Saturday, 15 November 2008

World Situation Might Slow Down the Development of Cambodia - Monday to Friday, 10 to 14.11.2008

Posted on 15 November 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 585

Further down also:

A Memorandum of Understanding Which Hinders to Solve the Problem of Immigrants

“A groups of industry and business leaders from developing countries in Asia met in Phnom Penh to exchange ideas regarding economic growth and poverty alleviation at a time when Cambodia is energetically making efforts to alleviate poverty by adding a lot of work in a growing economic sector - that might contain obstacles to development.

“The Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, said that the exchange of experience is fundamental while the world moves toward a very painful financial crisis, due to the collapse of stock markets, the losses of banks, the sale of many banks, and the volume of exports goes down which make many people around the world to fall into poverty. He added that we meet under unclear circumstances, and only those who can adapt themselves to these changes can escape from poverty.

“Mr. Habib Ouane, the director of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD] Division for Africa, said that among the 49 Least Developed Countries in the world, 14 are in Asia Pacific.

“He continued that since the 1990ies, many Least Developed Countries in ASEAN have gained fairly successful results, achieving a change of infrastructure with industry and with services, which play an important role in the economy, as economic growth occurs mostly in the industrial sector.

“However, he added that 69% of the citizens of the Least Developed Countries in the ASEAN countries live by earning less than US$2 per day, and they have no chance to a more comfortable life, especially when this would require further development of techniques as measures to encourage more economic growth.

“Mr. Cham Prasidh said that Cambodia is developing towards further reduction of poverty, adding that Cambodia’s economic growth was 9.4% per year from 2000 to 2006, and foreign investment increased from US$33 million in 1992 to US$149 million in 2000, to US$483 million in 2006, to US$2.7 billion in 2007, and to 8.9 billion from January to August in 2008.

“Mr. Cham Prasidh went on to say that in the meantime, the poverty rate in Cambodia dropped from 45% in 1993 to 35% in 2004, and to 31% in 2007; every year we could reduce the poverty rate by 1% in Cambodia. But if everything happens at the same time of the global financial crisis, I might affect the 1% poverty reduction development of Cambodia.

“He added that these are problems for which he is very concerned, and these are important factors for Cambodia and for other Least Developed Countries; therefore, it is crucial to make joint efforts, so that our country is rightly and surely known and supported by developed countries, and so that Cambodia achieves development to alleviate poverty and to boost the economy to grow mainly in the industrial sector.”

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #138, 11.11.2008

Book Review: The Road of Lost Innocence - The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam

BC Blogcritics Magazine
Written by Jennifer Bogart
Published November 14, 2008

Some books are dangerous; reading them opens your eyes and makes you see the world around you in a different way. After reading them this new understanding of reality lingers and is not easily dismissed. Stories like these drive you to action, serving as a call to take up arms. Somaly Mam’s memoir, The Road of Lost Innocence, is one such book.

Born in Cambodia during years of political turmoil, Somaly never knew her parents – she still doesn’t know what became of them. Left by her grandmother in a tribal village, her early years were spent outdoors, roaming amongst the huts looking for food. These years were happy compared to those that would follow after leaving northern Cambodia with a man who claimed to know of her parents at the age of six.

This man, her “grandfather” would proceed to beat and molest her, sell her virginity to pay his debts at the age of 11, marry her to an abusive husband at the age of fourteen and finally sell her to a brothel at 16. As you can imagine Somaly’s story is not an easy, feel good read. The list of travesties, betrayals and corruption she has known is far too lengthy to detail here.

Catching glimpses of a better life, Somaly is eventually able to escape from the bondage of sexual slavery. Using the only currency at her disposal she begins to make alliances with foreign men – those with wealth and power – and uses them to begin her slow ascent out of prostitution. After achieving her freedom the girls she left behind haunt her. Knowing the devastation trafficking in girl-flesh wreaks she cannot stand motionless while atrocities are committed; hopefully you won’t be able to either when this story comes to a close.

Presented in spare, matter of fact prose the writing itself mimics the Cambodian attitude towards life; silent, understated. Coming from a people who disguise their emotions to the utmost – simply writing this memoir is a break with traditional Cambodian culture. Somaly however, has long since ceased to be a traditional Cambodian.

The words seek to describe without betraying the depths of emotional pain behind them, but it still seeps through. Between each and every line, in the silences and pauses the pain is there alongside the fear and anger. The Road of Lost Innocence is the anguished soul cry of a woman who has never truly been loved, the heart breaking sobs of a shattered little girl.

Somaly brutally exposes the truth of modern sexual trafficking in south-east Asia through her own story and that of those she has rescued from slavery. She outlines the beginnings of her non-profit organizations that rescue girls and women from brothels, sketching out plans for their reintegration into society. Free of her physical bonds and able to offer hope to those in chains, she remains a broken woman. The aching sadness created throughout her life’s circumstances is still present; only slightly mitigated by her relentless drive to rescue the weak and defend the defenseless.

She tells her story not to evoke sympathy for herself, though her pain is apparent. She writes, offering herself up to the public eye to draw attention to the plight of the girls and women who are still captive; taken against their will and viciously used. Somaly truly wants nothing for herself other than the opportunity to continue working with the victims of sexual trafficking and to draw awareness to their plight.

Truly, every responsible citizen of the world should engage Somaly’s work. The difficult stories need to be told, more than that - they must be acted upon. Only with eyes opened to the atrocities surrounding us can we step out in faith, reaching into the darkness to rescue those bound there.

Visit the Somaly Mam Foundation to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by sexual trafficking.

Cross border trade shows VN demand for high quality rice

Motor-tricycles loaded with large bags of Cambodian and Thai rice park near Xuan To bridge


VietNamNet Bridge - Long lines of motor-tricycles loaded with large bags of rice are parked near the Xuan To Bridge in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang that lies on the border with Cambodia. These tricycles have transported rice from Cambodia into Vietnam and are waiting for traders to collect it.

On the Vinh Te canal, ships loaded with rice from Cambodia are berthed close together. At least five large purchase points have recently been set up near the canal to purchase rice from Cambodian traders for supplying local markets.

Each point has its own team of stevedores. Po Tha, a Cambodian stevedore, says, “Our team consists of 30 members. We carry over 300 tons of rice from storehouses to ships every day.”

“It’s estimated that 1,500 tons of rice are transported to An Giang Province from Cambodia through Tinh Bien border gate daily,” says Giang Lam, deputy director of the Tinh Bien Border Customs. “Most of them are Khaodak Mali, a long- grain rice variety from Thailand and a small- grain rice variety from Cambodia. Both are good varieties of rice whose flavor, aroma and softness suit the taste of the local people.”

In fact, traders from provinces throughout the Mekong Delta, southern granary of Vietnam, flock to the purchase points to buy rice. Khaodak Mali is sold at VND5.300 a kilo and the Cambodian small-grain rice at VND 5,000 per kilo. After they are unhusked, the rice will be distributed through wholesale channels to retailers in the provinces of Tien Giang, Long An, Dong Thanh, and Can Tho; and in HCM City.

Tran Thanh Hao, a rice retailer in Tinh Bien, says farmers in the Mekong Delta grow high- yielding rice like IR50401 and 3217 to supply the local market, but now more and more Vietnamese consumers buy Thai and Cambodian rice because of both their taste and prices.

In fact, Tinh Bien is not the only border gate through which a large volume of Thailand and Cambodian rice are transported to Vietnam everyday.

Thousands of tons are finding their way into Vietnamese markets through other Southwestern border gates including Khanh Binh and Vinh Xuong in An Giang Province, Thuong Phuoc in Dong Thap Province and Ha Tien in Kien Giang Province.

The imports from Thailand and Cambodia prove there is a large demand in the local market for high quality, tasty rice.

However, the nation’s famed rice granary, Mekong Delta, grows high quality rice for export and high-yielding rice for the local market, while consumers are demanding rice of better quality.

If the national agricultural sector can not supply rice of the quality desired by consumers, they will have little choice but to seek other sources in other countries. Consumers can not be forced to eat rice of lower quality all the time, market observers say.

Huynh The Nang, deputy chairman of the An Giang Province People’s Committee, says that agricultural production in the Mekong delta so far has only paid attention to growing high-grade rice for export, and that it is time for the provincial authorities shifted their attention to local demand.

He added that relevant authorities in the agricultural and trading sectors should reconsider the structure of export and local markets for rice and work together to prepare a proper plan to boost production in the coming winter-spring crop to serve both markets.

(Source: SGGP)

Court won't annul marriage that man says wasn't consummated

Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, November 15, 2008

METRO VANCOUVER - A 53-year-old Surrey denturist who went to his native Cambodia to find a wife and married a 19-year-old in 2006, only for her to run away within a week of arriving in Canada, has failed to have the marriage annulled.

Chhun Lim testified in New Westminster B.C. Supreme Court that his marriage to Mouy Chhung Teav was a sham and that she had used him to immigrate to Canada.

He testified the marriage was never consummated and sought an annulment and damages from her for misrepresentation.

But Justice Carol Ross dismissed the action and awarded legal costs to Teav.

Lim told the court that he had immigrated to Canada in 1982 after his family died while Cambodia was controlled by the Khmer Rouge.

He had never married and was keen to start a family when he visited his native country in September 2006, with the intention of finding a wife. He was introduced to Teav on Sept. 10 and after negotiations with her family it was agreed they would marry.

The couple were married on Dec. 9, but Lim told Ross that the marriage was never consummated and that his bride slept with her sister on the wedding night.

However, his wife disputed that, and denied that the only reason she married Lim was to move to Canada.

Lim returned to Canada and she joined him on May 23, 2007.

According to his evidence, when he met her that day he asked why she was so skinny and she replied she had AIDS. She also said she didn't want to have sex that night.

But she denied making any comment about having AIDS and said her resistance to having sexual relations that night was because she was tired. When Lim persisted, they had intercourse despite her wishes.

Two days after her arrival, the pair argued about her using the phone to talk to her relatives. Teav testified that Lim slapped her face and told her he wanted a divorce and to send her back to Cambodia. He demanded she write a letter promising to pay him back in full, she said.
She was also told to sleep on the floor, she said.

When Lim left home to attend a three-day convention on May 31, she got in touch with a Cambodian association in Toronto that gave her advice. She called the police then she was taken from Lim's apartment and placed in a women's shelter.

Ross found that Teav's evidence was the more credible and that she didn't tell him she had AIDS.

"I find that Mr. Lim invented this allegation in an effort to bolster his case," the judge wrote in her reasons for her decision.

"It is clear from the testimony of both Mr. Lim and Ms. Teav that their expectations of each other were disappointed . . . The result was a destruction of the very slender foundation on which this relationship rested," Ross said.

She found that Lim did not establish the necessary grounds for an annulment nor did Teav make any misrepresentation to induce marriage.

Thailand protests Cambodia over religious ceremony at disputed temple

BANGKOK, Nov 15 (TNA) - Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged a protest against Cambodian authorities who performed a religious ceremony at a temple located in Thai territory.

In an Aide-Memoire dated November 13, the Thai government protested Cambodia’s Kathin ceremony which was held at Keo Sikha Kiri Savara pagoda on November 12.

Thai officials in the border province of Si Saket reported seeing around 500 Cambodian people at the temple.

"Such action was considered a blatant and willful violation of Thailand’s sovereignty as the crowd had entered Thai soil without permission from the Thai government," said the aide-memoire.

The statement also mentioned Thailand still maintained its standpoint in working constructively and closely with Cambodia within the existing framework of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary or JBC to resolve their border conflict in a peaceful manner. (TNA)

Cambodian FM names 9 new ambassadors

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has named new ambassadors to nine countries, including Kuwait, which is to receive Cambodia's first diplomatic posting there, and Japan, where the minister's son Hor Moniroath is expected to head the Cambodian mission, state media reported Saturday.

The Japanese government had been notified of the appointment, which is awaiting the approval of the Cambodian and Japanese governments, Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong was quoted by the Cambodia Daily as saying.

"We have notified the Japanese government but we haven't received any response yet. We need the agreement of the host country first before sending the new ambassador," he said.

Hor Namhong's son Hor Nambora is currently serving as Cambodia's ambassador to the United Kingdom, making Hor Moniroath's appointment the second top diplomatic posting in the minister's family.

Japan is Cambodia's largest bilateral aid donor, according to the Cambodia Daily.

Editor: Mo Hong'e

Angkor Wat

A woman holds a python for fun at a tourist shop near the Great Lake of Cambodia in Siem Reap. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

A Cambodian fishing boat on the edge of the Great Lake in Siem Reap. The ancient complex of Angkor was built nearby to take advantage of the lake's plentiful water. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

No, it's not a god come to life. It's an actor who poses for photographs in front of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

An actress dressed as an Apsaras, or heavenly nymph, poses for pictures with tourists at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Images of Apsaras are common at Angkor Wat. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

A small child plays in the early morning, oblivious to the massive site of Angkor Wat, the amazing palace and temple complex built in the 12th Century. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

Tourists get comfortable on the grounds of the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The temple is so famous its image is on the Cambodian flag. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

A worker cuts out weeds by hand on the Elephant Terrace at the Angkor complex. If humans didn't keep back the jungle, it would take over once again, as it did from about 1500-1900. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

The Tara Angkor Hotel is one of the newest in the hotel boom there. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

Angkor Wat, the amazing palace and temple complex in the middle of the Cambodia jungle. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

No, it's not a god come to life. It's an actor who poses for photographs in front of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Free Press Travel Diva Ellen Creager journeyed to Laos and Cambodia recently and shares her experiences in the Sunday Travel section and on this weekend. (Ellen Creager/DFP)

Southeast Asia Travel Could Get Way Easier


November 14, 2008

The strong pros for visiting Southeast Asia (awesome food, beautiful countries, kind people, cheap) balance out its hardy cons (killer language barrier, suffocating climate, pricey plane travel). Soon, a coalition of countries will tip the scales in the favor of travelers--and we'll be booking our flights right quick.

Last week, delegates from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam came together in Hanoi to talk about creating a five-country, single-visa tourism scheme. The reduction in costs and headaches for travelers will be close to immeasurable--and it's a savvy move for leaders who want to boost their tourism revenues. This means one price, one stamp and we can pass through all five countries with ease, no shady border crossings, no bribes and no giving up valuable passport space for stamps from other cool places.

The Cambodian and Vietnamese reps agreed to allow 14-day, cross-border travel for any of their citizens holding a passport. This part of the pact goes into effect December 4. Summit attendees also suggested a "travel card" that Southeast Asian businesspeople could use to travel, without needing any visa, to all five countries. Those of us not lucky enough to come from SEA may have to wait a little longer to collect our pass, but the Cambodia-Vietnam agreement is a show of good faith and an indication this plan has serious potential.

The water and sanitation crisis through the lens of six students

A boy baths in the arsenic-containminated river in Chroy Takeo Commune, Kandal Province. Photo: Yeo Kai Wen.


By Lee Xian Jie
November 15, 2008

Imagine living in a community where sanitation is a nightmare: villagers fish and defecate in the same place.

There, a fifth of the children will die before their fifth birthday because of water-transmitted diseases.

That was what six students from the School of Film & Media Studies experienced when they went to Cambodia from Sept. 1 to 11

In their visit to the Tonlé Sap, a drinking water source for Cambodians, students gained a better understanding of the scarcity of clean, safe water.

“We even had to bathe with arsenic-contaminated river water,” says Chiam Sing Wei, 25, a third-year Film, Sound & Video student.

Together with two Lien Aid staff, the six students produced three short documentaries about the non-governmental organisation’s water and sanitation programmes in three different provinces: Kampong Chhnang, Kandal and Kampong Speu.

They also captured stories of these villagers with photography and radio capsules to raise awareness about the chronic problems. In turn, they hope to inspire other Singaporean youths to improve the situation in Cambodia.

“Although solving the crisis in its entirety is impossible, we hope we will be able to help them with our work,” says Yeo Kai Wen, 19, a third-year Mass Communication student, who is also npTribune’s Photo Editor.

Mr Craig McTurk, the lecturer-in-charge says he was impressed with the students’ willingness to overcome language and cultural barriers.

Vivocity Exhibition

“The Demon in the Water” photographic exhibition, will tell the story of water and sanitation issues Cambodia faces.

It will be held from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3 at Vivocity. The exhibition will also include toilet seat art by students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and LASALLE College of the Arts.

Govt to set up panel to prepare testimony in Preah Vihear case

The government will set up a working group to prepare testimony for Cabinet members, including Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, who have been indicted by the anti-graft agency for their endorsement to a communiqu? supporting Cambodia's bid to list Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on Thursday resolved to charge 28 members of the previous Cabinet led by Samak Sundaravej for negligence and violating Article 190 of the Constitution, which states that any treaty that would affect Thai territories or sovereign rights must be approved by the National Assembly.

Many of those indicted are in the current Cabinet, including Somchai, who served as education minister in the Samak administration.

The Nation

EU bans Siem Reap Airways, all Angolan carriers

BRUSSELS2008-11-14 (Reuters) — The European Commission banned Cambodia's Siem Reap Airways International from operating in the European Union and extended a ban on TAAG Angola Airlines to all carriers certified in Angola, citing safety concerns.

The Commission, executive arm of the 27-country EU, on Friday also maintained a ban on all operations of Ukraine Mediterranean Airlines and Ukraine Cargo Airways, saying they had failed to deal with previous safety concerns.

"The European Commission will pursue actively its dialogue with all states ... to ensure that they conform to internationally required levels of air safety on a sustainable basis," EU Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani said.

Former Sex Trade Victim Turned Activist Wins $1.3M Award

FOX News
Friday, November 14, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A Cambodian woman activist who has spearheaded her country's battle against sex traffickers is the first recipient of an award from a recently established human rights foundation, the German Embassy announced Friday.

The 1 million euro ($1.269 million) award to Somaly Mam from the Munich-based Roland Berger Foundation rivals in amount the Nobel Peace Prize, which includes a grant of 10 million Swedish kroner ($1.268 million).

The Roland Berger Human Dignity Award was given to Somaly Mam — who herself is a former sex trade victim — "in recognition of her fight for a world without slavery," the German Embassy said in a statement.

Somaly Mam was sold into prostitution as a child and later escaped with the help of foreigners and aid workers. She has written about her experience in a recently published book, "The Road of Lost Innocence."

She currently heads a group named AFESIP — from the French acronym for Acting for Women in Distressing Situations — which has helped build safe houses that provide refuge, care and schooling for girls rescued from slavery.

AFESIP has rescued about 4,000 girls and women from the sex trade since it was founded in 1996, AFESIP spokesman Som Sophatra said. There are 166 former victims now living in the group's three shelters in Cambodia.

Somaly Mam could not be reached for comment Friday. Colleagues said she was traveling abroad.

Som Sophatra said she received news of her award two weeks ago.

"First she didn't believe it and she went to confirm the story (with the foundation) about the donation," he said. "She was nervous and very happy at the same time because she never got such a big amount of money."

He said the award could not have come at a better time as the group has been facing a shortage of funds since the beginning of the year.

German Federal President Horst Kohler will present the award at a ceremony in Berlin on Nov. 24, the embassy said. It praised Somaly Mam for her "fearless voice for political lobbying and numerous campaigns against human trafficking."

In April, Somaly Mam received an award from the Swedish Children's World Association for her work. In 2006, she was honored as one of Glamour magazine's women of the year.

The independent Roland Berger Foundation, which documents human trafficking and slavery, was founded in March by Roland Berger, a guest professor of business administration at the Brandenburg Technical University in Cottbus, Germany. It says the award is intended "to raise awareness on human dignity and human rights worldwide."

Cambodia an increasingly popular destination for expeditions

Floating communities in Chhnoktrou Commune directly use the lake water to cook and to drink. This lady is a grocer. Photo: Yeo Kai Wen


By Nuratiqah Bte Ali
November 15, 2008


Together with two lecturers from the School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology and BA students, 24 student volunteers reached out to a Cambodian home for orphans and widows in September. The health-and-hygiene mission under the Youth Expedition Project (YEP) saw these students armed with anti-worm tablets and bottles of treatment shampoo for head lice. For two weeks, students travelled an hour from Phnom Penh to the home to donate fresh medical supplies.

School of EngineeringMechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering students travelled to the island of Kom Rumdual, 20km south of capital city Phnom Penh, with two of their lecturers, from Sep. 22 to Oct. 6.The 19 students laid foundations for the construction of walls to surround a school.They also helped to refurbish the rundown hut of a disabled Cambodian widow on the island.Using Service-Learning methodology, students learnt about different cultures and lifestyles in Cambodia.

School of EngineeringElectronic & Computer Engineering

Alongside Mechanical Engineering students, students from the Electronic and Computer Engineering division were involved in various community projects in Cambodia from Sep. 15 to 28.The 29 students who went on the trip conducted English classes for local Khymer children, set up computers for them, and also taught computer lessons.The students had also visited the homes of local families to learn about how locals live.

Citizens Should Report Police Abuse: Lawyer

Ouk Phuri, member of the Cambodian Bar Association

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
14 November 2008

Khmer audio aired 13 November 2008 - Download (MP3) Khmer audio aired 13 November 2008 - Listen (MP3)

Citizens should lodge complaints against authorities who violate their rights or the law, a leading lawyer said Thursday.

The constitution guarantees a citizen’s freedom from abuse of authority and right to file legal complaints against it, said Ouk Phuri, a member of the Cambodian Bar Association, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

“I’m not just telling people to file a complaint because I’m a lawyer,” he said. “We have to do it. If there’s any question, there are many lawyers than can help, such as lawyers who aid the poor.”

Cambodia’s police are widely criticized for being politically controlled or for abuses such as wrongful arrest, unlawful detention and abuse in custody.

There was a dearth of complaints filed against such abuse, Ouk Phuri said.

Controversial Rice Aid Hailed a Success

By Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
14 November 2008

The Asian Development Bank and government announced success on Friday for emergency food assistance that was widely criticized by villagers as unfair.

The ADB and government undertook a $40-million emergency food distribution between Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, handing out nearly 120,000 tons to 68,000 poor families in 200 communes around the Tonle Sap lake and in Phnom Penh.

“The assistance is making a very real difference in the lives of Cambodia’s most vulnerable, in particular its children,” Arjun Goswami, ADB country director, said in a statement.

The aid was in response to rising food and fuel prices that have squeezed Cambodia’s poorest, but a number of villagers complained that the distribution was plagued by corruption and favoritism by local leaders.

“Unfortunately, the project’s funding simply could not cover all of those families in need of food assistance,” Goswami said. “It is understandable that some of those who could not be reached with assistance feel let down.”

A statement from the Minister of Economy and Finance called the emergency distribution “highly positive, except in one commune in Kampong Chhnang province, where the distribution was suspended because of villagers’ protests.”

The ADB and government said they would conduct further investigations into distribution irregularities starting Nov. 17.

“The protests that were mentioned in the media, it’s not sure they are true, but we have a mechanism to check,” said Vong Sandab, deputy secretary-general of the Ministry of Finance, who was in charge of the distribution.

The ADB has so far received 51 phone complaints of distribution irregularities, said Long Piseth, program officer at the ADB.

Police Chief’s University Worries After Loss

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
14 November 2008

Khmer audio aired 14 November 2008 (983 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 14 November 2008 (983 KB) - Listen (MP3)

When late police chief Hok Lundy died in a helicopter crash Sunday, he left behind a multi-million dollar legacy, Svay Rieng University, and students here say they are now worried their academic futures will be jeopardized.

The death of Hok Lundy, who suffered heavy criticism for his human rights record but was a major contributor Svay Rieng province, where he was raised, could mean less money for scholarships, materials and construction at the university, students said.

Hok Lundy contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the university to sponsor scholarships in the name of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Svay Rieng Governor Cheang Am said Friday.

“Hok Lundy paid more than $1 million for the construction of Svay Rieng University, and he paid $200,000 per year for scholarships under Hun Sen,” Cheang Am said.

The university now has more than 2,000 students, more than half of whom are on the Hun Sen scholarships, Cheang Am said.

“Hok Lundy’s death will affect our studies at the university,” said Sok Navuth, 21, who is studying on such a scholarship. “The majority of students have been sponsored by Hok Lundy. When we’ve lost Hok Lundy, we’ve lost our sponsor.”

Svay Rieng University, near the center of Svay Rieng town, the provincial capital, consists of one building of 50 classrooms surrounded by gardens and backed by dormitories for men and women.

Its computers, chairs, tables, desks, books and research materials were all purchased by Hok Lundy, Cheang Am said.

Students learn management, rural development, information technology, agronomy, law, political science and other subjects.

Many said they don’t believe accusations leveled at the former police chief, a powerful Cambodian People’s Party official aligned with Prime Minister Hun Sen who rights groups say collaborated in murder, execution, a deadly grenade attack and human trafficking.

Nuon Sopheak, 22, who is studying English literature, said this week students were worried about diminished academic chances.

Hok Lundy had promised a new wing to the university, Nuon Sopheak said, and he encouraged students to do well and seek work in Bavet commune, Chantrea district, on the Vietnam border, where he hoped to develop a modern city.

“Hok Lundy always came to meet the students in the university, once a month,” she said, “and he would give recommendations to students in the university: ‘Try to study hard, then after university you can get a job in Bavet.’”

Governor Cheang Am said he had been reassured that Prime Minister Hun Sen would work with Hok Lundy’s wife, Men Pheakdey, and family to continue to develop the project started by Hok Lundy.

‘Same Positions’ at Temple Following Talks

Preah Vihear temple

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
14 November 2008

Khmer audio aired 14 November 2008 - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 14 November 2008 - Listen (MP3)

Soldiers had not moved from their positions near Preah Vihear temple Friday, two days after tentative agreements by Thai and Cambodian officials to withdraw troops from a disputed pagoda on the border.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and his counterpart, Sompong Amornvivat agreed in Siem Reap Wednesdday to withdraw soldiers from Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda and from positions surrounding it.

However, Maj. Gen. Srey Douk, commander of Intervention Division 12, based in Preah Vihear, said that following the meetings in Siem Reap, Thai soldiers remain in and around the pagoda.

"It seems like the Thai forces have kept the same positions before and after the meeting," he said.

Cambodian forces "did not have an order yet from the higher-ups" to withdraw, he said.

Var Kimhong, chairman of Cambodia's national border committee, could not confirm whether soldiers would be withdrawn.

"We haven't set a specific date when to withdraw," he said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Friday that following Wednesday's meeting, Thailand should send documentation to its parliament, in order to adopt the agreements.

Preah Vihear temple and the nearby pagoda remain at the heart of a months-long border dispute that has led to at least two armed clashes and the deaths of at least four soldiers.

Khmer Rouge minister delays trial

The former foreign minister of the Khmer Rouge regime has reportedly managed to postpone his trial before a United Nations-backed court

14 Kasım 2008

Ieng Sary has extended his detention for a year to avoid his trail by an international tribunal, The Cambodia Daily newspaper reported Thursday.

The 82-year-old was arrested last year along with his wife, the former Khmer Rouge minister for social action, Ieng Thirith .

In October, A judge denied Sary's appeal for release from partial detention under concerns that he would he would flee the country.

An estimated 1.5 million people, a fifth of the country's total population, were killed under the genocidal “Red” regime, which was removed from power in 1979, as a result of an invasion by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The paper quoted Judge You Bunleng as saying that the conditions of Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith's detentions would be outlined following this week's Water Festival, a 3-day public holiday.

The UN-backed court was established in 2006, to try Ieng Sary and four other Khmer Rouge leaders for their crimes against humanity during the four-year reign of terror of the ultra-communist regime of 1975 to 1979