Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Man Burns Down Own House, Wife Wouldn´t Give Him a Smoke


(Posted by CAAI news Media)

Banan district, Batambang, Cambodia, a man drank a liter of wine and then demanded that his wife give him money to go buy cigarettes. The wife refused, which made the drunk man very irate.

The man insisted that if his wife didn't give him money to buy cigarettes, he would burn down their house. His wife still refused, yelling, "Go ahead! Burn down the house if you want to." And so he set his house on fire.

The couple and their seven children are now homeless.

Thailand's Thaksin speaks to Cambodian law-makers

Published: 15/12/2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra addressed Cambodian ministers in his new advisory role Tuesday on how to develop their economy during the global recession, reporters said.

Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, pictured, has addressed Cambodian ministers in his new advisory role on how to develop their economy during the global recession, reporters have said.

The visit to Cambodia by Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 coup, has further raised diplomatic tensions with Thailand, which flared last month when Phnom Penh refused to extradite him during his first visit as economic adviser.

Foreign language media were locked out of Thaksin's meeting Tuesday at the Council for the Development of Cambodia, but local reporters said he spoke to between 20 and 30 senior Cambodian ministers and their deputies.

The Thai billionaire telecoms mogul talked about how to develop the impoverished nation's economy during the worldwide financial crisis and discussed agricultural reform, the reporters added.

Thaksin arrived in Phnom Penh on Sunday, and the Cambodian government credited him for the release on Monday of Siwarak Chothipong, a Thai employee of the Cambodia Air Traffic Service jailed for spying on his previous visit.

Siwarak, 31, was handed a seven-year prison sentence last week for supplying Thaksin's flight schedule to the Thai embassy, but he left Prey Sar jail early Monday after receiving a pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni.

Siwarak's arrest last month was followed by a brief tit-for-tat of diplomatic expulsions.

The two countries had earlier withdrawn their ambassadors in the dispute over Thaksin's appointment as government economic adviser.

Angered by Thaksin's presence in Cambodia, Thailand also put all talks and cooperation with the neighbouring country on hold and has torn up an oil and gas exploration deal signed during Thaksin's tenure as prime minister.

Thaksin is living abroad, mostly in Dubai, to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption handed down by a Thai court in September 2008.

He won two elections in Thailand and remains an influential political figure at home, stirring up mass protests by his "Red Shirt" supporters against the current government.



(Posted by CAAI News Media)
PHNOM PENH, Dec 15 (NNN-AKP) — Cambodian King-Father Norodom Sihanouk and Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk will return home in late March next year.

?In the end of March 2010, several days before the Khmer New Year, I will probably return to Kampuchea to live there with our King, our nation and our respected and beloved People,? said former king, who is currently in Beijing, China, for medical treatment, in his message dated Dec. 10.

He further said he will live in Phnom Penh, in Kantha Bopha residence at the Royal Palace, not in Siem Reap province as before.

Regarding his health, King-Father said he must stay in Beijing for another three months for the treatment of his cancer ?Lymphoma B? before coming back to the country.

The former monarchs had left for Beijing in early September this year for a routine medical check-up after a two-month stay in the province of Siem Reap. — NNN-AKP


(Posted by CAAI News Media)
PHNOM PENH, Dec 15 (NNN-AKP) — Cambodia co-chaired with Pakistan held a two-day seminar on ?social market economy? with the participation of 16 representatives of Asian political parties aimed at exchanging views and experiences to find a suitable policy, which could be applied for their own national strategy.

Mr. Yos Son, Chairman of the Commission for International Affairs, of the Cambodian People?s Party (CPP), said at the opening remarks that the representatives can share their experiences in contribution to the establishment of an ?Asian Community?.

?We are hoping that this Community would become one-family in which all members will obtain peace, security, stability, prosperity and sustainable development,? he said in his address at the meeting in Siem Reap, the land of treasures and smile.

He also said that ?the leaders of the Cambodian People?s Party have highly valued the key role of the social market economic system, which guaranteed the balance between the free market economy and the social security system.?

Dr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister, Member of the Standing Committee of the Cambodian People?s Party and also Vice-President of CDI- Asia Pacific since 2006, said ?social market economy is an emerging economic system in Asia widely embraced by prominent political figures.?

?This presents a middle path for the future promotion of stability and prosperity since the social market economy connects with the society as a whole and aimed at promoting the well-being of all individuals,? Dr. Sok An, also Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers, said at the closing seminar.

?We have learned from the bitter lessons of the current global economic crisis. Its negative impact on the global economy and society will linger on for many years to come.?

?It is crucial for all leaders of Asian political parties to seek to better understand and consider the endorsement of the ?social market economy? concept, which has been widely discussed,? said Sok An.

The two-day international seminar, which was joined by the representatives of Asian political parties, adopted the ?Angkor Initiative for Stability, Peace and Prosperity, a Centrist Model for Asia.?

This Angkor Initiative covered three components: economy, politics, and peace through reconciliation in post-conflict situation.

?This Initiative has particular relevance for Northeast Asia, Southwest Asia and Southeast Asia, which remain mired in internecine conflicts and tension,? said the joint statement signed by the Co-chairmen of the International seminar and CDI-Asia Pacific Secretariat.

The Angkor Initiative agreed to establish a working group, which will implement this vision, prepares an agenda and plan of action for a CDI conference of all continents which will convene in Cambodia in July, 2010 to endorse, promote and implement this Initiative.

Cambodia, under Prime Minister Hun Sen of CPP, has been moving on the right track over the last 30 years since the Party drove the Khmer Rouge from power in 1979, the regime which was blamed for the death of an estimated more than 2 million who died of starvations, executions, diseases and forced labors.

?The CPP has acquired a number of great experiences from the implementation of its economic policy along the line of free market economic system,? he said.

Cambodia?s growth hit double digits between 2005 and 2007 thanks to the government?s policy of free market economy, which brought along the multi-billion investment of foreign direct investment (FDI).

The boom of construction of physical infrastructure to support the increasing demands of tourism industry, the garment exports and the country's bountiful commodity also largely contributed to this Southeast Asian nation?s growth.

Cambodia?s officials have said, despite the global downturn began in mid-2008, the impact on its economy was not much?given the country?s key sector of agriculture and tourism are in good shape.

Some participants praised Cambodia?s efforts to overcome the financial crisis.

?Having seen wars… and conflicts, Cambodia has demonstrated this resilience by bouncing back after overcoming crises and difficulties,? said Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Secretary General of Pakistan Muslim League.

Today, Cambodia is a vibrant democracy and a thriving economy,? he told the floor. — NNN-AKP

China calls Uighurs who fled after riots criminals


(Posted by CAAI News Media)

BEIJING — China on Tuesday said the United Nations' refugee program "should not be a haven for criminals," adding that the 22 Muslim Uighurs who have fled the country and applied for asylum at a U.N. office in Cambodia have been involved in crimes.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told a press conference that China is investigating the case of the Uighurs, who fled after ethnic rioting this summer. They arrived in Cambodia in recent weeks after being smuggled out of China with the help of a secret network of missionaries and Chinese Christians.

"These people are involved in crimes," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

The ethnic rioting in July between Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese was China's worst communal violence in decades. The Chinese government says the violence left nearly 200 people, mostly Han, dead.

At least one leader of a Uighur exile group has said it is not clear what role the 22 Uighurs had in the rioting. Another leader has said the Uighurs fear they will be returned to China by Cambodia, which has close ties with China.

The Uighurs have applied for asylum at the U.N. refugee office in Phnom Penh. So far, they have not agreed to be interviewed.

Jiang said the U.N. refugee program "should not be a haven for criminals."

Kitty McKinsey, a spokeswoman for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at its Asian regional office in Bangkok, said the agency's policy is not to discuss individual cases. She described its mission as "to protect any people in the world who cannot receive protection from their own government."

"Sometimes the UNHCR and the government have a dispute over the kind of people in need of protection," she said.

Ilshat Hassan, the U.S.-based director of interior affairs for the World Uyghur Congress, has said the group of 22 Uighurs is the first large one to leave China after the riots.

Earlier this month, Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the country has the right to deny a deportation request if the people involved are political asylum seekers, but "if they are purely criminal people and there is a request, we may deport them."

As of this month, China has handed down at least 17 death sentences over the July rioting.

Overseas Uighur groups say Uighurs have been rounded up in mass detentions since the violence, which flared up after long-simmering tensions between the ethnic groups.

Associated Press writer Grant Peck in Bangkok, Thailand contributed to this report.

Govt sets conditions for resumption of full relations

Published: 15/12/2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

The Cambodian government has to meet three conditions before the the Thai government will send its ambassador back to Phnom Penh, government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn said on Tuesday.

He said the release of pardoned spy Sivarak Chutipong was the first step toward restoring diplomatic relations.

However, ambassador Prasas Prasasvinitchai would return to Phnom Penh only if Cambodia rectified its stated opinion about Thailand's justice system, and its politics, and dismissed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from the position of economic eo the Cambodian government.

"The government may send a first secretary back to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh back if Cambodia wishes to improve bilateral ties, but I cannot confirm that it would be the same person," the government spokesman said.

Last month, Kamrob Palawatwichai, the first secretary of the Thai embassy in Cambodia, was expelled by Cambodia for his involvement in obtaining Thaksin's flight plan.

Mr Panithan also said that Mr Kamrob had tried to contact Mr Sivarak on his arrival back in Thailand.

Mr Sivarak, who was convicted of spying on ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra but later pardoned by the Cambodian king, demanded on Monday that Mr Kamrob "tell the truth".

He said Mr Kamrob had made a phone call to him and asked about a VIP plane's flight information and if Thaksin was on board the plane.

He demanded that Mr Kamrob speak out and restore his damaged reputation by confirming he was not involved in any government attempt to get Thaksin's flight details.

Mr Kamrob has not spoken to the media since.

Mr Panithan said Mr Kamrob tried to contact Mr Sivarak after he landed in back in Bangkok on Monday, but said he was not sure whether the two had talked.

He added that Mr Kamrob would clarify the matter in the next day or two.

"The reason why he does not clarify the issue now is because his superiors are concerned that he is not a good public speaker," he said.

Mr Sivarak's mother, Simarak na Nakhon Phanom, denounced Democrat Party spokesman Buranat Samutrak for saying the release of her son was staged and in the interests of a certain group of people.

"My son has suffered much already. Please don't hurt him more," Mrs Simarak said. "The person who thinks that this was staged, I believe, can also make up stories well."

The stressed mother also called on the media to stop referring to Mr Sivarak's father, who it was claimed was close to Thaksin, because he had passed away a long time ago.

"My son and I do not know Thaksin," she said.

She and her son forgave Kamrob Palawatwichai even though he was the one who called her son and got him arrested in the end.

"I agree with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that everything should end here, but I wonder how would Mr Kamrob feel if he was in prison for just a day," she said.

She said she would like to thank Thaksin for his assistance and the people for their support.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Tuesday that he would make no further comment on the case involving Mr Sivarak.

This matter should be put to end, he said, adding that the public understand what happened.

He earlier said the incident was a conspiracy by Puea Thai and Thaksin to discredit the government and boost the popularity of the convicted former prime minister, who arrived in Cambodia on Sunday to arrange for Mr Sivarak's release.

When asked about the government's efforts to extradite Thaksin now that he is back in Cambodia, Mr Suthep said that was the responsibility of the Foreign Ministry.

On Tuesday, Thaksin addressed Cambodian ministers in his advisory role on how to develop their economy during the global recession.

Foreign language media were locked out of Thaksin's meeting at the Council for the Development of Cambodia, but local reporters said he spoke to between 20 and 30 senior Cambodian ministers and their deputies.

He talked about how to develop the impoverished nation's economy during the worldwide financial crisis and discussed agricultural reform, the reporters added.

Thaksin Shinawatra and Chavalit Yongchaiyudh Come Together to Receive the Thai Spy Today – Monday 14.12.2009

Posted on 15 December 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 643

(Posted by CAAI News Media)
“Phnom Penh: The Thai former prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, and the Puea Thai Party president, Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will come together to receive the Thai spy Siwarak Chothipong at the Prey Sar Prison today [13 December 2009]. This is according to a high ranking official of the Royal Government.

“This official said that the information about the arrival of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will be hidden to some extent. But Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh arrived at Cambodia since yesterday morning on 13 December 2009.

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, spoke to Kampuchea Thmey, as saying that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will really come to Cambodia to receive the Thai spy who will be released on Monday. But Mr. Khieu Kanharith did not specify the actual date, but just said that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will arrive on 12 or 13 December 2009. As soon as Mr. Thaksin arrives at Cambodia, he will go to meet the Thai spy in the Prey Sar Prison, to visit him with his mother.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith added that after Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra has met the Thai man, he will meet with Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen on Monday. Then he will meet economists at the Ministry of Economy and Finance like before.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith stressed the arrival of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra is not a secret, because he already became an important official of Cambodia. As an economic advisor, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra might do some work abroad to contact with investors to come to invest in Cambodia.

“As for the Thai government of Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, after receiving the information about Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, that he comes to visit Cambodia again, he is seeking to send a diplomatic note again, asking Cambodia to extradite Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, according to AFP.

“Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva told this news agency that even though the previous request for extradition was rejected by the Cambodian government, his government will not give up sending a request again.

“A high raking official of Cambodia said that what we decided previously is not different from now, because Cambodia does not like twisting words like the Thai government. Thus, Cambodia will not care about any requests of the Thai government to extradite Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra.

“Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra said on the Internet by Twitter on Saturday that he plans to visit three countries in Asia. He said the visit to those countries would take seven to eight days. But he did not specify those countries’ names.

“According to a high ranking official of the Council of Ministers, when Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra arrives, he will go to meet the Thai spy at the Prey Sar Prison at 4:30 p.m. on 13 December 2009, and that spy will be released from prison on 14 December 2009.

“The official added that the president of the Puea Thai Party, Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will accompany Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra. According to the official, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra and Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh expressed their appreciation towards the head of the Cambodian government, especially King Norodom Sihamoni, who pardoned the Thai national.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2123, 13-14.12.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 14 December 2009

Three conditions for renewing ties

Published: 15/12/2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

The Cambodian government has to meet three conditions before the Thai government will send its ambassador back to Phnom Penh, government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn said on Tuesday.

He said Thai-Cambodian diplomatic relations had made the first step toward a return to normal relations with the release of Sivarak Chutipong from jail.

Thai ambassador Prasas Prasasvinitchai would return to Phnom Penh only if Cambodia corrects its stated opinions of Thailand's justice system, and of its politics, and reverses the appointment of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser to the Cambodian government, he said.

"The government may send a first secretary of the Thai embassy back to Phnom Penh if Cambodia wishes to improve bilateral ties, but I cannot confirm that it would be the same person," the government spokesman said.

Last month, former first secretary Kamrob Palawatwichai was expelled by Cambodia for his involvement in obtaining Thaksin's flight plan, which lead to the arrest and conviction on a spying charge of Sivarak Chutipong, who was pardoned by the Cambodian king on Friday.

Thai diplomat to explain role in arrest of Thai employee in Cambodia


(Posted by CAAI News Media)

BANGKOK, Dec 15 (TNA) – The former first secretary of the Thai embassy in Cambodia, Kamrob Palawatwichai, who telephoned the Thai engineer seeking the flight schedule of ex- premier Thaksin Shinawatra, which led to the arrest of the Thai engineer, will clarify his action to the public in the next few days, acording to acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayakorn.

Mr Kamrob tried to contact Mr Siwarak after he was released and returned to Thailand, Dr Panitan said, but he didn’t know whether they had talked yet.

The spokesman added he believed all sides will understand Mr Kamrob as all information including the flight schedule for which he asked, was not confidential.

Mr Kamrob was expelled from Cambodia after he was found asking Mr Siwarak for Mr Thaksin's flight plan.

The employee, Siwarak Chutipong, arrived in Bangkok Monday after a month in a Cambodian jail. He was released with a royal pardon.

Mr Siwarak said on his arrival that the case was not a setup as rumours speculated, as the Thai first secretary in Phnom Penh was involved in the case.

The engineer said he could not force the diplomat to call him, but urged Mr Kamrob to tell the public the truth.

Mr Siwarak, an employee of Thai-owned Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS), was arrested by Cambodian police on November 12 on charges of espionage--passing to a Thai diplomat information on the flight details of Mr Thaksin during his first visit to Cambodia after being appointed economic adviser.

The Thai employee was later sentenced to seven years jail term and fined Bt100,000 (US$3,000) for releasing Mr Thaksin’s flight details. (TNA)

Strengthening Vietnam-Cambodia relations


(Posted by CAAI News Media)

The General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh will pay an official visit to Cambodia on December 17-19 at the invitation of King Norodom Sihamoni. This is Mr Manh’s second visit to Cambodia after his first in March 2005.

The visit aims to strengthen the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries and to elevate Vietnam’s position in the region, especially as the country will assume the chair of ASEAN in 2010.

Vietnam and Cambodia share a 1,000km long border and both use the Mekong River. They stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight against colonialism and the Pol Pot genocidal regime and have continued with mutual support and assistance during the current process of national construction and defence. Both countries have an open foreign policy of diversifying and multilateralising their international relations.

Over the past years, bilateral relations have developed well with an emphasis on ‘good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation and long-term stability. A regular exchange of high-level visits has been maintained to promote mutual trust and understanding. Relations between the Communist Party of Vietnam and the two Cambodian parties in the ruling coalition have also fared well.

Economic, trade and investment ties between Vietnam and Cambodia have grown and flourished constantly on a par with their political ties. Two-way trade has increased by 40 percent annually, reaching US$1.7 billion in 2008 and US$945 million in the past three quarters of this year.

Both countries have worked out measures to expand economic and trade cooperation, to raise bilateral trade to US$2 billion in 2010. They have also opened and upgraded a number of economic zones and markets along the border.

Vietnam’s investment in Cambodia has increased considerably, with 50 projects licensed and valued at US$640 million. These projects mainly focus on the exploration and exploitation of minerals, oil & gas, the construction of hydro-power electric plants and power transmission lines, rubber plantations and developing transport infrastructure.

Progress has been made in several joint projects such as health care, education-training and science-technology. Since 1995, Vietnam has trained thousands of Cambodian officials, university graduates and post-graduates in economics, culture and science-technology. In 2010 Vietnam is expected to grant 550 scholarships to Cambodian students. In turn, Cambodia will also grant scholarships to Vietnamese officials studying the Khmer language.

Cambodia has appreciated Vietnam’s humanitarian programmes to provide medical check-ups and restore the eyesight of visually-impaired people in border provinces.

The two countries have also worked closely in regional and international forums, thereby elevating their status globally.

Cambodia sees 93 garment factories close up


(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- At least 93 garment and shoe factories were closed in the first 11 months of 2009 at the cost of 38,190 jobs, local media reported on Tuesday, citing the figures released by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.

A further 60 factories temporarily suspended operations, affecting 35,337 more jobs, but 55 new factories were also opened, creating 15,173 new positions, the Phnom Penh Post quoted the figures as saying, which were released at the fourth National Conference on Industrial Relations.

Labour Ministry Secretary of State Oum Mean was quoted as saying that the closures increased the rate of unemployment in Cambodia, but that around half of the laid-off workers found jobs again in the sector.

"So, the real number of jobless garment workers was less than 30,000," he said.

Ministry figures show that 516 garment and shoe factories are operating in Cambodia, employing 358,660 workers. Of these, 418 factories are in Phnom Penh, employing 262,320, while the 98 factories in other provinces employ about 96,340 workers.

Oum Mean acknowledged the challenges facing the domestic garment sector in the wake of the global economic crisis, which has seen the country lose market share to its competitors in the key U.S. market, according to the Asian Development Bank and International Monetary Fund.

The conference, which looked at the impact of the global economic crisis on industrial relations in Cambodia, was organized by the Arbitration Council Foundation, set up in 2004 to support the labour dispute resolution work of the Arbitration Council.

Editor: Fang Yang

JETRO to open office in Cambodia next March


Tuesday 15th December

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH — The Japan External Trade Organization signed an agreement with Cambodia on Monday to open an office here next March to enhance economic and business ties between the two countries.

According to the memorandum of understanding signed between Cambodia Commerce Ministry and JETRO, the office will help promote mutual trade, investment and industrial development. Atsusuke Kawada, a senior economist of JETRO based in Bangkok, said Cambodia is one of only three countries among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations where JETRO has yet to open an office, the other two being Brunei and Laos.

FBD: Cambodia’s pepper industry in need of big changes


by FoodBizDaily.com staff writer

(Posted by CAAI news Media)

December 14 2009 - If Cambodia’s currently small black pepper industry is to become a global player, the industry needs major changes: A proper grading system, state-of-the-art processing plants and real quality control are all good starts. This then should enable the industry to make exports to the EU and Japan quite soon.

Pepper from Kampot, a province in Southern Cambodia, will get a boost next year when it receives a geographic indicator shared by products such as Champagne. The issues of quality and sustainability will be addressed next. In addition, raw materials will need to meet buyer specifications; after that, customer satisfaction needs to be achieved.

The Kingdom’s pepper, though centred in Kampong Cham province, must still be shipped to Vietnam for processing due to the fact that there are no domestic processing facilities in Cambodia other than Kampot.

Approximately 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of pepper is produced annually in Cambodia. This is a tiny fraction of the total global production of some 281,974 tonnes, as measured by the International Pepper Community (IPC).

As of now, Cambodia’s pepper industry is stuck in a mostly ad hoc system. Furthermore, the government, despite pleas from major producers of pepper worldwide, has chosen not to join the IPC.

In contrast to Cambodia, Vietnam’s pepper industry has benefited greatly from IPC membership. In fact, Vietnam is now the world’s largest exporter of pepper, sending abroad around 120,000 tonnes in just the first 10 months of this year (2009).

Cambodia, South Korea signs to build bourse complex, starts in February 2009

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 09:01 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 15 (DAP) – Cambodia and the South Korean developer World City Co Ltd singed early this month to build a $6 million construction for the country’s first stock market, director of the financial industry department at Cambodia's Ministry of Economy and Finance said on Tuesday.

Mey Vann said the four-story on the 6,000 square meter of the four-story building, which located on the former muddy land at the north of Phnom Penh’s outskirt, will be completed in the next eight months.

It took months before reaching a final approval of the building design model, which shows the culture of Cambodia and Korea. The project has been bit slow as the result of financial down turn began last year.

“We do not have to wait until the construction to complete. We will have our temporary office of the stock market in the ministry of economy and finance," Mr. Vann told DAP.

“We cannot afford to rent an expensive office.”

“We will begin our operation of the stock market by the end of February in 2010," he said.
The idea of a Cambodian stock market, which has been floated since the 1990s after the UN sponsored election.

A numbers of seminars about the bourse have been conducted since last month aimed at raising awareness about the coming stock market, which is an unprecedented for the country went through 30 years of war, which was ended in 1998 the same year that Pol Pot, architecture of the Khmer Rouge, died.

The exchange expected to start small with just four or five companies issuing about $10 million worth of shares each, Intyo Lee, project director for Korea Exchange, has said.

Korea Exchange <.KS11>, Asia's fourth-largest bourse operator, will own 49 percent of the exchange and is recruiting and training workers for it. Cambodian will own the rest.

The country passed the stock market law in September 2007.

Korea has pledged $1.8 million in aid and technical assistance from the Seoul stock exchange to get the Phnom Penh bourse off the ground. Overall, the launch would cost $15 million, the government officials said.

As many as 400 companies are thought to be possible candidates for flotation in the nation of more than 13 million populations.

Much of Cambodia's economy is dependent on agriculture, although it has some proven off-shore oil and gas reserves, a vibrant garment industry and booming domestic construction and telecommunications sectors.

Cambodia’s growth has been remarkably high in recent years was nearly double digits.

Cambodia’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) reached between $3 billion to $4 billion in 2006 and 2007.

The country’s attracted nearly 2 million visitors last year. Cambodia expected to produce oil by 2010.

South Korean company’s officials said they decided to invest in Cambodia following its “serious research on the country’s politics and economic.”

“When we were in South Korea, every one was thinking about the past violence of Khmer Rouge.” Khmer Rouge was blamed for the deaths of nearly 2 million during their rules in 1970s.
“We were then really afraid to open business in Cambodia, but actually when we came here we realized that it is really safe,” said Yunyoung Lee, director of the marketing division, told reporters.

“So we want to start our project of stock market before others will.”

Cambodia-US to boost port nuclear

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 04:24 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI news Media)

The Cambodian and US Governments on Monday agreed to co-cooperate to boost Cambodia’s seaport security in Preah Sihanouk province, according to a Monday press release from the US embassy in Phnom Penh.

The agreement came after both nation’s representatives jointly singed at the Secretariat of National Counterter-rorism Committee (SNCTC) in Phnom Penh.

US ambassador to Cambodia Carol A. Rodley, on behalf of the US government, and Senior Cambodian Minister Om Yen Tieng singed on Monday an agreement on nuclear and other radioactive material, the press release said.

The agreement, known as the Mega-ports initiative, paves the way for Camb- odia to install radiation detection equipment at the autonomous port of Sihanou- kville, the press release confirmed, adding that “In addition to providing equipment and infrastructure, the United States will also raise Cambodia officials on the use and maintenance of the equipment.”

The installation of radiation detection equipment at the port will improve Cambodia’s ability to monitor cargo at this critical location and underscores the importance of the country’s seaports in regional maritime security.

The Megaports Initiative is now operational at 28 ports around the world. Work is underway at additional ports in Asia, Latin, America and the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

ICRC hands files to Cambodian Red Cross

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 04:21 DAP-NEWS

(Posted by CAAI news Media)

The vice-president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Christine Beerli, on Monday handed over digitized tracing files on half a million people to the Cambodian Red Cross during a ceremony in Phnom Penh, a press release from the ICRC said.

Beerli is taking part in a series of events commemorating 30 years of ICRC presence in Cambodia and meeting Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni. She will also hold talks with prime minister Hun Sen and other government officials.

The files the ICRC has handed over to the Cambodian Red Cross contain details of people separated from their loved ones by war since 1975.

“Over 200,000 people have asked the ICRC for information about their relatives and almost half of them have been reunited with their families. In many cases, the ICRC was able to re-establish contact between family members,” said Beerli.

“We hope that these files will enable the Cambodian Red Cross to continue helping families shed light on the fate of missing relatives.”

The ICRC supports physical rehabilitation services that benefit thousands of Cambodians each year and works closely with the Cambodian Red Cross, particularly to promote international huma-nitarian law and humanitarian principles.

The ICRC also visits detainees and supports Cambodian authorities in their efforts to improve sanitation in places of detention.

Tick, tock, tick ...

Photo by: PHAR LINA

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:01 Phar Lina

More than 400 demonstrators from universities and NGOs gathered at the park next to Wat Botum on Monday to call for stronger global policies to tackle climate change. The group stood together on the park grounds forming an hourglass shape, with those in black shirts slipping past those wearing blue as if they were grains of sand to signify that time is running out.

Thai spy released from jail

Photo by: Sovan Philong
Sivarak Chutipong, a Thai man convicted last week of spying, leaves a ceremony at Hun Sen’s house with his mother after receiving a Royal pardon.

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:04 Cheang Sokha and James O’toole

ATHAI man convicted of espionage last week was officially released from Prey Sar prison on Monday amid a visit to Cambodia by fugitive former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and an intervention by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Sivarak Chutipong, an airport engineer arrested last month for leaking information about Thaksin’s flight schedule during the ex-premier’s November visit to Cambodia, was sentenced to seven years in prison by Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week. After receiving a Royal pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni on Friday, however, Sivarak attended a ceremony at Hun Sen’s Phnom Penh residence Monday to celebrate his release.

“I feel very happy that I have freedom again. I really appreciate [Hun Sen’s] kindness in helping me,” Sivarak said, adding that he may return to Cambodia after a trip home to Thailand.

“From now on, Sivarak has freedom to carry out any business,” Hun Sen declared as he presented the 31-year-old with a copy of the pardon.

Following the ceremony, also attended by Sivarak’s mother and four members of Thailand’s Thaksin-associated Puea Thai party, Hun Sen held a closed-door meeting with Thaksin.

Photo by: AFP
Prime Minister Hun Sen walks with Sivarak Chutipong after his release from prison. Sivarak was convicted of spying after delivering Thaksin Shinawatra’s flight schedule to the Thai embassy.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he was unsure of the duration of Thaksin’s visit, but said the onetime telecommunications mogul was due to meet with Cambodian officials in his capacity as government economics adviser.

Thaksin went into self-imposed exile last year to avoid a jail term for corruption, following his ouster in a 2006 coup. Thailand demanded his extradition when he visited Cambodia last month, though this was immediately rebuffed, with the Cambodian government arguing that Thaksin was prosecuted for political reasons.

Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi welcomed Sivarak’s release, but said it would not necessarily augur a restoration of full diplomatic ties. Thailand withdrew its ambassador to Phnom Penh last month in protest of the Kingdom’s advisory appointment of Thaksin, and Cambodia followed suit shortly afterwards.

“I think it’s a separate issue between the overall relations between Thailand and Cambodia and the issue of ... Sivarak,” Thani said.

Eang Sophalleth, a spokesman for Hun Sen, said Sivarak was being freed “because of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s concern for the love between a mother and son and also the intervention from his excellency Thaksin Shinawatra”.

Eang Sophalleth added that though it was Sivarak who faced criminal charges, the Thai government bears responsibility for his ordeal. Sivarak told the Municipal Court that in leaking Thaksin’s flight information, he was acting on a request from Kamrob Palawatwichai, the first secretary of the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh, who was expelled from Cambodia for his involvement in the case.

“Without any request, Sivarak would not be victimised like this,” Eang Sophalleth said.

Thaksin also reportedly told Hun Sen that Sivarak was a “political victim of the Thai government”, according to CTN television.

Thani argued, however, that in staging his controversial visits to Cambodia, Thaksin himself was the root of Sivarak’s troubles.

“In looking at this issue, one would have to take in the whole picture and see how the whole episode started,” Thani said.

Beijing sends note on Uighurs

Photo by: Jude Mak
A Uighur man in China examines a government “re-education” poster depicting exiled leader of the World Uighur Congress, Rebiya Kadeer, accused by China of inciting the riots that erupted in Urumqi in July.

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:03 Sebastian Strangio

CHINESE authorities have sent a diplomatic note to the Cambodian government regarding 22 Uighur asylum seekers who arrived here from China last month, Foreign Ministry officials confirmed Monday, raising fresh concerns among rights groups that Beijing is seeking their deportation.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the ministry, said the note was received from Chinese officials last week, but he could not confirm its exact contents.

“The note from the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh refers to the Uighur Chinese, but I don’t know in detail what the note says,” he said.

The group of Muslim Uighurs, from China’s restive northwest Xinjiang province, arrived in Cambodia at various points last month in a bid to apply for political asylum through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Uighur rights groups have said members of the group fear retaliation from Chinese authorities after they witnessed clashes between Chinese security forces and Uighur demonstrators in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, in July.

Dolkun Isa, secretary general of the World Uighur Congress, said that he feared the note was an attempt for Beijing to secure the return of the Uighurs after a government crackdown on the July protests.

“China is afraid that if people go to another country, the international community will know about China’s policy towards the Uighur people,” he said, adding that he expected “strong pressure” to prevent the Uighurs’ gaining asylum in a third country.

“The problem is a heavy one for China,” Dolkun Isa said.

When contacted Monday, Qian Hai, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh, refused to answer questions about the existence of the note, but analysts said Beijing is likely to make a strong push for the return of the Uighurs.

“Normally, China takes a very hard line on Uighurs who seek out shelter in other countries, as China does not admit that there are conditions in Xinjiang, where most Uighurs live, that can be oppressive and might cause Uighurs to flee the country,” Josh Kurlantzick, a China expert at the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington, said by email.

The Uighur American Association says that in late 2001 and early 2002, Nepal forcibly returned at least two Uighurs to Chinese authorities in Xinjiang, one of whom was executed in 2003 despite his having registered with the UNHCR office in Kathmandu.

Kurlantzick said the Chinese government has pushed hard to have Uighurs sent back to China from Central Asia and has also protested “aggressively” against the transfer of Uighurs held by the US government at Guantanamo Bay to third countries.

On December 8, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a news briefing in Beijing that officials were investigating reports of the asylum claims filed by the Uighurs in Cambodia, emphasising Beijing’s “good cooperative relationship” with Cambodia.

Kitty McKinsey, the spokeswoman for UNHCR in Bangkok, said the Cambodian government is putting in place a “national asylum procedure” to review refugee claims with UNHCR’s assistance.

“UNHCR stands ready to assist the government in ensuring that any individuals at particular risk are given priority consideration in the assessment of their claims,” she added.

The Uighur asylum bid has also attracted attention among Cambodia’s diplomatic corps, who say they are monitoring the situation closely. One diplomatic source said the government “should act on this case, like any other case, in accordance with its international obligations”.

Koy Kuong said the government had yet to make a decision on the case of the Uighurs, adding that they had been classified as persons of concern by UNHCR and were being interviewed about their status.

“The UNHCR is cooperating with the Cambodian government, with relevant competent authorities, to interview all of them to find if they have the status of real refugees,” he said. “We are waiting for a clear result from the interviews.”

Though the arrival of the Uighurs arguably puts Cambodia in a difficult position between a key international patron and its obligations under international law, others say the government’s handling of the issue has been encouraging.

“The stance that the government is taking, which is that they will cooperate with UNHCR in assessing the asylum claims of the 22 Uighurs, is a very good sign,” said Sara Colm, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch. “The Cambodian government has consistently stated that it will back up the UNHCR in [its] assessments of the asylum claims of the 22 Uighurs, and it’s important that Cambodia’s development partners strongly support [it].”

Man seeks $5,000 for wife’s death in hospital

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:03 Mom Kunthear and Chrann Chamroeun

A MAN who blames staff at a prominent hospital for the death of his wife is demanding US$5,000 in compensation, while an ongoing court investigation appears to have stalled.

Ly Kok Meng said he is asking for $5,000 from doctors at the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital, accusing medical workers of carelessness in the November death of his wife during childbirth.

“I don’t know if they will agree to pay what I have demanded, but the prosecutor told me that it is a suitable cost,” Ly Kok Meng said.

The man’s demand comes after court officials urged Ly Kok Meng to reach an out-of-court settlement in the dispute. He had previously told the Post he preferred seeking legal action to civil compensation.

No decision from court
Prosecutors last week questioned a representative for some of the hospital’s medical staff, but officials said Monday they had not decided whether to lay charges or drop the case outright.

“We haven’t yet finished [investigating] the case,” said Phnom Penh Municipal Court Prosecutor Sok Roeun, adding that the court is still waiting to examine hospital documents.

Ly Kok Meng’s wife, Ban Rany, died during childbirth at the hospital after she was injected with a serum. Hospital staff said Ban Rany suffered an allergic reaction to the serum, and Ly Kok Meng said that medical staff were negligent.

Dr Say Sengly, the hospital’s director, declined to comment Monday. But he previously said that Ly Kok Meng’s claims were baseless.

Khmer Krom arrivals seek local residency

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:03 Kim Yuthana

A PETITION was submitted to the governor of Poipet town in Banteay Meanchey province on Monday, asking for government intervention in the matter of 24 Khmer Krom asylum seekers who were deported to Cambodia by Thai authorities on December 5.

“We hope that local authorities will try to help us as soon as possible in gaining equal rights to residency in Cambodia because, at the moment, we are living in difficult conditions and lack enough food,” said Thach Soong, 49, a representative of the group that filed the petition, which has also been sent to senior officials in Phnom Penh.

Try Narin, governor of Poipet town, said Monday that he had yet to receive a copy of the petition.

“We will examine their identities, and if they prove to be ethnic minority Khmer Krom, then that will help in the process of granting them permission to settle in Cambodia,” he said.

Chea Sokun, secretary of the Independent Democratic Association of Non-formal Economy, said that his organisation will continue to support the group until they are found permanent homes in the Kingdom, but will need some outside assistance.

“I would like to appeal to local and international NGOs to help support them by donating food,” he said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Khmer Krom have the right to live in Cambodia if they choose, but that the 24 recent arrivals had not yet been clearly identified as ethnic Khmers.

Airport eviction delayed

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:03 Tep Nimol and May titthara

OVER 100 families living near Phnom Penh International Airport who were slated for eviction on Friday were granted a last-minute reprieve, but residents remain wary.

Chan Sam An, a representative of the group, said he was unsure why the eviction had been delayed.

“I think the reason behind it is that a lot of people have complained about this issue. But even when they come to evict us we will not go because they are not going to provide us with compensation,” he said.

The original eviction letter was sent to the families on December 5, stating they would be expelled on December 11. The letter also outlined three options handed down by City Hall for the residents: voluntarily leave their homes and receive an unspecified amount of compensation; voluntarily relocate to a site along Russian Boulevard, or be forcibly relocated.

Uth Teng Sakhorn, another residents’ representative said: “We are living here legally.... We don’t want to move to a new location, but if authorities really need the land in our area to develop then they should provide us with a fair compensation plan that we can accept.”

Kroch Phan, the governor of Dangkor district, said the eviction was delayed because City Hall was “considering compensation” and looking for new potential relocation sites. He said he was unsure when the eviction would begin.

SRP, police scuffle on Vietnam border visit

Photo by: Zela Chin
Villagers force their way through a police blockade on Monday to lead a group of opposition parliamentarians and journalists to the site of a border-demarcation pole at the heart of a dispute with Vietnam.

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:03 Meas Sokchea


PARLIAMENTARIANS from the Sam Rainsy Party scuffled briefly with police in Svay Rieng province on Monday as they went to investigate a border area where villagers say Vietnamese authorities have encroached on their farmland.

The group of around 20 lawmakers travelled from Phnom Penh in an attempt to visit the site where opposition leader Sam Rainsy had earlier uprooted several border markers to protest alleged Vietnamese land-grabbing.

Sam Rainsy was stripped of his parliamentary immunity on November 16 for his part in the incident, paving the way for legal prosecution. He is facing charges of incitement and destruction of public property in Svay Rieng provincial court, according to documents he provided last week.

Around 30 provincial police officers initially formed a barrier blocking the parliamentarians and several dozen villagers from accessing the site of Sam Rainsy’s October stunt.

“You cannot go in to see the border. This is an order from a high-ranking provincial official,” Svay Rieng police official Kong Sovanara told the assemblage.

A shoving match ensued between police and area residents as they attempted to push past the officers, though no one was hurt, and police eventually allowed the group to pass.

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said his party was not looking for a fight and had come only in pursuance of their duties as National Assembly members.

“We have not come here to make problems or cause conflict with anyone,” he said, adding: “We came here because of people’s claims that they lost their land. We want to see with our own eyes.”

Residents of Svay Rieng’s Chantrea district, the site of the event, said the Vietnamese had been steadily moving in on their territory.

“We want the government to think about the eastern border – they think about the western border too much,” said one woman, Meas Srey, who claimed to have lost more than a hectare of farmland. “I am not afraid of prison because I have lost my land. I’ve planted rice here for a long time.”

After observing the border area and talking with residents, Son Chhay said a lack of transparency in border demarcation had contributed to the Cambodian villagers’ frustrations.

“We want the border markers to be placed with observation by villagers, observers and journalists from both sides,” he said, adding that the current system “is not clear for the people”.

Var Kimhong, senior minister in charge of border affairs, said he had no problem with the SRP’s trip. “Opposition party parliamentarians can go to the border – that is their freedom. But do not destroy public property,” he said.

Though he acknowledged that some Cambodians may be affected by border demarcation with Vietnam, Var Kimhong called this an inevitable aspect of the process.

“If we use poles for demarcation, people’s rice fields are always affected,” he said. “If they do not want their rice fields affected, they should plant their rice fields in the sky.”

Svay Rieng provincial Governor Cheang Am could not be reached for comment.

Along Siem Reap River, families to be relocated

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:03 Rann Reuy

Siem Reap

HUNDREDS of families living in homes perched precariously on the banks of the Siem Reap River in Siem Reap town are to be relocated in a bid to “beautify” the town, officials said on Monday.

Provincial officials have concluded a survey of families living along a 2-kilometre stretch of the riverbank in preparation to move them to a relocation site between 30 and 40 kilometres away in Banteay Srey district.

Tep Bunchhay, the governor of Siem Reap town, said: “We will construct parks and enlarge roads along the river to make the town more beautiful.” The river water has been too dirty for people to swim in safely since about 1996, he added.

The exact date of the eviction and the amount of land each family will be offered at the relocation site has yet to be determined, Tep Bunchhay said.

But he made it clear that no money will be offered to the villagers if they reject the social land concession.

One resident, 53-year-old Heang Sophal, confirmed that a group of about 10 officials had measured his house, taken a photo and enquired about the size of his family, but said they had not explained why they were doing so.

“We’ve been hearing for a long time that officials plan to relocate the people here, but we never saw any real action,” he said.

“We are willing to move away from here, but we need money. I can leave if the authorities give me US$2,000 to buy a small plot of land on the outskirts of town. No one wants to live in the forest.”

Um Chantha, 40, has lived on the riverbank for 14 years. Officials measured her home last week and told her to prepare herself to move.

“What makes me most worried is that my kids will lose their schools,” she said, expressing concern about how moving to a location far from the town would affect her income. Fellow vendor Ly Yi, 43, said she was fearful of being moved to a rural location, but said, “It is unavoidable because the authorities need to develop the town.”

The results of the survey are due to be released this week.

Group 34 cash-strapped

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:02 May Titthara

Residents of Group 34 in Chamkarmon district are struggling to raise enough cash to buy land for new homes in the capital.

Authorities have allowed the villagers to move to a site 10 kilometres from their current homes, but only if families contribute US$100 (416,300 riels) each to buy the land. “Now it’s our problem because we don’t have the money,” said So Vor, who is part of the Group 34 community living in Tomnup Toek commune.

Chamkarmon district Governor Lo Yuy confirmed that the villagers were obliged to raise the extra cash. “If they have not saved enough money, it is their problem, because the villagers have already given their thumbprints and agreed that each family will give $100,” Lo Yuy said. “We will wait for them until we get the money from them.”

Last family in land dispute departs Kraya commune

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A worker carries cassava roots in Kraya commune last week. The last residents of the Kampong Thom commune, which predominantly survives on cassava farming, left the area Monday after a long and bitter land dispute with authorities.

Hun Sen was preparing a veterans village for us, so why did the authorities have to take this land from us?

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:02 May Titthara

AHOTLY contested 8,100-hectare plot of land in Santuk district, Kampong Thom province, was devoid of villagers for the first time in five years Monday, as the last of the families embroiled in a bitter land dispute moved to a relocation site 7 kilometres away.

“I really regret that I need to leave my farm and my house, but I have no choice but to agree with the authorities because most of the village representatives have run away,” said Moeung Saroeun, 45, whose family was the last to leave the village in Kraya commune at 10am Monday.

“I never wanted to leave this village that I moved to many years ago,” she added.

The rancour between village representatives and officials was far from over, however, as a new dispute emerged over the number of families who actually lived at the old site.

Throughout the land row – which spilled over into violence most recently on November 16, when villagers set alight four vehicles belonging to a Vietnamese rubber company before 30 soldiers and military police officers turned on them with knives, hatchets and canes – village representatives have said there were about 1,750 families living there.

But Santuk district Governor Pich Sophea asserted Sunday that the representatives’ figure was severely inflated. “They used to say there were more than 1,000 families in the village, but in fact at the final total there are only 320 families,” he said, claiming the discrepancy was caused by “ghost families” invented by the village representatives in a bid to secure more land.

On Monday, Pich Sophea raised his estimated total to 450 families, still a far cry from the total claimed by Khun Sokea, chief of the Disabled Soldiers Development Community, an association of veterans and their families who began settling in Kraya commune in 2004 and received official recognition for the community in 2005.

“What the authorities are saying is not true,” Khun Sokea maintained.

“There are at least 1,700 families here. Prime Minister Hun Sen was preparing a veterans village for us, so why did the authorities have to take this land from us and give it to a Vietnamese company?”

In 2007, the 8,100-hectare plot of land was sold to the Vietnamese rubber company Tin Bien, but the families refused to relocate, initiating a drawn-out dispute that erupted in occasional violence.

Last week, Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Men Sotharith sent a letter to the Agriculture Ministry requesting information on 87,000 hectares of land in Kampong Thom that have been given out in economic land concessions, including the 8,100 hectares of disputed land in Kraya commune.

SRP lawmaker and spokesman Yim Sovann said he planned to raise the issue during a National Assembly session if no response was forthcoming. Khem Chenda, director of administration at the ministry, said the letter had not arrived as of Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, rights workers expressed concern Monday about the fate of the newly relocated Kraya villagers. Chhoung Ruon, a researcher for the group Licadho, said he was particularly concerned about the possible spread of malaria, as none of the villagers had been given mosquito nets.

Pich Sophea said the district had enlisted 21 trucks to transport the villagers’ belongings to the new location site. He added that district officials were also preparing to give the villagers land titles there.


Bassac residents not eligible for land titles, officials warn

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:02 Chhay Channyda

RESIDENTS living in the iconic Bassac apartment complex in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune will not be eligible to apply for land titles due to the area being too “complicated” to delineate, local officials said on Monday.

In a letter to Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Touch Sarom, Chhay Rithy Sen, the director of the city’s Department of Land Management, said a total of seven areas in the commune would be excluded from land titling.

The letter said the decaying apartment block – also known as The Building – was too difficult to title because of problems disentangling the claims
of its hundreds of residents.

Khat Narith, Tonle Bassac commune chief, said on Monday that the seven zones were considered “complicated areas”, and that local authorities were awaiting orders from senior officials about how to proceed. He said the Bassac building was home to so many families living in a state of “co-ownership” that it was difficult for City Hall to issue them land titles.

The letter also excluded the issuing of titles for two local pagodas – where it said residents are squatting – and added that the T85 and T87 tracts of land, near the recently evicted Rik Reay community, were under a government directive offering a private company the right to buy land from residents at “an agreed price”.

The announcement came after authorities met on Friday with residents in Tonle Bassac, which has seen a rash of forced evictions over the past decade, to announce plans to issue land titles for the area.

Local residents, however, say they have heard little about the chance to claim titles for their land. One 32-year-old resident of the Bassac apartment block said Monday that she knew nothing about last Friday’s meeting or information on whether she could claim a land title.

“I have lived here since 1993, so I should have the right to get a land title,” she said.

Am Sam Ath, a monitor for rights group Licadho, said that according to the Kingdom’s 2001 Land Law, the government should grant land titles to residents in the building who have lived there peacefully for more than five years.

“If they are not given land titles, they will live in fear that they will be evicted some day like the Dey Krahorm, Group 78 or Rik Reay communities,” he said.