Thursday, 26 November 2009

Surakiart: Bangkok should open talks

Published: 26/11/2009

(Posted by CAAI news Media)

The Thai government should make the first move to open talks with Cambodia on resolving the dispute between the two countries, former foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai said on Thursday.

Speaking at a seminar on Cambodian issues at the faculty of political science of Chulalongkorn University, Mr Surakiart said there were many factors contributing to the continuing rift between the two countries. These included past conflicts, overlapping maritime areas, the border dispute around the ancient Preah Vihear Temple and Thailand's political problems, especially the activities of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Nationalistic tensions on both sides should be reduced and the Thai government should revise its strengths, weaknesses and bargaining power in analysing the Cambodian government's next move, he said.

"The Thai government should organise bilateral talks with other countries to clarify the Thai-Cambodian situation," Mr Surakiart said. "The Thai government should also make the first move and approach the Cambodian government in a show of seniority and pressure the Cambodian government to explain different bilateral issues."

Sivarak's mother allowed to visit him

Bail hearing for jailed engineer set for Dec 8

Published: 26/11/2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

The mother of Sivarak Chutipong, the Thai engineer who is being detained in a Cambodian jail on charges of spying, will be allowed to meet him tomorrow, says Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to the foreign minister.

The Cambodian government will permit Simarak na Nakhon Phanom to meet her son at Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh, he said yesterday. It was not clear when Mrs Simarak would leave for Cambodia. Mr Sivarak's younger brother, Phongsuree, would accompany his mother on the visit.

Liberties and Rights Protection Department director-general Suvana Suwannajuta said a Cambodian court will consider on Dec 8 whether to grant bail to the Cambodia Air Traffic Service engineer.

A Justice Ministry official hoped that in the event the court finds him guilty, Mr Sivarak could be sent back to Thailand to serve his sentence, based on cooperation agreements which exist between the Thai and Cambodian justice ministries.

Mr Sivarak was arrested on charges of supplying details of ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's flight schedule to the Thai embassy when Thaksin visited Phnom Penh earlier this month.

The official hoped the Justice Ministry's good relationship and cooperation with its Cambodian counterpart would help get Mr Sivarak back home.

They include the agreement struck on June 12 between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, where Cambodia agreed to send two Thai Muslims who were linked to the militant group Jemaah Islamiyah and were convicted of plotting attacks on Western embassies in Phnom Penh in 2004, to serve the rest of their prison sentences in Thailand.

Cambodians serving prison terms in Thailand have been returned as part of the deal.

Speaking after a meeting with Cambodian justice officials, deputy permanent secretary for justice Thawee Sodsong said Cambodian Justice Minister Ang Vongvathna promised to ensure justice for Mr Sivarak.

"The justice ministries of the two countries will make use of their good relations to ensure justice for the Thai suspect, and it seems our negotiations [so far] have been a success," Pol Col Thawee said.

Khmer Rouge torturer had to "kill or be killed"

Thu Nov 26, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

By Ek Madra

PHNOM PENH, Nov 26 (Reuters) - The Khmer Rouge's chief torturer and jailer had to "kill or be killed" and operate like an "obedient machine", his lawyer said on Thursday in defending the first member of Cambodia's murderous regime to face justice.

In the final two days of testimony in the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal, a lawyer for the commander of the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison said his client's life was at stake when he ordered the murder of more than 14,000 people in the 1970s.

Speaking a day after prosecutors asked the court to sentence Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, to 40 years in prison, the lawyer said the tribunal should show leniency because the 67-year-old former maths teacher had fully cooperated.

"Without Duch, the trial could not have unfolded if he, like others, had decided to remain in silence," Francois Roux, Duch's lawyer, told a courtroom packed with more than 600 people, including many survivors of the ultra-communist regime blamed for 1.7 million deaths in 1975-79.

"The accused was absolutely, himself, in the hands of the party. And in fact, he had to operate like a machine, an obedient machine," said Roux. "He himself was in a situation where he had to choose to kill or be killed."

"We do not wish our client to be the scapegoat," he added.

Duch is scheduled to take the stand again on Friday on the final day of the trial. A verdict is expected by March.

He is accused of "crimes against humanity, enslavement, torture, sexual abuses and other inhumane acts" as commander of Tuol Sleng prison, a converted high school also known as S-21, during one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century.

Only seven of 14,000 people who passed through S-21 survived.

Prosecutors have urged the tribunal's five-judge panel to reject Duch's assertion he had little choice but to carry out orders, saying Duch was "ideologically of the same mind" as the Khmer Rouge leaders and did nothing to stop prison guards from inflicting rampant torture.


Lead prosecutor William Smith told the court this week "the accused was neither a prisoner, nor a hostage, nor a victim. He was an idealist, a revolutionary, a crusader -… prepared to torture and kill willingly for the good of the revolution."

The tribunal seeks justice for nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population who perished from execution, overwork or torture during the Khmer Rouge's agrarian revolution, which ended with the 1979 invasion by Vietnam.

Duch faces up to life in prison if convicted. Smith said on Wednesday he should get 40 years. Cambodia does not have capital punishment.

Now a born-again Christian, Duch expressed "excruciating remorse" on Wednesday for the S-21 victims, most of them tortured and forced to confess to spying and other crimes before they were bludgeoned to death at the "Killing Fields" execution sites.

Witnesses in 72 days of hearings spoke of beatings with metal pipes, electrocution, near-starvation, violent rape and prisoners forced to eat their own excrement.

Duch has asked if he could apologise in person to his victims' families, and has said he was convinced he was fighting to free Cambodia from U.S. imperialism during the Vietnam War.

Four other senior Khmer Rouge cadres are in custody awaiting trial. They are ex-president Khieu Samphan, former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, his wife Khieu Thirith and "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea. Unlike Duch, they have not publicly apologised.

Pol Pot, architect of the Khmer Rouge's "Year Zero" peasant revolution, was captured in 1997 and died in April 1998.

The chamber of three Cambodian and two foreign judges -- known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia -- requires four to agree on a verdict. (For a Factbox on the Khmer Rouge, click on [ID:nBKK383182] and for a Q+A on the tribunal click on [ID:nBKK490936]) (Writing by Jason Szep; Editing by Alan Raybould and Dean Yates) ((email: ((If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to

Khmer Rouge prison chief could get 40 years

In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Kaing Guek Eav, center, the former chief of the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison, now known as Tuol Sleng genocide museum, stands in the court room of the U.N.-backed tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009. Prosecutors in the genocide trial of the former Khmer Rouge prison chief demanded he be sentenced to 40 years in jail for his role in the killing of thousands of Cambodian prisoners. (AP Photo/Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia)


(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Lawyers for the Khmer Rouge prison chief blamed for thousands of killings in Cambodia accused prosecutors Thursday of making him a scapegoat for all the horrors committed by the regime.

Lawyer Francois Roux also criticized the 40-year jail sentence prosecutors have demanded for Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch (pronounced DOIK), as indicative of a prosecution more interested in punishing him than uncovering the truth behind the brutality of the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule.

Duch commanded the notorious S-21 prison where those accused of disloyalty to the xenophobic communist regime were held. He oversaw the torture and execution of about 16,000 men, women and children during the Khmer Rouge's reign.

Some 1.7 million Cambodians died of torture, execution, disease and starvation under the Khmer Rouge, whose Maoist ideologues led by Pol Pot emptied cities and forced virtually the entire population to work on farm collectives.

"As long as the prosecution's submissions make this man a scapegoat, you will not advance the development of humankind one millimeter," Roux told the packed court. "No, Duch does not have to bear the whole horror of the tragedy of Cambodia on his head."

Roux also criticized prosecutors for portraying Duch as a key member of the regime responsible for the network of terror.

"How dare you!" he declared, telling the court that a mere 1 percent of the Khmer Rouge victims died at S-21.

Duch, 67, is charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, murder and torture, which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Duch has denied personally killing or torturing the S-21 prisoners, and testified that he only reluctantly carried out the orders from his superiors, because he feared for his life and his family's safety.

Addressing the court Wednesday, Duch apologized to the dead, their families, survivors of the regime and to all Cambodians — something he has done repeatedly since the trial began in March.

He said he was "deeply remorseful and profoundly affected by the destruction on such a mind-boggling scale."

But he emphasized that he was not alone in carrying out torture and killings, which also took place at 196 other prisons across the country, and insisted there was little he could do to prevent the horror at S-21.

"I could do nothing to help," he said. "Pol Pot regarded these people as thorns in his eyes."

The defense team has at times seemed conflicted and desperate to find an angle that might help their client.

Roux has spent much of his time trying to mitigate Duch's role while lawyer Kar Savuth has argued that Duch was not a senior Khmer Rouge leader and therefore should not be prosecuted at all.

"If S-21 did not obey orders, those at S-21 would be identified as enemies by the party," Kar Savuth said Wednesday. "To avoid this, those at S-21 had to do what they were told in order to survive. So Duch is innocent and should be free from prosecution."

Australian co-prosecutor William Smith earlier acknowledged Duch's admissions of guilt and the fact that he has given evidence against other Khmer Rouge leaders, but said he still must be held accountable.

"The crimes committed by the accused at S-21 are rarely matched in modern history in terms of their combined barbarity, scope, duration, premeditation and their callousness," he said. "Not just the victims and their families but the whole of humanity demand a just and proportionate response to these crimes and this court must speak on behalf of that humanity."

Some survivors and other victims of the Khmer Rouge attending the U.N.-backed trial said a 40-year prison term, which would likely lock up Duch for life, would not be harsh enough. They want a life sentence handed down.

"I cannot accept this sentence request because it is too little," said Chum Mey, 78, one of a handful of survivors from the S-21 prison.

Closing arguments are expected to finish Friday. Judges are expected to decide the verdict and sentence by early next year.

Death toll of A/H1N1 flu in Cambodia increases to 5


(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of A/H1N1 flu in Cambodia has increased to five and the virus infected rate topped 28 cases for one week, official of the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

"The fifth person who died of the flu late last week is a 20 year-old Khmer man," Ly Sovan, deputy director of the communicable control department of Health Ministry told Xinhua by phone.

He could not elaborate in detail for fatality case. But he said that the cumulative number of confirmed cases in Cambodia are 472, up from 444 cases last week. It spreads in 13 provinces and city in the country including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kandal, Takeo, Kampong Speu, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Svay Rieng, Kampong Cham, Mondul Kiri, Kampot, Prey Veng and Banteay Mean Chey provinces.

According to a report from the Cambodian Heath Ministry, the ministry will receive 300,000 doses of A/H1N1 flu vaccine by the end of November from the World Health Organization.

Editor: Zhang Xiang

Cambodia allows family and Thai officials to visit detained Thai engineer

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

BANGKOK, Nov 26 (TNA) – The Cambodian government will allow visits on Friday to a Thai engineer detained in Phnom Penh on espionage charges, according to a Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs' spokesperson, who said that both family and Thai officials will be permitted to visit.

Director-General Vimon Kidchob of the Department of Information told a press briefing on the latest developments regarding Siwarak Chutipong, the Thai engineer at Thai-owned Cambodia Traffic Air Services (CATS), that following the Thai government’s request, the Cambodian government on Wednesday had officially informed Thailand that permission to visit Mr Siwarak by his family members and Thai officials had been granted.

The visit is scheduled for Friday at 2pm.

Ms Vimon added that Madurapochana Ittarong, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs, would go to the Khmer capital with Mr Siwarak’s family -- Simarak na Nakon Panom, his mother, and Pongsuree Chutipong, his younger brother.

The 31-year-old Siwarak was arrested earlier this month after being accused of giving fugitive ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s flight schedule to the first secretary of the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.

The diplomatic falling out between the Thai and Cambodian governments flared up after the Cambodian government appointed Mr Thaksin as its economic adviser. The two kingdoms recalled their respective ambassadors in retaliatory actions.

The Cambodian government also invited Mr Thaksin to Phnom Penh to lecture over 300 Cambodian businessmen and economists as his first assignment, at the same time rejecting Thailand's request to extradite the fugitive former premier.

As the diplomatic row continues, Mr Thaksin's interview with Britain’s Timesonline website continued to rankle Thais.

In the article, Mr Thaksin commented about the Thai monarch and his successor, with remarks considered offensive to the monarchy. The ousted premier, however, reportedly defended himself by saying his interview was ‘distorted’ by the reporter.

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) board decided to investigate the arm of Britain’s Times of London as a special case due to its exclusive interview with Mr Thaksin deemed offensive to the monarch. (TNA)

Basileia to Develop Gold Mine in Cambodia

Published: 25 Nov 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A Korean-American businessman has secured a mining opportunity for precious and base metals in Cambodia amid soaring metal prices in international markets.

Jonathan Kim, chairman of Basileia Cambodia, secured for his company the rights to explore a gold mine in Andong Bor ― about 410 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh ― after leading the company's successful effort to purchase 90 percent of the developing licence ownership Liberty Mining International Pty Ltd. (LMI) of Australia has held on the 363.5 square kilometers mine.

Kim signed the contract to set up a 9:1 joint venture, Basileia Mining Corp., with Richard Stanger, managing director of Liberty, in late October, a company executive said.

Yoon Dong-yeol, senior executive and vice president of Basileia, said that the two parties also inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on joint explorations of five other mines in the northeast part of the country. The mines have deposits of oil, gas, iron ore, coal, bauxite, copper and other precious metals, according to Yoon.

The Bo Sup Trup gold mine is estimated to have deposits of gold worth 1 trillion won to 3 trillion won in five veins that have been confirmed so far, including one with an estimated 440,000 tons of gold ore, with 15 grams of gold to be produced per ton, he explained.

The joint venture is ready to simultaneously conduct a geological survey and drill the mine from December, as it has completed a check of the drilling survey LMI had already drawn up, he said.

The gold mine has been internationally recognized and was registered as the No. 1 mine in a report on the natural resources of Cambodia issued by the United Nations in 1993.

"This is the biggest success I have achieved in five years since jumping into the mining business in Cambodia. We will explore and drill the mine in full scale from 2010," Jonathan Kim said in a press release.

"In a bid to help Korea secure mineral and gas mines, which they are in desperate need of, we will step up efforts in developing natural resources in Cambodia. We will also play a leading role in guiding Korean businesses hoping to invest or do business in the Southeast Asian nation."

An ambassador for Cambodian orphans

Giving a helping hand: Former Trayning woman Tanya Jaw (middle) with the orphans at the Chres Orphanage in Cambodia. Mrs Jaw is helping to provide hundreds of English library books and also to build an 18-bed accommodation building for the orphanage.

26 Nov, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tanya Jaw, who grew up in Trayning and finished high school in Wyalkatchem, says coming from the country has helped her see the world in a different way.

She has achieved many things throughout her life so far and is currently helping to provide a library and accommodation for orphans in Cambodia as part of a Self Expression and Leadership Program.

Mrs Jaw is the youngest daughter of Trayning post master Valda Knott.

Mrs Jaw has written the following account of her experience with the Chres Orphanage in Cambodia.

Growing up and gaining an education in the country doesn’t limit your possibilities. In fact, it enhances them.

Since leaving the Wheatbelt and studying communications at university, I have been a web publisher, assisting WA business development and as an employment co-ordinator for people with disability.

Today I work in the aged care industry, looking at creative ways to stimulate people with dementia, and how the organisation can improve its internal communication.

I have an active interest in people, so in March 2009 I traveled to Cambodia to learn more about the war and its people there.

Cambodia is 95 per cent rural. Poverty, disease and landmines are an everyday reality for many if its farmers.

My own rural background and sense of community resonated with the Cambodian people.

Although Cambodian farmers have a different set of troubles - land mines rather than drought, I recognised the same level of richness in their communities that I had experienced growing up in the Wheatbelt.

I came upon the Chres Village orphanage and school during a motorbike tour.

Touched by how grateful the children were to visitors and volunteers, I decided to become a registered fundraiser for Sustainable Organisation for Community Peasants, Labourers, Students Development and Orphans.

The position was approved by the Ministry of Interior and Siem Reap Governor, Cambodia, on May 23 this year.

Pong Sena, a former soldier, moved by the Chres Village’s plight during the Pol Pot regime, set up the orphanage in 2006.

Today it has become a school offering free English and health education to 500 local village children.

The orphanage and school is non-government funded, surviving off donations and the work and good will of volunteers.

The orphanage caters for 49 orphans ranging from eight to 21 years of age and is located 30 minutes out of town, so awareness of its existence is minimal, making it difficult to generate donations and funding. Without education, the children are destined to a life of poverty.

In August I approached local schools and libraries around Perth to donate unwanted books to start an English language library at the orphanage, as learning English is a vital part of the children’s education for gaining future employment in retail and tourism.

Many libraries were glad to recycle the books, which are usually discarded, and the State Library donated the rest.

A shipping agent and box manufacturer also donated their goods and services, and students from Hamilton High School packed the books for transport.

Currently the orphanage also requires urgent funding to build accommodation for 18 orphan girls, who currently use the library building as sleeping quarters.

The accommodation building will be a traditional design and will use local materials, and building it will employ up to 10 local laborers.

It will take 75 days to build, and the total amount for building including electrics will be about $30,000 Australian.

The Midland Rotary Club has offered assistance with obtaining a Charity License to enable me to pursue corporate funding and donations.

I am always looking for opportunities for the orphanage. In addition to the accommodation, funds are needed for desks and chairs.

If anyone is interested in making donations or fundraising, they may contact me on 0438 908 428 or via email at

The orphanage also welcomes tourists who are interested in teaching English or just visiting, and I certainly found a visit to Cambodia to be a wonderful and eye-opening experience.

More information about the orphanage can be found at

Cambodia to develop solar power to meet domestic need

Thursday November 26, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH: Ten companies from eight countries have sought permission to invest in solar energy projects in Cambodia, after the removal of a 15% duty on imports of the materials needed to build solar plants in August, China’s Xinhua news agency cited a local media as saying.

“We have received many proposals for our approval, and we are now instructing them to study the domestic electricity market,” the ministry Secretary of State Sat Samy was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post as saying.

“Two companies, from Japan and Malaysia, are close to beginning development on solar investment projects.” The other companies are from the United States, China, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Singapore, he said.

They were planning developments capable of generating between 10 and 50 megawatts of electricity.

The Cambodian government plans to supply electricity throughout the entire country by 2020 by developing renewable energy resources, specifically looking at solar, hydro and biomass fueled power, Sat Samy said.

Energy demand in Cambodia is expected to grow 3.7% per year from 2005 to 2030 as manufacturing industries are established and more households are connected to the electricity grid, according to a report released this month by the Asian Development Bank.

Just 20% of households are currently connected to the national grid, which is fragmented into isolated power systems centred on provincial towns and cities.

Sat Samy said the unserviced households present an opportunity for environmentally friendly electricity investment, adding that the solar industry had greater potential than in more developed countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Sat Samy said he anticipated electricity generated from solar panels would range from US$0.12 cents to US$0.15 cents a kilowatt-hour, higher than the expected price of the power to be generated from hydroelectric dams under construction along the Kingdom’s rivers. -- Bernama

Cambodia, Laos boost border demarcation

Thursday, 26 November 2009 05:56 administrator

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and visiting Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh on Wednesday agreed to move forward the planting of border demarcation markers along their 535km shared border between the two neighboring.

Hor Nam Hong, Cambodian foreign minister, and his Lao counterpart signed an agreement of border demarcation under witnessed by both premiers at the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

“The provisional demarcation markers that border committees from both countries already planted will become the true demarcation markers,” Hor Namhong told reporters after the talks. Experts from both sides will continue their work planting more border markers, he said.

“We are boosting to complete the border demarcation between both countries. There remains about 12 percent.”

Cambodia and Laos are strengthening relations, with both sides providing more scholarships. The Lao Prime Minister invited Hun Sen to attend the opening ceremony for upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Laos, Hor Namhong said. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen may attend the December 9 opening ceremony.

Both sides are expanding economic cooperation, and will have a meeting on multi-cooperation committees between the two countries in the near future, Hor added.

Bouasone paid a two-day official visit to Cambodia after an invitation from PM Hun Sen. He will be received by King Norodom Sihamoni and will also pay courtesy calls on Cambodian Senate President Chea Sim and National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

Since 2000, Laos and Cambodia have completed over 85 percent of border demarcation the two former French colonies. Border matters between the two neighbours left over from the French administration appear to have been solved by recent agreements.

Cambodia Does not Depends on Thailand: Koh Kong Sub Governor

Thursday, 26 November 2009 05:18 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Cambodian officials on Wednesday confirmed that Cambodia is in firm control of events along the border in Koh Kong province.

The confirmation came after the Thai Government, led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva, declared that they will seal the border with Cambodia. Many see it as a reprisal for fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra’s appointment as a Cambodian Govern-ment advisor and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s economic advisor.

“Since 2008 Cambodia has not depended on Thai economy and business as Cambodia itself is able to use its infrastructure [National Road 48] to access transportation from Phnom Penh to Koh Kong Province,” Dom Yuhean, Koh Kong Sub Governor, on Wednesday told Cambodia, Thai, Indonesia and Vietnamese Journalists on a Triangle Tour organized by the ADB.

“At the moment, Cambodia has National Road 48 and we can reduce import goods from Thailand to … Koh Kong as it has its own goods,” he added.

However, the situation at the Cham Yeam gate is normal, he stated. Bresit Siri, Trat Provincial Commerce Chief, said that business situation is normal, but “we see that the two countries goods exchange is down.” He expressed concerns for the two countries diplomatic ties.

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen recently lamented Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s weakness over his declaration to seal the border between the two countries.

“Do not say or put penalty with Cambodia as this country was used to be under pressure from many foreign countries,” the premier said during the 30th anniversary of NGO engagement in Cambodia.

Cambodian Government officials confirmed that if Thailand seals border, it Thailand will lose more than Cambodia. According to a Commerce Ministry report, in 2008 Thailand exported goods worth US$2 billion to Cambodia with Cambodian exports to Thailand worth around US$90 million.

Four Fires Hit Phnom Penh in a Week

Thursday, 26 November 2009 05:18 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Four fires in Phnom Penh have destroyed many houses this week, but with no deaths or serious injuries, according to the latest reports from local authorities on Wednesday.

The first fire was at Chraing Chmreh, the second at Svay Pak in O’Russey Keo district, the third at Boeung Salang in Toul Kok district, the fourth near the Cambodian Parliamentary office in Tonle Bassak district. During the fires, many ambulances, fire services and Phnom Penh police intervened with mixed successes due to strong winds.

A two-day blaze leveled Svay Pak

The second fire on November 24 destroyed two flats in Boeung Salang commune.

Phnom Penh Police Chief Touch Naroth said that “We heard the case as soon, so we managed our members to stop it.”

Pao Veasna a victim said that “I was unaware when suddenly I was very surprised because many people came to save me.”

Touch Natorth stressed that there would be investigation into the causes of the fires.
The last fire was near the Cambodian Parliamentary office, said Ouk Sitha, a security forces member.

Touch Naroth said after stopping the fire near the Parliamentary President’s office, all Cambodians should take be more aware of the risks of fire.

Court Convicts MND Explosion Suspects

Thursday, 26 November 2009 05:18 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge on Wednesday convicted five men for an apparent attempt to bomb the Ministry of National Defense on January 4.

The small explosive device was neutralized by controlled explosion in front of the MND.

Judge Chay Kong convicted Som Ek, 45, Phy Savoeng, Leuk Bunnhean, Pao Vannara and Chea Kimyan.

The first suspect Som Ek denied the charges, claiming to have been in Poipet at the time of the incident. “I would like to ask to the court recheck all report again,” he suggested.

Another suspect, Phy Savoeng, admitted to know Som Ek when they were soldiers but said he had lost contact with him.

After the four hour court session, two suspects had not been questioned by the judge, so the court will reconvene on December 3.

Som Ek´s defense lawyer, Sam Sokong, said that all agreed to abide by the judge’s ruling.

Gov’t, FAO Hold Food Safety Workshop

Thursday, 26 November 2009 05:15 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

FAO and the Commerce Ministry on Wednesday said are holding a workshop on science-based risk management to strengthen food safety today at the FAO office.

The workshop will be presided over by Mak Pichrith, delegate of the Royal Government of Cambodia in charge of Camcontrol, and Ajay Markanday, FAO representative, a statement from the FAO said.

The workshop will assist participants from different Government agencies deal with food safety issues using risk analysis tools, science, good policy and effective communication. The Ministry of Commerce and FAO conducted the first part of the workshop in September with funds provided by the New Zealand Agency for International Development. The workshop aims to assist Senior Risk Managers and their Scientific Advisors identify and answer priority food safety problems. Officials from the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Ministry of Health attended the workshop, facilitated by Dr Richard Ellis and Dorothy-Jean McCoubrey, and identified problems considered to be significant food safety issues for Cambodia.

Laotian state visit

Photo by: Sovan Philong

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:01 Sovan Philong

Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen listen to their national anthems upon Bouphavanh’s arrival at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday in Phnom Penh. Bouphavanh is here for a two-day official visit.

Kraya eviction pushed back

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Villagers in Kampong Thom’s Kraya commune wait among the ruins of excavation equipment burned during a clash last week with authorities.

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:03 Uong Ratana

Kampong Thom

BESIEGED villagers locked in a bitter land feud were granted an 11th-hour reprieve from their looming eviction on Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to reach a peaceful resolution.

Hundreds of families from Kraya commune in Kampong Thom’s Santuk district braced for violence after a brutal clash with military police last week left several vehicles incinerated, two people hospitalised, seven arrested and an entire community cordoned off from the outside world.
Instead, the eviction date was postponed by authorities for seven days in the hope of negotiating a nonviolent conclusion.

“We did not stop the evicion. We postponed it in order to give villagers a chance to organise representatives for negotiating a peaceful resolution,” said Kampong Thom provincial Governor Chhun Chhorn. “We don’t want to use violence to resolve this problem. We need to find a friendly resolution that complies with the law.”

Villagers, however, were sceptical – convinced the delay would lead to more residents being rounded up and arrested by police. Muong Saroeun, 45, said the seven-day grace period was a ploy. “Their one-week delay doesn’t mean that they want to help us. They just want to arrest the people in this area who burned their property,” she said.

“In the meantime, we are living like frogs in a hole. They spread out the soldiers to block our road. We cannot go out from our village. If we go out, they will arrest us. We will die if they delay the eviction one more week because we have no food. Vendors may come inside our village, but the fact remains that if we can’t go out to sell, we don’t have money to buy.”

Seven villagers have so far been arrested for the destruction of private property after the November 16 riot in which upwards of 200 residents set fire to four excavators owned by a Vietnamese rubber firm, Tin Bean, along with several police motorcycles. Tin Bean was awarded the disputed 8,000-hectare plot in a concession in 2007, but the villagers say they have lived on the land since 2004. Arrest warrants for a further 13 people have also been issued, villagers said.

Prak Many, 68, questioned the delay. “One week is long enough for them to arrest the 20 people they want,” she said. “They did not delay the eviction for our benefit. We just want to live in our village, but they try to arrest us.”

“We cannot move to a new location because we’ve already planted trees that have begun to bear fruit, like mangoes, jackfruit, bananas. We have cassava farms. We are poor, so when we go to a new location and leave all this behind, it will make us poorer.”

The families have repeatedly rejected offers of compensation, insisting the plots on offer are too small or in an unsuitable location. Sun Sithan, 39, said: “We still refuse to move to the new location because it’s a flood area. We cannot grow cassava there to support ourselves.

“Nobody dared stay at home today because they were afraid [the authorities] would arrest them and burn down their house. They are feeding us rumours that they will do these things. Do they think we are human or do they think we are wild animals?”

Santuk district Governor Pich Sophea insisted that despite the delay, eviction plans were on track. “We need to respect our government’s decision, so we will relocate [the villagers] to a new location in Thmor Samleang commune, about 7 kilometres from their village,” he said.

“People did not talk to us about what they wanted, but our policy provides every family with a 20-metre-by-40- metre plot, plus 1 hectare of rice field.”

S-21 chief downplays role in final statements

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:03 Robbie Corey Boulet

TUOL Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, reiterated his remorse for Khmer Rouge-era crimes Wednesday, but not before using the bulk of his closing statement to downplay the torture facility’s significance and paint himself as an unwilling “cog in a running machine” over which he had no control.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, asked judges to hand down a 40-year prison sentence in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s first case, dismissing as baseless Duch’s claim that he acted under duress.

“I am psychologically accountable to the entire Cambodian population for the souls of those who perished” during the regime, Duch said. “I am deeply remorseful and profoundly affected by destruction on such a mind-boggling scale.”

Addressing the court after the prosecution, which argued that his crimes stemmed from a sustained embrace of Pol Pot’s hardline ideology, Duch instead characterised his involvement with the regime as a naive mistake that could not be undone.

“I clearly understand that any theory or ideology which mentions love for the people in a class-based concept and class struggle is definitely driving us into endless tragedy and misery,” he said. “I still maintain that a decision to choose which path to walk is made in a matter of seconds.

However, its repercussions, if it is a wrong choice, will result in lifelong remorse.”

Duch emphasised that he had “fully and sincerely cooperated with the court any time the court has needed me” since his arrest in 1999, a point he asked judges to consider as they prepare to issue a verdict early next year.

Prior to his apology, Duch offered a dense overview of the regime’s history and operations, highlighting points at which he was made “terrified” of its policies but felt compelled to implement them anyway.

While working at M-13, the prison in Kampong Speu province Duch headed before the regime came to power, and where prosecutors accused him of developing the torture techniques that would later be used at Tuol Sleng, Duch said he could not comprehend the executions of local villagers who had been deemed enemies by his fellow cadres.

“I was completely terrified at this destruction, but I just did not know what I could do about it,” he said. “The only opinion available to me was to devise a proper interrogation tactic.”

Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, prepares to deliver his closing statement at the ECCC on Wednesday.

Later, he recalled the killings of cadres in the Northern Zone that resulted from the interrogation of its secretary, Koy Thuon, in 1977.

“The purge of Koy Thuon’s network terrified me again for the second time. This time it was most shocking. I wondered why the north peasants had to die,” he said.

Duch also sought to downplay Tuol Sleng’s importance in relation to the other santebal, or secret police, offices, saying, “All santebal offices were equal before the party.”

There were at least 196 security centres, and each “was under the clear supervision of the party”, which had the sole authority to decide who would be arrested and executed, he said.

The relative importance of Tuol Sleng was also addressed by defence lawyer Kar Savuth, who wondered aloud why the chairmen of other prisons were “living free”.

“Each prison used the same torture, the same murder, under the same order from Angkar,” Kar Savuth said.

“Why are those chairmen free? It’s only Duch, by himself, who killed very few people. He is brought for trial to get the situation of a scapegoat.”

This dovetailed with testimony provided in September by Raoul Marc Jennar, a Belgian academic who appeared at the request of Duch’s defence team, telling the court that there were nine Khmer Rouge security centres that claimed more victims than Tuol Sleng, and that some of their directors were “living peacefully”.

Duch said executions at all of the security centres were ordered exclusively by party leaders.

“The santebal office had no right to smash,” he said. “To put it simply, the chief of the santebal office, whoever it was, had no authority to issue any subjective order to arrest anyone.”

He acknowledged, though, that Tuol Sleng “was unique” in some ways, noting that high-level cadres from across the country were sent there, a practice he blamed on Pol Pot.

“Pol Pot regarded these people as the thorns in his eyes which had to be monitored, observed, and measures had to be taken,” he said.

The influence of Pol Pot on Khmer Rouge crimes was a recurring theme Wednesday, with Kar Savuth repeatedly placing the regime leader at the top of a small hierarchy of cadres who he said were vested with decision-making authority – a hierarchy that excluded Duch.

The accused himself also made repeated references to Pol Pot’s role in the regime, saying, “I already made it clear before the chamber that Pol Pot was a criminal person. Pol Pot really wanted to become a king.”

At the end of his statement, Duch again asked to share in the sorrow caused by crimes committed at S-21. That request, first uttered during his confession and apology in March, has irritated some civil parties throughout the trial.

“I plead with you to allow me to share your immense and enduring sorrow anytime in order to express my most excruciating remorse,” Duch said.

Forty years sought for S-21 chief

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:03 Robbie Corey-Boulet and Cheang Sokha

PROSECUTORS at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Wednesday requested a 40-year sentence for Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, saying the length would “reflect his conscious and free choice to abandon all respect for human life” while overseeing the torture and execution of more than 12,000 detainees.

The decision not to request a life sentence, the maximum allowed under Cambodian law, was prompted by several factors, including the unlawful nature of Duch’s pretrial detention.

Duch was first apprehended in 1999 and held in a Cambodian military court until 2007, when he was transferred to the tribunal. Under Cambodian law, the maximum length of time he should have been held in pretrial detention was three years. The Trial Chamber ruled in June that the period Duch spent at the military court had been “an error of application of procedural law”.

Acting international co-prosecutor William Smith said Wednesday that “the conversion of a life sentence to 45 years” would be an “appropriate remedy” for what he termed a “serious” violation of Duch’s rights.

In addition, Smith asked the judges to reduce Duch’s sentence by five years for his “general cooperation, limited acceptance of responsibility, his conditional remorse and the possible effect it may have on national reconciliation”.

The sentence request angered at least one Tuol Sleng survivor: civil party Chum Mey.

“For me personally, I think the court should sentence Duch for at least 70 or 80 years, or the whole life imprisonment,” he said. “And in my heart, Duch should be punished by hanging. But we do not have the law that allows that.”

Lawmakers discuss ethics for legislature

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:03 Meas Sokchea and Sebastian Strangio

CAMBODIAN lawmakers met with international experts to discuss a proposed code of parliamentary ethics on Wednesday, with the aim of “promoting public confidence” in the legislative branch.

During a two-day parliamentary seminar organised by the UN Development Programme, which ended Wednesday, assembly members and senators from each of the political parties in parliament gathered to review a working draft that could form the basis for a future code of ethics.

Such codes “are aimed at helping people who want to do the right thing and also to bring things out into the open to make it less easy for skulduggery to take place”, said Peter Lilienfeld, a senior specialist in parliamentary procedure from the International Parliamentary Union.

The draft code, a copy of which was obtained by the Post, says its goal is to promote “a shared understanding among members of the ethical standards appropriate to their work” and establish “enforceable rules of conduct” in dealing with ethical issues in parliament.

A key component of the draft is the proposed creation of a register of financial interests, which would oblige lawmakers to provide information about their personal finances. A Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests would oversee the implementation of the code and have the power to penalise lawmakers who wilfully provide misleading details about their personal interests.

Lilienfeld, who created the draft, said Cambodian lawmakers had been “broadly” in favour of a code, and that their input would form the basis for a new draft code.

“I made it very clear that this draft can’t stand as it is – it needs to be a Cambodian draft, and it should be seen very much in that light as a discussion document,” he said.

Gifts or graft?
Lawmakers, however, seemed to dispute the extent to which traditional practices might be considered ethical under the proposed code.

Sman Teath, a lawmaker from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said “political” gift-giving should be disallowed, but that gift-giving for the benefit of others was a pillar of Cambodian culture that must be protected.

But Yem Ponharith, a spokesman for the Human Rights Party, said the practice of giving and receiving gifts should be tightly controlled.

“We see that gift-giving and corruption are very much close to each other,” he said.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said discussion of the code was a good start.

“We need to realise that the opportunity for corruption takes place at the executive branch, so addressing [parliament] may not have much effect,” he said. “But if MPs have to declare their assets, maybe that would be a first step.... In the long run it could be quite a major thing.”

Court questions Tiger Head suspects

Photo by: Phar Lina
Som Ek (right), accused of masterminding a failed bomb plot, is escorted from Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday.

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:03 Chrann Chamroeun

FIVE men suspected of involvement in bomb plots allegedly orchestrated by a mysterious terrorist group were questioned at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say the men are members of the Khmer National Unity Front (KNUF), also known as the Tiger Liberation Movement or the Tiger Head Movement, a group accused of attempting unsuccessfully to bomb the Cambodia-Vietnamese Friendship Monument in July 2007, along with the Defence Ministry and state television station TV3 in January of this year.

Som Ek, accused of masterminding the operations, called the accusations against him “very unjust”, saying that the KNUF was not involved in violence or terrorism.

“I acknowledge that we created the Khmer National Unity Front in late 2005 as a political organisation which aimed mainly to secure rights, liberty, power and dignity for the people, and to train them to find a righteous leader to free them from communism,” Som Ek said, voicing his displeasure with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. The KNUF, he added, was meant to be registered as a political party, not a terrorist group.

Deputy court prosecutor Hing Bunchea accused Som Ek of lying, saying he aimed to recruit people from across the country to plant bombs in an attempt to topple the government. Hing Bunchea said one man previously arrested in the case, former Mondulkiri provincial police chief Reach Samnang, had been released, and that five others – Som Ek, Loeuk Bunhean, Phy Savoeung, Pov Sovannara and Chea Kimyan – were being charged with delivering, placing, discharging or detonating an explosive or lethal device in a public place, and recruiting and training terrorists. If convicted, they face up to 30 years in prison.

Loeuk Bunhean, a former soldier and adviser at the Ministry of Defence, cried out in the courtroom that he was innocent and had no connection with Som Ek. “I would let myself receive a life sentence if the court found any evidence that I was connected with Som Ek,” he said. Phy Soveoung, another former soldier, also said he was not connected to Som Ek or the KNUF.

Municipal Court Judge Chhay Kong said the court would resume its hearing with the five men on December 3, though he did not say when a verdict would be handed down. Pov Sovannara and Chea Kimyan did not speak Wednesday, but are expected to speak at the December hearing.

CATS caretakership to end soon, Samart says

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:03 Sam Rith and James O’toole

THAILAND’s Samart Corporation, owner of Cambodian Air Traffic Services (CATS), said on Wednesday that it has received assurances that it will be permitted to operate as normal following the trial of a CATS employee accused of leaking the flight schedule of fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

“The appointment of a senior civil aviation official as the temporary caretaker to oversee the CATS operations is only to ensure an uninterrupted service and to ensure the Cambodian national security during the investigation,” the company said in a statement. “Samart has ... confirmed that CATS operation will be resumed under normal management once the investigation and legal process is thoroughly cleared.”

The Cambodian government took control of CATS last week and barred its nine Thai employees from work following the arrest on November 12 of CATS employee Siwarak Chotpong, who faces seven to 15 years in prison for leaking Thaksin’s flight information to the Thai embassy.

Samart President Watchai Vilailuck said he was anxious to see an end to conflict between Thailand and Cambodia.

“Due to the political conflicts in Thailand, as a listed company, we have been through many difficulties and seriously don’t want to be used as a political tool,” he said in the statement. “We only hope that we can resume our business as usual soon.”

Siwarak’s trial has been scheduled for December 8, and his mother plans to visit him at Prey Sar prison on Friday, defence attorney Kao Soupha said, adding that he hoped Siwarak’s bail would be granted because of concern over his asthma.

Villagers await enforcement of Kraya commune eviction

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A woman stands by the ruins of a home in Kraya commune that was torched by an unknown assailant on Monday night (above), just hours after the owner had fled with his family into the cassava fields (left).

They showed us what they meant by turning up with soldiers and police.

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:02 May Titthara

Families hide in pagodas and fields for fear of arrest by local authorities.

Kampong Thom

OFF a bumpy road through the forest, 90 kilometres from Kampong Thom town, the houses of Kraya commune are locked and empty. With the spectre of eviction looming, a quiet has fallen.

Villagers are preparing for the worst. Personal belongings have been hastily stuffed into sacks and hidden in nearby cassava farms, where they will be easy to retrieve in a hurry.

At night, a group of women stays up talking inside the local pagoda. They’ve fled their homes to seek sanctuary, afraid the authorities will burn their houses while they’re still inside.

“We are afraid they will burn our house down like we burned their excavators, so we are staying here together at the pagoda. We worry about our security all the time. We are very afraid when we hear any sound of a motor coming along the road at night,” said Neang Sinath, 42.

“The pagoda is a warm and safe-feeling place for us, despite the thought that this may be the last place we live in this village. At least we can cook together and eat together and compare the rumours authorities are circulating to threaten us.”

Some spend this time debating the way the eviction has been handled.

“We have been here nearly five years already, but still we only heard indirectly that we would be evicted,” said Suon Naren, 47.

“They never came to talk with us. They told us what they meant by showing up with soldiers and police.”

After last week’s confrontation, the community is spooked. Enraged by the threat of eviction, more than 200 villagers torched vehicles belonging to the Vietnamese rubber firm that now owns the land on which their homes have stood for more than five years. The police fought back with knives, hatchets and canes.

Out in the cold
“Our husbands camp at the cassava farms every night to avoid arrest,” said Chan Thoun, 45.

“Now is the cool season, and our husbands dare not light fires in the field and don’t even have mats to sleep on. They are out there suffering.”

In the cassava fields, men are camped out in small groups.

One, Prom Saroth, said: “Even thought mosquitos bite us, we dare not slap back because we are afraid the sound will carry to the authorities. We are staying at the cassava farms because some houses were set on fire at night and we don’t know who did it, so we are afraid.”

Even one of the pagodas in the area has fallen under the shadow of eviction. “The authorities came to get me defrocked and accused me of being ordained as an illegal monk, but I have been ordained for 16 years,” said Kin Ly, 35, chief monk at the Banteay Ragneak pagoda.

“They said this pagoda must be demolished because it is built on company land. I will not allow them to demolish our pagoda because we are Khmer citizens. Where Khmer people live, there is a pagoda for people to respect.”

Whether that respect will be shown by either side when the eviction day finally arrives remains to be seen.

For now, all anyone can do is watch and wait.

No ‘one size’ climate solution

Photo by: AFP
Cambodian students go to school by boat in the rain at a flooded village in Kandal province last month.

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:02 Irwin Loy

Developing countries such as Cambodia should not pin their hopes on world leaders reaching a consensus on emissions reductions during upcoming climate change talks in Copenhagen, an international law firm warned Wednesday.

Instead, Cambodia must look at how it can take advantage of the global debate to ensure potentially valuable emissions reduction projects get off the ground, a new report from the Australian firm Allens Arthur Robinson argues.

“I think there has been a disproportionate emphasis on targets” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, said Grant Anderson, a partner in the firm.

The report adds another voice to the fray as global leaders prepare to descend on Copenhagen in hopes of thrashing out an agreement that would take the world beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.

Investment potential
The bulk of the debate so far has focused on mandating emissions cuts in developed countries, with world powers pushing differing targets and baselines.

The Allens Arthur Robinson report argues the emphasis on hard targets is too simplistic and that countries should instead detail specific actions they will take to control their emissions.

“Countries should adopt climate change initiatives that are compatible with their economic development goals and their individual circumstances,” Anderson said.

The report examines climate change regulations through the Asia-Pacific region and concludes that, when it comes to environmental policy, “one size does not fit all”.

Thailand, for example, is aiming to become the region’s renewable energy hub by aggressively promoting its biofuel industry, the report stated.

Energy-poor Cambodia however, where the majority of the population lacks stable electricity, has differing concerns than most others in the region.

Cambodia, Anderson said, should focus on taking advantage of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), enacted under Kyoto, which allows industrialised countries to invest in emissions reductions projects in developing nations through the trading of certified carbon credits.

Currently, the Kingdom has only five projects registered under the scheme or in the pipeline. By comparison, neighbouring Thailand has 115, while Vietnam is host to 91 projects, according to the UN Environment Programme.

“Poorer countries haven’t really had a huge amount of CDM investment yet,” Anderson said.

The primary CDM market topped US$6.5 billion in 2008, according to the World Bank.

Fishing communities angle for limits on commercial fish hauls

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:02 Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Tep Nimol

THE government must impose limits on the amount of fish inland commercial fisheries can catch, small-scale fishermen and environmentalists said Wednesday.

“Our fish resources have been reduced by illegal fishing and climate change,” Long Sochet, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Fishermen, said after a meeting between NGO and Ministry of Environment officials. “It has caused a big impact to the livelihood of families in fishing communities,” he said, adding that commercial fishing multiplies their woes.

The fishermen are also demanding the government relax restrictions on what kind of gear they can use. A proposed law would limit the size of fishing nets, for example, to a 30-metre maximum.

“Some fishermen have been arrested and sent to jail because they were caught fishing to support their families’ livelihoods by using illegal gear,” Long Sochet said.

However, Nao Thuok, director of the Fisheries Administration, said he would not move to limit commercial fisheries catches.

Nao Thuok said small-scale fishermen enjoy year-round fishing, whereas commercial operations are banned from fishing for three months every year. He also warned that not restricting the size and scale of fishing gear would devastate the industry. “The natural resource will be destroyed by family fishing if we allow them to use massive fishing materials,” Nao Thuok said.

Sixty people have been arrested this year and accused of illegal fishing, Nao Thuok said, and 40 were convicted.

Cop killed in shootout with gang members

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Thursday, 26 November 2009 15:02 Mom Kunthear

ONE police officer was killed and two others were severely injured during a shootout with suspected drug smugglers in Battambang province’s Phnom Prek district on Tuesday.

Officer Meng Thy, 35, was shot dead and Korng Sophanna, 24, and Soun Keo, 50, were wounded in a crackdown that police said netted three members of a notorious gang.

“We were successful in arresting the masterminds of this group, who always sell drugs in the three villages of Phnom Prek district, but we are very sad that two police officers were seriously hurt and one was killed,” said Sareth Viseth, deputy police chief of Phnom Prek district.

The three arrested were a husband and wife – 35-year-old Phen Kouy and 29-year-old Lay Malen – and an unidentified man. All are due in court today. Police seized a handgun, a car and 1,132 yama tablets at the scene. Two members of the gang escaped and are still at large, police said.