Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Operation Smile Creates Smiles With USNS Mercy in Cambodia


via Khmer NZ News Media

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eddie Harrison

Posted: 06.22.2010

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia — Doctors and volunteers from the non-governmental organization Operation Smile embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, June 17, for six days, to perform surgeries ranging from cleft lip and cleft palate repair to addressing facial and burn scars in support of Pacific Partnership 2010.

Pacific Partnership is a joint effort between host nations, partner nations, NGOs, and other U.S. government agencies that come together each year to foster the relationships in which they provide medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering civic action programs as well as subject matter expert exchanges with local medical professionals.

Before the Cambodian leg of the Pacific Partnership 2010 mission began, Operation Smile participants pre-screened more than 130 children and adults with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities, to select patients for reconstructive surgeries.

“We have brought a full medical team of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses,” said Scott Snyder, Operation Smile program coordinator for the mission. “We will be performing around 20 to 25 surgeries a day and we are hoping to see about 80 patients during the next four days.”

The Operation Smile team aboard Mercy brings together people of many countries and backgrounds. For this effort, the team is made up of 47 members from Cambodia, Ireland, Italy, United Kingdom, and United States, working as a whole to complete these surgeries and help the Cambodian patients in need.

“It’s great for us to be working aboard [Mercy],” said Snyder. “We usually work in government hospitals in developing countries and sometimes the facilities aren’t that great. We come aboard with the Navy, and it’s like working in one of the best hospitals in the U.S.” Operation Smile has conducted missions with the Navy since 2006 and joined Pacific Partnership by participating in the 2008 mission.

While most of its efforts concentrate on the delivery of surgical care, Operation Smile engages in subject matter expert exchanges – even within its own organization.

“I really wanted to go on this trip,” said Brenda O’Brien, an Operation Smile volunteer from Ireland, when she discovered Operation Smile would be participating in Pacific Partnership 2010. “I am looking forward to seeing the techniques from the different surgeons from all the different countries.”

According to O’ Brien, the part that means the most to her is getting the patients aboard, giving them a clean recovery room, and them knowing that they are getting the best treatment they can possibly get.

Operation Smile has provided free surgeries to children around the world since 1982. With a presence in over 50 countries, Operation Smile has helped children whose parents cannot afford to give them the surgeries they need. Today more than 145,000 children have been helped by the medical volunteers at Operation Smile.

The fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance endeavors, Pacific Partnership 2010 is aimed at strengthening regional partnerships among U.S. government organizations, host nations, partner nations and international humanitarian and relief organizations.

Cambodian schools to hang anti-genocide banners

via Khmer NZ News Media

June 22, 2010

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Giant anti-genocide banners will be displayed at Cambodian schools starting next year as part of an ongoing quest to educate the young about the country's painful history.

The Education Ministry approved a request to hang two banners at all 1,700 high schools nationwide, according to the country's leading independent Khmer Rouge research group, which proposed the idea and made the ministry's approval letter public on Tuesday.

The banners are part of an ongoing effort to fill a knowledge gap among the young about the Khmer Rouge's brutal 1975-79 rule that left 1.7 million dead through hunger, disease and executions, said Youk Chhang, director of The Documentation Center of Cambodia.

One of the slogans will say: "Learning about the history of Democratic Kampuchea is to prevent genocide," he said.

The other slogan reads, "Talking about experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime is to promote reconciliation and to educate children about forgiveness and tolerance."

The Documentation Center of Cambodia published the country's first Khmer Rouge textbook, which is still being distributed to high schools, and provided a multitude of documents about the regime's 1975-79 reign of terror to the ongoing U.N.-backed tribunal.

"Having these slogans at school will help remind students about the important history of their country and also to help them remember and commemorate those who died," Youk Chhang said. He said the larger banner would be roughly 6 feet by 13 feet (2 meters by 4 meters) and the other would be about half that size.

The first and long-awaited verdict from the U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal is expected next month. The tribunal will hand down its verdict July 26 against Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, the Khmer Rouge prison chief accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes, murder and torture.

Trials of four other aging Khmer Rouge leaders are expected to begin late this year or early next year.

Anti-genocide slogans to be hung in Cambodian schools

via Khmer NZ News Media


PHNOM PENH, Tuesday 22 June 2010 (AFP) - Anti-genocide slogans encouraging youngsters to study the legacy of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime are to be hung in high schools across Cambodia, organisers of the project said Tuesday.

The Documentation Centre of Cambodia, which collects evidence of Khmer Rouge atrocities, said it would start hanging the government-approved messages in 1,700 schools from January.

"This is to remember and to study daily ... so that the students know we have this history," said the centre's director, Youk Chhang.

Referring to the communist movement's name for their 1975-1979 regime, one of the slogans reads: "Learning about the history of Democratic Kampuchea is to prevent genocide."

Even though five Khmer Rouge leaders are being held by a UN-backed genocide court, many young Cambodians are unaware that up to two million people died through overwork, starvation and execution under the brutal regime.

More than 70 percent of Cambodia's 14 million people were born after the Khmer Rouge were ousted in 1979 and, as the topic is sensitive among elites who were involved with the regime, little about it has been taught in schools.

Last year Cambodia unveiled its first textbook about the Khmer Rouge regime and began distributing about half a million copies to high schools.

The genocide court in Phnom Penh is scheduled to deliver its first verdict on July 26, in the case of former prison chief Duch -- the first Khmer Rouge leader to face international justice.

Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in 1998. The joint trial of four other senior regime leaders is expected to start in 2011, while the court is considering whether to open cases against five other former Khmer Rouge cadres.

MySinchew 2010.06.22

DAP News ; Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ News Media

Cambodia hosts seminar on role of macroeconomic policies after global financial crisis

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 11:22 DAP-NEWS

Cambodia in cooperation with UNESCAP on Tuesday conducted a seminar on “Response to Global Financial Crisis in Asia-Pacific and role of macroeconomic policies to ensure about financial development of country and economic growth and implementation in millennium development.

“The workshop is jointly organized by UNESCAP and the Ministry of Economy and Finance to provide an opportunity for Cambodia’s high level officials, policy makers and experts to conduct a focused discussion of concrete policy options to address challenges facing the country’s economy,” the statement from Ministry of economy said, adding that UNESCAP has invited experts and high level officials from key partner countries of Cambodia such as China, Thailand, Viet Nam, Republic of Korea, and India as well as experts from ESCAP, ADB, UNDP, IMF and the World Bank.

The seminar will be strengthening the response to the global financial crisis in Asia-Pacific: the role of macroeconomic policies”. “Over the next three days, we will examine aspects of monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies that can be streamlined to help the country prepare for the future,” Douglas Broderick, UN resident coordinator. He added that the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP, is great for hosting this timely event.

He continued that investment in social safety nets now will have positive effects for Cambodia long after Cambodia’s economy has fully recovered. It is the UN’s view that a strong social safety net system should complement other measures taken to strengthen the country’s economy, such as a trade diversification strategy, as well as effective monetary, fiscal and macroeconomic policies.

“the system could include conditional cash transfers, labor-based public works schemes and food for work, civil service pensions and health insurance. Already, informal social safety net programmes are being implemented by Government, development partners and civil society. But there are limited formal programmes in place,” he noted.

“The economic downturn threatened Cambodia’s progress in reducing poverty, which is the first of the Millennium Development Goals. We remain concerned about the effects that the current global economic crisis will have on achieving these Goals. As Cambodia regains its economic momentum, we need to work harder than ever to ensure these goals are reached,” he added.

He said that over the past two years – as in many countries in the region and around the world – Cambodia has suffered significant job losses, particularly in the garment and construction sectors. We have also seen a reduction in household income for many homes. In this context, we should not only be concerned about the 30 percent of Cambodians who live in poverty – we must also consider those who live just above the poverty line. Poor and near poor households that suffered losses of income and savings as they struggled to get through the recent lean times will take time to rebuild and recover.

King- Father Norodom Sihanouk, Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, and King Norodom Sihamoni to Pay a four-day private visit to Vietnam

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 11:18 DAP-NEWS

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, JUNE 22, 2010- The Khmer Nation’s King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, and King Norodom Sihamoni on Tuesday of June 22, 2010 will pay a four-day private visit to Vietnam.

In a four-day private visit to Vietnam, King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, and King Norodom Sihamoni will be accompanied by Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin, and Prime Minister Hun Sen as well as many other high-ranking officials in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, and king Norodom Sihamoni will be invited to privately visit Vietnam by Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet.

France helps fighting fake medicine in Cambodia

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 11:14 DAP-NEWS

France on Tuesday provided 123, 5 00 Euro to fight against illegal and fake medicines in Cambodia for 2010 project.

The signing ceremony of one of two conventions was inked at Cambodia’s foreign ministry between H.E. Mrs SUN Saphoeun, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and H.E. Jean-François Desmazières, Ambassador of France in Cambodia.

Those fake medicine has affected health’s local people and others and the project is under the framework of Mekong river Cooperation including Vietnam,, Laos and Cambodia in combating illegal and fake drugs in region,” Jean said.

The fund will be used to train experts, promote law enforcement, and inspired the inter-ministry,’ he noted. Cambodia is working with other countries to fight against illegal and fake drugs.

Cambodia is one of country related with fake malaria drug and that is core of treatement because those malaria drugs are accustomed with medicine. Infected people are not cured properly.

Malaysians look to invest in rice, rubber, palm oil in Cambodia

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 11:11 DAP-NEWS

PHNOM PENH, June 22, 2010 (DAP) – New Malaysian ambassador to Cambodia told Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on Tuesday that Malaysian investors are interested in investing in rice, rubber and palm oil plantations in Cambodia.

“We (Malaysia) import lots of rice from Thailand and Vietnam, we now look to import rice from Cambodia in the future,” the ambassador Pengiran Haji Mohd Hussein bin Datuk Pengiran Haji Mohd Tahir Nasruddin told Dr. Sok An, who is also minister incharge of the Office of the Council of Ministers.

The ambassador said that “we can produce high quality of rice and export it to Malaysia.”

He also said that Cambodia has potential in producing halal food.

In response, Sok An said Cambodia has high potential in rice production.

Cambodia produces over 7 million tones of rice a year and it has3 million tones surplus of rice for export after allocating 4 million tones for domestic consumptions, he said.

“Cambodian farmers do not want to sell its rice surplus to middleman of Vietnam and Thailand but they (Cambodian farmers) have not option because they do not have facilities to store their crop, they do not have processing plant to process rice for exports,” said Dr. Sok An.

Sok An encouraged Malaysian investors to invest in setting up processing plant for packing rice for exports.

“We need your investment.”

So An also said that Cambodia, which has potential in rubber plantations, has 600,000 hectares of red soil for rubber plantations.

“You have investment capital, we have natural resources. It is a good complementary.”

Malaysia is one of this Southeast Asian nation’s key foreign direct Investment (FDI).

The five business agreements, worth US$1 billion, were signed in May between the private sectors of Malaysia and Cambodia during the visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to Phnom Penh.

Cambodia will discuss with UN on sending more soldiers to Lebanon

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 10:36 DAP-NEWS

Prak Sokhon, Minister attached with Prime Minister Hun Sen and head of national coordinating committee of sending troops to UN peacekeeping mission said on Tuesday that three Cambodian officials will go to UN office tomorrow to discuss about sending more troops under the umbrella of UN mission to Lebanon.

We will discuss on MOU and if we reach to the agreement, we will send about 400 soldiers for humanitarian affairs under the umbrella of UN peacekeeping mission to Lebanon,” he said.

Cambodia send over 509 mine cleaners to Sudan under UN mission since 2006 and the last group left here yesterday and last from Sudan returned here this morning.

Cambodia’s 94 Social Order Forces and Mine-clearers to return from Jordan and Chad

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 10:02 DAP-NEWS

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, June 22, 2010 -The Ministry of National Defense on Tuesday morning of June 22, 2010 will hold the repatriation ceremony of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who were on the International mission to help clear mines in Jordan and Chad under the presidency of Vice Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Tea Banh at the Military airport in Phnom Penh.

“94 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces will be repatriated to Cambodia from Jordan and Chad,” Mr.Chhum Socheat, Ministry of National Defense’s Spokesman, told DAP-News Center.

“The 48 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces from the division 405 were on one-year International mission to help clear mines in Jordan and in Chad and Chad’s 41 Social order forces from the division 306 were also on seven-month International mission in these two nations,” General Chhum Socheat confirmed.

Mr. Goughlas Broderick, U.N mediator to Cambodia, and hundreds of Military officers also participated in the repatriation ceremony.

Sand blamed for lakeside flooding

Photo by: Will Baxter
Residents of the Boeung Kak lake area harvest morning glory near the water’s edge on Saturday. Villagers say heavy rains, combined with the filling-in of the lake for a controversial housing and commercial development, have led to the flooding of about 50 homes so far this month.

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:03 Khouth Sophak Chakrya

THE pumping of sand into Boeung Kak lake has impaired local drainage systems, leading to the flooding of about 50 houses since June 10, a representative of families living in the area said Monday.

Duong Sim, deputy chief of Village 3 in Srah Chak commune, said homes there had never flooded before a private company began pumping sand into the lake, which is slated for a massive development project.

The floods following rains this month have already affected about 50 homes, he said.

“The homes in our village have been flooded for more than a week after the rainfall this month,” he said.

“We are very concerned, because Boeung Kak lake is being filled in, and the new drainage system is not yet completed.”

He added that a total of 283 homes could ultimately be vulnerable to flooding.

He urged authorities to force Shukaku Inc – the company that holds a lease to the 133-hectare site – to complete a new drainage system and to release water that has accumulated throughout the village.

But Nov Saroeun, chief of the drainage and pumping unit at the Municipal Public Works and Transport Department, said Monday that the responsibility for building a drainage system lies solely with Shukaku, and that officials have no control over whether or when it will be completed.

“I do not have the power to urge the company owners to make the drainage system,” he said.

Representatives of the company, headed by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin, could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Villager Chea Siphana, 42, said she was concerned that the flooding could pose a health hazard.

“We are very worried, because snakes and centipedes have crawled into our house,” she said. “We are facing diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and other health issues, and there are many mosquitoes.”

Hun Sen says UN envoy ‘lacks respect’

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:03 Sebastian Strangio and Cheang Sokha

PM calls Subedi’s language ‘inappropriate,’ and now plans to meet with him only once a year

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has lashed out at Surya Subedi, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights, accusing him of lacking “respect” during his recent visit and saying they will now meet just once a year rather than the customary three times.

On Thursday, Subedi concluded a 10-day visit – his third mission to Cambodia – with outspoken criticism of the state of the judicial system, and said he was “disappointed” that a scheduled meeting with Hun Sen had been cancelled because of the premier’s ill health.

Speaking at the closing of the National Veterans Conference at the National Institute of Education on Monday, Hun Sen said Subedi conveyed disrespect in his choice of the word “disappointed”.

“I think this word lacks respect for the house owner and lacks respect to the leader of a country which has sovereignty and integrity, and it looks down on the Cambodian people who voted for the Cambodian People’s Party and through the National Assembly voted for Hun Sen as prime minister,” he said.

Hun Sen said Subedi should instead have expressed “regret” with respect to the cancelled meeting, and that he should also have wished the prime minister a speedy recovery from his illness.

“If I am sick, do I need to report to you?” Hun Sen said. “Next time when coming to Cambodia do not colonise Cambodia. You should speak more politely and respectfully to the patient because I have been sick, sick until now. Your language is inappropriate.”

Later in the speech, he added that he had “changed his attitude” and would only meet Subedi once a year from now on, rather than every time the envoy visits the country.

Hun Sen also took issue with Subedi’s concluding remarks, saying the government had considered the issues of land rights and judicial independence “100 or 1,000 times” already.

“Don’t try to push the door while the door is open, and don’t tell me the rain is coming while I am walking in the rain,” he said. “I want to say that no other people love Khmers like the Khmers love Khmers.”

Local rights groups, too, were subjected to attacks from the premier, who described them as “shadowy organisations”. He complained in particular about a June 15 March in which 200 people appeared at his Phnom Penh home to deliver a petition bearing the thumbprints of 60,000 land dispute victims.

“This kind of game should not be played with Hun Sen,” Hun Sen said.

At a press conference Thursday, Subedi criticised the judiciary, saying it lacks independence and “does not command the confidence of people from many walks of life”.

“There are an alarmingly high number of people in detention due to various shortcomings in the criminal justice system, and the instances of miscarriage of justice are far too numerous,” he said.

He also expressed concerns about land rights and “the narrowing of political space” due to legal attacks against journalists, rights workers and political opponents.

Subedi will submit a report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September.

Naly Pilorge, executive director of local rights group Licadho, said Subedi’s remarks on Thursday were consistent with his role as an independent expert appointed by the UN.

“The UN special rapporteur is obliged to present his findings to our government and to the Cambodian people, and our government should consider his findings to ensure Cambodia meets their obligations to the international community,” she said.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, agreed, saying Subedi had no political interest in smearing the government’s rights record.

“If there is information about the human rights situation he should consider it seriously. He should sit together with Subedi to solve the problem,” he said.

He also dismissed the prime minister’s claims that he had considered the problems raised by Subedi, saying the court system remains a persistent obstacle to development.

“Look at the consequences – the people cry everyday. Good investors don’t want to invest in Cambodia because they don’t trust the courts,” he said.

Trouble in paradise
Others said the reaction recalled the notoriously stormy relationship between Hun Sen and Subedi’s predecessor, Yash Ghai, who resigned from his post in acrimony in September 2008.

“This is only the beginning of another breakup,” said Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights. “There’s always a honeymoon period, and then there’s reality.”

Subedi could not be reached for comment on Monday, but in an interview with the Post ahead of his first mission to the country in June of last year, he said his approach would differ greatly from Yash Ghai’s.

“My approach in life has been to be persistent, to be patient, to be polite but firm. This is what my role will be,” he said.

“I will not be provoked into any sort of unprofessional matters. I will remain patient, keep my nerve, keep my cool and do my best.”

Ou Virak said Subedi’s more diplomatic stance would not affect how his criticism is received.

“Whatever language you try to speak in, the message will be exactly the same, and the government will not be happy,” he said.

Ou Virak added that speaking the truth without offending the government is “an art that nobody in the world knows”, and predicted that tensions will persist.

“This was the case before Subedi, it will be the case with Subedi, and these things will continue,” he said.

Christophe Peschoux, country representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, declined to comment on Monday.

Demobilisation on the backburner: PM

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:03 Cheang Sokha and Irwin Loy

CAMBODIA has abandoned plans to scale back the size of its military because of a lack of funding and lingering border tensions, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday.

Speaking at the National Veterans Conference, the premier said he wants to demobilise soldiers in the future, but that the government is currently dealing with disputes and a dearth of donor funding.

“As we have more and more veterans, we want to demobilise more soldiers, but right now I have decided not to demobilise as we have invasions from neighbouring countries,” Hun Sen said. “Keep all these armed forces. There is no need to demobilise.”

Though the premier said a robust military presence is needed to ward off potential threats, he added that he is not looking for conflict.

“Use peaceful solutions. I do not want to see war happen anymore,” he said.

Hun Sen said Cambodia has managed to demobilise 17,000 soldiers over the last decade.

“I want to demobilise further, but we don’t have the money,” he said.

In 2001, Hun Sen signed off on the US$42 million Demobilisation and Reintegration Project, which was led by the World Bank, as a way of reintegrating soldiers into society after decades of conflict.

“I fully agree with the full demobilisation programme ... in order to reach the target of 30,000 demobilised soldiers,” Hun Sen said in a speech in October of that year. He noted then that authorities were aiming to eventually reduce the rolls of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to between 70,000 and 80,000 people.

However, the project was contentious from the beginning.

The World Bank ignored warnings not to accept the government’s figures of how many soldiers were actually on the payroll, despite concerns about “ghost soldiers” and other “irregularities” reported in the registration process, according to a 2006 assessment the Bank produced.

By the time the project ended in 2005, the programme itself was tainted with irregularities, after a World Bank investigation revealed “fraudulent practices” surrounding the procurement of a $6.9 million contract to supply motorcycles. The project succeeded in demobilising 15,000 soldiers – half of the original goal. A further 1,500 soldiers had already been demobilised in an earlier pilot.

Ministry of Economy and Finance statistics showed the number of employees on the defence payroll fell from 130,695 to 112,359 by September 2002, according to the World Bank assessment.

Despite the demobilisation efforts, the past few years have seen Cambodia’s military assume a more prominent – and worrying – role in society, said Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights.

He noted that Hun Sen earlier this year controversially urged businesses to financially support the military, a directive that led authorities to pair companies with military units. The Senate also approved a law allowing conscription in 2006.

“Politically, it’s moving toward a one-party state,” Ou Virak said. “The [ruling Cambodian People’s Party] controls the National Assembly. They control the courts. Now they’re looking at ways to have a stronger military presence.”

King Father’s trip non-political

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Prince Sisowath Thomico, an adviser to King Father Norodom Sihanouk, speaks with a reporter at a press conference on Monday.

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:03 Vong Sokheng

ROYAL adviser Prince Sisowath Thomico held a press conference Monday to emphasise that King Father Norodom Sihanouk will not address political issues during his scheduled visit to Hanoi this week, following appeals that the visit be used as an opportunity to discuss the administration of former Cambodian territories in South Vietnam.

“The King Father was invited by the Vietnamese president to pay a friendship visit; therefore I think that the visit will be used to boost good relations between the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia, and between the people of the two countries,” the prince said.

Sihanouk will not “interfere in political affairs”, but will instead act as an “independent symbol of the Kingdom of Cambodia, in accordance with the Kingdom’s constitution”, he said.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said Monday that Sihanouk was entitled to raise the issue of Kampuchea Krom.

“I hope that the King Father will play his role as stated in the Kingdom’s Constitution as the guarantor of territorial sovereignty,” he said.

In a statement released Sunday, Son Soubert, vice president of the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front, said Sihanouk’s visit could usher in “a new era of frank cooperation” between the two countries.

When contacted on Monday, however, Son Soubert said it was unlikely that sovereignty issues would be discussed. “As the King Father said in his statement that the visit is private and non-political, I don’t expect any of the meetings to be related to border sovereignty,” he said.

Teacher gets 10 years’ jail for raping girl

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:03 Chrann Chamroeun

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court on Monday sentenced a teacher at a Christian school in the capital to 10 years in prison for raping a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl, and ordered him to pay her 4 million riels (US$952) in compensation.

Kham Kosal, a 35-year-old teacher at the Good News For Hope School in Meanchey district’s Chbar Ampov commune, was arrested on November 20 last year following a complaint lodged by the victim’s mother. The complaint stated that the victim was raped in a bathroom at the school on November 17 during a break between classes.

Khour Long, the defendant’s lawyer, on Monday blasted the verdict as “unjust”, saying the girl was absent from school on the day the attack allegedly occurred, a claim he also made during a hearing late last month.

“There was not enough evidence, and my client did not rape the girl,” he said. “I have proved to the court during a hearing on May 26 that the girl was absent on November 17. She didn’t come to school, and this was supported by several classmates during every level of the investigation.”

He accused the girl and her family of concocting the story in a bid for compensation, and said no witnesses had come forward to support her claim.

But Yim Thavy, a lawyer provided to the victim by local NGO Legal Support for Children and Women, said Khour Long’s attempt to discredit the girl was baseless.

“I welcome the court’s conviction, which found justice for the victim, because she really did not lie about the rape,” she said.

She took issue with the sentence, however, saying that, because the victim was under 14 at the time of the attack, he should have been given a jail term of between 15 and 20 years under the 2001 Law on Aggravating Circumstances for Felonies.

Khour Long said he did not know whether his client would appeal.

Forestry officials picked for NW

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Forestry Administration Director Chheng Kim Son speaks at a conference in May, one month after Prime Minister Hun Sen announced his appointment to the post.

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:02 Tep Nimol and Mom Kunthear

THREE forestry officials have been appointed to lead new administrative zones in Cambodia’s northwest, the director of the Forestry Administration said Monday.

Chheng Kim Son said the three officials were sworn in Monday morning and will be in charge of newly created cantonments in Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey.

Previously, all three provinces fell under the watch of a central cantonment based in Siem Reap town, and officials had difficulty covering such a large area, he said.

“They will start their work in each province now after they were sworn into their positions,” the director said. He declined to name the new officials or discuss the issue at length.

Another official within the Forestry Administration, who declined to be named, identified the new officials as Tea Kimsoth, Chheang Tola and Em Mony, who will lead the new cantonments in Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey, respectively. All three have held positions in the Siem Reap office.

The shift represents Chheng Kim Son’s first public move since he was appointed head of the Forestry Administration in April, when Prime Minister Hun Sen sacked former director Ty Sokun, saying he had not done enough to fight illegal logging.

Srey Naren, coordinator for rights group Adhoc in Oddar Meanchey, said Chheng Kim Son’s administrative move was a good one, explaining that officials in the area had been too spread out, leaving them unable to curtail illegal logging.

Kampot police eye allegations of child abuse

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear and Khoun Leakhana

POLICE in Kampot province have launched an investigation into a woman accused of beating her 16-year-old niece, officials said Monday.

The girl was removed from her aunt’s custody last Tuesday, after neighbours told police and the rights group Adhoc that she had been abused for around six years. Officials investigating the case said they found more than 20 wounds on the girl’s body, some old and some fresh.

Chin Oav, chief of the provincial anti-human trafficking department, said Monday that he had asked neighbours of the suspect to assist with the investigation, but that so far only one witness had come forward.

“They are afraid the woman will seek revenge because she is very cruel,” he said, and added that a witness interviewed Monday had alleged that the suspect used a range of objects to beat the girl, and that beatings had taken place “almost every day”.

He said he was planning to interview the suspect today.

“I will send her case to the court if I find her answers and the witness’s answers are the same,” he said.

Provincial court prosecutor Chhum Samban said Sunday that he had asked police to investigate last Wednesday, but declined to comment on how it was going.

“It remains mysterious, so to avoid any failure we prefer not to comment,” he said. “We will summon the defendant if we have enough proof.”

Chin Oav said such cases were rarely reported in Kampot. “This is the first case of very cruel child abuse in Kampot province that I have met,” he said.

Haidy Ear-Dupuy, advocacy and communications director for World Vision Cambodia, said Monday that accurate figures were hard to come by, but that the organisation believes an estimated 30 percent of children nationwide experience some form of abuse.

Sim Sorphea, head of Adhoc’s women’s rights programme in Kampot, said the NGO Hagar International has been providing shelter, healthcare and legal aid to the girl since she was removed from her aunt’s custody.

Garment workers protest again

Photo by: Sovan Philong
A woman reads a sign posted Monday outside the Ocean Garment Factory in Dangkor district after protesting workers were dispersed by police and military police.

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:02 Meas Sokchea

AROUND 2,000 garment workers held fresh demonstrations at the Ocean Garment Factory in the capital’s Dangkor district on Monday, calling for the reinstatement of seven union representatives suspended after protesting the introduction of overtime hours.

Mann Seng Hak, secretary general of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said during the protest that the factory owner violated the Labour Law by suspending the representatives.

“Based on labour laws, the company cannot suspend workers before sending their names to the Ministry of Labour,” he said, and argued that workers could only be fired with the ministry’s approval.

Sam Ty, chief of the workers’ syndicate at the factory and one of the seven suspended representatives, accused Lay Sokchea, the company’s chief of administration, of lobbying factory owners to prevent members of his union from working.

When contacted on Monday, Lay Sokchea dismissed the accusation and defended the factory owner’s decision to suspend the representatives.

“I cannot lobby factory owners to suspend the workers,” he said. “The factory owner saw their activities with his own eyes. The representatives made the mistake of stirring up workers and lobbying them to not work. They did not do their duty.”

He added that the company had delivered the names of those who were suspended to the Ministry of Labour, but that the ministry had not yet reviewed the information from the company.

Va Yuvavadhana, chief of the ministry’s Labour Litigation Office, said the suspension of the unionists could very well have been illegal, saying it “did not make any mistakes”.

The protest was dispersed at around 8:30am by both police and military police.

SRP official accuses defector of continuing to skim profits

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Pros, a 25-year-old labourer, transports sand to construction sites on National Road 5 in Russey Keo district’s Kilometre 6 commune.

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:02 Chhay Channyda

AUTHORITIES in Russey Keo district’s Kilometre 6 commune briefly held up a sand lorry Monday morning in a bid to draw attention to accusations against a former commune chief, who they say has continued to skim profits from sand-transport fees in his new role as a district councillor.

Sok Khim, the chief of Russey Keo’s Kilometre 6 commune and a member of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), said on Monday that authorities delayed the lorry from delivering sand in the commune in an attempt to persuade district authorities to address a complaint he filed on April 30.

In 2008, former commune chief Sok Sambath defected to the Cambodian People’s Party and took up posts as a Russey Keo district councillor and as an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In the April 30 complaint, Sok Khim accused him of continuing to regulate the transport of sand, and of profiting from sand-transport fees that rightfully belong to the commune.

“According to the government’s decentralisation policy, all activities in the commune must be dealt with by commune authorities,” he said. “District officials have violated this law.”

He said that each time a lorry transports sand to the commune, a US$1 fee should be paid to the commune.

“This situation is politically motivated because I am a commune chief from the Sam Rainsy Party,” he said. “Other commune chiefs in Russey Keo district have never had such an experience.”

Sok Sambath denied having ever profited illegally from the fees, but noted that he had passed some of his responsibilities on to the district authorities.

“People know that during my time as commune chief, I worked very hard for the people. I did not take money from the sand trucks. Instead, I asked the sand companies to give two out of every 100 truckloads of sand for the development of the commune,” he said.

The accusations against him, he said, are “totally unfounded”. “This new SRP commune chief does not do things like me,” he said. “These authorities only want money.”

Real Khemrin, an SRP representative on the Phnom Penh municipal council, said Monday that Russey Keo district governor Khlaing Huot had so far failed to schedule any meetings about the complaint.

He echoed Sok Khim’s claim that the current arrangement amounts to discrimination against the SRP, and added that he believes the Cambodian People’s Party is trying to gain a “political advantage” by maintaining control of responsibilities that should fall to the commune chief.

Koub Sles, the deputy governor of Russey Keo district, said on Monday that he had received the complaint against Sok Sambath in April, but that he had determined the allegations to be baseless.

“Even after Sok Sambath left his job as commune chief, he still worked to develop the commune because his house is there,” he said.

“What he has done does not violate decentralisation. It actually supports decentralisation because district officials are now developing the commune for the people.”

Patrols combat illegal fishing

Photo by: Photo Supplied
Two illegal fishing boats are towed ashore by a community fishing patrol off Koh Rung Sangleum in October last year (main photo), while a poacher prepares for a dive, with homemade weight-belt, air hose and hacksaw for removing whip coral (inset).

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:01 Sebastian Strangio and May Titthara

Community fishing patrols in the waters around Koh Rung Sangleum island have taken a bite out of a once-rampant trade in coral and other resources


THE shallow aquamarine waters around Koh Rung Sangleum island, lined with coral reefs and rich with marine life, have long provided the island’s few residents with resources and livelihoods.

At the small wooden dock at the island’s Village 23, fishermen bring in fresh catches of squid, the surface of the creatures still alive with electric pulses of colour. Outside beachside homes in the village, a small cove ringed with coconut palms, residents set racks of squid out to dry, where they wither in the sun like rows of miniature deployed parachutes.

Despite the appearance of abundance, fishermen on this horseshoe-shaped island, 25 kilometres off the country’s south coast, are only just recovering from a wave of illegal poaching that, with the blessing of unknown local authorities, wreaked havoc on marine ecosystems and the age-old rhythm of life on the island.

But community fishing patrols – established last year by the provincial government – have allowed locals to fight back against illegal poachers and reclaim some of the marine area.

Lawless region
Residents of Koh Rung Sangleum say laws have always been weakly enforced. Following the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, the island existed in near complete isolation from the mainland, with only sporadic contacts with authorities.

In around 2002, locals say, fishermen from Vietnam and Thailand arrived in the area and quickly came to dominate the local fishing trade with their use of more modern – and often illegal – fishing methods.

“Before we had the fishing community [area], the illegal fishermen came to fish here anarchically,” said Lay Thai, the chief of Village 23. “They also used modern materials, destroying fish, seahorses, coral reefs and squid.”

The renegade operators plied the loosely policed waters around Koh Rung Sangleum and nearby Koh Rong at will, plundering the local reefs. At one point, fishing boats from neighbouring Vietnam became so commonplace that villagers began to refer to a small cove near the island as chhak yuon (Vietnamese Bay). The effect on local livelihoods, villagers say, was devastating.

“Before, in one day we could catch about 30 to 50 kilogrammes [of fish], but now we can only catch around one, so this has caused a lot of fishermen, around 80 percent, to start working as construction labourers to support their living,” said Van Da, a 49-year-old fisherman from Village 23.

Paul Ferber, the founder of Marine Conservation Cambodia, which operates conservation projects on Koh Rung Sangleum, said the poachers – photographed and monitored by the patrols – displayed recklessness and daring in their search for underwater riches.

They dived from small boats with the aid of home-made weight belts and a simple hose to supply air, he said, capturing sea horses, abalone and other marine resources from the seabed.

A highly prized item was whip coral – a thin coral species worth hundreds of dollars per bundle – which fishermen removed with hacksaws.

They also used cyanide capsules to stun and capture fish alive, and netted a premium price when the animals were sold to restaurants in Vietnam and farther afield.

Diving to depths of up to 25 metres to reach the coral bed, he said, the men would walk across the reefs, cracking the hard coral and threatening long-term damage to the architecture of the marine ecosystem.

“Coral tends to be a place where all the coral fish congregate and lay their eggs – it’s a breeding ground, it’s a place where fish go to sleep at night, where there is protection for smaller animals. If you break or damage one thing, everything else suffers,” Ferber said.

He pointed out that under Article 55 of the Kingdom’s 2001 Fisheries Law, the “possession, buying, selling, transporting and stocking” of coral is banned, as is any action – such as anchoring ships – that damages or destroys coral reefs.

Protection against plunderers
Early last year, Preah Sihanouk provincial officials allowed Village 23 to form a community fishing zone, and empowered fishermen to enforce environmental laws. One year on, rogue operators are much more scarce.

“Since we established the fishing community, the number of fish and squid has increased,” said Lay Thai, who is also chief of the fishing community. He added that fishermen from the village can now protect between 70 and 80 percent of the community fishing zone through regular patrols and the “re-education” – and sometimes arrest – of the culprits.

The patrols, operating far from the mainland and the reach of the local naval authorities, take the form of what could be described as officially sanctioned vigilantism.

Photo by: Photo Supplied
Dead dog sharks and other fish confiscated by a community fishing patrol off the coast of Koh Rung Sangleum in October last year, and a mugshot of one of the fishermen detained by the community and handed over to the authorities (inset).

Kong Rithy, the chief of police in Koh Rong commune, said that when fishermen are spotted operating illegally in the area, they are intercepted by a local patrol boat.

First-time offenders are given a warning and educated about the law. If caught a second time, he said, they can be detained and handed over to local authorities for arrest.

“We want to protect fish, reefs and squid in this area because it can help increase the number of fish and make it easier for my villagers to fish, and also maybe attract tourists to come visit,” he said.

Prior to the establishment of the patrols, the trade in marine contraband was fuelled by the apparent impunity enjoyed by those responsible for carrying it out.

Kong Rithy said fishermen captured by community patrols produced hand-written “licences” issued illegally by Cambodian officials.

Ferber cited one case in which fishermen detained by a community patrol in 2009 and handed over to local authorities were back on the water within months.

Ferber added that the community patrols, which on paper extend along the entire length of Koh Rung Sangleum, could only reach so far.

“It’s a huge area, but at the moment they’re only patrolling a couple of kilometres and around Koh Kun,” he said, referring to the small islet lying off the north coast of the island.

And participating in the patrols can be dangerous. Illegal fishermen have started operating at night, and there are limits to how far the part-time patrols will go – and how much risk they will take – to stop them, he said.

But although there are still obstacles to be overcome, locals say the patrols have given them a chance to stay on their feet.

“Everyone here depends on fishing,” said Suy Koy, 28, a fisherman from Village 23. “If we can’t fish we won’t know how to support our living and we will die.”

Construction still suffering

Construction on the Vattanac building on Monivong Boulevard, Phnom Penh, continues Monday despite a downturn in project approvals.

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:01 Soeun Say

Officials hope a new sub-decree will stimulate the sector as approvals plummet

THE value of construction projects approved by the government fell 74 percent over the first five months of this year, compared to 2009, but officials hope a new sub-decree on foreign property ownership will spark an investment revival.

Lao Tip Seiha, director of the construction department at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, said Monday that the government body has approved 889 construction projects worth a combined US$271 million in the first five months of 2010.

The value of approvals was down 74.24 percent on the corresponding period for 2009, when 944 construction projects, worth $1.05 billion, were given the go-ahead.

“It’s not a good sign for the construction sector,” Lao Tip Seiha told the Post.

“There is still a downturn, caused by the world financial crisis. It is a major problem for sector,” he said.

The past two years have seen a major dip in investment for Cambodian developments.

In 2009, the government approved 1,805 projects worth $1.68 billion, compared to 2,156 schemes worth $3.19 billion approved in 2008 – an annual fall of 47.38 percent.

Lao Tip Seiha said he hopes that this year will mark an improvement.

He predicted that capital investment for construction projects will increase if the government approves a sub-decree to allow foreign citizens to own up to 80 percent of units in a property development.

The sub-decree is currently being considered by the Council of Ministers and is set to be passed within the next month.

Analysts, speaking last week, say that the sub-decree, if approved, will widen the potential market for Cambodian property sector by opening it up internationally.

It has the potential to boost foreign direct investment in real estate, they said.

“We hope that when the sub-decree is passed by the government it will push up the value of construction projects at the end of the year,” said Lao Tip Seiha. He added that the sub-decree could “attract more and more local and foreign developers to invest in constructing housing development for sale or rent”.

But according to businessmen working in Cambodia’s property market, international investors are still not confident in the strength of the sector’s recovery.

Sear Chailin, managing director of Visal Real Estate Co, said Monday that transactions for the market are “still quiet” and that investors, both foreign and domestic, remain “fearful”.

However he also described the sub-decree as a ray of hope in the beleaguered market.

“I feel confident that for the end of this year and the next year, the construction and real estate sector will be in recovery. I strongly believe in the new sub-decree,” he said.

“I think that it is the right time for developers start to invest and continue with their project developments,” he added.

He said that despite the drop in future investments, large construction projects across the capital are still under way.

However, the onset of the rainy season may have stalled some schemes, according to construction material suppliers.

A representative from Chip Mong Import Export Construction Co, which imports steel from Vietnam, Thailand and China to sell wholesale domestically, said that the price of steel has dropped this month.

Sieng Vibol, human resource manager for Chip Mong, said Monday: “The price of steel is down by between 10 to 20 percent this month, compared to last. Some construction projects have been delayed or have not started activities due to the rainy season and a lack of recovery from the crisis.”

He said he hopes that the price of construction materials will increase by the end of the year.

Rice exporters aim to tap markets in Europe

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:00 Chun Sophal

THE Small and Medium Industries Association of Cambodia began exporting 1,668 tonnes of rice worth nearly US$600,000 to four European markets on Monday.

The exports fulfill $583,000 in previous agreements to sell 900 tonnes of rice to Lithuania, 480 tonnes to Poland, 240 tonnes to Russia, and 48 tonnes to Estonia, association secretary general Outh Renne said Monday.

The shipments will depart from Sihanoukville Autonomous Port from June 21 to 30.

“We hope to reach more agreements to export rice to European markets in the coming months,” he added.

Department of Trade Statistics and Information director Kong Putheara said that many Cambodian companies are already exporting small amounts of rice to the European Union.

This, he said, is due to tax preferences granted to least-developed countries (LDC) through the EU’s generalised system of preferences (GSP) legislation.

“We hope that Cambodian companies will be able to export more rice to European markets in the future because they are now updating their rice-processing technology in order to produce more international-quality rice,” Kong Putheara said.

Cambodian Small and Medium Industries Association says it exported 5,026 tonnes of rice in the first five months of the year.

Outh Renne said rice exports cannot presently be conducted on a larger scale because local firms do not have the capital to buy and store paddy at the level enjoyed by neighbouring countries.

“Our capital is [only] enough to buy at most 10,000 tonnes of rice to store because no loans are available for this,” he said.

Cambodia has seen investment totalling nearly $900 million to buy 3.1 million tonnes of paddy so far this year, according to a draft document for government policy in the sector.

Of this amount, $631 million was invested by foreign traders, and another $245 million was spent by local firms, the Options for Cambodia Rice Exports draft report said.

It also estimated that some $58 million is presently spent buying paddy for export.

In April, Prime Minister Hun Sen axed rice export licences in a bid to boost sales of the Kingdom’s “white gold”.

Previously, traders who wanted to sell more than 200 tonnes of the grain had to apply for a permit.

Slight growth in HK trade

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:00 May Kunmakara

TRADE between Cambodia and Hong Kong rose 8.6 percent in the first four months of 2010, compared to the same period last year, according to figures obtained from Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKDTC) Monday.

Bilateral trade reached US$173 million in the first four months, up from $159 million for the period 2009. Hong Kong exported $168 million in goods to Cambodia to the end of April, an 8.6 percent increase from $154.7 million over the first four months of last year. Some $5 million was shipped the other way, growing 7.8 percent over the last 12 months.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Director General Nguon Meng Tech said that the growth was in line with the progress of world economy.

“Our trade with Hong Kong won’t be facing problems, as investors are mostly doing business in our garment factories for export to foreign markets,” he said.

Cambodia’s main exports to Hong Kong were footwear, garment products, unprocessed wood, and rice, while Hong Kong mainly shipped knitted and woven fabrics, telecommunications equipment, yarn, and plastics articles to the Kingdom, according to the statistics.

Ministry of Commerce Foreign Trade Department director general Sok Sopheak could not be reached for comment Monday, but said late last month that bilateral trade is improving so far this year.

Trade between Cambodia and Hong Kong plummeted 22.2 percent last year, falling to $480 million.

Police Blotter: 22 Jun 2010

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:00 Phak Seangly

Police in Pursat province’s Kandieng district on Saturday arrested two men accused of attacking a 20-year-old with samurai swords while he was urinating outside a wedding party. The attack occurred at 10:40pm on Wednesday. The two men allegedly confessed to police upon their arrest that they had attacked the man because they “had rancour” with him, noting that he had been looking directly into their faces during the party. Both suspects have been sent to provincial court, and police said they were looking for a third man in connection with the incident.

Police in Battambang province’s Kors Kralor district are on the lookout for a 19-year-old man suspected of chopping his 24-year-old friend in the hand with an axe after a round of heavy drinking on Friday afternoon. The pair had reportedly been drinking for several hours before the attack, which resulted in serious injuries to the victim’s hand. The victim was sent to the provincial hospital, but the suspect escaped, and took the axe with him.

A 20-year-old man in Kampong Cham province’s Ponhea Krek district was arrested on Friday while trying to make off with a motorbike. The arrest came two days after he and several other men allegedly snatched a necklace from two women in the district. Police said that after stealing the necklace, they went into hiding in Krek commune, where the man was caught trying to steal the motorbike. He allegedly shot at police who chased after him, though no one was injured. The man later confessed to stealing the necklace and attempting to steal the motorbike, and also said he had recently tried to steal a motorbike in Prey Veng province.

A 43-year-old woman in Sihanoukville was arrested on Thursday after she was caught stealing bracelets from an 18-month-old girl, police said. The girl’s 57-year-old grandmother alerted police to the crime shortly after it happened. Upon arresting the woman, police confiscated the bracelets along with several packages of cigarettes, a shampoo bottle and US$35.

Gaming centres back online after gambling crackdown

Photo by: Pha Lina
Boys play online video games at a reopened gaming parlour in Phnom Penh on Monday. The industry is starting up again after a government crackdown.

via Khmer NZ News Media

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 15:00 Jeremy Mullins and Bun Tharum

Officials issue licences as IT companies begin to progress with gaming plans

ONLINE gaming is showing signs of revival following public statements made by Minister of Information Khieu Khanharith last month, which cleared computer gaming centres to operate.

The Minister went on record to local media to say that online gaming did not involve betting. The industry had been subject to a police crackdown after Prime Minister Hun Sen made a speech condemning the use of gambling machines in the country, which some interpreted to include online computer games.

The operators of game centres confirmed Monday that in recent weeks many had received licences and are now opening their doors to computer enthusiasts.

One centre, located in the capital’s Daun Penh district, opened recently after a three month hiatus.

“I opened my shop after the Minster of Information said that computer game shops could operate, but I was warned it was not for students in their school uniforms,” said owner Rachana, who asked to be identified only by his first name. He showed a reporter a certificate from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications allowing the shop to provide Internet services from licensed ISPs.

Another shop owner in the same commune, who asked not to be named, showed reporters a certificate from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts allowing the operation of a gaming centre.

She said she had opened her shop three days ago after being contacted by a representative from IT company Sabay, which said that online gaming had been given the go-ahead.

Industry spokesmen say larger firms operating online games also require licences.

Sabay was granted a licence by the Ministry of Information to operate online games at the beginning of June, Chief Operating Manager Mike Gaertner said Monday.

Vietnam-owned rival VTC Online said gaming centres were reopening across the city, allowing with the firm to proceed with its plans.

“We are preparing to start advertising our first game, Audition, again. We are looking for a television advertising agency for early next week,” marketing executive Meas Sokha said Monday.

He said there was still confusion as to which governmental body was a regulator for gaming shops.

“The situation of each district is not the same,” he wrote in an email.

Khieu Kanharith declined comment when contacted Monday. MPTC and MCFA officials could not be reached for comment Monday.

And, despite the issuing of licences, Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said Monday that police are still targeting online gambling.

“We still continue to crackdown on computer game shops that offer anything relating to gambling. These shops are illegal,” he said.