international tribunal, and the ruling was hailed as a historic day for Cambodia.

But many victims of the brutal 1975-1979 regime were dismayed by the sentence, which also took into account time already served since Duch was first detained in 1999, meaning he could walk free in about 19 years.

In their appeal document, the co-prosecutors argued that "a sentence of 35 years for crimes of this magnitude is plainly unjust."

They are also seeking additional convictions "for the crimes against humanity of extermination, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, rape, persecution on political grounds, and other inhumane acts".

Duch's lawyers are also appealing the sentence, which they have described as a "miscarriage of justice," and want the jailer to be acquitted.

They have until November 22 to file their appeal documents.

Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for one of the worst horrors of the 20th century, wiping out nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population through starvation, overwork and executions.

Tuol Sleng prison, run by Duch, was at the centre of the Khmer Rouge security apparatus and thousands of inmates were taken from there for execution in a nearby orchard that served as a "killing field".

Up to two million people were executed or died of starvation, disease and overwork as the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge movement emptied cities and enslaved the population on collective farms in its bid to create a communist utopia.

A second trial is due to start in early 2011 when the regime's four most senior surviving members -- including "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea -- will face charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The court is also investigating whether to open more cases against five other former Khmer Rouge cadres after a dispute between the international and Cambodian co-prosecutors over whether to pursue more suspects.

Thai Reds Sing Cambodian Blues


Image credit:Nate Robert

via CAAI

October 19, 2010

No sooner had Bangkok leapt on Phnom Penh over secret training bases for Thai Red Shirts, than those same anti-government 'pests' began stirring-up trouble again. On the streets of Ayutthaya, Thailand's old royal capital, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship is again hoping to build up a head of political steam.

The Thai government has a history of inextricably linking Red Shirts with ousted prime minister and Yellow Shirt anathema Thaksin Shinawatra whenever they make some noise. But in doing so they dismiss important realities, among them the popular support for the Red Shirts within Thai democracy.

In a similarly clumsy manner, Bangkok's chattering classes and Yellow Shirt supporters would like to think Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen—an unflinching ally of Thaksin—is a serious villain of peace, grooming red rebels in guerrilla tactics and urban warfare.

Early this month for instance, the chief of Thailand's Department of Special Investigation, Tharit Pengdit, spoke out, claiming that the Red Shirts came back into Thailand and went onto Chiang Mai to prepare for assignments after they were trained for sabotage and assassination in Cambodia.

Phnom Penh responded to the accusations by demanding Thailand ‘put an end to the dirty games of concocting evidences to deflect Thailand public opinion from Thailand's own internal political and social problems.’

They were probably right—although Cambodia does have a history of attracting a diverse range of troublemakers.

Among them is Hambali, the terrorist who plotted the 2002 Bali bombings from a guesthouse behind Phnom Penh's city mosque. And there was Paul Francis Gadd, better known as Gary Glitter, the British glam rock star turned convicted child molester who hid there (from the public eye) during the early 2000s.

There have also been genuine dissidents like Vietnamese Montagnards and Chinese Uighurs who, rather sadly, misconstrued a heavy United Nations presence in Cambodia as likely to bring sanctuary.

Thailand, with its support for Pol Pot and his bloody band of ultra-Maoists throughout the latter years of the Cold War, contributed heavily to the culture of well-armed impunity that existed in Cambodia's earlier years of peace and which allowed mercenary services to thrive.

However, regular life has taken root in Cambodia and demand for such services these days are about as common as tourists heading out to the firing range to blow up a cow with rocket propelled grenades.

They are all very much a thing of the past and to suggest any of these people turned up on Cambodia's doorsteps as a result of government policy—like Red Shirts training for the overthrow of the Thai government—is simply out of step with the realities on the ground.

Christmas Card Project Supports Free School Programs In Cambodia and Laos

via CAAI

JWOC, which has been instrumental in building classrooms, creating scholarship programs, and developing free learning opportunities for people in need in Southeast Asia hopes that the sale of the Christmas cards will further benefit these communities dire


Southeast Asia tour company Journeys Within, is covering all of the printing costs of the Christmas cards so that all proceeds of the sales go directly to JWOC’s Free School Program in Cambodia and Laos. By buying the specially made JWOC holiday cards, drawn by the children who study in JWOC’s free classes, purchasers can directly support the development of these free classes while purchasing Christmas cards that have a very personal connection to Southeast Asia. JWOC’s classes offer free educational opportunities to many people in the local community from tuk tuk drivers to primary school children. All of the new skills that all students learn at JWOC have a direct impact on them and the lives of their families.

A set of 10 JWOC Christmas cards costs just $25. For more information or to purchase the cards, visit http://www.journeyswithinourcommunity.org/projects/education/jwoc-christmas-cards/ .

About Journeys Within Our Community
JWOC was founded by Brandon and Andrea Ross, owners of Journeys Within Tour Company in response to guests and travelers desire to give back and make a difference. JWOC believes in its slogan, “See a Problem, Solve a Problem” and has been doing that for the last five years. More information can be found and donations can be made at
 http://www.journeyswithinourcommunity.org/  or you can contact Andrea at

Contact Information:
Journeys Within Our Community
Stephanie Moreland
Tel: 832-755-7661
Email us
(EMAILWIRE.COM, October 19, 2010 ) SIEM REAP, Cambodia—Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC), a non-profit organization that helps local communities in Southeast Asia, announced that it will be selling Christmas cards designed by students in Southeast Asia in order to benefit underprivileged local students. JWOC, which has been instrumental in building classrooms, creating scholarship programs, and developing free learning opportunities for people in need in Southeast Asia hopes that the sale of the Christmas cards will further benefit these communities directly.

Grand inauguration ceremony held for Cambodia's new gov't office building donated by China

via CAAI

October 19, 2010

It was a sunny day and it is also the special day for the history of traditional friendship between China and Cambodia.

In the morning of Oct. 19, the new office building of the Council of Ministers, donated by China and officially named by Prime Minister Hun Sen as "the Friendship Building", is formally inaugurated in a grand ceremony.

The adjacent Prime Minister Hun Sen's large new office building was also inaugurated in the same ceremony and dubbed the "Peace Building."

In compound of the new site of the Council of Ministers, the national flags of China and Cambodia are waving in the air. Over 1, 000 people holding China and Cambodian national flags in their hands lined on the roads to welcome King and other distinguished guests.

At 8:30 am Tuesday morning, Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni arrived at the ceremony site. He presided over the inaugural ceremony and cut the ribbon together with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Pan Guangxue to mark the official opening of the new government office building.

The National Assembly President Heng Samrim, Minister of Council of Ministers Sok An and other senior government officials, as well as some diplomats and lots of people from all walks of life attended the ceremony.

King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Monineat Sihanouk who were now in Beijing, China, have also extended their congratulation to this inauguration ceremony.

The inauguration was preceded by a religious ceremony at which monks were pressing the new office. Khmer girls in their traditional costumes performed traditional Khmer dancer "blessing dance".

In his passionate speech, Prime Minister Hun Sen valued highly of the building donated by Chinese government saying that the 7- story building with 40 meters high was first initiated and achieved through the visit of Wu Yi, then deputy prime minister of the People's Republic of China in March 2004.

He said during Wu Yi's visit, she was sympathetic with the ruined old government's building which was built in 1960s and suggested her government to support this new building.

Source: Xinhua

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via CAAI

Cambodian Journalist’s delegate meet with Thai PM Abhisit

Tuesday, 19 October 2010 11:26 DAP-NEWS/ YUNG KHEMARA

Bangkok, Oct 19, 2010--A visiting Cambodian journalist delegate today met Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva during an official visit to Thailand.

The meeting was discussing on bilateral relation between Cambodia and Thailand as their deplimatic relation was tightened as Thailand have sent their troop to invade Cambodia’s Preah Vihear territory for more than last two years.

Thai PM said that he expected to see any positive progress of the bilateral relation between the two neighboring nations, adding that Cambodian and Thai press would cooperate to improve the press freedom in the two kingdoms.


Murderers Killed Three Cambodian Scavengers at Daylight in Phnom Penh

Tuesday, 19 October 2010 11:04 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Oct 19, 2010-A Phnom Penh resident’s family making business as scavengers lost three members on Tuesday in robbery cases in daylight in ChamKar Mon district.

Three murders went into the scavenger’s house at about 12 AM midday with hanging the owners and took all money, but when accidentally the daughter of victims arrived from school. The murderers killed the parents at the scene and later killed their daughter, witnesses and relatives of victims said at the scene.

The robbery is odd. And the police are just investigating the cases, and the Phnom Penh court’s head Chiv Keng himself has just arrived the scene to conduct the autopsy on the victims. Police and court judged that this is the robbery case,” Ry Eang, sister of the victims said.

The victims included Ry Sarun, 50 and his wife names Lu Saray, 50, and their daughter Ry Chealina, 17 years old.

Relatives and polices could not comment about losing valued jewelry and amount of money robbed.

Grand inauguration ceremony held for Cambodia's new gov't office building donated by China

by Zhang Ruiling, Lei Bosong
Tuesday, 19 October 2010 10:35 Xinhua

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- It was a sunny day and it is also the special day for the history of traditional friendship between China and Cambodia.

In the morning of Oct. 19, the new office building of the Council of Ministers, donated by China and officially named by Prime Minister Hun Sen as "the Friendship Building", is formally inaugurated in a grand ceremony.

The adjacent Prime Minister Hun Sen's large new office building was also inaugurated in the same ceremony and dubbed the "Peace Building."

In compound of the new site of the Council of Ministers, the national flags of China and Cambodia are waving in the air. Over 1, 000 people holding China and Cambodian national flags in their hands lined on the roads to welcome King and other distinguished guests.

At 8:30 am Tuesday morning, Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni arrived at the ceremony site. He presided over the inaugural ceremony and cut the ribbon together with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Pan Guangxue to mark the official opening of the new government office building.

The National Assembly President Heng Samrim, Minister of Council of Ministers Sok An and other senior government officials, as well as some diplomats and lots of people from all walks of life attended the ceremony.