Thursday, 28 January 2010

Govt demands consultation on UN rights report

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:05 Sam Rith

GOVERNMENT officials said Wednesday that they welcomed the positive remarks from Surya Subedi, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia, during his second mission to the Kingdom, though Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith warned that Subedi must submit his report on the local rights situation to the government before finalising it.

Though Khieu Kanharith said Subedi’s mission has gone well thus far, he added that a failure by the Nepali law professor to consult with the government over his final report would violate the memorandum of understanding that established his position.

“Before he does the report, the important thing he has to do is meet with the government to discuss the report,” Khieu Kanharith said, adding that previous UN rapporteurs never consulted the government in crafting their reports.

“Now we wait and see whether [Subedi’s] work changes or not” compared with previous rights envoys, Khieu Kanharith said.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Subedi said he had observed “progress made by Cambodia in a number of areas” since his visit last June, praising government officials for their engagement with him and avoiding any direct criticisms. Key improvements, Subedi said, included the strengthening of a legal framework to manage land evictions and relocations, the completion of the first case at the Khmer Rouge tribunal and the adoption of the Kingdom’s new Penal Code.

Some, however, warned that Subedi must not be constrained by a desire to please the government as he carries out his duties.

“We want him to write the truth that he found … and offer recommendations in order to help the Cambodian people live peacefully … and enjoy human rights, democracy and an independent legal system,” said Kek Pung, president of local rights group Licadho.

UNICEF faces broad scrutiny

Photo by: Photo Supplied
The writing on this van, which the rights group Licadho says was used to transport children to a rehabilitation centre in Choam Chao district, reads,“Provided with the support of UNICEF and the EC”.

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:05 Irwin Loy

A LOCAL rights group says it has proof that UNICEF resources have been used to transport illegally detained children to a controversial drug rehabilitation centre accused of human rights abuses.

The news has sparked renewed demands for the UN agency to review its funding, and a representative of the European Union is calling for an investigation into whether EU-funded assets were used in carrying out possible “human rights violations”.

Local rights group Licadho on Wednesday released photos that it said showed children arrested in police sweeps being taken to the Youth Rehabilitation Centre in Phnom Penh’s Choam Chao district.

Photos supplied to the Post show a white van that Licadho says was driven by staffers from the Ministry of Social Affairs, which oversees the facility.

In one photo, the words “Child-friendly justice system” are displayed on the side of the van in English and Khmer. In another, the words “Provided with the support of UNICEF and the EC”, or European Commission, can be seen.

“Officials told our monitor at the time the van would take the children to the Youth Rehabilitation Centre in Choam Chao because the children were suspected drug users,” Licadho Director Naly Pilorge said.

Pilorge said the photos were taken at the municipal Social Affairs Department on May 21, 2009, the morning after a police street sweep.

It came days before an EU-ASEAN ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh, a high-profile summit that prompted authorities to pick up of homeless people, sex workers and drug users in the capital’s Daun Penh district, rights groups said at the time.

Rafael Dochao Moreno, the charge d’affaires for the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia, said the EU has no ongoing projects with rehabilitation centres or the Ministry of Social Affairs.

“Ending in 2007, the EU funded a project through UNICEF … which included the purchase of vehicles that were, as is usual in our projects, turned over to the beneficiaries at the end of the project,” Dochao Moreno said in a statement.

He expressed concern over this apparent use of donor funds.

“If any illegal activities, especially human rights violations, are being conducted with former EU assets, this is an important matter and should be part of the investigations and eventual prosecution by the Cambodian authorities,” Dochao Moreno said.

‘No major violations’

Assessments in 2005, 2007 and 2008 aimed at ensuring “that children’s rights are not violated within these facilities” revealed that “no major violations were reported or documented,” the statement said.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report stating it believes that there are 11 government-run rehabilitation centres, inlcuding Chaom Chao, in which detainees face forced confinement, violent assaults and poor treatment for their addictions. HRW renewed its demand that international agencies re-evaluate funding that may assist the controversial treatment centres.

“UNICEF’s mandate is child protection. This is an outrageous violation of that trust,” said Joe Amon, HRW’s director of health and human rights.

Amon said HRW met with UNICEF in September 2009 and told them of the allegations of abuse based on interviews with detainees.

“If they have failed to investigate or take steps to prevent these abuses, they have failed to fulfill their mandate and clearly abandoned these children,” he said.

Multiple levels of government authorities who run the various centres have denied allegations that people held in the facilities are abused.
Officials with UNICEF did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday. A statement issued Tuesday in response to questions from the Post about abuse allegations at the Choam Chao facility defended the agency’s support of the Social Affairs Ministry and what it says is a voluntary centre.

Group slams use of troops in land dispute

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:05 David Boyle and Mom Kunthear

A LOCAL rights group has accused Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Brigade 31 of involvement in a standoff that led to violence between families in Preah Sihanouk province and staffers from the Chinese-owned Yie Chea Company, with four villagers being rushed to hospital Tuesday.

In a statement released Wednesday, Licadho called “for an immediate end to the illegal land-clearing and military violence against families in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nob district”.

Residents of a village embroiled in a dispute with Yie Chea told the Post on Tuesday that they had participated in a three-day protest against officials’ decision to grant 100 hectares of land to the company.

The Licadho statement said the four villagers who were hospitalised Tuesday included a 68-year-old woman and a 14-year-old boy, and that more than 100 villagers in total had faced seven Yie Chea guards and 25 soldiers from Brigade 31, which the group says has a “history of unlawfully taking part in forceful evictions of civilians”.

Licadho Director Naly Pilorge said Wednesday that the use of military force had been both dangerous and illegal.

“Legislation here is very specific about not involving military in evictions, because the military by nature are very heavily armed, and so when you have arms it almost guarantees violence, which was in fact the case,” she said.

Provincial officials declined to discuss the case on Wednesday, and RCAF officials could not be reached.

According to Licadho, 116 families stand to be evicted from the disputed land, which was awarded to Yie Chea as part of an economic land concession.

Bun Narith, Licadho’s provincial coordinator, said the company should be forced to give some form of compensation to the families.

“The company has to pay them some compensation for leaving because they have been living there for a long time,” he said.

Longtime Borei Keila residents protest impending eviction

Photo by: Pha Lina
The development company Phanimex intends to demolish this building in Borei Keila, in Prampi Makara district, seen here Wednesday.

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:04 Mom Kunthear

MORE than 120 families living in Prampi Makara district’s Borei Keila community staged a protest Wednesday outside their apartment complex, which is set to be turned over to a development company under a deal struck with city officials.

Nuth Sokly, a representative of the families, said the building was legally theirs because they had been occupying it for more than 30 years.

Under the 2001 Land Law, people who have been living on their land for five years or more qualify for ownership rights.

But the company that has purchased the land, Phanimex, has said the families will be forced to leave soon and has offered to put them up in buildings elsewhere in Borei Keila.

Nuth Sokly added that there had been no mention of financial compensation during discussions with Phanimex.

Prampi Makara district Governor Som Sovann said Wednesday that he had met with members of the affected families on Tuesday to listen to their complaints.

“I did not solve the problem for them yet, but I will send their suggestion to Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema to take action, and maybe he will order me to do something with them,” he said, adding that he planned to send a document detailing the case to City Hall today.

But Nuth Sokly said the government had so far been unresponsive to the families’ concerns, pointing out that a letter sent to the Council of Ministers two months ago – in which they suggested that each family be provided with first-floor rooms as well as US$20,000 in compensation – had gone unanswered.

Nuth Sokly said the rooms offered by Phanimex measured 8 by 9 metres, which he said the families viewed as too small.

“We don’t agree with what the company wants to provide us with because we have been living here since 1979, so it is unfair for us,” he said.

Residents say they have not yet been given a deadline to vacate their homes, but that that a company representative told them on Sunday that they would not receive any compensation or even alternative housing if they did not agree to leave soon.

Suy Sophan, the director of Phanimex, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Seng Vutha, one of the residents who protested on Wednesday, accused Phanimex of caring only about money and of wanting “to kick us out like garbage”.

“The last choice for the families here is going to seek help from Prime Minister Hun Sen,” he said.

Poor residents of Siem Reap fear eviction for park project

Photo by: Byron Perry
Lach Sovann, a 48-year-old disabled widow, is among the residents near Wat Damnak in Siem Reap who could be affected by a park and road construction project.

via CAAI news Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:04 Rann Reuy

SIEM Reap residents near Wat Damnak have expressed concern about plans for a riverside park and road – the construction of which is scheduled to begin next month – that officials say will displace more than half of the families living there.

Siem Reap city Governor Tep Bunchhay said Tuesday that the park and road project will not affect residents of the area at first, but that 33 of the area’s 60 families will eventually be forced to move to a relocation site in Run Ta Ek commune.

Tep Vettho, director of the Apsara Authority’s city heritage department, said her office was preparing the relocation site, though she added that she did not know when it would be ready.

Construction on the beautification project will begin by the end of February, she said, adding: “We’ve already told the villagers.”

But Lach Sovann, a 48-year-old disabled widow who lives near the proposed park, said she had received little information about the beautification project and did not know what would happen to her home.

“I’m worried because it will be expensive to find a new home, and I haven’t been able to earn a lot recently,” she said.

Eap Bunheang, 49, who also lives there, said officials had told the villagers about the construction plans but had not said when they would be forced to leave.

Tep Bunchhay said that some of the 27 families who will not be forced to move had requested land titles for their property, though he added that he did not know whether that would be possible to arrange.

Moeun Mao, 46, a resident of the area, whose house is not slated for destruction, said she was hoping to make the most of the situation by opening a motorbike repair shop after the road is built.

“Sometimes I’m happy about the new road plan, but sometimes I’m worried about the future,” she said.

The park and road project is being funded by a US$300,000 grant from France, Tep Bunchhay said.

The project is part of a broader Siem Reap beautification effort that officials have said will ultimately displace some 300 families.

Six O’Smach villagers await trial in Thailand

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:04 Tep Nimol

SIX Cambodians from O’Smach commune in Oddar Meanchey province have been sent to a Thai prison and are awaiting trial after they were arrested Monday by Thai authorities while collecting rattan along the Thai-Cambodian border.

“They arrested six Cambodian people, pending a court hearing, because Thai forestry officials accused them of destroying trees,” said Pang Puth, coordinator of the O’Smach border gate. “I could not intervene to help bring them back to Cambodia because we have to wait for a response from Thai authorities.”

Srey Naren, Oddar Meanchey provincial coordinator for the local rights group Adhoc, said the villagers were collecting rattan in an unmarked area along the border at the time of their arrest, adding that they had travelled to the area many times before without incident.

“Thai soldiers have never arrested them there before, and we don’t know why they did this time,” he said, adding that Thai soldiers had been behaving “cruelly” towards Cambodian villagers in recent months. At least seven Cambodians have been shot and killed by Thai forces since September while logging in Thai territory, Oddar Meanchey officials say.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the government would help the villagers find a lawyer and assist them with legal advice. “We have told Cambodian people before not to cross the border illegally, but they never listen to us,” he said.

RCAF swelled its ranks by 7,000 over five years, says govt report

Photo by: Tracey Shelton
RCAF soldiers return from a demining mission in Sudan last month.

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:04 Vong Sokheng

THE Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) has recruited 7,000 new soldiers in the past five years and successfully fortified the Kingdom’s borders, according to a report released by the Ministry of Defence on Wednesday.

The report was unveiled at a two-day workshop at the ministry in Phnom Penh, where roughly 300 military officers gathered to discuss human resources and planning in the military from 2010 to 2014.

RCAF Commander in Chief Pol Saroeun said that, in light of recent clashes along the border with Thailand, the government must focus in the next five years on both diplomatic efforts and protection of Cambodia’s sovereignty.

“We need young soldiers and young commanders to replace the old soldiers. All of us here are old and will only be able to work for a few more years,” Pol Saroeun said.

Minister of Defence Tea Banh pointed to RCAF’s work abroad as a sign of its improvement in technical areas.

“A strong point of our military now is that we have integrated our soldiers into international humanitarian operations,” Tea Banh said, referring to UN peacekeeping missions in Africa in which RCAF troops have served as deminers.

Cheam Yeap, a senior lawmaker in the Cambodian People’s Party and head of the National Assembly’s finance commission, said Monday that 2009’s US$500 million in military spending accounted for roughly a quarter of the Kingdom’s total budget.

In September, the International Monetary Fund said Cambodia’s budget deficit, which it said would amount to about 7 percent of GDP for 2009, had been driven by an increased wage bill for the civil service and military. It warned the government to avoid any further wage bill expansion and instead direct spending to priority sectors such as health and education.

Market vendors block police from removing street stalls in Siem Reap

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:03 Rann Reuy

Siem Reap Province
A GROUP of about 100 vendors staged a protest on Wednesday that successfully prevented police from removing their stalls in front of Pouk market in Siem Reap province.

Pech Sokhalay, Pouk district governor, said that people shopping at the stall were creating a nuisance in the area, and that the group had set up within 30 metres of a national road, a zone in which vending is prohibited.

Local officials decided not to go forward with a forcible eviction in order to avoid provoking a strong reaction from vendors, Pech Sokhalay added.

Chhun Tom, a 56-year-old vendor at Pouk market, said the demonstration startedwhen about 30 police officers arrived and tried to dismantle a 100-metre long row of stalls.

“We’re waiting for a response from provincial officials for a solution,” Pech Sokhalay said. “If they tell us to do something, we’ll do it. If they tell us to wait, we’ll have to wait.”


Sou Phirin, Siem Reap provincial governor, said that officials have told vendors many times not to sell on roadside, but that they seemed not to hear and protested when officials implemented the law.

“The district governor should not ask for advice from the province. He should implement the law,” he said. “Selling on the roadside is very bad for the road, transportation, and tourists.”

Kung Chhum, a fried-chicken vendor, said that authorities had asked all vendors at the site to move to a new location where many feared there would be little business.

“We haven’t agreed to sell at the new place because it’s very quiet. We will not have anything to eat,” she said. “They just want us to move, but they don’t understand our business.”

Pech Sokhalay said that the proposed relocation site is a private market, and that the owner would allow the vendors to set up there for three months without charging rent. After that, he said, the vendors would have to sign a contract to remain at the new location.

“If vendors don’t like the new site, they can walk away,” he said.

Kampong Speu chiefs ask PM to free their colleague

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:03 May Titthara

FIVE village chiefs from Kampong Speu province’s Phnom Srouch district have sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting the release of another village chief who was arrested earlier this month after police accused him of forging documents related to an ongoing land dispute with a Chinese businessman.

Police arrested Voeub Khim, the 54-year-old chief of Krang Tatan village in O commune, on January 4 on suspicion that he forged documents that stated families currently living on the disputed land were its rightful owners.

A total of 85 families are living on 60 hectares of land that is also being claimed by the Chinese developer Yu San.

Voeub Khim’s son, Cheang Vuon, said the letter sent to Hun Sen – which was delivered to a member of his Cabinet by village representatives last Saturday at the premier’s home in Takhmao – included requests for authorities to release his father and refrain from arresting the other five village chiefs.

He said attempts to negotiate with Yu San had not been fruitful. “The tycoon’s staff told us that if we want him released, we must thumbprint [a letter] and agree to give the 60 hectares of our rice farms to the tycoon,” he said.

“Now I am worried about my father’s health because he just had a gallbladder operation and I don’t know what’s happened to him in prison.”

Provincial Governor Kang Heang said Voeub Khim would need to face criminal penalties if he had in fact forged the documents in question, which were included in a complaint sent to provincial court.

“That land belongs to the tycoon Yu San because he has the land title,” he said. “The court just issued a summons asking [the villagers] to explain, but they are afraid.”

O commune chief Tang Kimcheng said Yu San purchased the land in 1999, but that it remained undeveloped.

“In 2006 he wanted to develop here and asked people to stop farming, but they wouldn’t listen,” Tang Kimcheng said.

Lim Leang Sen, deputy chief of Hun Sen’s Cabinet, said Wednesday that he had not yet received the letter from the village chiefs.

Trofimov case remanded to Appeal Court

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:03 Chhay Channyda

THE Supreme Court on Wednesday transferred the case of a Russian national convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old girl back to the Appeal Court, with judges saying they did not have enough evidence to determine whether the victim was 14 at the time of the crime.

Alexander Trofimov, the former director of the US$300 million Koh Puos development in Preah Sihanouk province, was arrested in Sihanoukville in October 2007 on suspicion that he had sexually abused up to 19 Cambodian girls since 2005. In March 2008, Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Trofimov under Cambodia’s old debauchery law and sentenced him to 13 years in prison – a term that was reduced to six years on appeal.

As he read Wednesday’s decision, Presiding Judge Khim Ponn referred to evidence that the victim was born in February 1991, which would have made her older than 15 at the time of the crime.

Under the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, a minor is defined as being younger than 15.

Trofimov, who is being held in Preah Sihanouk provincial prison, did not appear for Wednesday’s hearing.

His lawyer, Chea Hay, said Trofimov was too ill to make the trip. He added that he approved of the Supreme Court’s decision to have the Appeal Court re-investigate the case.

Phnom Penh's port aims for 26pc revenue growth in 2010

A ship sits docked at Phnom Penh Autonomous Port. The facility managed to avoid the worst of the trade downturn that hit the Kingdom last year on the back of the economic crisis due to a new connection to southern Vietnam's Cai Mep port.

Many companies seem to be interested in using the port to ship their freight."

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:02 Chun Sophal

Traffic increase that began in the second half of ’09 is set to accelerate: official

PHNOM Penh Autonomous Port will maintain a recovery into 2010 with projected 26 percent revenue growth, the facility's director general, Hei Bevy said Wednesday, as it continues to benefit from connections to Cai Mep deepwater port in Southern Vietnam.

It has signed up with international shipping line MAERSK in connecting to the new Vietnamese port, said Hei Bevy, and is now targeting $6.25 million in revenues for 2010, which would easily beat the 2007 record, $5.26 million.

The port suffered a 2 percent fall in revenues last year to US$4.93 million following an 8.8 percent drop in volumes, according to figures obtained by the Post on Wednesday.

That beat a January 3 projection by the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port’s Director General Eang Veng Sun who estimated that revenues had dropped 15 percent last year, without giving a revenue forecast.

Sihanoukville Autonomous Port suffered a 16 percent fall in revenues in 2009 to $24.19 million, according to official figures, which still made it by far the biggest port facility in the Kingdom.

The newly issued figure for Phnom Penh also beat the downturn in Cambodian trade as the capital’s port benefited from the July opening of the Cai Mep facility, which allows more convenient connections down the Mekong and cuts days off passage to North America by avoiding other, less convenient Asian hubs, particularly Singapore and Hong Kong.

MAERSK “will link their delivery from Hong Kong with the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port through Vietnam’s Cai Mep”, said Hei Bevy.
The fallout from the economic crisis which pushed Cambodian exports down 18.2 percent and imports down 17 percent therefore barely registered at the Phnom Penh port, even if it did post a second consecutive annualised drop in revenues.

In the first half of 2010 before Cai Mep opened, the capital’s port saw revenues slump 20 percent, its figures showed, a situation that immediately reversed with the opening of Cai Mep as Phnom Penh’s traffic grew 0.84 percent in July, 22.65 percent in August, 22.7 percent in September and 8.61 percent in October.

According to Hei Bevy, MAERSK will transfer 10 percent of its traffic from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh.

“Many companies seem to be interested in using the port to ship their freight,” said Hin Theany, line division general manager at Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), the first company to ship textile products through the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port. It “will get bigger revenue this year”.

According to projections, the port is expected to ship 585,600 tonnes of goods this year, 1.35 million tonnes of fuel and gas in 62,500 standard containers compared with 43,312 containers last year.
Last week Hei Bevy told the Post that Chinese company Shanghai would develop a $30 million upgrade on the port after it was granted permission by the government.

Police Blotter: 28 Jan 2010

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:03 Tha Piseth

Thmor Koul district police in Battambang province arrested a 21-year-old man accused of stabbing his friend while in the middle of a drinking session on Friday. Police allege the victim was arguing with his wife when his friend stabbed him with a long knife in the face and hands. The victim was sent immediately to hospital for treatment. The case is due to be heard in court on Monday.

Battambang police on Monday arrested a man accused of raping a 20-year-old woman after ambushing her on her bicycle. The victim said the 36-year-old man stopped her when she was travelling to her rice field, which is no more than 500 metres from her house, and proceeded to rape her. The accused told police that he had in fact attempted to rape her but was unsuccessful.

A 22-year-old pregnant woman was seriously injured when a pair of thieves robbed her while she was riding on a motorbike in Phnom Penh on Sunday. Police said the woman was leaving Boeung Keng Kang market when the thieves snatched her platinum necklace and threw her to the ground, knocking her unconscious. The woman was sent to a local hospital immediately, and police are now on the hunt for the two suspects, who managed to flee the scene.

A 51-year-old businessman was robbed while cleaning his car in front of his house in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district on Tuesday. Witnesses say two men riding a motorbike stopped and hit the victim in the head. They then stole jewellery from him valued at over US$60,000. Police said the two men accused of the assault and robbery are well known to local authorities, having been involved in other robberies in the district. However, the pair are still at large.

A missing child was found dead on Tuesday in Preah Sihanouk province’s Ou Vietnam area. The boy was found by villagers half-buried in a pile of sand, just a day after being reported missing by his parents. Local police said the boy died after scraping the pile of sand onto himself, with the pressure ultimately killing him.

Getting Cambodia milling again

Khon Kaen Sugar Industry Plc President and CEO Chamroon Chinthammit says the climate, lack of labour and developing the firm’s Koh Kong sugar plantation have all provided challenges in Cambodia.

Politics is politics, business is business – it's not relevant – and we do business, not politics."

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:01 Nguon Sovan


Why did Khon Kaen Sugar Industry Plc decide to invest in a sugarcane plant and plantation in Koh Kong province?
We realised that Cambodia has more available area for its agriculture base, a climate similar to Thailand ... suitable for sugarcane-growing.

Moreover, we were determined to develop an agriculture business and agro-industry in Cambodia to serve the ASEAN market and Asia.

Companies have gotten privileges under investment-promotion measures of the Cambodian government … 90-year concessions for sugarcane plantation areas of 20,000 hectares … in Koh Kong [province], [and] tax incentives.

The company has also gotten a privilege to export raw sugar to the EU under the EBA (Everything but Arms) quota.

We have confidence that – this project – it can contribute to and generate GDP growth, economic development, income distribution and employment in Cambodia.

Also it can promote close international economic [cooperation] between Thailand and Cambodia.

How much was invested in this new plant? Who are the joint-venture partners?
The investment cost for the sugar mill was about US$60 million. Koh Kong Sugar Industry Co Ltd was founded by three joint-venture partners – Khon Kaen Sugar Industry Public Limited, the Thai investor, holds 50 percent; Vewong Corporation, a Taiwanese investor, holds 30 percent; and Okhna Ly Yong Phat, the Cambodian investor, holds 20 percent of the common shares of the company.

What is the capacity of the plant and the output produced each month, and what is the export capacity? How many jobs were created at the new facility?
At present, the crushing capacity of the sugar mill is 6,000 tonnes of cane per day.

This sugar mill has a maximum capacity of 700,000 tonnes of cane per year. The expected raw sugar output is about 70,000 tonnes of sugar per year.

The expected refined sugar output is approximately 40 percent of raw sugar output in the future.

In the early stages, total raw sugar output shall be exported to the EU under the EBA quota.

The overall project, which comprises a cane plantation, cane harvesting, and sugar production, can contribute employment for Cambodian citizens for approximately 8,000 persons during the crushing season, and about 2,000 … [during] the offseason.

What are the challenges you face at the new Cambodia plant at the moment?
The shortage of skilled labour to operate the sugar mill and unskilled labour for sugarcane harvesting; unexpected cane output caused by climate variation in Cambodia; and how to achieve the development area of 20,000 hectares for the sugarcane plantation.

For now the plant can only produce brown sugar for the European market. When will it produce white sugar for domestic consumption?
We plan to produce raw sugar for export to the EU market under the EBA quota first, after that we will consider producing white sugar to serve domestic demand in Cambodia.

It depends on a suitable quantity of sugarcane output each year. Note: If we can run raw sugar consistently at 5,000 tonnes a day, then we are able to refine white sugar.

We expect to ship the first shipment of raw sugar to the EU market in May, 2010.

Does the plant plan to expand into other byproducts like ethanol? If so, how much more capital would be invested and what markets would you aim for?
Yes. We plan to build an ethanol plant for the next phase, which depends on an appropriate quantity of sugarcane [being] crushed each year.

The estimated investment cost for an ethanol plant is about $20 million.... We will export ethanol to the ASEAN, China, Japan and EU markets.

Are you concerned that the current political tensions between Phnom Penh and Bangkok will have an effect on your business operations in Cambodia?
Politics is politics, business is business – it’s not relevant – and we do business, not politics.

Given your recent expansion into Cambodia and Laos, what financial position is Khon Kaen currently facing?
Khon Kaen Sugar Industry Plc and its subsidiaries under the KSL Group, have been in the sugar business in Thailand [for] more than six decades.

We are the fourth-largest sugar-producing group in Thailand with a market share of cane-crushed volume of about 8 percent, and we also have four sugar factories in Thailand.

Apart from the sugar business, since 2006, KSL has expanded along the sugar value chain to maximise its utilisation of sugarcane.

New businesses include electricity generation … and ethanol production.

We have overseas projects which invest in sugarcane plantations and sugar mills both in Cambodia and Laos PDR.

We have a strong financial status with a low debt-to-equity ratio … rated by TRIS at “A-” status, which reflects the company’s long track record in the Thai sugar and sugarcane industry, diversification into sugar-related businesses, and a healthy balance sheet.

Football For All sees two through to semis

via CAAI News Media

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:00 Ung Chamroeun

LOCAL amateur football clubs Chamcar Nonong and Flying Motor Shop booked their places in the semifinals of the 2010 Football For All tournament after beating Funan FC and KCT FC respectively in quarterfinals over the weekend. The annual competition is organised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and began on December 5 with 32 non-professional teams divided into eight groups of four.

Chamcar Nonong, winners of group C, defeated group D runners-up Kanan Phnom Penh, in the last 16 round before winning over Funan FC 4-3 in their quarterfinal Sunday. Funan FC, beaten finalists in the inaugural tournament in 2008, finished top of group A and pushed past ACLEDA Bank 4-1 in the knockout round.

Meanwhile, reigning champions Flying Motor Shop upset newcomers KCT FC 3-1 in their quarterfinal Sunday. Flying Motor Shop, runners-up in group C, thrashed group D winners Cambodiana 3-0 in their last 16 match. KCT reached the quarterfinals having finished first in group B and going on to beat Bayon Wanderers 5-3 in the next round.

According to Tuy Bun Hoeun, technical director at the department of Physical Education and Sports, a congested schedule of 2010 Samdech Hun Sen Cup games at Olympic Stadium have pushed back the other two quarterfinals, featuring Senate Team against last year’s third place finishers Sovatepheap Gaz and Phnom Penh Computer versus Phoumin Khmer, until February 13.

The winning championship team will collect 1.2 million riels (US$290) in prize money, while the runners up will receive 800,000 riels and 400,000 riels going to third.

The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief

via CAAI News Media

MRISA schools tourney

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:00 Ken Gadaffi

THE 2010 Mekong River International Schools Association (MRISA) High School Soccer Tournament kicks off this Friday at Northbridge International School football field. Eight teams from Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia are taking part in the annual competition organised by the MRISA to bolster friendship amongst students in the countries within the Mekong river region. Schools will field 7-a-side teams to play round robin games of 20 minutes each way, leading up to semifinals and finals Sunday.

ICT event set for April

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:00 Ith Sothoeuth

THE National ICT Development Authority (NiDA) and US-based firm International Data Group (IDG) announced Wednesday that Cambodia’s sixth information technology exposition and conference will be held over three days from April 1 in Phnom Penh. Speaking at a press conference to announce the event, Chun Vat, deputy secretary general of NiDA, said the ICT sector has become increasingly important in the Kingdom and could boost other sectors of the economy. IDG ASEAN Chief Executive Officer Lee Thanh Tam said the exhibition will feature products from firms including Viettel, Anana and Sotelco.

Jardines deal by end Feb

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:00 Nguon Sovan

HONG Kong-based firm Jardines Matheson will complete the purchase of a 12.25 percent stake in Cambodia’s ACLEDA Bank by the end of next month, Prom Visoth, the bank’s senior vice president and head of the legal and corporate affairs division, said Wednesday. “About 80 percent of the bank’s internal paperwork and purchase papers have been completed so far,” he said. “We think that it will be in February – the latest by which we will complete the … deal.” ACLEDA and Jardines announced in December that the latter would by the stake from Dutch development bank FMO for an undisclosed sum.

Mapping Mishap: PM calls out minister for ‘Route 66’

Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:04 Cheang Sokha

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday called Minister of Public Works and Transport Tram Iv Tek a “gang minister” after the senior official changed the number of National Road 67 to 66, creating cartographic confusion. Speaking at the opening of construction on National Road 62, which runs from Kampong Thom to Preah Vihear, the premier said Tram Iv Tek had acted recklessly in renaming National Road 67, which links Siem Reap to the border with Thailand in Oddar Meanchey. “The international border gate … calls it number 67, so there is no need to change it,” Hun Sen said. “Why do you need to change so much? I lost the number, and now even the prime minister is confused. I beg you, stop changing the road numbers,” Hun Sen said, adding that the minister was behaving like a gangster by changing numbers without consulting the proper authorities. “I announce today to cancel this and keep 67 as its number,” Hun Sen said.

News in Picture

Cambodian fishermen try to catch fish in the morning by using wooden boats on the Mekong river on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

FILE - In this May 1, 2009 file photo, opposition party leader Sam Raisy, right, claps in front of the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A Cambodian court has sentenced Rainsy in absentia Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010, to two years imprisonment for uprooting border markers on the frontier with Vietnam. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith, File)

Hollywood film director Oliver Stone speaks at the University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh January 27, 2010. Stone is in Cambodia to promote peace through film-making. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Hollywood film director Oliver Stone (R) receives a honours certificate from Koa Kim Hourn, director of the University of Cambodia, at the university in Phnom Penh January 27, 2010. Stone is in Cambodia to promote peace through film-making. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Hollywood film director Oliver Stone attends a dialogue session at the University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh January 27, 2010. Stone is in Cambodia to promote peace through film-making. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Anthropology musem explores Atlantic and the Khmer empire

via CAAI News Media
By Catherine Meidell - The Utah Statesman

Jan 27, 2010

Atlantis and the Khmer empire are two of many civilizations considered to be lost by archaeologists, said Katie Anderson, graduate of the USU Museum Certificate Program. The Anthropology Museum’s Saturdays at the Museum public event featured these two ancient groups from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., yielding participants ranging from college students to elementary students.

Presentations on the civilizations were available as well as activities for a younger crowd that challenged them to think like archaeologists. For one activity, Anderson and Megan Izatt, senior history major, pulled random objects out of a bag and asked the children participants to pretend they found the objects in someone’s trash can.

They then told the children to think about what the object might reveal about the previous owner. Other activities were organized to teach the process archaeologists execute to learn about ancient civilizations through artifacts, Anderson said. The children were rewarded for their efforts with an archaeologist hat resembling the one worn by Indiana Jones.

Anderson spoke with many groups who traveled through the museum’s exhibits about what causes a city to become lost. The Khmer empire was located in Cambodia and first unified in A.D. 800, Anderson said. Over time, as the climate began to change, the weather was no longer predictable and the water system could not be retained for the rice fields. This is why the empire collapsed in A.D. 1300. It was no longer possible to support a large city, so the people created smaller villages to live in.

Cambodian opposition leader jailed in absentia

Cambodian opposition party leader Sam Rainsy was sentenced in absentia

via CAAI News Media

SVAY RIENG, Cambodia — A Cambodian court convicted and sentenced the nation's main opposition leader in absentia to two years in jail Wednesday on charges of uprooting border markings, he and his party said.

Sam Rainsy was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in November and charged with inciting racial discrimination and intentionally damaging wooden posts denoting Cambodia's boundary with Vietnam.

Two villagers, who were in court, were also convicted with intentionally damaging the border markings during the incident in October and jailed each for a year, said Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann.

Sam Rainsy, who is in France, said by telephone that the court had made a "most unjust" ruling, saying the border markers he had uprooted in protest were illegally placed.

"The conviction of Sam Rainsy is not important at all. But what is important is the loss of territory to a foreign country," he said.

Cambodia and Vietnam officially began demarcating their contentious border in September 2006 in a bid to end decades of territorial disputes.

That has led to a row that has sparked virulent anti-Vietnamese sentiment in Cambodia, fuelled by resentment of Vietnam's expansion over the centuries and the feeling that Cambodia is losing some of its territory.

Rainsy, said to be in France to avoid jail, says he will not return until some territory is returned to Cambodian farmers and the two jailed villagers are freed.

The 1,270-kilometre (787-mile) border has remained essentially unmarked and vague since French colonial times.

Svay Rieng provincial court began its closed-door trial for the opposition leader and the villagers under tight security.

The court ordered the three defendants to jointly pay 12,500 dollars to the government in compensation for the markings, Yim Sovann said. Rainsy was fined an additional 2,000 dollars, the party spokesman added.

Court officials could not be reached to confirm the verdict, while Rainsy's lawyer refused to comment.

The French-educated former finance minister is the main rival to Prime Minister Hun Sen. He has promised to promote liberal democracy and human rights, raise wages and fight corruption if elected.

Cambodian opposition leader jailed for two years over border row

via CAAI News Media
Wed, 27 Jan 2010 10:24:12 GMT
By : dpa

Phnom Penh - Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy said he was not surprised after a provincial court on Wednesday sentenced him in absentia to two years in jail for destruction of property in a dispute about border markers. "I did expect such a verdict," Sam Rainsy said by phone from his home in France. "It did not come as a surprise."

The court in Svay Rieng province in south-eastern Cambodia also fined the opposition leader 13 million riel (3,200 US dollars) for his role in uprooting six wooden border posts in October.

Two villagers also were jailed for one year each and fined 1,200 US dollars by the court Wednesday for their part in the protest.

The case stems from an incident in October when the stakes marking the border between Vietnam and Cambodia were removed. Villagers had claimed the markers were placed in their rice fields, causing them to lose land to Vietnam.

The opposition party charged that the land rights of Cambodian farmers in the area were not being respected in the process of demarcating the 1,270-kilometre border, which was scheduled to be completed by 2012.

Sam Rainsy said he would return to Cambodia to serve his sentence on the first available plane provided the government freed the two jailed villagers and returned land that farmers claimed to have lost to the ongoing border-marking effort.

"I accept to be the only victim of this tribunal, provided the other people who have been accused of anything related to the border issue will be freed and their land returned to them," he said, adding that he would release further evidence of border encroachment by Vietnam into Cambodian territory.

"Everything is upside down in Cambodia: Those innocent people are in jail, and those who should be in jail walk free," he charged.

In late December, the Svay Rieng provincial court issued an arrest warrant for Sam Rainsy after he failed to appear for questioning over the incident, which riled Hanoi. The opposition leader was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in November, allowing the case to go ahead.

Vietnam has significant interests in agribusiness, aviation, telecommunications and banking in Cambodia. In December, Hanoi signed an agreement with Phnom Penh that could result in investments worth billions of US dollars, including a deal to look for aluminium ore, known as bauxite, in Cambodia's border province of Mondolkiri.

Critics accused the ruling Cambodian People's Party of using the courts to move against its perceived opponents in politics, the media and civil society. Last year, three opposition parliamentarians were stripped of their parliamentary immunity over various charges.

Hun Sen Encourages Cambodian Provinces to Cooperate with Korean Provinces – Wednesday, 27.1.2010
via CAAI News Media
Posted on 28 January 2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, encouraged the provinces of Cambodia, especially those that have a potential for tourism, to investigate new possibilities and opportunities to cooperate with provinces of the Republic of Korea.

“The Phnom Penh – Daegu Gyeongsang Center for Culture, Tourism, and Commerce was inaugurated in the morning of 26 January 2010 – the building took 12 months to be finished, at a cost of US$8.7 million, directly financed by DKC&C Co. Ltd. and the GyeongsangBuk-Do province of Korea.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen expressed his great support and encouragement towards such cooperation that will bring new achievements that boost and promote the development of the Cambodian society and economy. Samdech Hun Sen extended a warm welcome to the governor of GyeongsangBuk-Do, Mr. Kim Kwan-Yong, and his fellow officials and the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Lee Kyung-Soo, who always pay much attention to support, facilitate, and encourage cooperation in all sectors between the two countries; he particularly thanked the government of the Republic of Korea that contributes to the development of Cambodia. Moreover, the previous official visit by the Korean President, Mr. Lee Myung-Bak, to Cambodia, encourages Korean investors to come to Cambodia, which shows clearly the strong and close friendship between Korea and Cambodia.

“Samdech Hun Sen considered this center to be a result of the Angkor-Gyeongju World Exhibition in 2006, where Cambodia and the GyeongsangBuk-Do province of the Republic of Korea cooperated to organize a world cultural exhibition in Siem Reap which was held successfully. Based on this experience, Samdech Hun Sen encouraged the provinces of Cambodia, especially those with a potential for tourism, to investigate new opportunities to cooperate with provinces of the Republic of Korea.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that this joint cultural center of Cambodia and Korea will display artifacts of the old and rich cultures of both countries. Samdech hopes that tourists who visit Phnom Penh will learn a lot about the cultures and traditions of Cambodia and Korea as well, as they can obtain information about various touristic sites through the many publication of this center. This center will become a place to display cultural products, sculptures, artistic objects, handcrafts, paintings, and showing the tourism potential of four priority sites: the cultural and historical sites in Phnom Penh, the seashore regions, northeast Cambodian eco-tourism sites, and Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen added that tourism becomes a priority sector of the economic policy of Cambodia, and it is an energetic force for the development of the Cambodian society and economy. The progress in this sector actively helps to create jobs for citizens, boosts economic growth, and balances the commercial scale, and it is an important source of cash incomes. Practically, in 2008, tourist arrivals were more than 2 million, increased by 5% compared to 2007. Within 11 months of 2009, there were more than 1.9 million tourists, increased by almost 2% compared to 2008. The income from tourism increased significantly from US$578 million in 2004, to US$1,595 in 2008, employing 300,000 people and contributing 12.5% of the GDP. Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen highly assessed Korean tourists and investors, who visit and decide to invest in Cambodia in many sectors, assisting Cambodian economic development. Samdech Hun Sen highly assessed also the good cooperation between Cambodia and Korea, especially between Phnom Penh and the KyungsangBuk-Do province, which has led to proud achievements. Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen continued to say that this cultural center is a model center and an important doorway in Cambodia, which openly offers information and orientation for tourists, investors, and Korean businesses, and to the world beyond, promoting cultural relations, tourism, and commerce, between Cambodia and Korea, and other countries.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5110, 27.1.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Cambodia to destroy all 'ecstasy oil' stocks
via CAAI News Media
Jan 27 2010

Cambodia is cracking down on a raw ingredient for the club-drug ecstasy by wiping out stocks of an oil made from the roots of a rare rainforest tree, an official said on Thursday.

Cambodian authorities, with help from Australian police, will destroy 14 tonnes of sassafras, an ingredient for cosmetics but also a precursor chemical to make methylenedioxymethamphetamine, more commonly known as MDMA, or the party drug ecstasy.

The amount represents all known stocks of sassafras oil in Cambodia and will be the second-largest volume destroyed since the authorities made the oil illegal in 2007, said Cambodia Police Major General Meas Vyrith.

"It is dangerous," Meas Vyrith told Reuters. "It would make people become victims of the drug."

The crackdown is also aimed at preserving a rare tree found deep in Cambodia's jungles. The roots and trunk of the M'rea Prov Phnom tree provide the source of the oil. Illegal logging is threatening the tree with extinction.

"Without the right measures, they would all be destroyed," said Meas Vyrith, who is also a deputy secretary-general of Cambodia's anti-drug committee.

The oil will be destroyed on Friday in Battambang province, about 300km north-west of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, using an Australian Federal Police technique aimed at minimising smoke and environmental damage, Meas Vyrith said.

Cambodia destroyed 35 tonnes of the oil in 2007. - Reuters

Cambodian ship hijacked, Indian crew may be on board

via CAAI News Media
Wed, 27 Jan 2010

Mumbai: A Cambodian cargo ship, MV Layla S, was hijacked off the Somalian port of Berbera in the Gulf of Aden, a top maritime authority said here on Wednesday. The crew members are said to be a mix of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Somalian and possibly Syrian nationals.

The details of the crew members are still awaited, said the Directorate-General of Shipping (DGS). The vessel is believed to be owned and managed by Al Hufoof, an agency based in either Syria or the United Arab Emirates.

The DGS said the ship was overpowered after the cargo was offloaded at Berbera Port.

Moreover, the DGS said the crew has reportedly been abandoned by the owner so they may have been already held in captivity since the past few days. Such incidents are common in this region but come to light only much later.

The DGS has informed the authorities, including the Coast Guard and Indian Navy, of the developments.

Hun Sen praises China's aid in infrastructure development

via CAAI News Media
January 27, 2010

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen praised China on Wednesday for continued aid that helps Cambodia's infrastructure development.

Giving speech at the ground breaking ceremony of National Road No. 62 renovation, donated by China, in Cambodia's central province of Kampong Thom, Hun Sen said China has helped Cambodia touching on four major priority sectors' development in his country.

He said the four priority sectors are road, water, power and human resource.

"As always, the government and people of China have supported Cambodia in development of all fields, the move to push for economic and social development that will help reduce the poverty of the Cambodian people," he said at the event.

He said China, today, is the largest donor to Cambodia.

The 128-kilometer long National Road No. 62 is linking Kompong Thom province to Preah Vihear province.

Source: Xinhua

China to Help Restoration of Cambodia's National Road
via CAAI News Media
Web Editor: Liu Donghui

The ground breaking ceremony of the restoration of National Road No. 62 in northern Cambodia was held on Wednesday with the attending of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Zhang Jinfeng.

"It is a major route of transportation linking Cambodia's northern border to capital Phnom Penh and the road will be sure to enhance Cambodia's economic vitality as well as greatly promote Cambodia's economic and social development, " said Zhang at the ceremony.

"It is the first economic and trade cooperation project between China and Cambodia in the beginning of 2010," Zhang said. "A good beginning is half done." She also said that more construction projects assisted by Chinese government will be started or finished this year. These projects include irrigation system, road restoration and transmission and transformer networks.

The 128-km-long road, running through Kampong Thom province to Thbeng Meanchey, will lead to Preah Vihear province.

The construction project, carried out by Shanghai Construction Group, will last for 40 months and with a total cost of 52 million U.S. dollars.

Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke highly of China's assistance to Cambodia, saying that the assistance provided by China helps to promote Cambodia's social and economic development and reduce poverty for people. He said that China's assistance in infrastructure construction, including transport, water conservancy, electricity as well as personnel training are pure- hearted without any preconditions.

He said that the construction of National Road No. 62 helps to connect the area to Siem Reap province which will promote the development of the local tourism industry.

Hun Sen said that the royal government has been strengthening the land, waterways, railways, aviation and port construction. " There are roads there is hope," he stressed.

The construction of the infrastructure will help to attract investment in various fields, promote economic development, enhance remote areas, and improve living standards, he said.

After thanking the Chinese government and people to provide assistance, Prime Minister Hun Sen also wishes Chinese people living in Cambodia have a happy Chinese New Year, saying that "with the approaching of traditional Chinese New Year, I wish all Chinese people, overseas Chinese living in Cambodia health and success in the coming year."

Hun Sen rejects sending his troops to Iraq, Afghanistan

via CAAI News Media
January 27, 2010

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has rejected to send his troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, saying human lives are lost almost every day in those two countries.

Hun Sen's rejection was made on Wednesday as a response to the information that his country was asked to send, if possible, 1,000 of its troops as land deminers to Afghanistan.

In reply, Hun Sen said "We will not send any Cambodian armed forces even in the form of the United Nations Mission to Iraq and Afghanistan."

"Human lives are lost almost everyday in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said at the ground breaking ceremony of National Road No. 62 renovation, donated by China, in Cambodia's central province of Kampong Thom.

He also said Cambodian, who went through more than 30 years of war which just ended in 1998, should enjoy peace and prosperity at home rather than being risked lives in other war-torn nations.

"I have never wanted to see any Cambodian to die there," he told the crowd of villagers and officials who attended the ceremony.

Hun Sen, however, said his country has instead sent hundreds of armed forces under the name of the UN peace keeping operation and as deminers to several countries, but not to Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the government's data, Cambodia has sent its troops to Chat, Central Africa and Sudan.

Source: Xinhua

Please tell me my bum looks big in this

Trend: Jenny Tew helps Thi Thu try on a pair of padded underwear. Picture: Justin Lloyd Source: Herald Sun

via CAAI News Media
Herald Sun
January 28, 2010

IT seems bums are big - and getting bigger. Flat-bottomed women trying to emulate "bootylicious" stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce Knowles are snapping up padded underwear to add centimetres to their derrieres.

Jenny Tew designs and sells the garments from her Sydney lingerie shop and it is a fashion trend that is likely to sweep across the country.

"They're very popular. Everyone who walks past and sees it buys it, especially skinny people and Asian people because most of us have flat bums," Tew said.

"We don't sell many to European women because they've got big bums."

Ms Tew, who came to Australia from Cambodia, added the first pair of underpants to her shape-wear range in 2006 after receiving "so many requests from local customers for bigger bums".

Ms Tew said she sells about 1500 pairs of the pants, which add up to 4cm to flat backsides, a year. "On party nights, I will wear them. They make so much difference," Ms Tew said.

One customer said she bought a pair last year after seeing them in the shop window. "It was new and I wanted to try them because I wanted to know if they worked," said the 30-year-old Vietnamese woman. And did they?

"Yeah, they give me more volume and look good with jeans."