Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Land prices plummet amid Preah Vihear temple dispute

VANDY RATTANA; A mechanic fixes a truck outside Sa Em village, located 23km from Preah Vihear.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by nguon sovan and thet sambath
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Property speculators move in for the kill as scared locals rush to sell their land for fear that military standoff could turn violent

Land values along the border near Preah Vihear have plummeted amid fears that a standoff over disputed territory near the border could erupt in violence, opening the way for speculators to snap up properties at rock-bottom prices, realtors say.

"The dispute has put land prices in the province at a standstill or even made them cheaper, despite the fact Preah Vihear was made a World Heritage site," said Sung Bonna, president and CEO of the Bonna Realty Group. "Some realtors or speculators are rushing to buy land in the province because they think that this is a good opportunity for them," he added.

"If it were not for the dispute...there could have been a land shortage."

Hundreds of Cambodian and Thai soldiers are still deployed around the temple as their governments remain deadlocked over 4.8 square kilometres of land around the 11th-century ruins.

Sung Bonna said that some land owners were flogging their land at discount prices because they are worried about war, "but land speculators are happy to take on risk".

Others, like Yin Koy, a resident of Sa Em village near the temple, are stuck with heavily devalued land, despite hopes that they could sell for a hefty profit after Preah Vihear was listed July 7 as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

"When Preah Vihear was announced as a World Heritage site I was very happy because I hoped that my land prices would increase."

He added that he had wanted to sell the two properties for a total price of US$120,000.

"I am very disappointed as I can't sell my land since there is tension between the armed forces at the temple," he told the Post.

"I am trying to sell it but buyers have only offered me low prices."

Another Sa Em villager, Pol Sovannary, said her land's value has dropped by $3,000 since the temple crisis began July 15.

"Before the tensions at the temple, people offered me $20,000 but I refused their offer because I thought it still too cheap," Pol Sovannary said.

"I know its price would double in the future," she said.

Land prior to the temple's World Heritage listing went for as little as $.50 a square metre in forested areas near the border and $30-$80 a square metre in provincial towns, Sung Bonna said.

"Land prices in Preah Vihear could more than double if the dispute calms down because the province could become the second [biggest] cultural tourism destination after Siem Reap province," he said.

Past Post: CPP may go solo in next government

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY; Vol. 7, No. 17August 7 - 20 1998

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Post Staff
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

THE make-up of Cambodia's next government is still conjecture but there's an outside chance the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) could wield sole executive power.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith confirmed that his party wants to break the present stalemate between the CPP and the defeated Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) opposition, saying "we cannot allow the current situation to continue".

One of Funcinpec's options in defeat includes conceding a constitutional change that would allow the CPP to rule by simple majority and sit in opposition.

That option is being discussed within Funcinpec's steering committee, which will eventually decide whether to oppose the CPP or negotiate a partnership.

Khieu Kanharith's comments confirm that the CPP is also exploring that same - and for them tasty - scenario. "Don't forget that the current National Assembly still has the power to change any law," he said.

Sole rule would put the CPP in a massively empowering position, and incidentally allow it some cheap points by blaming Funcinpec for not entering into Hun Sen's magnanimous vision of ‘reconciliation.

'If the opposition is to be believed, however, the CPP is moving to get the 82 seats it needs to govern the 122-seat parliament without having to touch the Constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority to form a government. The CPP, according to sources within both opposition camps, is courting as many as 16 Assembly members-elect to cede from Funcinpec and the SRP. They allege that a figure of $75,000 has been mentioned as an enticement to each MP to defect.

Under the National Election Committee's (NEC) seat-allocation formula, the preliminary results announced August 5 would see the CPP take 64 seats, Funcinpec 43 and the SRP 15. That puts the CPP 18 seats short of sole parliamentary control. Funcinpec and the SRP are shying away from negotiating a coalition.

However, analysts doubt whether the NEC has the patience or the commitment to seriously investigate opposition allegations of fraud, any more than the international community has of changing its judgement that the election was free and fair.

"They laughed at us," said a member of Funcinpec's steering committee about the international reaction to claims of fraud.

NRP reverses rejection of poll results

HENG CHIVOAN; Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, holding up a 10-18 voter form, maintains that massive fraud gave the CPP an unfair advantage in last month’s polls.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Meas Sokchea
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

THE Norodom Ranariddh Party announced Tuesday that it would endorse the results of last month's general election, abandoning fellow opposition parties in their fight against what they say were rigged polls that gave an advantage to the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

NRP deputy secretary general Suth Dina said the party had made its abrupt turnaround following a generally positive assessment of the polls by international observers.

"The NRP regards the elections accordance with the democratic process of Cambodia," the party said in a statement. "In order to keep its sovereignty, the NRP would like to declare that it will not make an alliance with the Sam Rainsy Party under any circumstances."

Party spokesman Muth Chantha could not be reached for comment. But others said they thought the move was made to try and facilitate party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh's return to Cambodia.

Ranariddh left the country last year under a cloud of legal problems, including a fraud conviction over his illegal sale of the headquarters of his former party, Funcinpec, and a pending prosecution for adultery.

"The NRP changed its stance from rejecting to supporting the election results with the aim of helping [Ranariddh] come back to Cambodia," said Dr Heang Rithy, president of the Cambodian National Research Organisation, adding that the July 27 polls were in fact not fair because thousands of people's names were missing from voter lists.

The NRP cross-over leaves only the Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party to contest the results.

In a joint press conference Tuesday, opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Ou Chanrath, secretary general of the HRP, said they were not surprised by the prince's decision to embrace the election results, which are expected to give his party only two National Assembly seats.

"We knew that Norodom Ranariddh was still the same...his stance has never been firm," said Ou Chanrath. "Many times he has merged [with other parties] and then withdrawn. I believe there is something behind this for his benefit, but not the benefit of the people."

The CPP is expected to win 90 of the Assembly's 123 seats, with the SRP coming in second with 26 seats.

Consumer prices rising by 30pc or more: experts

AFP; A woman sifts rice at a market in Phnom Penh. The soaring price of rice is forcing local consumers to spend more.

The Phnom Penh Post

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Officials are keeping mum about the real inflation rate, but market surveys show rice prices have doubled and fuel, other costs are biting into earnings

INFLATION is running at a staggering 30 percent, experts say, with rice prices surging more than 100 percent since May 2007.

Prices for medium-grade rice (phkar khney) hit 3,100 riel per kilo in July, up from 1,700 at the same time last year, according to data provided by the Economic Institute of Cambodia (EIC), with other staple goods increasing at double-digit rates.

Inflation has been especially harmful to wage earners in the garment industry, which employs more than 300,000 workers.

Prices have generally risen faster for goods priced in riel than for goods priced in dollars.

Petrol prices were up 42.5 percent; fish 48 percent; beef 41 percent; pork 40.6 percent and chicken 57 percent in July 2008 compared to the same time last year, according to the EIC data.

"The price increases have been driven by high demand from India and China [for Cambodian products], and high fuel costs," said EIC president Chan Sophal.

High international demand for rice has inflated rice prices as Vietnam, Thailand and India struggle to fill international orders, he said.

Cambodia exported about two million tonnes of rice last year, worth about US$400 million. The Cambodian government slapped a ban on rice exports back on March 26. When the ban was revoked on May 26, prices took off before falling at harvest time.

"[Prices] have dropped slightly because of the high harvest, but they may rise again in early November. In that season, farmers start to stockpile because they know prices will rise," said Yang Saingkoma, president of CEDAC.

The Cambodian government has refused to release inflation statistics since February 2008, leading to accusations of political interference.

" Even vietnam has released its inflation rate and it’s a communist country. "

"Maybe they didn't want to reveal the data because of the national election," said Chan Sophal. "The government should not hide the inflation rate because the country will lack a clear basis for research.... Even Vietnam has released its inflation rate, and it's a communist country." Chan Sophal warned that failing to disclose inflation figures would only make investors wary.

"Investors, especially foreigners, will not understand our economy. Even banks need to know [the inflation rate] for setting interest rates," said Kang Chandararot, from the Cambodia Institute of Development Study. He urged the government to take action by subsidising gasoline and increasing the minimum wage for garment workers.

But Hang Chuon Naron, secretary general of the Ministry of Economics and Finance, said that the inflation estimates being circulated by local economists are too high.

"Farmers used to get only a litre of gasoline by selling 10kg of rice, but now it only costs 3kg. The price of rice has gone up faster than gasoline," Naron said.

He also said that the government was not to blame for the rising prices and that rising commodity prices were a global phenomenon.

He forecast lower rice prices over the next two harvests as supplies rise.

The government has also reduced liquidity in an effort to slow inflation by raising bank capital reserve requirements from eight to 16 percent in July, noted Chan Sophal.

Escaping an exploitative marriage

TRACEY SHELTON; A Phnom Penh brothel’s red light burns ‘come hither’ following passage of the new anti-trafficking law in February.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Sovan Nguon
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Cambodian woman tells tale of woe after brokered union

LIKE about 5,000 other young Cambodian women, Lay Maly was promised a good job in Taiwan.

That lie, the first of many, was the beginning of a four-year ordeal that included a forced marriage and cruel exploitation by a broker who placed her in a menial position in one of the island-state's leading hospitals.

But - according to the Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM), a regional network of NGOs focusing on migration issues - Lay Maly is luckier than most. She made it home.

Cambodia, with its support for the One China policy, has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, making it especially difficult for Cambodian trafficking victims to return. For its part, the Cambodian government attempted to address the problem by banning marriages between Cambodians and foreigners earlier this year.

That move followed a report by the International Organisation for Migration on the boom in brokered, exploitative unions, particularly with South Korean men. South Korea issued 1,759 marriage visas in 2007, up from just 74 in 2004.

Lay Maly, 28, returned to Cambodia on June 19 after being released from detention in Taiwan with the aid of NGOs there working with CARAM.

"I have sworn to myself that I will do all I can to dissuade any of my siblings or relatives from wanting to work overseas," she recently told the Post. "Even if you are poor or starving, living with your family and friends is much better than being alone in a foreign country."

After Lay Maly lost her job at a garment factory in 2004, she met a broker who promised her work in a Taiwanese glass factory, and $10,000 for a three-year contract.


The broker took her to Vietnam where she was forced into marriage with a Taiwanese man, enabling her to live and work in Taiwan. "There was nothing I could do to stop it," Lay Maly said, adding that her options were to marry, remunerate her broker or be killed.

Hard and disgusting work

Once in Taiwan, her husband handed her over to a Taiwanese woman who arranged for her to work at a big hospital.

"It was the National Taiwan University Hospital and I had to care for seriously ill patients," she said. "I was on-call around the clock and my duties included washing invalids who had soiled themselves, as well as feeding and dressing them. I had no holidays, and I slept in the ward. I cried almost every day because it was hard and disgusting work."

Lay Maly said she had begged the Taiwanese woman to find her work as a maid but she had refused, saying the hospital work was well paid.

"She paid me US$1,000 for the first year, $2,000 for the second year, and $3,000 for the third year," Lay Maly said, adding that after the three-year contract expired the Taiwanese woman told her to extend her visa.

"I wanted to return home but she refused to return my passport. She threw me out of her house in the middle of the night," she said.

Then she was arrested by Taiwanese immigration police for being party to a false marriage before CARAM and its partners rescued her.

CARAM's Cambodia director Ya Navuth recently said that in the first six months of 2008, his network has managed to return four women to Cambodia and four to Vietnam. "We can rescue only a few trafficked women from Taiwan because there are no diplomatic ties with Cambodia," Ya Navuth said. "The only way we can rescue them from Taiwan is with the help of NGOs."

Cambodia’s croc hides still not up to export standards

Heng Chivoan; Good enough for Singapore? Not under these conditions. A potential hide settles for Cambodian mud at a crocodile farm in Kandal province’s Takhmau district.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Sovan Seng
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Unless farmers embrace new techniques, crowding and filth will limit profits to the sale of eggs and livestock: official

Poor sanitation and overcrowding in crocodile farms are hurting a potentially lucrative trade, with high-end buyers shunning Cambodian skins, a local official said.

"[Cambodian] farmers usually raise crocodiles like poultry - in crowded, small pools. They don't take care of them, so skins are damaged when they bite each other," says Nao Thuok, the director general of the Fisheries Administration.

The industry could earn 20 times more than the US$1 million it brings in now if it improves farming conditions, Nao Thuok says.

Cambodia has about 800 licensed croc farms with about 7,000 breeding females and 4,000 breeding males in Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom.

Instead of selling high-end skins, Cambodian farmers sell roughly 100,000 baby crocodiles per year to Thailand, Vietnam and China, at about $10 a head, he said.

Farmers are missing out on more profitable sales to Singapore, which demands top-quality skins free of cuts and nicks.

"Number one quality skins are purchased internationally for $4.50 a centimetre, and a crocodile can grow to 50cm wide, so one crocodile can earn about $225. They also get about 10kg of meat to sell for extra revenue," Nao Thuok said, adding that Cambodia's croc skins are rated only number three or number four.

"If farmers sell a live croc, they get only about $100 to $150 for an adult [three-year-old]."

The government hopes that better training will help Cambodia to become a top-tier supplier.

Last year, the Fisheries Administration, with funding from Singaporean companies, began educating farmers in Siem Reap in techniques to prevent skins from being damaged.

" They are difficult to care for and we don’t have a clear target market. "

Internationally recognised standards established by Singaporean companies require farmers to raise crocodiles in smoothly paved, compartmentalised pools. They must also remove the crocodiles from the pool daily to change the water, and the pool itself must be sprayed to protect the crocs from insects that eat and damage the skins.

A long way to go

Khoeu Chhin, a crocodile farmer in Siem Reap town, agrees with others the industry has a long way to go before it is up to Singaporean standards.

Nao Thuok said, "Singapore is very picky about the quality of crocodile skins.

Even if there is a very small cut or damage on the skin, Singaporians won't buy it. Our croc skins are too low quality for Singapore. But we hope to export a few skins to Singapore at the end of this year."

"To get the best quality takes a lot of investment."

Kaing Sarin, the owner of a two-hectare crocodile farm in Kandal Stung district, Kandal province, told the Post on August 5 that raising crocodiles for skins is too much trouble.

"I am not interested in raising crocodiles for skins because they require a lot of capital, they are difficult to care for and we don't have a clear target market.

"My farm has 4,000 crocs including 2,000 females that deliver some 7,000 babies a year," he said. "I sell the babies to China, Vietnam and Thailand via a middleman-a baby costs about $12."

Nao Thuok said all of the croc farmers he deals with are legitimate, paying export taxes and possessing proper permits.

But environmentalists have raised concerns that farms often provide cover to illegal wildlife traders who purchase endangered Siamese crocodiles poached from Cambodia.

Once a croc is inside the farm, there is no determining its true provenance.

Cambodia rejects Thai ownership claim over temples

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Sambath Teth
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Crossed lines
Ta Moan Thom temple and its smaller counterpart, Ta Moan Touch, are ruins from the 13th-century located in Oddar Meanchey province. Both Cambodia and Thailand claim the temples, which are located in a disputed zone along the border.

Flare-up over Ta Moan Thom and Ta Moan Touch ruins could complicate upcoming crisis talks over military standoff at Preah Vihear

CAMBODIA'S foreign ministry Tuesday rejected claims that any other country owned the Ta Moan Thom and Ta Moan Touch temples, two sets of ruins on the border with Thailand that have become the scene of another military standoff following the territorial dispute over land at Preah Vihear.

In a statement, the ministry outlined Cambodia's legal claim to the temples in Oddar Meanchey province, citing border demarcation documents from 1908 defining the frontier between Cambodia and Thailand.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs...therefore rejects any claim to the contrary to the legal rights of Cambodia," the ministry said.

Thai soldiers have occupied Ta Moan Touch on and off since 2001, but only recently deployed to Ta Moan Thom.

After a meeting last week between Thai and Cambodian officials, Thai soldiers withdrew from the temple, only to return over the weekend and seal the ruins off from Cambodia, reinforcing a small fence at the temple with wood and metal bars, according to military commanders in the area.

" It is useless for the Thai side to make a new border. "

"Fifty of our soldiers were sent to the temple but they are not allowed to cross the gate," said Ho Bunthy, deputy commander of Border Military Unit 402.

"Our soldiers and the Thai soldiers are standing one metre from each other across the barbed wire," he told the Post.

The flare-up over the border threatens to complicate crisis talks between Cambodian and Thai foreign ministers on August 18 over the monthlong standoff at Preah Vihear.

"We will raise the issue of Preah Vihear and these two temples, along with border demarcation, at the foreign ministers's meeting next week," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Sin Bunthoeun.

"We want to confirm that both Ta Moan Thom and Ta Moan Touch are in Cambodian territory....They [the Thais] claim they belong to them based on a map they drew themselves."

Var Kimhong, chairman of the Joint Border Committee, alleged that Thai soldiers at Ta Moan Thom were placing fake border markers at the site to gain land illegally.

"It is useless for the Thai side to make a new border demarcation pole," he said. "They are wasting cement trying to make fake border poles because everything along the border is documented."

Khmer Rouge survivors say justice nears in Cambodia

Agence France-Presse

PHNOM PENH - Survivors of the Khmer Rouge's notorious Tuol Sleng prison on Wednesday hailed the indictment of their former chief tormentor, Duch, saying justice was one step closer for victims of the regime.

Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, became the first suspect indicted by the UN-backed genocide tribunal on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for allegedly overseeing the torture and extermination of more than 12,000 men, women and children when he headed Tuol Sleng.

Investigations are still underway into four other former Khmer Rouge leaders detained by the court for crimes committed by the bloody 1975-1979 communist regime, under whose rule up to two million people died.

"We are happy to see this outcome. Justice is getting closer for us," said artist Vann Nath, one of 14 survivors of Tuol Sleng. "I have been waiting for justice for 30 years. This time, I have high hopes for justice."

Fellow survivor Chum Mey, a mechanic who like other Tuol Sleng survivors was spared only because he had a skill that was useful to his captors, echoed Vann Nath's sentiments, saying: "Justice is nearer."

"I am very pleased with the indictment. I am happy. I have been waiting for justice for so long," he told AFP.

Chum Mey, however, warned that the cash-strapped court may not be able to try all of the ageing Khmer Rouge leaders, who are suffering from poor health.

"I am very concerned... I am afraid that the court will not be able to bring all five leaders to justice because they are very old."

Duch's trial is expected to open in late September or early October and could last up to four months, tribunal officials have said.

Duch, a former mathematics teacher, has been in prison since 1999 for his role at Tuol Sleng.

He was transferred to the custody of the UN-backed court in July last year, becoming the first top Khmer Rouge cadre to be detained by the tribunal.

The indictment order, posted on the tribunal website, said more than 12,380 people were executed at Tuol Sleng -- also known as S21 -- most after suffering inhuman detention conditions and prolonged mental and physical torture.

Thousands of inmates were also taken from the centre for execution at Choeng Ek, now known as the Killing Fields.

Established in 2006 after nearly a decade of negotiations between Cambodia and the UN, the long-stalled tribunal seeks to prosecute crimes committed 30 years ago by senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

The Ranariddh Syndrome

Look at this picture and thinking twice, did the person in this picture is a human or a dog?

Opinion by Khmerization
13th August, 2008

“Prince Ranariddh’s behaviours can only be equated with the behaviours of a stray dog, running around with no sense of direction. His repeated betrayals of Mr. Sam Rainsy can only be termed “The Ranariddh Syndrome” - a term that should be coined permanently to refer to those who are obsessed with betraying his/her friends only to be repeatedly cheated, betrayed, used, abused and trashed by another friend. And Prince Ranariddh fits this description perfectly well.”

I was in the process of writing an editorial on how wonderful it was to hear the news of a possible merger between the three main opposition parties, including the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP), when the news came that Prince Ranariddh, President of the NRP, had taken an about face U-turn by declaring a withdrawal from the Sam Rainsy-led opposition coalition to join the Cambodian People’s Party-led coalition government. And so, I have to abandon that article, re-write it, change it and modify it significantly.

I wasn’t surprised of Prince Ranariddh’s betrayal because this is not the first time, and probably not the last time, that he had behaved in this erratic and mercurial manner. But I was shocked, shocked because I believe that, after being used, abused and trashed repeatedly in the past by Mr. Hun Sen, he had learned his lessons. Prince Ranariddh’s behaviours prove correctly the old saying that “a leopard never changes its spots”.

I dare to predict that, like in the past, Prince Ranariddh has been duped by Mr. Hun Sen to be used as a political tool and then abused and trashed like rubbish. Mr. Hun Sen, well known as a master of tactician and a master of deception, is interested only in achieving his political supremacy and his ultimate immortal iron fist rule, through a carefully planned strategy and deception. And as I said, Prince Ranariddh, like many times before, has been duped and deceived one more time.

The coalition of the disunited, as I would like to call the Sam Rainsy-led opposition, is being significantly weakened by these desertions. One by one, his coalition partners had chosen to betray him and their supporters by joining Mr. Hun Sen’s coalition of evils. First the Funcinpec Party, who had briefly joined the oppositions in rejecting the election results. Two days later it withdrew from the oppositions and declared that it will maintain its long term alliance with the Cambodian People’s Party. Now, Prince Ranariddh had chosen personal interests over the interests of Cambodia by deciding to join Mr. Hun Sen’s coalition of evils and abandoning Mr. Sam Rainsy for the fourth times. Next, it could be Mr. Kem Sokha of the Human Right Party. Mr. Kem Sokha’s commitment to the Sam Rainsy-led opposition coalition is not very re-assuring. Since the election on 27th July, he had only appeared briefly in the public. Since then he had taken a back seat and retreated into the political wilderness, preferring to send his lieutenants to appear in public on his behalf.

Mr. Sam Rainsy is a man of principle and has never betrayed his supporters and his principle. But with people around him are enticed and lured by a possible plum job with the Hun Sen government, he would have an uphill battle to rally them to his cause, and that is denying the Hun Sen government its legitimacy by boycotting the swearing in ceremony. Mr. Hun Sen will employ all strategies and tactics, including using money, coercions and even threats to break up the Sam Rainsy-led coalition and he will employ all tactics and strategy to thwart Rainsy’s political advancement. I hope that his upcoming trip to protest the election results to the UN and to the international community will be a fruitful trip and somehow succeeding in convincing them to re-appraise the election results. But, frankly, with the international election observers declaring the election results acceptable, I doubt that Mr. Sam Rainsy is able to convince them otherwise.

Prince Ranariddh and Mr. Sam Rainsy are not strange political bedfellows. They have had an on-again off-again political love affairs for more than 15 years. But they are strange political bedfellows in the sense that they are politically and ideologically incompatible. One is a non-principled royal lame duck politician and the other is a patrician republican politician with strong conviction and a sense of political directions. And so, their political union is poised to fail from the start.

Prince Ranariddh’s behaviours can only be equated with the behaviours of a stray dog, running around with no sense of direction. His repeated betrayals of Mr. Sam Rainsy can only be termed “The Ranariddh Syndrome” - a term that should be coined permanently to refer to those who are obsessed with betraying his/her friends only to be repeatedly cheated, betrayed, used, abused and trashed by another friend. And Prince Ranariddh fits this description perfectly well. Not only that he suffers from the Ranariddh Syndrome but he is certainly fit to be called the Downs Syndrome Ranariddh.

Sacravatoons : " Adieu FUNCINPEC "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Sacravatoons :" Ranariddh Syndrome "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Border talk continues in Surin

( - Second army commander Lt-Gen Sujit Sitthiprapa on Wednesday attended a bilateral meeting with Deputy Defence Minister Gen Neang Paht over disputes on Preah Vihear and Ta Moan Thom temples situated on Thai-Cambodian border.

The meeting was held at Thong Tarin hotel in the municipality of Surin province.

This is the 11th Joint Boundary Commission on the border dispute.

Reporters were not allowed to attend the meeting, but a press conference on progress made during the meeting was expected to be held at 3pm.

Preah Vihear has been claimed by both sides for decades, but was awarded to Cambodia by the International Court of Justice in 1962, a ruling that has rankled in Thailand ever since. The row spread early this month to Ta Moan Thom, a second ancient temple, on the border between Phanom Dong Rak district in Surin and Odday Meanchey in Cambodia.

Graft allegations hit Cambodia's Khmer Rouge trial

PHNOM PENH, Aug 12 (Reuters) - International donors have been withholding payments to Cambodia's Khmer Rouge "Killing Fields" tribunal because of concerns about corruption, officials said on Tuesday.

Helen Jarvis, an Australian working on the Cambodian side of the joint Cambodian-U.N. tribunal, said 250 Cambodians had not been paid a total of $700,000 since June, threatening the future of the long-awaited court, which is running over time and budget.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult for Cambodian staff," Jarvis told Reuters.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has been managing donor funding for the trial, said it had decided to freeze payments last week following a renewed series of allegations of kickbacks involving local staff.

"UNDP is taking the matter very seriously. We have met with donors to keep them informed," UNDP official Aimee Brown said.

The tribunal is in the middle of trying to secure an extra $87 million in funding to supplement the initial budget of $56 million, and allow the procedings to run until 2010.

Five top Khmer Rouge cadres have been charged with war crimes or crimes against humanity for their part in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people under Pol Pot's four-year reign of terror.

(Reporting by Ek Madra; Editing by Ed Cropley and Paul Tait)

The New Government Will Have More Than 400 Members

Posted on 13 August 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 573

“The forth-term Cambodian government will be increased to have more than 400 members.

Prime Minister Hun Sen acknowledged this big increase. Officials of civil society organizations have criticized the increase as a big waste of money. As for the Prime Minister, he said that it aims to stabilize the political situation in Cambodia.

“In each ministry, there are at least six secretaries of state and six under-secretaries of state. It was reported that in future, there might be 10 secretaries of state, comparable to the number at the Council of Ministers, which has twelve secretaries of state. The same source said that all parties that have won seats in the National Assembly are included in the new government, excluding, however, the Sam Rainsy Party. Therefore, the number of members of the new government might increase to more than 400 persons. This is the largest number ever, compared to previous governments. It is twice as high as in earlier times.

“The increased number of members in the new government is a big burden for the national budget of a developing country, while the citizens’ livelihood is facing difficulties. Prime Minister Hun Sen had acknowledged that a next mandate government will be somewhat bigger. However, there is no position left open for the Sam Rainsy Party. One official of the Sam Rainsy Party hopes that he can also join the new government through secret negotiations. The same source said also that many names had been sent to the Cambodian People’s Party to be included as members of the government. If so, the new government might increase even to 500 persons.

“Related to this increase, civil society organizations continue to criticize it to be ‘a government with a head bigger than the body’ and expressed concern regarding work efficiency and the related expenses to come from national resources. The director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO - Dr. Pong Chiv Kek [also known as Dr. Kek Galabru] said, ‘Already during the third mandate, the government of Cambodia was the biggest government in the world, while the number of our Khmer citizens is small. The further increase will trigger concerns about the salaries that the government has to provide for those officials.’ She added that big numbers do not mean that work will be more efficient than with small numbers. Ms. Pong Chiv Kek continued to say that the new government to be formed should not think about the numbers, but it has to think first about quality. She said, ‘Enlarging the government is just distributing the access to power.’ She explained the problems also by referring to examples from different countries, like the countries of Europe and China: they have huge populations, but their governments are smaller than the Cambodian one.

“The increase of the numbers of members of the government has been explained by officials of the government to aim at retaining political stability and national security, and that this increase is not made without clear advance considerations.

“Regarding the considerations about security and stability, Ms. Pong Chiv Kek agreed, but she said, ‘The government has to think about democracy and the capacity of those who work in the new government by monitoring how much those new officials serve the people.’ Referring to the fact that the Cambodian People’s Party has enough seats to form the new government alone, Ms. Pong Chiv Kek suggested that ‘the Cambodian People’s Party should start to reform the government and reduce the large numbers of members of the government, and it should also consider reforms in other sectors, such as strengthening the independence of the courts.’ She went on to say, ‘To achieve a balance the power, it is not necessary to add more officials to the government, it is also important to strengthen people outside of the government to have enough power to monitor all activities of the government.’ She added that the proposed increase will make it more difficult for the people who have to carry the burden, to pay taxes to the state, in order to have funds to spend for the salaries of the many officials.

“In the compositions of the new government, there are open positions for officials from other parties as partners. But this lists includes just officials from the Cambodian People’s Party, without officials from other parties. If other parties, like the Human Rights Party and the Norodom Ranariddh Party, are included in the new government, the number of members will increase, or they might say that each ministry might have ten secretaries of state, and the number of under-secretaries of state might be similar.

“Though there is criticism from different organizations, there is no solution against the inflation of the number of members of the new government. As for the Cambodian People’s Party, they do not care about this increase, because those newly assigned will not manage money. Therefore, the names of those who will hold such positions are like air. It is expected that many officials will hold positions as secretary of state, but they will not have any work to do and cannot make important decisions in their ministries.

“As for the compositions of the Council of Ministers – the cabinet - it is assumed that there, the power will be distributed according to the institutions and the factions of high ranking officials of the party. Some are from the line of the president of the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Chea Sim, and some are from the line of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Senior Ministers from Mr. Chea Sim’s line are not as powerful as those from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s line. Officials who came over from the Sam Rainsy Party will be given positions so that they will not leave again. These assignments of officials who had joined only recently are making the majority of long time activists of the Cambodian People’s Party dissatisfied.”

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3382, 12.8.2008
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Cambodia’s Clarification over Tamone Temple Complex’s Location

Phnom Penh, August 12, 2008 AKP --

The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued today a press release clarifying that Tamone Temple Complex is located in Cambodian territory.

The press release reads as follow:

1. Tamone Temple Complex composed of the Temples of Tamone Toch and Tamone Thom, located in the Phnom Dangrek range, is clearly situated in the Cambodian territory.

2. According to the Procès-Verbal d’abornement, No 22 sur Sector 4 (Minutes on the Demarcation, No 22 on Sector 4) of the Commission de delimitation des frontières entre l’Indo-Chine et le Siam (Commission for the Delimitation of Frontiers between Indochina and Siam) entitled “Sentier dit Prasat Tamone” (The Route named Prasat Tamone), dated 30 December 1908 and the Planche d’Indications topographiques (The Topographic Plate Indications), Tamone Toch and Tamone Thom Temples are within the territory of Cambodia, despite the loss of the boundary pillar No 23 demarcating the border in this area.

3. Cambodia is confident that the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on the Demarcation of Land Boundary (JBC), which will meet in the near future, will be able to settle this matter peacefully in legal process.

4. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, therefore, rejects any claim contrary to the legal rights of Cambodia. --AKP

King-Father Receives China's Top Political Advisor

Phnom Penh, August 12, 2008 AKP --

King-Father Norodom Sihanouk met with China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin on August 11 in Beijing, according to Chinese News Agency Xinhua.

Jia said the China-Cambodia friendship became a treasure shared by the two peoples over the past 50 years, and King-Father Norodom Sihanouk was an old and good friend known by all the Chinese people. China and Cambodia were indeed good neighbors, good friends, good brothers and good partners, as the two sides enjoy mutual trust in political field, have mutually beneficial cooperation in economic field, and support each other in international affairs, said Xinhua.

The Chinese side is willing to join hands with Cambodia to enrich and expand the bilateral relations so as to better benefit the two peoples, it added.

For his part, the Cambodian former king, who came to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and a routine medical check-up, said the Cambodian royal family, government and people would adhere to the friendly relations with China and make further efforts to consolidate and develop the traditional friendship.

Cambodia and China have maintained mutual friendship and cooperation since the two countries established diplomatic relations on July 19, 1958. --AKP

The Thais are setting up fences in front of Ta Moan Thom

Cambodge Soir

Although the Bangkok-based soldiers withdrew on the 5th of August… it was to make a better comeback on the 9th and to set up fences in front of the temple.

The standoff thus continues at the Ta Moan Thom Temple. 70 Thai military troops were stationed in front of the monument on the 4th of August, before withdrawing on the next day. Once again, Bangkok and Phnom Penh disagree concerning a site located on the border between Cambodia and Thailand. Both capitals consider that this temple is located on their respective territory. “On Saturday 9th of August, ten Thai soldiers retook Ta Moan Thom”, says Sim Sokha,border protection unitdeputy commander, after being contacted by Cambodge Soir Hebdo.

According to this officer, since then they allegedly set up wooden fences in front of the temple, thus blocking the access to Cambodians. A delegation of Khmer soldiers has tried to negotiate with their Thai counterparts. The latter agreed to discuss the subject on condition that they’d take off their uniforms. The Cambodians refused to do so and turned back.

Sim Sokha assures that this new incident won’t make the situation worse: “We’re following the orders from Phnom Penh, asking us not to respond and to allow the governments to continue their work.”

Bilateral negotiations are expected to be held in the middle of August, as well in Thailand as in Cambodia, in order to find a solution to the Preah Vihear crisis and now to the one of the Ta Moan Thom temple.

Sam Rainsy asks support from the UN

Cambodge Soir

The opposition leader will travel to New York in order to challenge the results, he announced on Tuesday 12th of August during a press conference in Phnom Penh.

Sam Rainsy is still disputing the election results, allocating himself a score between 34 and 41 seats, compared to the 26 seats acknowledged by the National Election Committee after the elections of the 27th of July.

In New York, where he should travel “in the next few days”, the opposition leader will have a delegate of the Human Rights Party at his side, the only other party with representatives who joined the dispute of the results.

Both royalist parties, Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party, have finally decided to accept the election results.

On Monday 11th of August, Sam Rainsy who filed a complaint before the National Election Committee in order to request a re-vote in several districts, will be heading to the headquarters of the United Nations without waiting for the results of his actions.

“I’m asking the international community to pay attention to the conclusions of the NEC, said the opposition leader. The SRP’s complaint will contain proofs of the fraudulent actions on the day of the elections. I’ll also present those proofs to the UN.”

Sam Rainsy has also brought forward his own estimates concerning the “real results” of the elections, declaring having obtained between 1.75 and 1.87 million votes.

The SRP leader calculated these numbers by proportionally allocating fictitious votes, amongst the parties other than the CPP, of voters who weren’t able to vote.

“At least 10% of the population has been stripped of its right to vote, maybe 20%, maybe more”, did he say.

Asked about the sense of his defeat, which he never directly commented on, other than to contest its magnitude, Sam Rainsy declared that there was “defeat and defeat”.

“Every democracy is based on the respect given to the opposition, this is a matter of balance between powers, did he declare. By cheating, the CPP is resting on an absolute power, holding two thirds of the seats and allowing it to do anything it wants.”

Preah Vihear: demonstrations against Thailand in Washington D.C.

Cambodge Soir

Dozens of Khmer-Americans have gathered in front of the Thai Embassy in the United-States on Monday 11th of August.

Yesterday, demonstrators from the Cambodian community came together in front of the Thai embassy in Washington D.C. in order to protest against Bangkok’s stance concerning the temple of Preah Vihear.

The Angkor Association which organised the demonstration stated having mobilised “about 70 people”, according to its president, Channa Pak.

“We have gathered four monks, the president of the Cambodian Buddhist Society of Maryland, the president of the Cambodian-American Association for Human Rights and Democracy, three former presidents of the Angkor Association and even a man who joined the demonstration by taxi during his lunch break”, told Channa Pak to the “Cambodge Soir Hebdo”.

The organisers were protesting against “the violation of the Unesco agreement by Thailand” and wanted to avoid “war in Cambodia”.

Elections: Prince Ranariddh backtracks

Cambodge Soir

This is probably a political manoeuvre in order to end his forced exile. Anyhow, the president of the NRP is accepting the preliminary election results which were made public on Saturday 9th of August.

A letter, personally signed by him, was aired a few hours ago on the Cambodian television channel CTN. In this document the prince stipulates that the NRP “doesn’t create any alliance with any other political party.” However, the day following the elections of the 27th of July his party had set up a coalition with the SRP, the NRP and Funcinpec in order to challenge the validity of the election process.

These statements happen at a time when Norodom Ranariddh, still in exile in Malaysia, has used all his legal appeals aiming to cancel the legal verdict against him. He has indeed been sentenced to 18 months in prison and a fine of 150,000 dollars for misuse of public property. His last alternative is to obtain a royal pardon approved by the Prime Minister Hun Sen. However, for the time being the latter refuses to grant clemency.

K Rouge tribunal shakeup

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Cat Barton
Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Chief of personnel removed as court faces graft allegations

THE Cambodian chief of personnel at the Khmer Rouge tribunal was removed from his post Monday as the court battles anew with allegations that Cambodian staffers paid kickbacks to officials to secure their positions at the UN-backed court.

"He was transferred back to the office of the Council of Ministers," court spokesman Reach Sambath the Post.

Keo Thyvuth was replaced by Rong Chhorng, secretary general for the National Committee for Population and Development, who took office Monday, Reach Sambath said.

"Everything is proceeding as usual," he said, before declining to give further details of the transfer of a key official from the court's embattled office of administration.

Peter Foster, spokesman for the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (UNAKRT), declined comment.

Keo Thyvuth's shift, which court officials refused to call a firing, comes as complaints of kickbacks are being examined by the UN Office of Internal Oversight in New York.

Kickback accusations were first publicised in February 2007, but donors froze funding to the court earlier this month in response to multiple allegations leveled by Cambodian court staffers against more senior officials.

As a result, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which has managed more than US$7 million of court funds since 2006, halted disbursement of money to the Cambodian side of the court. Cambodian staffers' salaries have not been paid for the month of July.

The latest setback comes as the court's judicial side is finally making progress. A closing statement from the office of the co-investigating judges is expected imminently which will pave the way for the first public trial to begin as scheduled in September.

Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, more commonly know by his revolutionary name Duch, is expected to be the first defendant to be put on trial for crimes allegedly committed during the 1975-79 regime.

Germany to sign 50-million-dollar aid agreements with Cambodia

The Earth Times
Tue, 12 Aug 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - Germany was scheduled to sign two aid agreements with Cambodia Wednesday that would allocate more than 50 million dollars to the impoverished Asian nation, embassy officials said. The two agreements were worth 24.7 million and 26.7 million dollars, an embassy official said Tuesday.

The first is an agreement on technical cooperation that includes technical support on social welfare projects and developments in electricity supply, agriculture and irrigation.

The second is for financial cooperation for projects including social welfare, reproductive health, electric power programmes in rural areas and rural infrastructure.

"This is direct bilateral cooperation," the embassy official said. "It does not include the substantial amounts being provided by Germany through various non-government organizations."

Negotiations on the development aid agreement were concluded in October and a signing ceremony scheduled Wednesday at the Foreign Ministry would formalize them, the embassy official said.

Germany is an important donor to Cambodia and donated millions to the joint UN-Cambodian court set up in July to try former Khmer Rouge leaders.

Senior US official in Cambodia to discuss bilateral trade

Monsters and Critics
Aug 12, 2008

Phnom Penh - A US delegation headed by World Trade Organization (WTO) expert Christina Sevilla is in Cambodia for bilateral trade talks, the US embassy said Tuesday.

The US embassy statement said US-Cambodian trade was valued at 2.6 billion dollars last year, and that figure was expected to reach 3 billion dollars this year.

Sevilla is director for inter-governmental affairs and public liaison at the Office of the US Trade Representative, which falls under the executive office of the US president, and is also responsible for WTO issues.

Sevilla was scheduled to meet with Cambodian Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh Wednesday.

The embassy statement did not say when her official visit was scheduled to end but said that it was aimed at furthering economic ties between the two nations.

Cambodia took its place in the WTO in 2004.

UN, not magic, needed to solve Preah Vihear

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Moeun Chhean Nariddh
Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Dear Editor,

Early this month, The Nation newspaper in Bangkok reported that many Thai residents in Si Sa Ket province, which borders Cambodia, wore yellow to help protect Thailand from black-magic spells cast by Khmer "wizards" who met at Preah Vihear Temple during the solar eclipse earlier this month.

On August 1, Bun Rany, the wife of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, led Buddhist monks and soldiers to the ancient Hindu temple to call upon their ancestors to protect the temple.

While the Thai astrologers considered the solemnly organised prayer at the temple Cambodia's way to cast magic spells on Thailand, the use of magic by Cambodians has prevailed for centuries.

According to the Khmer-language book The Tale of Ancient History, in 1502 under the reign of King Chan Raja there was a Khmer warrior named Moeung who fearlessly fought against Siam, as Thailand was known in the past.

Unable to bear Siamese colonial dominance, the Khmer king ordered his men to kill the Siamese king's son who was controlling Cambodia. The Siamese king found out and sent troops to arrest King Chan Raja and his court. But Chan Raja's lady-in-waiting, Pen, escaped with army chief Moeung, his wife and four children.

The Siamese prepared a massive attack. But Chan Raja's son, Prince Chey Ahcha, had neither enough troops nor weapons to fight them.

When asked if he could think of any tactics to win, Meoung told Prince Chey Ahcha an odd plan: to recruit a ghost army.

He ordered his men to dig a deep rectangular hole and to plant spears and swords at the bottom.

"Please use every effort in this battle to liberate Cambodia from the enemy," he told his troops. "If within seven days after I die you hear a thunder-like cheering, we will win."

Upon that Moeung jumped into the grave and impaled himself. His wife and two sons followed, killing themselves too.

Exactly seven days later, the cheering of the ghost army came from every direction as Chey Ahcha's army advanced to stop the invading Siamese troops near Battambang.

"The ghost army went to the front to display their might and made the Siamese troops dizzy, gave them stomach aches and made them vomit," the book says. "Chey Ahcha's army killed all the Siamese soldiers."

After victory Chey Ahcha was crowned King Preah Chey Chehsda of Cambodia. He ordered a ceremony to commemorate the spirit of his army chief, who earned the title "Neak Ta Khlaing Moeung".

During Cambodia's civil war between the 1970s and early 1990s, many Khmer soldiers would also seek supernatural protection in the forms of tattoos, magic kerchiefs and magic words written in Pali or Sanskrit, the currently dead languages used during the Angkorean period.

Nevertheless, the use of magic could probably give only spiritual strength for believers and might not provide any real solutions.

While the prayer at the temple was a good religious, non-violent approach, Cambodia may need to negotiate more with Thailand to solve the border disputes. It probably needs intervention by the United Nations Security Council if the bilateral talks stall.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh
Phnom Penh

Cambodian royalist parties recognize poll results

International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: August 12, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodian royalist parties announced Tuesday they would recognize the results of last month's national election, in which they were soundly defeated by their arch opponent, Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The parties had earlier joined the main opposition group, the Sam Rainsy Party, in rejecting the poll's results as illegitimate.

The self-named party of exiled Prince Norodom Ranariddh — who is in exile — had with Sam Rainsy's group condemned the July 27 election as rigged in favor of Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party.

But in a statement Tuesday, Prince Ranariddh distanced himself from his opposition ally and said the election was held in a "transparent, free, fair and democratic manner." He said he recognized the preliminary results announced by the National Election Committee last week.

The Funcinpec party that Ranariddh once led also said in a separate statement that it accepts the results despite some voting irregularities.

Analysts said they suspected that Ranariddh's about-face could be part of a deal with the ruling party to help pave the way for the prince to return to Cambodia.

"This is only a strategy to allow Ranariddh to return to the country," said Hang Puthea, director of the election monitoring group Nicfec.

Ranariddh, now staying in Malaysia, is facing an 18-month prison sentence after Cambodia's Supreme Court late last month upheld a lower court's conviction against him in an embezzlement lawsuit filed by his former Funcinpec colleagues.

Cambodian judicial system is known for being corrupt and susceptible to political pressure from the government.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith welcomed Ranariddh's new stance but denied any deal with the prince.

The election organizers said Hun Sen's ruling party received some 58 percent of the more than 6 million votes cast, confirming its projected landslide victory.

It said the runner-up Sam Rainsy Party trailed with about 22 percent, followed by the Human Rights Party with 6.6 percent, Ranariddh's party with 5.6 percent and Funcinpec with 5 percent.

It did not yet give the allocation of seats in the 123-seat National Assembly, but Hun Sen's party has said it will get 90 seats.

The Sam Rainsy Party, which has been projected to get 26 seats, continued to reject the results due to "massive fraud."

Aussies rescued from capsized boat

The Sydney Morning Herald.
August 12, 2008

Eight foreign tourists and five Cambodians were rescued from a tourist boat which capsized in high winds and sank near the popular tourist hub of Siem Reap, a district official said today.

One New Zealander, three Australians and four Britons were rescued from the Vietnamese-skippered 20-metre slow boat by Cambodian vessels which came to the rescue, Tho Sambath, a district governor, said by telephone.

"They were lucky they were near the shore. Any further out and it would have been difficult to help them," he said.

The boat sank in the Tonle Sap lake near Siem Reap, about 400km north-west of the capital.

Siem Reap is home to the Angkor Wat temple complex, which is Cambodia's largest tourist attraction, and a popular way to get there from the capital is by boat, despite often rudimentary safety precautions.


Cambodian tribunal indicts Khmer Rouge jailer


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's genocide tribunal formally indicted a former prison chief of the country's notorious Khmer Rouge on Tuesday, paving the way for a historic trial.

The U.N.-assisted tribunal said in a statement Tuesday that its investigating judges issued the indictment upon ending their investigation of Kaing Guek Eav — also known as Duch — whose Phnom Penh prison was used as a torture center.

Duch, charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, is the first suspect to be indicted by the tribunal.
He and four other former senior members of the Khmer Rouge, who held power in the late 1970s, were taken into custody last year.

The radical policies of the communist group are considered responsible for the deaths of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution. No senior member of the group has ever stood trial for the atrocities.

The tribunal's announcement marks another "important moment in the history of the court," said Peter Foster, a spokesman for the U.N.-assisted tribunal.

He said the indictment sets the stage for the first trial of the tribunal, which began its work in early 2006. No date has yet been set for a trial, but tribunal officials have previously said it was expected to begin in late September.

Duch, 66, headed S-21 prison, the Khmer Rouge's largest torture facility, which used to be a school and is now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. About 16,000 men, women and children are believed to have been held there. Only 14 are thought to have survived.

When Duch was detained by the tribunal in July last year, he was charged only with crimes against humanity, with the war crimes charge being added with the end of the investigation against him.

Duch will be tried by a panel of five judges — three Cambodian, one French and one New Zealander — according to a 2003 pact between Cambodia and the United Nations establishing the tribunal.

The other four suspects being held by the tribunal are former top lieutenants of late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who died in 1998. They are former head of state Khieu Samphan, former chief ideologist Nuon Chea, ex-Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, and his wife Ieng Thirith, who served as the Khmer Rouge social affairs minister.

They also face charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Cambodian politics and disagreements between the government and the U.N. delayed the establishment of the tribunal for years. Its work was further delayed by disagreements among judges over the procedural rules and controversies involving allegations of kickbacks among Cambodian staffers.

The tribunal, which is mostly funded by donations from foreign donors, is facing a budget crunch. The $56.3 million that was originally earmarked proved inadequate because the tribunal has had to recruit more staff and expand its work.

A revised budget estimated the cost of carrying out the tribunal's work through 2010 to be $143 million. The tribunal is $86.7 million short of that goal.

Cambodia reasserts claim over border temples

The Associated Press
Published: August 12, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodia reasserted its claim Tuesday over ancient border temples that also are claimed by Thailand ahead of talks next week on lingering territorial disputes.

The foreign ministers of the two countries are to meet Monday in Thailand to try to defuse military standoffs along their shared border — first near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple and then at the 13th century Ta Moan Thom temple.

Ta Moan Thom is several hundred miles (kilometers) west of Preah Vihear, where Cambodian and Thai soldiers have been facing off for four weeks in a dispute over 1.8 square miles (4.6 square kilometers) of nearby land.

The Cambodian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that Ta Moan Thom "is clearly situated in the Cambodian territory."

It said a nearby temple, Ta Moan Toch, which has been occupied by Thai troops also belongs to Cambodia.

Thailand has also laid claims to both temples.

Late last month, Cambodian officials said Thai soldiers had occupied the site and prevented Cambodian troops from entering. Thai military officials countered that their troops had been in the area for years.

Last week, the standoff there appeared to have eased, with both sides pulling back their soldiers.
But Thai troops have reoccupied the area since then, Maj. Ho Bunthy, a Cambodian army commander in the area, said Tuesday.

He said about 50 Cambodian soldiers have now positioned themselves in close proximity to about 120 Thai troops who are stationed on the temple grounds and in a camp nearby.

"The Thai troops are guarding a gate to the temple, and Cambodian soldiers are standing just outside the gate," he said in a telephone interview.

The two countries share about 500 miles (800 kilometers) of land border, which has not been fully demarcated.

The dispute surrounding the Preah Vihear temple escalated last month after UNESCO approved Cambodia's application to have it named a World Heritage Site. Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej had backed the bid, sparking demonstrations by anti-government protesters who claimed the temple's new status would undermine Thailand's claim to the surrounding area.

The dispute has continued despite two rounds of talks since last month, with the countries referring to two different maps.

Cambodia uses a French colonial map demarcating the border, which Thailand says favors Cambodia. Thailand relies on a map drawn up later with American technical assistance.

Illegal fishing on the rise in Cambodia

Radio Australia

Cambodian fishieries officials say illegal fishing is on the rise this year thanks to widespread flooding, which has made it easier for rogue anglers to use underbrush as cover from authorities.

The Phnom Penh Post quotes an NGO, the Fishery Action Coalition Team, which says officials are sending patrol boats into Cambodia's flooded forests and fields.

Fish are a major source of protein in the Cambodian diet, and fishing is not permitted from June to September, north of the capital Phnom Penh.

South of the capital it's banned from July to October to let fish spawn and replenish.