Friday, 23 July 2010

Ministry tells court clerks to mind the law

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:03 Chhay Channyda

THE Ministry of Justice has issued a letter warning court officials to refrain from committing “indecent acts”.

In the letter, dated July 16 and obtained yesterday, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana said justice officials had received multiple complaints concerning unnamed court officials – particularly court clerks.

“Clerks have a role to write notes and keep complaint documents as well as perform duties well following legal procedure, based on neutral, unbiased policy,” the letter reads.

It adds that clerks must “make the public confident in them and the justice system”.

“The Ministry of Justice will take strong measures to punish any clerk committing indecent acts that affect the justice sector,” Ang Vong Vathana warned.

Sam Prachea Manith, the Justice Ministry’s cabinet chief, said the letter had been sent to all municipal and provincial courts across the Kingdom.

“The minister is targeting all court officials, especially clerks, who work closely to receive complaints from people,” he said. “Clerks at the court have no power to judge in any case.”

He said the letter was not prompted by any one case.

Chan Soveth, senior monitor for the rights group Adhoc, said his organisation often hears of public frustration with the courts and court clerks.

“If [someone] has money, the clerk may pay attention to the complaint, but if no money, they may discriminate and delay the case for a long time,” Chan Soveth said, describing one common grievance.

Yeng Virak, executive director of the Community Legal Education Centre, said the ministry letter was unusual, but he also described it as a positive step.

“This letter should help to address the mistrust of the public in the legal system,” he said.

School gets right to train guides

Photo by: Rann Reuy
Heng Chao Say, a tour guide, escorts foreign tourists through the Angkor Wat temple complex yesterday. Under a new agreement, the training of tour guides will be conducted by a hotel and tourism school

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:03 Rann Reuy and Peter Olszewski

Siem Reap province

TOURISM Minister Thong Khon is set to preside over the signing of an agreement today allowing the Paul Dubrule Hotel and Tourism School to take over the training of tour guides in Siem Reap province.

The memorandum of understanding, intended to be effective for at least two years, will be signed by Sdoeung Sokhom, an undersecretary of state at the ministry.

Negotiations for the agreement date back to January, when the ministry approached the school asking for a proposal for the training, which has previously been handled by the ministry.

Thong Khon said that under the old arrangement, tour guides were usually required to complete three-month courses.

He said the Paul Dubrule school was chosen as a private-sector training partner because it has a “good background and [is an] outstanding school”.

Gerald Hougardy, the school’s director, said the agreement would call for it to “prepare, train and certify the next batch of tourism guide trainees, starting in mid-October with the first group of 50 students”.

He added that details of the training programme have not been fully finalised, and that two international tourism experts from France will arrive in Siem Reap in early October to consult on final preparations for the programme and to help with its launch.

SRP rejects reports of ‘secret’ election deals

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:02 Meas Sokchea

THE opposition Sam Rainsy Party yesterday dismissed recent media reports accusing it of rotating parliamentarians in key constituencies, saying they were a distraction from the government’s own failures.

The pro-government daily Kampuchea Thmey reported yesterday that according to “secret” SRP documents obtained by the newspaper, parliamentarians in seven constituencies – Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Kandal and Prey Veng – would be rotated halfway through the current five-year mandate.

According to the Kampuchea Thmey report, the current holders of the seats would give them up to those who were next in line as candidates during national elections.

But SRP spokesman Yim Sovann rejected the reports, saying the document obtained by the newspaper was not official, and that the party had not made any decisions regarding the replacement of lawmakers.

“We are not interested in this issue, and so far we have not had any changes. What we are focusing on is the loss of people’s land, the elimination of corruption and territorial integrity,” he said.

The document came to light after Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a recent speech that senior SRP officials met last month in Manila, where a decision was allegedly made to split parliamentary terms between representatives.

“I would like to inform, I have also known about the Manila decision,” he said during a speech in Svay Rieng province on Monday. “I would like to tell you all, think of your party.... There has never been a people’s representative for a half-mandate.”

He also warned that the SRP’s strategy could allow pro-government moles to gain a foothold in the party, and predicted it would face a “crisis” by March 2011.

Koul Panha, executive director of local election monitor Comfrel, said the decision to change parliamentarians between elections was not strictly illegal, but that it violated the spirit of the constitution.

“This action affects the constitution and affects parliamentarians’ consciousness,” he said.

Brick attacks plague riverside

Photo by: Julie Leafe
A pile of bricks rests on the riverfront yesterday. Expatriates have reported a spate of brick attacks in recent months, and a police officer said yesterday that at least one was being investigated.

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:02 Cameron Wells and May Titthara

JAMES Grant didn’t see it coming. Literally. As he was walking in Daun Penh district with some friends one night last month, a chunk of rock “about the size of my fist” struck him in the back of the head, causing him to black out for a few seconds.

“It was me and three girls walking along the riverside. We were just talking, and all of a sudden something hit me in the back of the head,” he said. “It felt like someone just punched me.”

He said one of the girls saw that the rock had been thrown from “a gold 4x4 Lexus”.

“Because we were walking in a line, it bounced off my head, hit my friend’s stomach and then came across my other friend’s foot,” he said of the attack, which occurred on June 16.

“I went to bed, and woke up at 6 in the morning and was really violently sick. I had a killer migraine. It must’ve been some sort of concussion.”

Eight such attacks have been reported to the Post since April, all of them taking place along the riverfront. In each case, an expatriate claims to have been hit by a brick or a piece of rock thrown from an SUV or a truck.

“I heard through a friend that there were around seven or eight people [attacked] recently,” said Grant, a freelance photographer who occasionally contributes to the Post. He added that his assistant had recently dodged a brick attack near Kandal Market that was attempted in broad daylight.

Jess Truglia, a British national living in Phnom Penh, said she was attacked in a similar fashion in late May.

“I was leaving Metro to go to Riverhouse,” she said. “I began to cross the road and a car turned down, and a brick hit me in the back.”

She noted that the vehicle was a pickup truck, and that the projectile was actually “half a brick”.

“A friend of mine that it [also] happened to was at a cashpoint, and it definitely came from a car,” she said.

Neither Grant nor Truglia reported the incidents to police.

But Patrick Falby, a former Post reporter, said he went to police soon after being attacked July 13 on Street 178.

“A silver SUV, a Toyota I think, slowed down and I was hit in the jaw with a brick,” he said. “I reported it to police, they told me to write down exactly what happened, and I said, ‘This is happening a lot, so I’d be happy to pass on a few details.’ They said they’d look into it and get back to me, but they haven’t.”

Sok Chhorn, the police chief in Chey Chumneah commune, said police were still investigating Falby’s case.

“This has never happened before,” he said, and added: “We care very much about tourists’ security.”

He said bricks had reportedly also been thrown into houses in the area, and advised victims to report all such incidents to authorities.

“Please tell tourists who have been injured not to worry about this case – the police are working on it,” he said.

But Hun Sothy, the police chief in Daun Penh district, said he did not believe the victims’ accounts because he had yet to receive any reports detailing their cases. “I deploy police officers along the street at night to protect tourists, so I don’t think they have happened,” he said. “If there is a victim, they should file a complaint to a police official that is close to them.”

Chris Chipp, an independent security consultant, said no one he’d talked to had heard of any brick attacks, but urged foreign victims to report them to their embassies.

“The embassies can put the screws to the authorities and say, ‘Hey, this is happening to our people, what are you doing and what can be done about it?’” Chipp said.

Ratanakkiri activist tells court of illegal police search

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:02 Tep Nimol

AN activist for a local rights group appeared at Ratanakkiri provincial court yesterday to answer questions concerning allegations he made in 2007 against two police officials, who he said searched his house without a court warrant.

Chhay Thy, a provincial investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said he originally filed the complaint against Banlung deputy police chiefs Puth Savy and Ma Buntung on December 25, 2007. He accused the pair of violating his rights when they searched his home without a warrant while he was away on December 19 of that year.

Chhay Thy said that at the time of the search, he was participating in a demonstration with about 100 ethnic minority villagers from Ratanakkiri who were demanding local authorities abide by a government order to stop clearing their communal land.

Although more than two years have passed since he originally filed the complaint, Chhay Thy said that yesterday marked the first time he had appeared in court to answer questions in the case. He added that he would request compensation equal to US$954 from the two police officials.

“Even though the court took a long time to investigate this case, my client and I were willing to wait,” said Long Lun, Chhay Thy’s lawyer.

When contacted yesterday, Ma Buntung denied the allegations against him.

“Puth Savy and I did not search Chhay Thy’s house,” he said. “We just went there to ask for some drinking water and also to provide safety for all of the villagers’ motorbikes which were parked outside Chhay Thy’s house during the demonstration,” he said.

He said that he and Puth Savy had appeared in court on June 8 to answer questions related to the case.

“We will fight with Chhay Thy in a legal way. We are not frightened because we did not do anything wrong,” he said.

Ros Saram, Ratanakkiri deputy prosecutor, said he would issue another summons order for the accused police officers next week, and added that the delay in the investigation had been due to lack of human resources.

“In 2007, we only had one prosecutor so we could not investigate all the cases in the province,” he said.

Narcotics Charges: Woman held in Thailand gets lawyer

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:02 Cheang Sokha

Narcotics Charges

CAMBODIAN consular officials in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province yesterday found a lawyer to represent a woman arrested earlier this week on suspicion of drug trafficking.

On Sunday, Thai officials arrested 20-year-old Lay Dav along with her 3-year-old daughter and her 40-year-old mother-in-law, said Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The officials said they had found methamphetamine pills on Lay Dav when the group was nabbed.

Koy Kuong said Lay Dav’s daughter and mother-in-law were released shortly after being arrested, but that Lay Dav had been transferred to a prison in Sa Kaeo province after being charged with drug trafficking. “She is in detention temporarily awaiting trial,” Koy Kuong said, and added that he did not know when a hearing would be scheduled in the case.

On July 7, Thai authorities arrested Suon Veasna, 32, after finding him in possession of six methamphetamine pills. He, too, is awaiting trial.

Family won’t seek charges in acid attack

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:02 Sun Narin and Cameron Wells

THE family of a 17-year-old male student attacked with acid in the capital has decided not to pursue charges after arriving at an out-of-court settlement with his assailants.

On Tuesday, Long Rathvisal suffered injuries to his face and arms during an argument with four other teenagers. Chea Sok, the deputy police chief of Prampi Makara district, where the attack occurred, said on Wednesday that the victim was attacked with acid, though he noted that his injuries were not serious “because the acid is not strong”.

Yesterday, 31-year-old Keo Phaly, a neighbour of Long Rathvisal who witnessed the attack, said a bottle of acid was outside when the fight broke out. “I do not know whether the four boys brought the acid with them or not,” she said. “I just think the acid was in the victim’s house, and when the fighting started they threw it.”

The victim’s family was called in to district police headquarters yesterday for questioning related to the incident.

Afterwards, Chea Sok downplayed the significance of the attack. “It was just fighting between spoiled teenagers and the victim,” he said, and added at one point that “there was no acid attack”. He declined to elaborate, saying the case had been sent to court.

But Chieng Sry, a relative of the victim, said yesterday that Long Rathvisal was “fine”, and that the family considered the matter closed after a solution was negotiated by police and a judge.

She declined to comment on the reasons for the fight, and did not disclose the terms of the settlement.

A report in May from the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity decried the common practice of settling acid attack cases out of court, saying this was one reason that “perpetrators of acid violence regularly escape prosecution and conviction for their crimes”.

CASC coordinator Ziad Samman would not comment yesterday on the settlement, but praised the quick response to the attack by Cambodian police. “The swift response of police, that’s very positive,” he said. “The last few cases it has been like this.”

CPP winds up annual meeting

Photo by: Uy Nou Sereimony
Cambodian People’s Party President Chea Sim (left) and Prime Minister Hun Sen open the party’s 35th annual Central Committee congress, which concluded yesterday.

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:02 Vong Sokheng

THE ruling Cambodian People’s Party concluded its 35th annual Central Committee congress at its Phnom Penh headquarters yesterday, with Prime Minister Hun Sen warning that he would offer no protection to any party members found to be breaking the law.

Cheam Yeap, a senior CPP lawmaker, said that at the close of the meeting, the premier gave a 90-minute speech in which he recommended that party officials stay away from illegal activities.

“Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen has released an order to all police, soldiers and civil servants of the CPP to get away from illegal activity, and the premier will not take responsibility for any wrong behaviour of individual officials if they face legal action in the courts,” he said yesterday.

Cheap Yeap said the premier had specifically warned party members against engaging in illegal logging, land grabbing and illegal mining – issues that have attracted opposition criticism in the past.

Hun Sen also called on the armed forces to protect the country’s territorial sovereignty while respecting the sovereignty of neighbouring countries.

Government spokesman and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said the meeting also addressed economic issues.

“The congress has approved for the party to continue controlling macroeconomic [policy] to have sustainability and encourage control over the growing market,” he said.

At the close of the meeting, the central committee announced its support for Hun Sen as its prime ministerial candidate at the 2013 national election.

Publisher accused of fraud and extortion

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:01 May Titthara

THE publisher of a monthly newspaper in Kampong Thom province has been arrested and sent to court on suspicion of using an illegal press licence plate, and police have also accused him of illegally trying to extort money from wood vendors.

Horn Dara Huol was arrested this week and sent to the provincial court, said deputy provincial prosecutor Seng Meng Sruong. The 47-year-old publishes the monthly Chhanteak Kuon newspaper.

Seng Meng Sruong said Horn Dara Huol was charged with using a press licence plate that had not been registered with the Interior Ministry, and that he faced between two and five years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million riels (US$2,383) if convicted.

Khuon Bunhuor, the military police chief in Baray District, said police had been investigating Horn Dara Huol for some time, and accused the publisher of setting up illegal checkpoints where he would stop wood vendors and demand money. He said Horn Dara Huol told the vendors that he would write damning stories about them if they did not pay.

He said the checkpoints had been deliberately placed in front of those set up by police.

“We arrested him after he positioned his checkpoint in front of us many times,” he said. “This is illegal under the law.”

In January, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a public call for officials to crack down on illegal logging, and attention to the issue increased when he removed Ty Sokun from his post as director of the Forestry Administration in April.

Meanwhile, a spate of extortion complaints have been filed against journalists in provinces where illegal logging reportedly occurs.

In April, for instance, three journalists in Kampong Cham province were accused of extorting money from wood vendor Mey Kim Huon, who said they threatened to publish stories alleging that she was selling illegal wood unless she paid them US$300.

Observers have been split on whether the complaints are attempts to intimidate reporters – thereby discouraging them from covering a sensitive issue that merits investigation – or reporters are guilty of attempting to exploit the government’s crackdown for easy money.

Tel Piseth, a reporter for Rasmey Kampuchea and a member of the Cambodian Club of Journalists, said yesterday that extortion attempts harm the credibility of journalists.

“We should ask them to get the information, and find any sources who can talk about the case for balance, and then we can produce a story,” he said.

Nokia launches in Cambodia

Photo by: Julie Leafe
Nokia’s general manager for Indochina, William Hamilton-Whyte, says the firm’s new Cambodia office will “bring them closer” to the market.

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:01 Jeremy Mullins

NOKIA plans to launch its first office in Cambodia today in a bid to ‘bring it closer’ to the domestic population after seeing regional sales decline in the second quarter, compared to last year.

Nokia’s Indochina general manager, William Hamilton-Whyte, said yesterday that the new office, to be opened in Delano Tower, Veal Vong commune, Phnom Penh, is aimed at building both brand and market awareness for the Finnish firm.

“The new office brings us closer to the Cambodian market,” he said at the capital’s InterContinental Hotel.

Initially employing four people, the office hopes to help boost domestic distribution of Nokia handsets.

The firm was the market leader for sales of mobile handsets in Cambodia, he said.

Nokia’s worldwide operating profit for the second quarter declined 15 percent year on year, but still totalled €660 million (US$849 million) according to an interim results report released yesterday.

Its Asia-Pacific second-quarter sales declined to $1.986 billion, 2 percent less than the same period in 2009, but represented a 15 percent increase over the first quarter.

“Net sales in the second quarter 2010 [worldwide] were adversely impacted by the competitive environment, particularly in the high end of the market,” the release added.

High-end phones, including those from Nokia’s rivals, are becoming increasingly popular in Cambodia.

Hello launched the first prepaid Blackberrys from Canada-based Research in Motion two months ago. Some five mobile operators are now providing 3rd Generation (3G) services in Cambodia.

Hamilton-Whyte said the firm plans to launch its Nokia C3 smart phone in the Kingdom today.

The phone, which has a full keyboard and internet access, would be targeted at young people interested in social networking.

But high-end products are best aimed at a niche market.

“If you’re selling a US$600 handset, you’re selling it in the city,” he said.

Hamilton-Whyte said the firm could do a better job of selling products beyond traditional handsets, but he declined to provide sales figures.

“Nokia does need to work on solutions and services,” looked to further sales from its online store by selling software for mobile phones, he said.

“Agricultural workers in India are using phone applications to find out about the price of crops and the weather, things that affect their business,” he said.

Cambodia’s largely rural population was more price- and brand-sensitive, he said, and built-in handset features such as flashlights and radios were important sellers particularly for people living off the electricity grid.

Nokia handsets would continue to be sold through K Thong Huot (KTH) Telecom Company, the firm’s existing partner, he said.

Thai tensions reduce traffic through Poipet

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:01 Chun Sophal

POLITICAL turmoil in Thailand and border tension with the Kingdom saw the number of international tourists passing through the main Cambodia-Thailand land crossing drop in the first six months of this year.

The estimated 15 percent decline in traffic contrasted with major access points into Laos and Vietnam, which both saw traffic rise in the first half of 2010.

International tourists who crossed the Poipet International Border Crossing numbered 280,454 from January to June this year – a 14.64 percent decrease compared to the 328,584 in the first half of 2009, according to the statistics reported by Sao Bunrith, Poipet checkpoint chief yesterday.

Comparable major border crossings between the Kingdom and Vietnam and Laos both grew during the same period.

Tourists using the Vietnam’s Bavet checkpoint swelled 20 percent to 335,468 in the first six months this year.

Visitors using the Laos Trapaing Kriel checkpoint surged 67 percent to 19,893 during the same period.

Sao Bunrith said the decrease in people using the Thai checkpoint was the result of the political tension in Thailand, which erupted into deadly violence causing chaos on the streets of Bangkok in May.

“We hope that the number of international tourists who cross the checkpoint will re-ascend soon in the future as the political turmoil appears to be coming to a close,” he said.

Foreigners crossing into Cambodia fell to 141,805 people, a 13.23 percent decrease from the 163,443 tourists of last year.

Tourists exiting Cambodia into Thailand totalled 138,649, a 16.04 percent fall from last year’s 165,141.

Kong Sophearak, director of the Department of Statistics and Information of the Ministry of Tourism, said that Poipet Checkpoint was traditionally the most-used overland crossing.

According to the ministry’s statistics, international tourists who crossed the Poipet checkpoint totalled 647,656 in 2009.

KThom declines gift of ostriches

Kampong Thom authorities will not accept ostriches from Vietnam. The giant birds, which can be farmed for meat, eat too much, they say. Bloomberg

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:01 Chun Sophal

KAMPONG Thom authorities will refuse to accept 20 ostriches offered to the province by Vietnam due to the financial constraints of feeding the birds.

Vietnam’s VOV News radio reported yesterday that Binh Phouc Province authorites intended to donate the birds to Cambodia.

Ostriches are farmed around the world, primarily for their meat, according to the American Ostrich Association’s website. But Cambodian officials are far from enthusiastic about the opportunity.

“They are so big, and they eat so much food,” Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries provincial director Ou Bosphorn said yesterday. “We are not financially capable of feeding the animals.”

The 20 birds could munch through US$25 worth of corn, beans and morning glory per day, authorities said.

Kampong Thom provincial governor Chhun Chhorn added that local authorities did not have the required expertise to raise the birds and dared not accept them because of concerns the birds would die. “We do not object if a private company wants to raise the animals,” he added.

Kratie provincial agricultural authorities said that they were still assessing the returns from a separate lot of 20 ostriches acquired earlier this year.

Recovery watch: Real estate licences see modest rise

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:01 Soeun Say

COMPANIES licensed to operate in the real estate and land valuation sector have slightly increased in Cambodia since January, a fact commentators hope could hint at a recovery in the industry after firm numbers halved during the financial crisis.

There are 42 real companies with licences to operate in the Kingdom, slightly more than the 34 licensed in January this year, Moa Pov, deputy chief of Ministry of Finance and Economy’s real estate division, said yesterday.

While the number of issued permits still lies far below the 74 companies licensed at the beginning of 2008, before a global economic melt-down hit the domestic real estate sector, he was hopeful for a full recovery of the operator numbers.

“If the real estate market recovers this year or next year those real estate and valuation companies will come back,” he said.

But Kerk Narin, general manager of Bonna Realty Group, said smaller real estate agents had struggled to remain open for business. The cost of getting a yearly licence and a certificate is 700,000 riels (US$167) – as defined by a 2007 prakas, or edict. Any company operating without a licence incurs a fine of 5 million riels ($1,250).

You da man

Contestants line up in interesting garb for the You’re the Man! National Challenge.

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:01 Nicky Hosford

The You’re The Man! National Challenge, which took place at Angkor Gyeongju Park in Siem reap, has been deemed a big success by its organisers.

About 5000 people attended the four day event ending Sunday, July 18, and 967 men applied to partake in the challenge. This was shortlisted to 200 men who auditioned over the first three days.

Ten men were then selected to compete in the final game challenge on Sunday evening and, ultimately, three winners were selected to appear at the grand finale of the challenge in Phnom Penh from August 12-15.

Siem Reap winners were 23-year-old university student Sorn Ravy, 20-year-old student Deum Sovanda, and 36-year-old married tuk-tuk driver Yem Seyhak.

Winners were selected based on who was the most clever, the most healthy, and the most collaborative, and who stood out during the organised debates. Tests were based on physical, mental, personality and talent criteria, but it was the notion of what makes a “real man” itself that was the real challenge.

An important part of the challenges were the debates, which focused on proposals such as “real men have to support what women say and listen to their ideas and opinions”, and “real men don’t have to drink to keep their friendships”.

These sparked much animated intervention from the audiences according to Sokhon Sea, from Family Health International, an organisation that is behind the show with funding from USAID. He said, “People went crazy after the debates; there was lots of fun, lots of interaction with the audience. Most of them were for the proposition.”

Contestants were also encouraged to take part in “women’s work”. Sokhon Sea said, “Khmer culture traditionally says that men mustn’t do housework. We want to change that negative norm into a positive norm and say that this is work for everybody, not just for women.”

Police Blotter: 23 Jul 2010

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:00 Sun Narin and Khouth Sophak Chakrya

It was a furious battle of Toyota cars on the streets of Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district early Wednesday morning, and both vehicles ended up losing. Police say the drivers of a Toyota Corolla and a Toyota Camry were involved in a heated high-speed chase under the Cambodian-Japanese Friendship Bridge just after midnight. The Corolla ended up overturning, and the Camry’s rear was damaged. Police said the male driver of the Corolla suffered a minor injury. Investigators said they had no idea why he and the female driver of the other vehicle would want to harm each other in such dramatic fashion.

A 24-year-old security guard was beaten over the head with a metal tube and hospitalised after he asked a stranger how his cigarette tasted, the man’s employer reported. The boss said the guard was making small talk with a stranger who happened to be smoking a cigarette. “Smoking a cigarette is delicious or not?” the guard asked, according to his employer. However, the suspect evidently took offence at the question and proceeded to beat the guard with a metal tube, the employer said. The suspect’s wife said her husband was likely in a foul mood because his parents constantly scolded him about his smoking habit. “Maybe he beat the security guard because the question made him more angry,” she said.

A farmer in Banteay Meanchey province is dead after he apparently ploughed his motorbike straight into the back of a parked lorry, traffic police said. Investigators said the 52-year-old farmer was speeding down a road Monday evening when he somehow slammed into the back of the truck. The impact killed the farmer instantly, and cracked his helmet, police said.

A 40-year-old man is dead following a high-speed traffic accident that occurred while he was driving to Phnom Penh, police and witnesses said. The man was travelling from Kandal province into the capital on a new motorbike when another bike came alongside him. The two vehicles clipped each other, which sent the victim tumbling to the road, where he was run over by a passing truck. The other driver escaped, though witnesses said he was bleeding profusely.

Going green and glam at the market

The new Earth jewellery line will be launched at the Art Deli tomorrow night

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:00 Nicky Hosford

Siem Reap’s funkiest lane, Alley West, is going green with a Green Market this weekend.

This is the second big collaboration between business owners on this little lane, and the market promises discounts and street sales of food, vintage clothing, wines, handmade and homemade products and anything “bright and green”. The focus is on what’s environmentally friendly, and it’s not just about what’s for sale but also about what people can barter for or exchange if they want to bring their own stuff along, too.

Some months ago, the street got together for the Suitcase Sale, encouraging people to bring along any old thing they didn’t want, and this was warmly welcomed.

This led to this weekend’s Green Market, and participating businesses include the Art Deli, Wanderlust, Trattoria, Poetry, Circle, Smateria, Eden, Beyond, The Singing Tree CafĂ© and the Planet DVD store.

Bargains, discounts, special deals and freebies will be a big part of the market weekend.

At the same time, Sarah Moya will be launching a new range of jewellery from within the Art Deli. Sarah, also the general manager of the ultra-luxe Sothea Hotel, has collaborated on designing the range for Khmer Independent Life Team (KILT), a landmine victims support NGO.

The jewellery range, called Earth, is made from copper and rocks, and is intended to communicate a unique, raw and elemental part of Cambodia. The items are made by beneficiaries of KILT and are an important potential livelihood support for them. They will be available for sale from the Art Deli and Moya is looking for other interested outlets as well.

The official launch party for Earth jewellery will kick off at the Art Deli around 8pm on Saturday, supported by the brand new Siem Reap Jazz Quartet.

Finally, on Sunday evening, there will be another launch party at Art Deli, this time for new website The creation of Loven Ramos, Sarah Moya and Philippe Ceulen, who is part of the Siem Reap Jazz Quartet, the website has brought together a collection of Khmer and expat bloggers based in Siem Reap.

Mr Moto Hawk flies high in ultralight

A microlight soars above Bakong Temple.

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:00 Peter Olszewski

The Saturday morning flight went smoothly until we “hit the wall” over Lake Tonle Sap and, as pilot Eddie “Moto Hawk” Smith said, “It all turned to shit”.

Indeed it was a white knuckle moment, but in retrospect the turbulence and buffeting caused by a sudden change in air temperature wasn’t all that bad. I’ve certainly experienced worse on commercial flights in more conventional aircraft, but the sense of trepidation was heightened by the sheer simplicity and seeming fragility of the craft we were in – a dinky little airborne machine called a microlight, or alternatively, an ultralight. Within the aeronautical trade it’s often referred to simply as a “trike”, an apt description because it’s a three-wheeled, two-seater fibreglass pod fitted to an aircraft-grade aluminium mainframe with a motor and propeller at the back. The pod is attached to a large Dacron wing similar in shape to a hang-glider, from which this aircraft actually evolved.

But an even more apt description is the modern Khmer name it’s been given – flying moto.

Some cynics may question whether the craft is merely a scooter with wings. But the British Microlight Aircraft Association is adamant that it’s more:

“It’s simple – a microlight is an aeroplane, capable of flight in the same way as any other. It is restricted to two seats, it must weigh around 265 kilograms at most and it must be able to fly at low speed. Other than that, it’s an aeroplane!”

Being airborne in a flying moto is an exhilarating experience. The sheer sensory perception of real flight is the big buzz. Unhampered, all-round vision of what’s on the ground is superb – maximum altitude is about 1000 feet, but it can also be safely flown in good conditions about 20-30 metres above ground at a speed between 120-140 kilometres an hour.

Since 2002 these crafts have been used in Cambodia, particularly in Siem Reap for commercial purposes such as mapping and archeological surveys.

But earlier this year Eddie Smith, a commercial microlight pilot with 26 years of commercial experience in this specialised flying, teamed up with former RAF pilot and ex-British realtor David Sayer who formed SkyVenture Siem Reap Cambodia, a tourist-oriented enterprise.

The flyboys built Jayarvarman Airfield, a landing strip and hangar on the outskirts of Siem Reap, and equipped themselves originally with one small aircraft, a Quik GT-450, which, according to Sayer is “state of the art”.

Another GT-450 is now on order and last month a second craft was acquired – a smaller machine called an Air-Creation, suitable mostly for training.

On May 23 SkyVentures took its first tourist customer into the wild blue yonder and news of the venture has spread rapidly. SkyVenture charges tourists $45 for a 15-minute flight, $100 for an hour, and longer flights’ prices are negotiable.

On Saturday I took to the air in the microlight for a 30-minute taste of what tourists can expect.

After a quick sprint down the dirt runway, the craft slipped into the air, turned, and at 1000 feet we glided past the West Baray, noting how low the water level was. We flew past Angkor Wat, maintaining the height and distance mandated by officialdom. Then the flight took us over the outskirts of Siem Reap past many other smaller temples, with a good view of Bakong, and past Preah Ko, or Sacred Bull, the oldest temple in the sprawling Angkor complex.

At one point Eddie handed the steering over to me, a brief initiation into the simple pleasure of flying this craft. Hands simply clasp a horizontal bar. A shift to the left steers the craft to the right, and vice versa.

We then swung out over Siem Reap’s highest point, Phnom Krum, noting the presence of anti-aircraft guns, and over the lakeside port of Chong Kneas to the edge of the great lake itself. Luckily, Eddie had taken control of the steering again because this is when the turbulence hit, buffeting the tiny craft. This, Eddie later explained, was due to uneven heating of the earth’s surface, creating rivers of air that move at different speeds. Hawks, he said, take advantage of this, catching updrafts that send them circling overhead.

Indeed the microlight flight was superbly enhanced by the engaging commentary provided by Mr Moto Hawk. His aerial knowledge of Siem Reap and Cambodian landmarks is unsurpassed.

He’s been flying around this neck of the woods since 2002 and has worked for a bewildering array of organisations, as well as for TV programs such as Animal Planet, magazines such as National Geographic, archaeological surveys and commercial companies such as Mobitel when he helped to survey remote lake communities.

Projects he’s flown on have located four previously unknown Angkorian temple sites, and he’s flown over all but two of Cambodia’s provinces, including a massive 14-province reporting mission with CTN TV’s high profile news presenter Som Chhaya.

His arrival in Cambodia in early 2002 to initially work for the Greater Angkor Project, a University of Sydney archaeology mission, is documented in a feature article in the July 2004 edition of Sport Pilot magazine. The article’s author, Don Cooney, also

a microlight pilot who flew with Eddie, described the early years as befitting an Indiana Jones adventure story. Eddie said their first off-airfield landing in Cambodia was “as if Elvis had landed in a spaceship”.

At another off-airfield landing near Siem Reap the craft was almost mobbed – the magazine article described how people came running from the village, and the pilots decided to get in the air again before the crowd became a problem. They pushed the people back, strapped in, fired up, and bounced into the air.

And, according to the article, when the tiny microlight landed at Siem Reap airport, it was such a novelty that a grinning line crewman parked it next to a giant Silk Air 767.

Eddie and Don Cooney gave dozens of curious people – soldiers, monks, tower controllers – their first ever flight, and the pilots were dubbed “Moto Hawks”.

These days, Mr Moto Hawk is such a feature that Khmer dash out of their homes to wave at him when he passes overhead. “By now, I must have waved a million times,” he quipped.

But the wave I most enjoyed was the one he gave me when I left the airstrip after landing. The flight was great, but being safely grounded was even greater.

Chanthy cleaning up as a coach

Leng Chanthy leads a warm up routine with children from the Indochina Starfish Foundation in the grounds of Olympic Stadium. The 36-year-old former cleaner is one of only two female football coaches in Cambodia to hold an official AFC C-licence. Sreng Meng Srun

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

From a menial job as a cleaner at a charity organisation to a celebrated C-licence football coach, life has turned full circle for Leng Chanthy, a 36-year-old villager from Svay Rieng province who can barely read or write Cambodian script let alone English.

The first step on this incredible journey for the unassuming Chanthy, nicknamed Srey Mao by her friends, was a mere kick of a football in a park with the local kids.

Chanthy’s rise to notoriety in less than three years, as one of only two female Cambodian coaches with an internationally recognised licence, is a striking example of how football has the power to change lives.

Leng Chanthy gives coaching to a group of boys during a training session in the grounds of Olympic Stadium. Sreng Meng Srun

When the Football Federation of Cambodia announced the Asian Football Confederation-backed certification course for coaches recently, the response was expected to be poor. Chanthy and Loeng Sophorn from Siem Reap province were the only women entrants, among scores of aspiring men. But to the amazement of all, both women came through with flying colours. Sophorn is currently pursuing her coaching career in Siem Reap.

Life had never been kind to Chanty and her small family. Her father eked out a living by doing odd jobs, with the income barely enough to make ends meet. Chanthy’s recollections of her childhood are hazy but often painful.

The family was driven out of the village at the height of the civil war when Chanthy was four. Seeking shelter across the border in Vietnam, they were driven from one town to another. Having endured their most demanding and tormenting phase, Chanthy was finally old enough to seek a living of her own, with Phnom Penh her preferred destination.

In 2007, she landed a job as a cleaner at the Indochina Starfish Foundation, a well regarded NGO set up the previous year to help some of the most impoverished local children gain a free education. Football has always been a part of ISF’s programme, with the kids receiving weekly coaching, and it was at one such session that Chanthy became hooked.

A regular coach had failed to turn up, and Chanthy offered to take the kids out and look after them. “From that day on she grew so passionate,” said Kate Griffin, Country Manager of ISF. “We had nothing but admiration for her spirit and we let her get on with football.”

Chanthy had dabbled in village volleyball games but never had a chance to kick a football. However, once she got involved, her love for the game grew by the minute.

“She was amazing. We encouraged her to take up a D-licence, which she did. She was looking after our football teams. She would spend hours watching football DVDs, videos, [video] games, and her power to grasp the nuances of the game was really striking,” said Griffin.

Leng Chanthy explains to a girl from the Indochina Starfish Foundation which part of the foot to kick the ball with. Sreng Meng Srun

As Chanthy’s knowledge began to widen, she was given more trainees under her wing and grew far more confident. Gone from her were the meek and mild looks and she became tough as nails.

“We at ISF realised that Chanthy was destined for better things in football, so we wanted her to go for the C-certificate,” said Griffin. “Literacy was of course a crucial factor but we knew she could fight off these odds.”

Nervousness inevitably crept in when Chanthy took the certification course. Practicals were a piece of cake, but theory proved difficult. She would often explain her thoughts and answers to her classmates and one of them would put them down in writing for her.

The Football Federation of Cambodia took a lenient view, respecting her devotion and determination.

”The language of football is universal and Leng Chanthy is well versed in it,” said FFC Deputy Seceretary May Tola. “So it really doesn’t matter if she is totally illiterate. We tested her skills with oral examinations. She provided perfect answers and we were happy to help her along.”

The federation official revealed that Chanthy scored better than half of her classmates, including men. “She was assessed by both Prak Sovannara [Cambodia’s only A-licence coach] and Scott O’Donnell [then national team coach]. She did a second oral exam with me. I was impressed with her ability of understanding,” May Tola told the ISF.

The FFC commended ISF for their assistance in transforming Leng Chanthy from a cleaner into one of the Kingdom’s first accredited female football coaches.

In an interview with the Post, Chanthy Leng, said her greatest ambition was to “move up the ladder” of football coaching.

“I had no idea what football was like, but I fell in love with it the day I got involved,” she said. “I feel sad. I wish I had gone to a school. I am beginning to learn to read a bit now and perhaps to write.”

Chanthy, who travelled to Laos as assistant coach with the national women’s team last year, has to endure a two-year wait to prove her worth as a coach if she wants to bid for a B-licence. She currently coaches more than 70 boys and girls drawn from local NGOs Hagar, SOS, ISF and AZIZA.

“To be a track suited coach is an honour. To be one of only two women nationwide doing it is a matter of pride for us,” said Griffin. “She can be with ISF as long as she wants.”

Fight for new 63.5-kg title on at TV3 arena

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:00 Robert Starkweather

CLUB Koh Kong sensation Phon Phanna will face off against three other top-ranked contenders in a four-man round-robin tournament beginning tomorrow at TV3 boxing arena.

Over the next several weeks, Phon Phanna, Van Chanvey, Nuon Phireak and Cheam Adam will all go against each other, with the ultimate tournament winner laying claim to TV3’s inaugural 63.5-kilogram title and a 6 million riels (US$1,430) cash prize.

Phon Phanna will meet Cheam Adam tomorrow in the opening match, while Van Chanvey is scheduled to face Nuon Phireak the following Saturday.

Phon Phanna returned to Cambodia in December after several years of fighting in Thailand. He is so far unbeaten in more than a dozen professional fights.

Van Chanvey took first place in a similar eight-man tournament held at the CTN boxing arena earlier this year. In that contest, which concluded in January, the Club Preah Khan Reach powerhouse annihilated the lower ranks and scored huge upsets over Long Sophy and Kao Roomchang.

Ministry of Interior boxing club veteran Nuon Phireak has largely been inactive of late. His most notable recent appearance came as a contender in an eight-man round-robin tournament that concluded in March at the TV5 boxing arena, where he went 0-4 and bombed out in the group stage. He is, however, a former champion, and one of but a few fighters to claim victories over Van Chanvey.

Cheam Adam rose to national attention in 2008 as the inaugural winner of CTN’s boxing reality series, Kun Khmer Champion. However, it is questionable whether he is ready for this level of competition.

Man About Town 23-07-2010

via Khmer NZ

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:00 Peter Olszewski

Yumi Goto, an award-winning photo documentary project coordinator and curator, will feature heavily in this year’s beefed-up Angkor Photo Festival to be held in Siem Reap from November 20-27.

This week, festival organisers announced the launch of the Reminders Photo Project Grant for Asian Photographers 2011, a collaborative project by Goto and the Angkor Photo Festival.

For this year’s festival, Goto will also curate a special presentation of Asian female photographers working in their native countries, to be featured during one of the festival’s slideshow nights.

The deadline for submitting work for this presentation is August 31.

Goto has worked as the project manager and research and development director on numerous documentary photography projects about social issues in Asia, including AIDS in Cambodia.

She is a founder of InSight Out, a photographic training project for children affected by the 2004 tsunami in Aceh. Plus, in 2005, she was given the first Yayori Journalist Award (Women’s Human Rights Activities Award).

She launched and is editor-in-chief of pdfX12, a free photographic portfolio digitally distributed since 2007.

This year’s expanded week-long festival will feature 12 exhibitions and seven slideshow evenings at various locations in Siem Reap.

Siem Reap’s mad hashers are at it again, with the next Angkor Hash run being held this Saturday, starting at 3pm at the Victoria Hotel gathering point.

But be aware that despite popular opinion, the Hashes are not just about running and drinking. They are also about walking and drinking, the walking being a concession to the folly of running 10 kilometres in daytime heat.

Hanno Stamm, the general manager of the Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa Hotel, is responsible for creating the Angkor Hash, and he is pleased with the success of the run so far.

“About 100 people show up for the run, made up of Victoria Hotel staff and local expatriates who hear about it by word of mouth,” says Stamm.

The cost for taking part in a Hash, including snacks and all the beer you can drink, is a mere $3, and obviously Stammis looking for sponsors to help cover the cost. For more Hash details, contact Stamm on 017 780 611.

The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief

via Khmer NZ

Construction approvals fall 71pc in first half

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:00 Soeun Say

THE value of construction approved by the government has fallen 71.14 percent in the first half the year, according to official figures released by the Ministry of Land Management Urban Planning and Construction yesterday. The government approved 1,094 construction projects worth a combined US$329 million in the first six months of 2010, down from the 1,142 construction projects worth $1.1 billion approved for the first half of last year. “The construction sector is still struggling,” Lao Tip Seiha, Ministry director, told the Post.

Kingdom receives first B+ credit rating

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:00 Jeremy Mullins

CYPRUS-based credit rating agency Capital Intelligence assigned its first-ever rating of a B+ to Cambodia yesterday, according to a press release. The rating assessed the general creditworthiness of the country and likelihood that it would meet its financial obligations in a timely manner. The firm highlighted the Kingdom’s relatively successful economic management, its medium-term growth prospects, and donor support, but mentioned some concerns when issuing the rating. “The economy is small and vulnerable to shocks as the production base is relatively undiversified and exports are concentrated in terms of product and destination,”and Cambodia’s credit outlook was stable, it said.

Thai, Cambodian army officers meet in B’bang

Friday, 23 July 2010 15:00 Cheang Sokha

Cambodian and Thai military commanders stationed along the border met this week for annual talks covering plans to reduce border confrontations and cross-border crime, officials said. Chhum Socheat, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, said yesterday that officers from Cambodian Military Region 5 and their counterparts in the Royal Thai Army met on Monday and Tuesday in Battambang province. Chhum Socheat said the meeting focused on military-to-military cooperation, cross-border terrorism, border security and the prevention of human and drug trafficking. “Besides that they also discussed some development issues such as the promotion of tourism and exchange of trade,” he said.CHEANG SOKHA

Cambodian Ruling Party's Plenum Reaffirms Hun Sen for PM Post in Next Terms

via Khmer NZ

Web Editor: Zhao

The Cambodia's ruling party -- the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) on Thursday reaffirmed at it plenum Hun Sen's candidate for prime minister post for the next terms.

"The plenum reaffirms its endorsement of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen's candidacy for the post of prime minister for the next terms," announced the party's communique released at the ending of the 35th Plenum of the Fifth-Term Central Committee of the CPP.

Almost 900 party members from across the country gathered at its headquarters in Phnom Penh to have a two-day plenum started on Wednesday.

Party President Chea Sim, Vice President Hun Sen attended the 35th central committee meeting. This was the first meeting of CPP' s Central Committe this year and it usually assembles twice annually.

Last month, at the gathering to commemorate CPP's 59th founding anniversary, Chea Sim also reaffirmed party's decision to support for the candidacy of Hun sen for the post of prime minister for the following terms.

Hun Sen, 59, has ruled the country, as the prime minister for more than 20 years.

Cambodia is holding general election every five years. The last election was held in 2008 and the next one will come in 2013.

In last general election, the CPP won 90 seats out of 123-seat parliament, following by opposition Sam Rainsy Party with 26 seats, Human Rights Party with 3 seats, and two each obtained by Norodom Ranariddh Party and FUNCINPEC party.

CPP was found on June 28, 1951 and is, so far, the biggest political party in the country.

The CPP is now headed by Chea Sim who is also president of the Senate and Hun Sen is positioned as deputy chairman of the party while Heng Samrin is honorary chairman and also president of the National Assembly.

Bangkok Airways to open Cambodia duty-free stores

via Khmer NZ

Nicole Mezzasalma

The airline is looking for suppliers for two downtown duty-free outlets in Cambodia

Bangkok Airways is inviting potential companies to send product supply proposals for two new downtown duty-free stores it will open in Cambodia later this year. Each of the two shops will cover 100sq m (1,076sq ft) and offer liquor and wines, tobacco products, cosmetics and fragrances.

The first of the new stores will be located in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh (pictured), which is also the country’s cultural hub, while the second will open in Siem Reap, a popular destination for tourists due to its proximity to Angkor Wat, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Siem Reap airport served more than 560,000 international departing passengers in 2009, with South Korean and Japanese nationals representing about half of the total. At Phnom Penh airport the passenger mix is more varied, with Chinese, South Korean and Malaysian travellers well represented among the nearly 750,000 international departing passengers last year.

Bangkok Airways deputy director insurance and privilege Sunate-On Nateprapai told DFNIonline: “The shops have been built and the final details will be prepared shortly. We hope to open them during September.” She added that the Cambodian stores will be run by the airline’s duty-free management company, More Than Free, which also operates duty-free outlets at Samui and U-Tapao Pattaya airports in Thailand.

Cambodian Anxiety Peaks Ahead of Khmer Rouge Verdict

Luke Hunt, VOA | Phnom Penh
22 July 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
In this Nov. 20, 2007 file photo, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, center, the former Khmer Rouge prison chief at Tuol Sleng prison, sits in a dock during a hearing in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

In Cambodia, the trial of a leading Khmer Rouge figure, blamed for the deaths of about 16,000 people, is heading for a conclusion.

The trial of Kang Guek Eav, also known as Duch, has gripped this nation for almost a year and a half. Millions of people are expected to watch on television as the verdict is announced, Monday, by a United Nations-backed court.

Duch ran the S21 torture and extermination center, where thousands of men, women and children were processed before being sent to dig their own graves in the killing fields on the outskirts of the capital.

Initially, Duch pleaded no contest. Throughout the tribunal he has provided an abundance of chilling evidence into the inner workings of Pol Pot and his ultra-Maoists.

They ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979 and are being held responsible for the deaths of perhaps two million people, who died of murder, starvation and illness.

But, in a final legal twist, Duch changed his plea to not guilty and asked the judges to release him. He has sacked the head of his international defense team, French Lawyer Francois Roux, and asked for a Chinese lawyer to replace him.

Theary Seng survived the killing fields as a child. She was rescued from the refugee camps and raised in the United States, where she became an author and lawyer. She is the founder of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation.

"There's a lot of confusion at the moment because recently we were told Duch fired his U.N. lawyer at the 11th hour, on the advent of the verdict, which is very perplexing," Seng says. "And, it has raised suspicions again of political interference. It has raised cynicism. It has confirmed the fears of many Cambodians in thinking that Duch is not believable, in the first place - that his confession, his asking for forgiveness - aren't genuine and hopeful the fears won't turn into paranoia."

The Cambodian government has directed all domestic television networks to broadcast the verdict.

At the court, about 300 journalists and hundreds more officials, diplomats, legal observers and Khmer Rouge victims have overwhelmed authorities in seeking seats for the announcement.

Regardless of Duch's last-minute legal maneuvers, Theary Seng, along with many others, believe his admissions to overseeing crimes of torture that included water boarding and medical operations on patients without an anesthetic and the eventual murders of thousands of people will lead to a conviction and life in prison.

His evidence would also prove compelling in cases to follow. Another four surviving Khmer Rouge leaders - Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith - are to on trial next year.

"It's a catalyst that has broken the silence of the last 30 years of this regime, which has truly taken the lives of one-fourth to one-third of the Cambodian population. Every Cambodian alive right now is directly affected by the crimes of the past," Seng said.

After the Khmer Rouge were ousted by invading Vietnamese troops in early 1979, civil war continued for another two decades. Only then was Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in a position to ask the United Nations to help broker an international tribunal to focus on the atrocities allegedly carried out by Pol Pot and his henchmen.

Further delays followed, amid bickering with the United Nations about the final make-up of the tribunal and funding issues. However, the long awaited trial eventually got underway and is expected to remain a fixture on this country's legal and political landscape for a few years to come.