Thursday, 20 March 2008

Cambodia unveils new hospital for major-shot clients

PHNOM PENH, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia here on Thursday unveiled the Royal Ratanak Hospital to provide health services at international standard to rich Cambodians as well as foreigners.

Prasert Prasarttong Osoth, owner of the Bangkok Airways and the Bangkok Dusit Medical Service, altogether invested about 8.5 million U.S. dollars in building the hospital, said Prime Minister Hun Sen at the opening ceremony.

It will help VIP clients reduce payment, as they don't have to go to Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and other countries to see doctors any more, said Hun Sen. "They will turn to use local health services as they trust this hospital," he said.

Thai investor Prasert said at the ceremony that the economic growth and development of Cambodia urge business people to invest more in the health service sector.

The Royal Ratanak Hospital will cooperate with the Bangkok Dusit Medical Services and it is also a sister hospital to the Royal International Hospital in Siem Reap, he said.

The six-floor hospital will become a main emergency referral center for local Cambodians, foreign tourists and other residents, he added.

Sat Soeurn, representative of the Royal Ratanak Hospital and wife of Tea Bahn, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense, said that the staff members are trying to provide a trustworthy alternative choice for the local patients who used to spend expensively for their treatment and accommodation in foreign countries.

The hospital will become a leading health sanitation center in Cambodia, she added.

According to official statistics, there are over 1,100 medical units, including major hospitals, all over the country. An average of some 5,000 Cambodians can share one doctor.

Editor: Gao

Khmer Rouge leader Noun Chea to stay in jail

The most senior surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge, "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, sits before Cambodia's genocide tribunal to hear its ruling on an appeal against his pre-trial detention, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh March 20, 2008. Noun Chea is charged against war crimes and crimes against humanity.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Radio Netherlands Worldwide
Thursday 20 March 2008

UTC Phnom Penh - The second-in-command of Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge regime will not be released on bail. The special Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh rejected a request from Nuon Chea, who argued there was no risk of his trying to flee from justice, and that he would not try to influence witnesses.

Nuon Chea, nicknamed brother number two, is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

He is seen as the architect of the Khmer Rouge reign of terror in the late 1970s in which an estimated two million people were killed.

International Community Must Rein Down Hun Sen

“The international community, especially the donor countries, must use their aid and political leverage to rein down Hun Sen. If he is allowed a free rein then he will be unstoppable.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Courtesy of Khmerization :

Editorial by Khmerization:

The events in the Cambodian political landscape in the last few days don’t look promising for a free and fair election. It is looking even unimaginable for a smooth transition, if the opposition wins. In fact it is looking uglier by the day (read the links below).

First comes the surprised and the CPP-facilitated defection of the publisher of the pro-opposition Sralanh Khmer newspaper, Thach Ket. And starting from the 16th, with the arrests of the Sam Rainsy Party officials, namely Tout Sarorn, Huor Sarath and Men Vannak, which was aided and abetted by the once champion of democracy turned a political monster, Sok Pheng, who now is probably the most hated man in the Sam Rainsy Party, the balance of the political landscape is swiftly tipping.Here, we see that Prime Minister Hun Sen is preaching one thing and is actually practising another thing. Case in point, the prime minister has appealed to his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) members not to engage in political violence and intimidation but with his order to Sok Pheng to orchestrate the arrests of the above-mentioned Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) officials, proved that the PM did not mean what he said and is not sincere in his appeals.

While the charges of kidnapping against the above-named SRP officials was not convincing, one must remember that Hun Sen had used these tricks successfully many times before. In the rightful mind of any rational persons, what the officials did was what any reasonable persons would have done- and that is to help a colleague, in this case is Mrs Tim Norn, find a sanctuary from the possible malicious revenge attacks from the CPP for her double-crossing them.

The trouble came for Mrs. Tim Norn when she defected to the CPP along with Sok Pheng. Later she was given $200 by Sok Pheng and his wife to entice more potential defectors from the SRP. She was not successful is doing so and by spending all the $200 given by Sok Pheng’s wife without having successfully done the job, she wanted to return to the SRP and began to fear for reprisal. Fearing for her life that Sok Pheng and his CPP death squad might do to her she asked the three SRP officials mentioned above to help her escape a possible assassination. That was when her ordeal begun and so the arrests of the three officials.

I feel very sad for Sok Pheng, who was once, as I mentioned earlier, a champion of democracy. It is unimaginable that such a fine young politician had turned into a political monster deserving condemnation in the strongest term. He had not only sold himself out to the CPP but he had also sold out his wife to become a CPP monster in which the CPP will use as a political tool to conduct a political witch hunt against his former colleagues from the SRP. This is a really cheap politics by any standard.

Coming back to the accusations against the three SRP officials, it doesn‘t need to take a genius to see that the charges are invented and politically motivated. In a full functional democracy Sok Pheng and Hun Sen will be charged with interfering in the democratic process by forcing someone, in this case Mrs. Tim Norn, to join the CPP against their will.

With the political trends moving toward a tense political atmosphere, the promise that the election will be free and fair is a remote possibility and is looking grim by the day. Hun Sen’s appeals for his supporters not to engage in political intimidation and violence is just a window dressing designed for political and diplomatic consumption to hypnotise the international community. The international community, especially the donor countries, must use their aid and political leverage to rein down Hun Sen. If he is allowed a free rein then he will be unstoppable.

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Sok Kong: I am a Vietnamese


20 March 2008
Labels: Vietnam

Courtesy of xWanna :

Maybe some people are still skeptical about who is Sok Kong? Now, believe me and believe him(Sok Kong)!Oknha Sok Kong said...

Tôi sinh ra ở Prey Veng. Ba mẹ tôi là người VN, tôi được sinh ra ở CPC. Năm 1975 sang VN làm ruộng ở Đồng Tháp. Lúc đó tôi 23 tuổi. Năm 1979 tôi trở lại CPC

Translation: I was born in Prey Veng. My parents are Vietnamese, I was born in Cambodia. In 1975, I backed to VN and do farming at Don Thap province. I was then 23. In 1979, I returned to Cambodia

Tôi giàu con lắm, có đến sáu đứa: ba trai, ba gái. Con trai đầu làm việc ở TP.HCM, con trai thứ hai quản lý khách sạn và xí nghiệp may số 1, con trai thứ ba quản lý xí nghiệp may 2, ba đứa con gái còn đi học ở Úc.

Translation: I have many children, including 6: 3 sons, 3 daughters. My eldest son works at HCM(Ho Chi Minh) city; My second son is a manager of a hotel and garment factory Number 01; My third son is a manager of garment factory Number 02; My three daughters are all studying in Australia.

Trước đây vì một số lý do tôi không muốn ai biết mình là người VN. Còn bây giờ thì không. Tôi là người VN. Tôi vinh dự về điều đó!

Translation: In the past, from some reasons, I don't want anyone to know that I am a Vietnamese. Now, it's NOT. I am a Vietnamese. I'm proud of that!

Davik donations still pouring in

Chanta Bob hugs Chi Nguyen, 11, after she and her Lincoln Elementary School teacher, Shani rae Erickson, collected over $1,700 for Hearts without Boundaries. The pair presented Davik Teng a check for $1729.27 at Sophy's Restaurant in Long Beach on Wednesday, but donations are still coming in.(Jeff Gritchen/Staff Photographer)

CHARITY: Student at Lincoln Elementary leads fundraising effort for Cambodian girl.

By Greg Mellen, Staff writer

LONG BEACH - The oversized check, said $1,729.27. But that wasn't right. It was $1,734.27. No, wait, $1,754.27. No, wait ...

The truth is, the donations are still coming from Lincoln Elementary School to Davik Teng, a 9-year-old from a rural village in Cambodia who is facing open-heart surgery.

And it was all kicked off by Chi Nguyen, a fifth-grader who saw a poster about Davik's plight and raised $50 doing extra chores and collecting her Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, money.

On Wednesday at Sophy's Restaurant, Davik and her mother, Sin Chhon, were presented with the symbolic check, as well as dozens of get-well cards created by the kids at Lincoln.

"And we're not done yet," said Shani rae Erickson, Nguyen's teacher, who presented the gifts.
Nguyen didn't initially tell anyone about her donation, but when the news reached Erickson, the onslaught began.

Erickson not only pledged to match Nguyen's donation, but rallied the school to the cause. And Lincoln answered.

"This has brought our whole school together," Erickson said of the fundraising effort. "All year long we've been talking to the kids about caring and respect. And Chi, instead of telling us about it, just went out and did something."

Nguyen, an 11-year-old who has suffered from leukemia that is now in remission, saw a poster about Davik, who has a heart defect that doctors in Cambodia were unable to repair. Davik has been brought to the U.S. by a small, local nonprofit and is scheduled to have the operation at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles on Monday.

Nguyen talked to Peter Chhun, president of Hearts Without Boundaries, which sponsors Davik, and marshalled her meager resources to do what she could to help.

Erickson learned of the gesture from a reporter and took it to the next level.

Although most students at Lincoln live in the struggling Central Area, they responded with enthusiasm, with parents writing checks and students literally passing around a hat to collect spare change.

"It's been for us the best journey ever," said Erickson. "It has united students, teachers, everyone. It's one of the highest moments ever in teaching for me."

The emotion has carried to Nguyen as well.

"It made me feel happy," she said of the response. "And for some reason my face keeps smiling. It's like someone pinched my face to keep my lips up."

One anonymous donor not only gave $50 for Davik, but gave another $50 to reimburse Nguyen for her donation.

When asked what she'd do with the money, Nguyen said she'd spend it on a gift for her older brother, who she is about to visit in Vietnam.

When Nguyen made her first donation, some remarked that it might help bring the Vietnamese and Cambodian communities closer together. But Erickson said it could be something bigger.

"It's more than just the Vietnamese and Cambodian cultures, the whole human culture has come out," she said.

Cambodian boss docks worker's thumbs, toes for tardiness

Picture by Chan Theth , Koh Santepheap newspaper

The Earth Times
Thu, 20 Mar 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - Authorities were seeking Cambodian garage owner accused of lopping off the thumbs and big toes of an employee for returning to work late, police said Thursday. The police chief of Dombai district in eastern Kampong Cham province, Chout Dearn, said the man, identified only as Mr Ly, 40, lost his temper on Tuesday when mechanic Kim Ne, 22, returned late from a friend's wedding with a motorbike he had borrowed from the garage.

"The worker claims Ly enlisted two of Ne's workmates to help tie him up, then hit him in the throat and chest with an axe handle before cutting his thumbs and big toes off one by one," Dearn said by telephone. "Now he cannot ride a motorbike any more."

Dearn said Ne had tried to call Ly to tell him he would be late but could not get through as there was no mobile phone reception.

He said the accused remains at large but faces up to 20 years in prison if caught and convicted for the crime.

Ne remains in hospital in a stable condition. Police estimated the returned motorbike's worth at around 600 dollars.

Cambodian Tribunal Rules on Appeal

A security personnel, right, stands as judges with the U.N.-backed genocide tribunal look on in the background during Noun Chea's hearing Thursday, March 20, 2008, in Phnom Penh. Cambodia's genocide tribunal rejected an appeal Thursday by the former Khmer Rouge leader against his pre-trial detention on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Khmer Rouge survivor Chm Mey (L) arrives to attend a hearing for Nuon Chea, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, March 20, 2008. Cambodia's "Killing Fields" tribunal turned down a request for bail on Thursday by Nuon Chea, Pol Pot's right-hand-man during the Khmer Rouge's four years in power in the 1970s.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Police and military personnel keep watch as people line up to attend a hearing for Nuon Chea, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, March 20, 2008. Cambodia's "Killing Fields" tribunal turned down a request for bail on Thursday by Nuon Chea, Pol Pot's right-hand-man during the Khmer Rouge's four years in power in the 1970s.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

The most senior surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge, "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea (R) is assisted by a policeman before Cambodia's genocide tribunal made its ruling on an appeal against his pre-trial detention, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh March 20, 2008. Cambodia's "Killing Fields" tribunal turned down a request for bail on Thursday by Nuon Chea, Pol Pot's right-hand-man during the Khmer Rouge's four years in power in the 1970s.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea (2nd R) stands with assistance from two court officers as he appears for a verdict, at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh on March 20. Nuon Chea will remain in jail pending trial for crimes allegedly committed during Cambodia's 1970s genocide, the country's Khmer Rouge tribunal ruled Thursday.(AFP/Pool/Sreng Meng Srun)

The most senior surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge, "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea (C), is helped up by police officers at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) before the court announced its decision on his bail in the outskirts of Phnom Penh March 20, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's genocide tribunal rejected an appeal Thursday by a former Khmer Rouge leader against his pre-trial detention on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The five-judge panel ruled that Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge's former ideologist, must remain in custody ahead of trials scheduled to begin later this year.

Nuon Chea faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has been detained since Sept. 19 by Cambodia's U.N.-backed court. Nuon Chea is one of five former Khmer Rouge leaders detained for their involvement in the group's brutal 1975-79 rule.

The Khmer Rouge's radical policies caused the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, diseases, overwork and execution.

Nuon Chea, 81, has denied any guilt, saying he is not a "cruel" man.

In their detention order last year, the tribunal's investigating judges charged him with involvement in crimes including "murder, torture, imprisonment, persecution, extermination, deportation, forcible transfer, enslavement and other inhumane acts."

They said Nuon Chea faces life imprisonment if convicted and that the detention was necessary to prevent him from pressuring witnesses, destroying evidence and escaping.

Nuon Chea's own safety could also be at risk, if he were released, they said.

Nuon Chea has argued that the judges did not have sufficient grounds to detain him and called himself "a patriot and not a coward" trying to run away.

In December, the judges ruled against a similar appeal by Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who headed the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison and torture center.

The other three defendants are Ieng Sary, the former Khmer Rouge foreign minister, his wife Ieng Thirith, who was the minister for social affairs, and Khieu Samphan, the former Khmer Rouge head of state.

Award-Winning Documentary "To Touch the Soul" Screening at On Location: Memphis International Film Festival

"To Touch the Soul" will screen on Sunday, March 30, 1:10 p.m., at Malco Studio on the Square, 2105 Court Avenue, Memphis, Tenn., as part of the On Location: Memphis International Film Festival.

Memphis, TN, March 20, 2008 --( “To Touch the Soul,” a 70-minute, award-winning documentary about the experiences of artist educator and social activist, Carlos Silveira, and his California State University, Long Beach students who traveled to Cambodia to create art projects with impoverished children impacted by HIV/AIDS, will screen during the On Location: Memphis International Film Fest on Sunday, March 30, 1:10 p.m., at Malco Studio on the Square, 2105 Court Avenue, Memphis, Tenn.

Directed by Ryan Goble, with cinematography by Erin Henning and narration by Cassandra Hepburn, the film captures the emotional context as Carlos and the students bond with the children and discover the true meaning of kindness, selflessness and courage.

“My team and I are thrilled that On Location: Memphis is giving us this opportunity to share our story with the film festival audience and the surrounding community,” said Teresa Hagen, producer and owner of Cut Loose Productions, located in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. “It was a privilege to follow Dr. Silveira and his students as they worked with Cambodian youth who are either infected with HIV/AIDS or have become orphans due to their parents dying from the disease (a population expected to grow to 108,700 over the next five years). Seeing these children, some abandoned by their families and all by society, happy and joyous despite their circumstances was wondrous to behold, and they became the mentors who empowered the Americans to turn outward from themselves and realize a global need for their energy, passion and new ideas.”

“I focused on capturing both the beauty that surrounds Cambodia and the tragedy that hides within,” commented Goble, who is making his feature film directorial debut. “Our goal was to make the viewer feel like they were in Phnom Penh working with these kids. We chose to use the point of view of the Cal State Long Beach students because they had no idea what to expect when they arrived. They were naïve. That’s easy to relate to because the majority of the viewers have probably never worked with Cambodian children infected with H.I.V.”

Featuring original music composed by Martin Herman, “To Touch the Soul,” has so far won seven awards, including Best Documentary as well as Certificates of Distinctive Achievement in directing and debut film at the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival in Des Moines, Iowa, and honorable mentions at the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) International and Byron Bay (Australia) Film Festivals. The film has also won a prestigious Best of Show Award as well as an Honorable Mention (motivational/inspirational category) from the Accolade Competition, which recognizes film, television and video professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change.

For information on purchasing tickets for the screening, visit Contact Teresa Hagen at 310-346-3650 or via e-mail at; or visit to learn more about “To Touch the Soul.”

Sacravatoons : " Yash Ghai's Reports "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon :

Sam Rainsy Party Commune Chief Was Arrested for Intimidation and Detention

Posted on 20 March 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 552

“Important activists of the no-longer-opposition party, the Sam Rainsy Party [SRP], are worried about the arrest of a party member by the authorities over the accusation of intimidation and detention of Ms. Tim Norn [by SRP members] in order to prevent her from defecting to the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP]. The SRP commune chief of Pongro, Baray, Tuot [or Thoun or Suon – according to different sources] Saron, was arrested on the morning of 18 March 2008 by police officers, after Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on 17 March that police must deal with the intimidation cases in Kompong Thom and Takeo against SRP activists who had tried to prevent other SRP members from defecting to the CPP.

“A source from Kompong Thom indicates that the SRP activist, who was arrested on 18 March at 9:30, is Mr. Tuot Saron, the SRP council chief of Baray, who is also the Pongro commune chief. The arrest of Mr. Tuot Saron is a case of intimidation rather than the consequence of a defection to another party.

“Police officers in Kompong Thom said that the authorities are searching for more SRP activists who are said to have been involved in the illegal detention. Those activists include the following three: 1) Mr. Thorn Rithy, the SRP deputy commune chief, the chief of the working group of the SRP in Prasat Balang and Sandan, Kompong Thom, 2) Mr. Maen Vannak, and 3) Mr. Hour Sarath, as well as other accomplices who were involved in the illegal detention and the intimidation by phone. After hearing the plans of the police in Kompong Thom, those who were involved in the matter are on the run to hide themselves from the police.

“The police officers added that the activist who was intimidated and illegally detained is Ms. Tim Norn, who is living in Baray, Kompong Thom.

“The arrest of Mr. Tout Saron, the SRP chief of the council of Baray, who is also the commune chief of Pongro, Kompong Thom, came after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered relevant authorities, police officers, and military police officers on 17 March 2008 to search for those who detained and intimidated citizens by telephone in order to prevent them from defecting to the CPP. Mr. Hun Sen said ‘They have not yet got power, but they have already started to prevent people from defecting to another party. They don’t have power yet, but they do such things already; they are so cruel.’

“Mr. Hun Sen added that as prime minister, he has to think of the safety of all citizens, regardless to which party they belong.

“Mr. Eng Chhay Eang, the secretary-general of the unreasonable opposition San Rainsy Party and a former addictive gambler, told journalists that the arrest of Tout Saron, the commune chief of Pongro, Kompong Thom, came after Prime Minister Hun Sen accused the SRP of intimidation. But Mr. Eng Chhay Eang said the arrest was because the former SRP Kompong Thom lawmaker Mr. Sok Pheng, who had defected to the CPP, could not persuade other SRP members to defect to the CPP with him. Therefore, he reported to Prime Minister Hun Sen that there was a case of intimidation against members who are trying to defect to the CPP.

“The unreasonable opposition party secretary-general Mr. Eng Chhay Eang said, ‘The ruling party uses its power to create such a problem. Who is the real intimidator? That is the ruling party itself.’ Also, Mr. Eng Chhay Eang asked the government to stop doing cowardly acts. He said the game should be played in an open manner, not like this. In Kompong Thom, six people from the SRP were voted to be commune chiefs, but none of them, including more than one hundred commune counselors, followed Sok Pheng who defected to the CPP. This is a shameful behavior of Mr. Sok Pheng, who made up the story to please the prime minister. The prime minister should not believe this story; and no action should be taken. Mr. Eng Chhay Eang continued to tell reporters that the arrest of the Pongro commune chief, of the SRP in Baray, Kompong Thom, is political and it is an intimidation for members who don’t want to defect. The arrest is only to frighten others.

“Civil society organizations are watching the arrest of the commune chief in Baray, Kompong Thom, and they are closely investigating this matter to find out if the arrest is a political intimidation, or whether Mr. Tuot Saron really intimidated other people by telephone.

“According to the latest report, uniformed police and plaincloth police surrounded the SRP head office in Kompong Thom, in order to arrest those who were accused to have been involved in intimidation and illegal detention.

“According to other informal sources, the arrest of the Pongro commune chief Mr. Tuot Saron is also related to other high-ranking officials who are SRP members. Police are investigating to identify those who are involved in intimidation.

“The public understands that the arrest of the SRP commune chief in Baray on the morning of 18 March 2008 can be a tactic of the ruling party, to intimidate those who belong to other parties, so that some of those people understand that they have to defect.”

Chuoy Khmer, Vol. 2, #67, 19.3.2008

Lack of labs fuelling spread of resistant TB in Asia: WHO

MANILA - Inadequate laboratory facilities in Asia and the Pacific are fuelling the spread of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, the World Health Organisation said Wednesday.

Many countries lack basic laboratory capacity to monitor and manage multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, the WHO said in a statement released from its Western Pacific regional headquarters in Manila.

The WHO said less than one percent of multi-drug resistant TB cases were confirmed by a laboratory and officially reported in the region.

In 2006 only 600 of the estimated 150,000 drug resistant TB cases in East Asia and the Pacific were officially notified by a "quality-assured laboratory," the statement said.

Undetected and untreated, a TB patient can infect 10 to 15 people a year "simply by coughing or sneezing" and the disease can be spread by passengers travelling on aircraft, the WHO said.

"The spread of multi-drug resistant-TB is every TB programme's nightmare. One case can take up to two years to treat with drugs that have serious side effects and cost 100 times more than the regular regimen of drugs," it said.

"Outbreaks of multi-drug resistant TB are going unnoticed constantly," said WHO regional director Shigeru Omi.

"We are worried this silent epidemic could set us back years. We could lose the gains made in recent years," he said in the statement.

A recent WHO report based on surveys from 81 countries found multi-drug resistant TB is spreading faster and is more widespread than previously believed.

The WHO said Cambodia and the Philippines have only three laboratories each able to diagnose multi-drug resistant TB.

"Countries need to do more than upgrade laboratories," said Pieter Van Maaren, WHO regional adviser for tuberculosis and leprosy.

"Laboratories have long been neglected, suffering from a shortage of funds, trained personnel and quality assurance systems."

Nearly a half million new cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis occur each year worldwide, or around five percent of the nine million new cases in total, the WHO said last month.

A poisoned paradise: water water everywhere

The floating villages of Chong Khneas are one of the great spectacles of Cambodia. But pollution and climate change pose a deadly threat to their lifestyle, as Rob Sharp reports

Thursday, 20 March 2008
The Independent (UK)

In the middle of South-east Asia's largest freshwater lake – Cambodia's Tonle Sap – lives "Hot Sam". The 55-year-old fisherman crouches in his self-built home, a shack, buoyed on a bed of bamboo and anchored to the lake bed two metres beneath him.

As he bobs above the murky water, rickety motorboats full of tourists chug past taking pictures. Gazing across his ramshackle fiefdom, Hot Sam opens his mouth and flashes a brown smile of rotten teeth.

The grinning gaze takes in the remarkable scene of the floating villages of Chong Khneas, one of the highlights of the country's burgeoning tourist industry and a natural, watery spectacle of abundance. On the surface, Tonle Sap and its natural resources ought to be a rich provider for its residents. And unsurprisingly for a fisherman living in a floating village, water is at the centre of everything in life for Hot Sam and his sizeable family. Their drinking water comes straight from the lake and the fisherman describes their little precautionary ritual before they drink it. The family collects the water, they then let it settle and drink it.

This is the same water in which they freely defecate, the same water in which they wash and the same shrinking body of water upon which they depend for livelihood. The population pressure which he has helped to create – with 11 family members – is making the pollution problem worse and helping to drive down the fish stocks on which they all rely. The spectre of climate change is starting to make itself felt in the low water levels and the precariousness of life is starkly apparent – even the houses' anchor lines are shaken as they get snagged in the propellers of passing boats.

"The weather now changes every year and we have no idea what to expect," bemoans Sam. "The rainy season is much more irregular than it was 15 years ago. Our catch of fish is worse than ever. We have less to sell on once we have fed ourselves, and we have to go further to get the same amount. Everything is getting harder and harder."

The floating villages which were originally set up as a place of refuge from the genocidal madness of the Khmer Rouge find that their fate has come to reflect the less gruesome but nonetheless deadly challenges facing Cambodia now.

Hot Sam is living in the wrong half of the developing world. He is one of the 2.6 billion people on the planet who live without access to basic sanitation. Today is World Water Day, a UN-backed initiative which aims to highlight this. But sometimes the impact of such campaigns can be diluted through their over-use of meaningless jargon. The truth on the ground, or rather on the water, is that in Cambodia – one of the poorest countries in the world – its population of 14 million cannot get access to the basics: latrines, clean water for drinking and washing. If this continues, its high mortality rates, which mean some 83 children out of 1,000 perish before they are five, are destined to persist.

Such a bleak situation may surprise the tourists who pay a handful of dollars to take a tour around the floating villages. The 800-odd households, which accommodate some 6,000 people, can look bewitching to a newcomer. The truth is bleaker still. The eight floating villages were set up in the 1970s by farmers seeking refuge from the Khmer Rouge, who had confiscated their land. Added to the mix are a plethora of illegal Vietnamese immigrants (who make up a third of the population); they live separately and are often blamed for the overfishing problem (throwing dynamite into the lake is a common accusation).

Floating past houses, villagers can be seen listless, dozing in hammocks or on straw mats. Their homes, often used to accommodate as many as a dozen people, are no bigger than your average European kitchen. The walls are cobbled together using anything that lies, or floats to hand – and need to be replaced regularly once the rot sets in. Once spent, they can be stripped off and used for fuel.

When fish stocks dwindle, some opt to sell batteries as a source of income, which their neighbours can use to power their televisions or music equipment. Or they can sell kerosene lamps, still used by the majority of people in the country for night light. Fish are held in place in specially-crafted pens, which are hammered to the shallow bed by men stripped to the waist, seemingly oblivious to the film of murk through which they break every time they dive.
But, despite the villagers' apparent success in adverse conditions, fresh obstacles are never far away. For one, Hot Sam's attitude towards drinking and allowing his children to play in the lake-water seems to be common among many of those living here. The area is woefully under-resourced – there is apparently only one school and one health centre – and there is little evidence of the educational work and resource provisions which organisations such as the British Red Cross are carrying out in more remote parts of the country.

Lach Mean, a 72-year-old who lives in a shack in which some of her grandchildren sell batteries to the surrounding villagers, shouts over the roar of a motorboat which has become entangled in the anchoring rope of a nearby house. She says that three generations of her family have lived here, but admits to defecating directly into the water because there is no access to a latrine. That is the way it's always been done, she says. But this takes its toll. She adds: "Our life is very difficult. Often our skin is itchy and this can become infected for days."

Indeed, while hygiene is being taught by the local school through the simple message of "don't swim in the lake", it is doubtful how much is sinking in.

Anchored to the banks of the Tonle Sap, is the Chong Khneas primary school, which teaches 528 students in a country where almost half the population is under 15. Many of the pupils here know they should not play in the water but do so anyway.

One of their teachers, Ean Sophon, 30, says: "Many of the children suffer from fever and sometimes diarrhoea from playing in the water either during school hours or when they are at home. We see kids with scabies and itching, and they are often off school for up to five days at a time with such problems. We try to teach them the difference between dirty and clean bath water, and the basics of personal hygiene. But it is hard."

The repercussions of swimming in or drinking dirty water is the entrance of disease-causing bacteria into the food; one of the most common afflictions caused is diarrhoea, and if this is not properly treated it can lead to dehydration, and even death. Those working in a health centre on nearby dry land say that of the 200 people they treat every month, around a quarter are suffering from diarrhoea or skin disease; the next most common problems are colds and tonsillitis.

The lack of fishing is also becoming a distinct problem; both Hot Sam and Lach Mean complain that catches are poorer than ever. One of the reasons for this is that the system of traditional flooding of the Tonle Sap by the Mekong river has been upset.

In times past, the melting peaks of the Himalayas and wet season monsoons (which normally end in October) forced the level of the river to rise so quickly that the flow of the river reversed at Phnom Penh, filling up the Tonle Sap by five times its original 2,500sq km size every wet season. After this, its level drops gradually until the wet season begins again the following May.

At the end of this wet period in November, the floodwaters have panned out to the forest surrounding the Tonle Sap, carrying fertile sediment and fish larvae with them, and populating a natural nursery ground. As the forests drained, the fish migrated back to the Mekong, via the lake, and this was when the floating villagers got their catch. But a spate of dam building on the Mekong in China is blamed for diminished flows downriver; and the reduced dispersal of fish. The effects are everywhere.

And then there is climate change. Villagers such as Hot Sam normally move their residences up to a dozen times annually to avoid damage from changing water levels. But in a year when he says the water is lower than it has been at any point in the past 20 years, such regular disturbances are beginning to reach crisis point.

The slow-moving process of migrating from one spot on the lake to another is estimated to consume up to a fifth of residents' income. Grim, considering that three million Cambodians live on under a dollar a day.

Elsewhere in the country – for example in the remote northern province of Oddar Meanchey – the effects of global warming are more profound. Farmers are complaining of their worst rice harvests in decades.

Hot Sam lights up a cigarette and smiles at the world. Even while the future looks muddy, he greets future vagaries with typical Cambodian diffidence. It is common to see such optimism in a country that has seen great hardship in a variety of forms for many, many years.

Media: land is still a risky investment in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Despite the recent property boom, buying land and house can still be a very risky business in Cambodia and there is no easy solution, local media reported Thursday, citing a leading lawmaker and a real estate broker.

"All property buyers should study carefully before deciding to buy houses and land," Sung Bonna, president of Bonna Realty Group, was quoted by the Mekong Times newspaper as saying.

The well-known case of the Long Chhin company attempting to build on protected lakes in Kandal province last year was a good example of risky land development, Sung Bonna said, adding that the land was confiscated from the firm by the government.

"It was the buyer's fault because they did not conduct an in-depth study of that land," he said.

Meanwhile, Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) parliamentarian Son Chhay, who has helped resolve many land disputes, warned that study alone would not help property buyers escape being cheated.

Only the authorities and strict law enforcement can prevent this, he said.

Cambodia has seen a dramatic increase in property prices since mid-2004, which observers say is due to increased investment, political stability and population growth.

Editor: Jiang Yuxia

"Free the Bears Fund" Cambodia opened the Bear Discovery Centre

Chairperson and Founder of "Free The Bears Fund" Mary Hutton plays with a four-month-old black sun bear named Tasma, which was confiscated from traders, at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province, 40 km (25 miles) south of Phnom Penh March 19, 2008. Cambodia opened the Bear Discovery Centre, the first of its kind, specifically to promote issues relating to bear conservation in South East Asia.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Kelly Hobs, a staff from the "Free the Bears Fund", plays with a four-month-old black sun bear named Rove, which confiscated from traders, at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province, 40 km (25 miles) south of Phnom Penh March 19, 2008. Cambodia opened the Bear Discovery Centre, the first of its kind, specifically to promote issues relating to bear conservation in South East Asia.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

A disabled four-year-old black sun bear named Tela plays in its cage at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province, 40 km (25 miles) south of Phnom Penh March 19, 2008. Cambodia opened the Bear Discovery Centre, the first of its kind, specifically to promote issues relating to bear conservation in South East Asia.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

A four-month-old black sun bear named Tasma, which was confiscated from traders, plays at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province, 40 km (25 miles) south of Phnom Penh March 19, 2008. Cambodia opened the Bear Discovery Centre, the first of its kind, specifically to promote issues relating to bear conservation in South East Asia.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

A four-year-old black sun bear named Dewey (R) plays at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province, 40 km (25 miles) south of Phnom Penh March 19, 2008. Cambodia opened the Bear Discovery Centre, the first of its kind, specifically to promote issues relating to bear conservation in South East Asia.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Sun bears are seen at Phnom Tamao Zoo in Takeo province, some 45 kilometers south of Phnom Penh. Wildlife conservationists in Cambodia have opened Asia's first centre to preserve local bear populations, under severe threat from poachers and exotic pet traders.(AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy)

Red Cross Declines Funding Women's Statue

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
19 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 19 (866KB) - Listen (MP3)

The Cambodian Red Cross said Tuesday it would be unable to fund a statue in memory of women and victims of the Khmer Rouge.

The statue, of woman and child, proposed by Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, would commemorate the many women who struggled to rebuild Cambodia following the fall of the Khmer Rouge.

Youk Chhang put forward the idea to the Cambodian Red Cross, led by Bun Rany, wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen, in a proposal on International Women's Day, March 8.

"We can only submit our appreciation and respect to Youk Chhang for his good initiative," Cambodian Red Cross Cabinet Chief Men Neary Sopheak said. "However, the Cambodian Red Cross believes the realization [of the statue] exceeds its current capacity."

Youk Chhang said he did not regret the decision, but urged the government, the Khmer Rouge tribunal courts and all Cambodian citizens to consider common compensation for Khmer Rouge atrocities.

The proposed statue seeks to provide some of that reconciliation.

Twenty meters tall, the statue would stand in Phnom Penh's Hun Sen Park, the bottom three of seven parts buried in the ground, to commemorate 3 million dead or disappeared under the Khmer Rouge, Youk Chhang proposed.

The woman would be holding a child in her arms, to symbolize remembrance of the genocide for later generations. The woman would face west, into the setting sun, her long shadow a reminder of the past, her face aglow at dusk, to look toward the future, Youk Chhang said in his proposal.
He said Wednesday he would continue to seek sponsors for the statue.

UN Envoy Disappoints Government

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
19 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 19 (1.67MB) - Listen (MP3)

The Cambodian government expressed strong regret in the findings of a new report expected to be delivered by a UN human rights envoy in Geneva Wednesday.

UN special rights representative Yash Ghai was scheduled to deliver an address on the human rights situation in Cambodia to the UN Human Rights Council Wednesday.

In his Rights Council report, alrady available online, he sharply criticized the government's commitment to rights and the international communities continued financial contributions.

Sim Bun Thoeun, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told VOA Khmer Wednesday the government expressed "strong regret and disappointment" in Ghai's report.

The government would release a full statement following Ghai's address, he said.

The Rights Council report states, in part, that Cambodia's widespread abuse of human rights continues even as the international community continues to pledge aid to the country.

US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle said the US "welcomes the report."

"Cambodia has stated that it wants to improve its human rights record, and has cooperated with the UN in permitting a Special Representative to visit, and in hosting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights," Daigle wrote in an e-mail. "We applaud the government’s commitment, and encourage it to maximize its use of these tools."

Ghai was not permitted to meet government officials on his last visit, in December, something the US "was disappointed to learn," Daigle wrote.

"We understand that the two parties may not always agree on human rights remedies, but it is essential that they have an open dialogue characterized by mutual respect," he wrote. "Given the tragic events of Cambodia’s recent history, the Cambodian government and people should draw on UN resources to develop a culture of dialogue and national reconciliation, particularly on issues related to rule of law."

U.S. warns travelers after Thailand mosque attack

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BANGKOK, Thailand -- The U.S. State Department urged Americans on Tuesday to postpone travel plans to restive southern Thailand following a weekend attack on a hotel that was popular with foreigners.

The warning coincided with a grenade attack Tuesday at a mosque in southern Yala province, which wounded two caretakers.

The recent spate of violence appears to have shifted to public places where tourists might congregate, the U.S. statement said.

"Although the extremist groups focus primarily on Thai government interests in the southern provinces, some of the recent violence in the area has targeted public places, including areas where tourists may congregate," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

On Saturday evening, a powerful car bomb went off at the C.S. Pattani hotel in Pattani province, killing two people and wounding 14. The hotel has long been used as a base for visiting journalists, foreigners and government officials.

Drive-by shootings and bombings occur almost daily in Thailand's southern Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces, the only Muslim-majority areas of the Buddhist country. The region, which borders Malaysia, has been gripped by a Muslim insurgency that has claimed more than 2,900 lives since 2004.

In the latest attack on Tuesday, attackers hurled a hand grenade at a mosque in Yala city just after several dozen worshippers had cleared out from morning prayers.

Police were searching for at least two men who parked a pickup truck in front of the mosque and then threw a grenade onto the building's roof, which rolled down and exploded near the entrance, said police Col. Pitsawut Sanguansombatsiri, one of the investigating officers.

Authorities blamed the attack on suspected Muslim insurgents, who are routinely accused of carrying out attacks on Muslims as part of a strategy to intensify anger over the bloodshed and push more Muslims to join the insurgency. Muslims and Buddhists who work for the government are viewed as collaborators and are regularly targeted by insurgents.

Dengue Fever: Psychedelic Khmer Rock

By David Dye

Listen Now

World Cafe, March 19, 2008 - The psychedelic pop-rock band Dengue Fever spent its first two albums covering songs by the "King of Khmer music," Sinn Sisamouth. Behind Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol, elements of surf-rock, spy music, and Bollywood soundtracks are all filtered through the backing players' indie-rock sound.

Dengue Fever's third album, Venus on Earth, is its first to feature all-original songs. It features hypnotic psychedelic riffs, jazzy accents, and Nimol's versatile vocals.

Tiny, innovative Cambodian hotel offers big service

By Amy Bradley-Hole
Travel columnist

March 19, 2008

It sometimes feels like there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to the hotel industry. I get daily press releases in my inbox: “We’ve gone green!” “You can buy our bedding online!” “We won an award!” Blah, blah, blah. Frankly, hotels are a little boring these days. But I recently heard about a unique property in Cambodia, and it really piqued my interest. It’s a cool concept that I hope spreads.

The One Hotel, in Siem Reap’s Old Market area in Angkor, Cambodia, is all about a singular guest experience. The One has only one room. If you’re the guest at this hotel, you’re the big cheese. The staff members have one role — taking care of you. And this one-room hotel is luxurious. Guests sleep on a king-size bed dressed with Frette linens, stargaze on a rooftop terrace from their own personal Jacuzzi, watch a flat-screen LCD TV, and enjoy their own iPod, iBook and personal mobile phone.

So we’ve got personalized and attentive service, stunning accommodations and a great location. This place has got to be expensive, like those private villas that cost tens of thousands of dollars for a week, right? Not at all. At around $250 a night, The One has relatively low rates. As owner Martin Dishman explains, it’s “affordable exclusivity.”

Dishman moved to Cambodia with the intention of opening his own hotel. First, he managed an existing property and then opened a bar across the street from a friend’s photography gallery.
When the building next to the gallery became available, Dishman knew it was the perfect place to house his dream hotel. He had planned on it having a few rooms, but the building was small. Even if Dishman offered only two rooms, they’d be cramped and plain, and they would command only about $50 a night.

“Then the idea hit me,” Dishman says. “One room! Make it amazing, five-star, every amenity and more and — best of all — price it at level that is in line with the deluxe rooms at competing five-star hotels. An exclusive place, with charm and cachet, offering an affordable rate.” And thus The One was born.

Ever the efficient hotel manager, I thought to myself, “How does he staff the place?”
I mean, if you go through a slow period and don’t have any bookings, do you have to lay everyone off? What does the chef do when the one guest wants to eat out? What does the masseuse do if the guest hates back rubs? At a large property, there’s always a guest who needs you or needs some sort of busywork to be done. So do the employees get paid to sit around and do nothing?

Not really. Remember, Dishman’s got that bar across the street. The employees at Linga Bar are responsible for providing food and beverage service at The One. He’s also recently opened a small sister hotel, the Hotel Be Angkor, in the same area, which gives him some more staff flexibility. And specialty staff, like drivers and spa service providers, is contracted on an as-needed basis.

Dishman is a pretty hands-on boss. He usually greets each guest at check-in, and he makes himself personally available to guests during the stay — he even gives guests his personal mobile phone number. How many hotel managers do you know that do that? But Dishman doesn’t have to do too much, as he’s trained his staff of 15 well and trusts them to meet his high standards. He’s lucky that there’s a local hospitality school, the Shinta Mani Institute of Hospitality, whose trainees he can hire, but he looks for anyone with English skills and a desire to work hard and learn.

Ever the skeptic, I still had lots of questions for Dishman. Like, what happens if you screw up and overbook? He agreed that it’s “impossible to overbook.” The property’s only been overbooked on one night, and Dishman graciously took care of the situation.

But here’s a sure sign that Dishman is crazy: The One doesn’t require a minimum stay, or a credit-card guarantee or even a deposit. You read that right. Because the hotel is not overwhelmed with bookings, staff has the time to give guests personal attention before their arrival. The One employees are constantly confirming and reconfirming their guests’ travel details, so there are seldom any unexpected no-shows or people trying to extend their stays. In fact, The One has had only one no-show since it opened in April 2006.

The One is also a bit of a hidden gem. Dishman doesn’t really advertise the property, though he does spread the word about his hotel through some public relations efforts. Most reservations come from Internet booking engines and travel agents. But word-of-mouth on the property must be great, because The One already has a 60 percent occupancy rate for this year.
Is one The One enough? Not if Dishman has his way. He’s eager to test his concept in other areas, but it’s an expensive proposition.

“Maybe some investors will come along to back us,” Dishman says. “But I am not interested in giving up any control, and I know exactly what I am doing, so I will look at silent investors, but not partnerships. Otherwise, I will grow the business at my own pace.”

I don’t blame him one bit. I think there’s a niche market for a hotel that makes each and every guest feel like, well, the only guest, and I don’t think he should tinker too much with his concept.

If you happen to be on your way to Angkor, check out The One. The room rate is $250 per night, plus tax, for single or double occupancy. The One offers some cool packages, including my favorite, the Good Karma package, which gives guests a chance to work with and donate to local charities. Taking care of the locals is very important to Dishman, and for that, I admire him very much. If you think The One is cool, but you’re traveling with more than two people, don’t despair. Remember, Dishman also runs the Hotel Be, which can easily handle the overflow for a larger party.

US State Department Examines Cambodian Rights Record

Source US State Department
Please use the link below to access the full report:
US State Department Human Rights Report for Cambodia (2007)

Looking back over the past year the US State Department has found repeated instances of intimidation and violence against Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks and citizens. The report goes on to show the lack of rights in both Cambodia and Vietnam, with religious rights bearing the brunt of abuses reported.

Below is an excerpt from the US State Department Human Rights Report for Cambodia in 2007:

Political activists continued to be the victims of killings. On February 27 [2007], Eang Sok Thoeurn, a Khmer Kampuchea Krom monk, was found dead […] in the Tronum Chhroeung Monastery in Kandal Province. The deceased monk was discovered the morning after he participated in a demonstration in front of the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh for the rights of Khmer Kampuchea Krom persons living in Vietnam. Police quickly declared the death a suicide and disposed of the body without further investigation. NGOs and Khmer Kampuchea Krom groups suspected the killing was politically motivated.

On June 30 [2007], Khmer Kampuchea Krom monk Tim Sakhorn, head of a pagoda in the Kirivong District of Takeo Province for more than 10 years, disappeared. Previously, on orders of the country's top Buddhist leader, Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong, monks from Phnom Penh had defrocked Tim Sakhorn, after which unidentified persons believed to be attached to the MOI [Ministry of Interior] pushed him into a vehicle and drove away. The defrocking order stated Tim Sakhorn "broke the solidarity" between Cambodia and Vietnam by using pagodas to spread propaganda that affects the dignity of Buddhism. The monk was known locally for providing food and shelter to Khmer Kampuchea Krom coming from Vietnam. The MOI stated that Tim Sakhorn volunteered to go to Vietnam after he was defrocked, and ministry officials produced a document stating this intent. While signed by Tim Sakhorn, the handwritten document appeared not to be in his writing. On August 2 [2007], Tim Sakhorn reappeared in court custody in Vietnam, held on charges of destroying political solidarity. In September [2007] the Information Ministry stated that the Cambodian consulate in Ho Chi Minh City was investigating Tim Sakhorn's condition in detention. On November 8 [2007], a Vietnamese newspaper reported that a court in Vietnam convicted Tim Sakhorn of undermining solidarity between Cambodia and Vietnam and sentenced him to one year in prison.

On February 27 [2007], police and military police dispersed 60 Khmer Kampuchea Krom Buddhist monks demonstrating at the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh during a state visit by the Vietnamese president. Demonstrators assembled to support Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks in Vietnam who had been defrocked and arrested, urging their release and reinstatement as monks. The next morning one monk protester was found dead […] On March 16, police and local authorities in Kandal Province prevented the deceased monk's Khmer Kampuchea Krom community members and monks from holding his funeral.

On April 20 [2007], police and municipal authorities dispersed 80 Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks assembled at the Vietnamese embassy trying to deliver a petition in protest of alleged Vietnamese government rights abuses of Khmer Kampuchea Krom living in Vietnam. The protesters decided to go to another embassy to present the petition. On the way a group of unidentified, non-Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks and laypersons aggressively intercepted the demonstrators and attempted to disperse them. In the ensuing scuffle, one of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks was injured. Authorities did not intervene in the confrontation and did not conduct an investigation. On December 17 [2007], 40 monks sought again to deliver a petition to Vietnamese embassy officials for the release of Tim Sakhorn and other Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks imprisoned in Vietnam, and also for the return of land that they claimed the Vietnamese government seized from Khmer Kampuchea Krom persons in southern Vietnam. Police attempted to disperse the crowd, but the monks refused to disband, and violence broke out […] A local NGO reported that six monks were injured; police stated that some of the police sustained minor injuries.

Cambodia's King Sihamoni to visit Brunei
Wed, 19 Mar 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni is to visit Brunei, a fellow member of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, next week, state media reported Wednesday. He was scheduled to arrive in Brunei for the three-day official visit at the invitation of the Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on Monday, broadcaster TVK reported quoting the ministry of foreign affairs.

Sihamoni and the sultan met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in April.

Oil-rich Brunei has been advising Cambodia on the management of offshore petroleum reserves which the country expects to begin tapping within two to three years.

CADCOMMS Selects Redknee in Cambodia
Wed, 19 Mar 2008
Author : Redknee Solutions Inc.

Redknee's Turnkey Converged Billing Platform Enables CADCOMMS to Differentiate Their Offering With Flexible and Synchronized Billing and Customer Care Services

TORONTO, March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Redknee Solutions Inc. ("Redknee") (AIM: RKN), a leading provider of innovative infrastructure software that monetizes and personalizes services and content for mobile operators, today announced that it has been selected by Cambodia Advance Communications ("CADCOMMS") to provide Redknee's Turnkey Converged Billing Solution. This multi-million dollar deal increases Redknee's presence in the South East Asia market.

As a new entrant in the highly competitive and emerging growth market in Cambodia, CADCOMMS saw that its opportunity to carve out a majority share of the market depended on its ability to differentiate itself with a flexible, personalized billing solution. CADCOMMS has selected Redknee's Turnkey Converged Billing Solution to enable unique customer care operations with subscriber-centric, real-time rating, segmentation and promotion services for both prepaid and postpaid subscribers. The highly-flexible platform also helps the operator integrate new services and accelerate their time-to-market. The system provides self-care features that allow all subscribers to query and modify their attributes, reducing call center costs.

"As we take our first steps into this market, we have a unique opportunity to clearly differentiate ourselves from existing telcos and to deliver transparent pricing models that provide more flexibility for our subscribers," said Don Maclean, chief information officer at CADCOMMS. "After a thorough evaluation, we determined that the Redknee Turnkey Converged Billing platform provides the exceptional flexibility and scalability we require. The simple, open architecture of their solution promises ease of integration, swift deployment and scalability. Additionally, Redknee has established a strong Asian development and support infrastructure, and continuously demonstrates its commitment to working with CADCOMMS as a strategic, long-term partner."

Delivering a functionally-rich platform that extends beyond basic rating/charging/billing models, the Redknee Turnkey Converged Billing Solution for voice, data and messaging integrates easily with existing core network elements and offers out-of-the-box support for 3G+ services. The highly-scalable solution grows along with the subscriber base, allowing operators to meet demands for new service offerings and to stay ahead of increasing competition.

"In the fiercely competitive environment of high-growth emerging mobile markets, the realization of subscriber and service revenue growth hinges on the operators' capability to offer highly-personalized services," said Lucas Skoczkowski, chief executive officer of Redknee. "CADCOMMS has taken a significant step toward establishing itself as a markedly-differentiated leader, uniquely positioned to realize increasing revenues and subscriber retention enabled by Redknee's market leading solutions."


Cambodia Advance Communication Co Ltd or "CADCOMMS" aims to be one of the leading telecommunication services providers in Cambodia. The company launched its services in March 2008. CADCOMMS operates a 3.5G HSPA mobile telephony service using the 'qb' brand under a license granted by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication of Cambodia (MPTC).

About Redknee:

Redknee is a leading global provider of innovative communication software products, solutions and services. Redknee's award-winning solutions enable operators to monetize the lifetime value of each subscriber transaction while personalizing the subscriber experience to meet mainstream, niche and individual market segment requirements. Redknee's revenue generating solutions provide advanced converged billing, rating, charging and policy for voice, messaging and new generation data services to over 60 network operators in over 50 countries. Established in 1999, Redknee Solutions Inc. (AIM : RKN) is the parent of the wholly-owned operating subsidiary Redknee Inc. and its various subsidiaries. References to Redknee refer to the combined operations of those entities. For more information, please visit

Redknee Solutions Inc.