Tuesday, 10 August 2010

19 years for killing 16,000

via Khmer NZ

By Jonathan Gurwitz
Posted on Tue, Aug. 10, 2010

How much is a life worth? It's a question that crosses your mind when you hear about a jury deliberating a murderer's fate. Five years? Ten years? Life? A life for a life?

In cases involving one homicide, the human mind can at least comprehend the issue. A sensible debate can be had over the an appropriate punishment.

But when mass murder or genocide are involved, human faculties fail. The larger the scale of the atrocity, the less fathomable the crimes become. In a peculiar way, Stalin's observation is disturbingly accurate: One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is merely a statistic.

Last month, a United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia rendered a verdict in the case of Kaing Guek Eav, known as Comrade Duch. Duch was a cog in the wheel of Pol Pot's fanatical regime. Over a four-year period in the 1970s, his Khmer Rouge government presided over the murder of as many as two million of Cambodia's eight million residents in pursuit of a socialist agrarian paradise.

As commandant of the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Duch was responsible for the deaths - frequently by torture - of more than 16,000 people. He is the first Khmer Rouge official ever to face accountability for the Cambodian genocide.

Duch acknowledged his guilt. At times during the proceedings, he even expressed remorse. Yes, he authorized the transports that took prisoners to the killing fields. Yes, he ordered torture to extract false confessions from those deemed enemies of the state. Yes, he observed the rapes, the pulling out of toenails, the electrical shocks. "I wanted to be a good communist," he once told a journalist.

But - there's always a but - he said he had no choice. If he hadn't done Pol Pot's genocidal bidding, he would have been executed himself. He was only following orders. He was a small part in a big machine. And, anyway, he's become a born-again Christian.

The tribunal found Duch guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. It could have sentenced him to life in prison. Prosecutors had sought a 40-year sentence, which for Duch at age 67 would effectively have been a life sentence.

The tribunal, however, noted his cooperation - when he was finally apprehended after two decades in hiding - his sense of remorse, and his potential for rehabilitation. The judges sentenced him to 35 years, then shaved off 16 years for time already served and for a period of illegal detention.

If Duch serves out his full term, that amounts to a little more than 11 hours for each life he extinguished. Then as an old man in 19 years, he can go free.

One of the tribunal's international judges explained the sentence this way. "If left to the victims to decide how to punish a person," the Associated Press quoted jurist Silvia Cartwright of New Zealand, "then it would be, possibly, mob rule."

Actually, that's not accurate. Only about a dozen of the 16,000 men, women, and children who entered S-21 are believed to have survived. No mob of victims exists to exact retribution.

For the crimes for which Duch was convicted, there is no penance, there is no rehabilitation. A verdict that makes it possible for Duch to go free is an injustice to all of his victims, especially the silent mob whose voices the tribunal wasn't able to hear.

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

Cambodia Tries to Eliminate Dengue Fever

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 08:59 DAP-NEWS / Vibol

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 10, 2010-Cambodia’s health ministry on Tuesday organized a seminar for health sector in combating dengue fever a move to help local people to eliminate the diseases in the country.

Health ministry said that for seven months for this year, dengue fever killed 10 children among 3771 infected people in the country.

Dr.Duong Socheat, head of national center for combating dengue fever for health ministry said that ministry has tried to help local people and educated about the danger for illness. “We have provided health sector to help people in treatment, he added

Mostly, cases happened in Cambodia found on children and now the raining season started. That is a concern for health officials for infecting dengue fever; a virus is mosquito that was offspring in pond and water jar. “Local people need to clean their water jars and tanks to eliminate dengue fever and mosquito around their households,” Duong said, adding that ministry also has given medicine and albeit drug to put in their water jar to eliminate virus.

Most dengue fever found in Bantey Mean Chey, Kompot, Kep, Kompong Chhang, Phnom Penh, Kandal provinces.


Tuesday, 10 August 2010 08:42 administrator

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 10, 2010- Saturday, 7 August , 2010 during a public meeting with the “People’s Alliance of Democracy”, the so-called “yellow shirts”, Mr. Abhisit, Prime Minister of Thailand, declared openly : “About the land encroachment, we will cancel the MOU if the problem can’t be settled. We will use both diplomatic and military means”.

On 14 June 2000, Cambodia and Thailand signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the survey and demarcation of the border line between the two countries. Article 1 of this MOU stipulates that the survey and demarcation of land boundary between the two countries shall be jointly conducted in accordance with the 1904 Convention, the 1907 Treaty and its annexed Protocol and the “Maps which are the results of demarcation works of the Commissions of Delimitation of the Boundary between Indo-China and Siam set up under the Convention of 1904 and the Treaty of 1907 between France and Siam, and other documents relating to the application of the Convention of'1904 and the Treaty of 1907 between France and Siam.”

The Prime Minister of Thailand is using threats. The first one is about the unilateral cancellation of a legal document that has the value of an international treaty. This MOU is nothing less than the implementation of the judgment by the International Court of Justice that said, in 1962, that it considers that “Thailand in 1908-1909 did accept the map as representing the outcome of the work of delimitation and hence recognized the line on that map as being the frontier line, the effect of which is to situate Preah Vihear in Cambodian territory.” The Court “ feels bound, as a matter of treaty interpretation, to pronounce in favor of the line as mapped in the disputed area.” The Court stipulated that “Thailand is under the obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity in Cambodian territory.”

In a letter sent today to both the Chairman of the UN General Assembly and the Chairman of the UN Security Council, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote that Thailand violates the Court judgment with troops stationing in the Keo Sikkhakiri Svarak pagoda of Cambodia.

The second threat expressed by the Thai Prime Minister is to use military force against Cambodia. Prime Minister Hun Sen underlined in his letters that Thailand, by doing so, violates two key provisions of the UN Charter that say : art 2.3 : “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered” and art 2.4 : “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen requests that all the State Members of the UN and, in particular, of the UN Security Council shall be informed about the Thai threats violating both the UN Charter and the 1962 ICJ judgment.

It’s not the first time that Thailand disowns its signature. In 1952, it violated all the treaties and conventions signed during the French protectorate by sending military forces occupying the Temple and its vicinity. A military occupation that led to the ICJ decision and the evacuation of Thai troops from Cambodian territory. In 1992-1993, by cooperating with the Khmer rouge troops that were fighting UNTAC personnel and by pushing back border stones inside Cambodian territory, both activities witnessed by UNTAC observers, it violated the Paris Peace Agreement of which Thailand is signatory State, and in particular the “Agreement concerning the sovereignty, the independence, the territorial integrity and inviolability the neutrality and national unity of Cambodia.” In 2008, it violated once again all the international legal instruments on the common border.

What is the value of a Thai signature? How Thai officials do care about the legal documents they used to sign? Are these, as it was said, “only pieces of paper without biding obligations”? Who will remind the Thai Prime Minister that this is the classical language used in the 20th century by dictators, a language that led to wars and devastations?

Mr. Abhisit seems to ignore that our world is not more the world of nationalist claims. It’s not the world of the past century. It’s a globalized world where, based on legal provisions, one prefers open frontiers, free trade zones, regional stability and cooperation. Does Mr. Abhisit want to return to the past world of nationalism and conflicts full of violations of legal agreements and international law?

Svay Sitha

Secretary of State

Chairman of Press and Quick reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers

Opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect those of the Royal Government of Cambodia


Tuesday, 10 August 2010 08:35 administrator

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, August 10, 2010-Samdech Akka Moha Sena Pedei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia has repeated several times that he, personally, and the entire nation of Cambodia knew the horrors of war and he has been doing his best to maintain peace, security and harmony for the Cambodian people. Not even fifteen years, since 1998, when Cambodia has achieved great unity for the first time under the win-win policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia, in which the Cambodian People Party (CPP) played a major role of leadership, the kingdom has embarked tirelessly in upholding the dignity of the Cambodian people, developing the country socially and economically, reducing poverty wisely and steadily, thus moving this poor nation from complete devastation caused by the war between “Khmer brothers” to a happy nation with rule of law and social justice. It is to the amazement of fair-minded prominent and ordinary foreign visitors that Cambodia has become a modern nation in Southeast Asia and an “island of peace,” a land of wonders with its rich and unique national cultural heritages in Asia and the world, a land of smile with sincerity and kindness of heart. Though it is saddening to recall this fact about the war between “Khmer brothers,” the reality and history must be kept as a lesson and a reminder that some “Khmer brothers” gave away so very much to Thailand until the latter has become much more than confident of itself, but cocky, arrogant and condescending that Cambodia must remain inferior to Thailand, and Thailand can and must take land from Cambodia whenever, whatever, and where ever as it pleases. For Thailand, it is a big mistake and it has been a big failure up until now.

The falsification of international document by Thailand

When the outcome of the war between the “Khmer brothers” seemed to be tilting against Thailand’s interests and the Thai’s easy dream to get Cambodian land, Thailand behaved as an outlaw, a criminal, and a thief by falsifying the international border line and drawing a unilateral line carving an area of “4.6 sq km” inside Cambodian territory, somewhere between 1975 and 1979, that is during the rule of the genocidal regime of Democratic Kampuchea or Khmer Rouge.

The “supposed to be secret map” produced by the Royal Thai Survey Department, an arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand is marked “Democratic Kampuchea” on the Cambodian side of the border. In fact, between Cambodia and Thailand, there is an international border line on the Map with the title “DANGREK,” recognized and accepted in 1908-1909 by Thailand, and known as the “ANNEX I MAP” under the ICJ proceedings in 1962.

There were a total of eleven maps, which is the result of the delineation and demarcation works of the Franco-Siamese Mixed Commissions set up in conformity with the 1904 Convention and the 1907 Treaty between France and Siam that provided the finality and stability of an international border line between French Indochina and Siam. Certainly, DANGREK MAP is one among the eleven maps. Recently, Thailand has begun to intensify its campaign to mislead the international opinion by calling the DANGREK MAP, the Cambodian map. Thailand plays with words to shift the meaning of things. Thailand thinks that it is smarter than everybody in the world to the point to say with arrogance that what Thailand said is what it is, and the whole world must accept it. Thailand has failed many times about playing with words to mislead the international opinion. This time it will fail again, and badly. Suppose one day, Abhisit Vijjajeva, the “Thai Patriots” network, and the PAD (or the yellow shirts) got a common dream and question the international border line on the other ten maps beside the DANGREK MAP, then what would be the response of the international community, including the United Nations? It would not have been outside of the mark to speculate reasonably that the international community would have told Thailand to “go fishing,” or to “get lost”. With this in mind, here is the next point of this analysis.

Thailand’s threat to use military forces to occupy the “4.6 sq km” is real

The Cambodian people trust the wisdom and the farsightedness of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia who is a peace-maker and a peace-keeper, a nation-builder and a patriot who will lead the nation in the defense of the national sovereignty and the territorial integrity. He has solemnly sworn to the Cambodian people that under his watch, not even an inch of the Cambodian territory will be lost. Weary of the horrors of almost a half century of war that ravaged Cambodia and Cambodian lives, he wants to build a border of peace and development both economic and social that benefit Cambodians and Thais. Will Abhisit Vejjajiva, the “Thai Patriots” network, the PAD (or the yellow shirts) keep their hands off Cambodia? They beat the war drums. The sound is getting louder each day. Similar to the question of the DANGREK MAP, Thailand has begun here, as well, to intensify its campaign to mislead the international opinion by playing with words from “an overlapping area of 4.6 sq km” to “the 4.6 sq km is Thai territory,” and as reported by the Bangkok Post Online on 9 August “Mr Abhisit agreed with the group (The Thai Patriots and the PAD) that the disputed zone belonged to Thailand and Cambodia had encroached upon Thai soil despite the temple itself being on Cambodian land.” In fact the territory is Cambodian and Cambodians have always live there. The truth is that there has been a Cambodian pagoda, a Cambodian village market, a Cambodian administrative post long before the MOU 2000, as remarked one governor of Sisaket province and reported by a Thai newspaper.

In the long history of Thailand, this country never allowed any other country to encroach its territory for a single hour, or a single day. What is wrong with Abhisit Vejjajiva, the “Thai Patriots” network, the PAD and other Thai leaders before Abhisit Vejjajiva, all of them under the same Majesty the King of Thailand to show this impossible and unthinkable stupidity to ignore the presence of the Cambodians inside the “4.6 sq km” over decades, until now? This campaign of misinformation will not stand a chance, especially at the international gatherings like ASEAN and the United Nations.

Here is a typical Thailand’s behavior with regard to the territory of its neighbor, Burma, as reported by the Nation on 8 August: “Burmese ruling junta last month shut down the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border crossing after accusing Thailand of building an embankment on the Moei River to alter the common border line.”

This confirms beyond further explanations that Thailand never allow any encroachment of its territory. In the absence of any rejection of the “Burmese accusation” by Thailand’s official and as it was reported by Thai News media, Thailand’s “building an embankment on the Moei River to alter the common border line,” must be a fact.

In light of the above, it is absolutely impossible for Thailand to fool the International community despite its ability to utilize innuendo, wild suggestion and off-basis accusations, and it is also really tough for Thailand to find listeners and backers to support its claim of Cambodia’s encroachment.

This leads, therefore, to a very well founded cognition that Thailand military threat is real. As reported by Thai media, Abhisit Vejjajiva “had instructed Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya to hold talks with Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and the military to seek diplomatic means to deal with the situation.” He has not ruled out the use of force, by saying: "Resorting to force would be the last option…” He also said that “the government would use both diplomatic and military measures” to take back the “4.6 sq km”.

Pack of lies

It was just about ten days ago that Natural Resources and Environment Ministers Suwit Khunkitti has lied to the Thai people and the World by saying that“Cambodia should have handed in its management proposal six months ahead of the meeting, but it made its submission less than 24 hours before the meeting began,” as reported by the Bangkok Post On Line News on 30 July 2010, and he had also said:“the committee instead dropped the topic, saying Cambodia had not followed proper procedure in submitting the plan.”

In fact Cambodia's Management Plan of the Temple of Preah Vihear had been submitted to the World Heritage Centre before 01 February 2010, as required. Minister Suwit Khunkitti had acknowledged that “the World Heritage Centre has the document submitted by the State Party”.

As reported by the Bangkok Post Online on 8 August, 2010 Abhisit Vijjajeva intensified the campaign of misinformation with the intention to fool the international opinion by projecting a false and misleading picture of Thai actual authority on the “4.6 sq km” area, by claiming that “arrests were made when people encroached into the area in 2008 and there were clashes in April last year because of the same reason.” Actually, this is even a bigger lie than the one told by Minister Suwit Khunkitti.

The truth is that on 15 October 2008 at 14:15 Thai troops started attacking the Cambodian troops at three different places deep inside the Cambodian territory, (1) at Prolean Intry, approximately 1,120 meters South of the international boundary line, (2) at the area of Phnom Troap, 1,600 meters South of the international boundary line, (3) in the vicinity of the Keo Sikkha Kiri Svara pagoda, approximately 300 meters West of the Temple of Preah Vihear and approximately 700 meters from the international boundary line. Thai troops suffered heavy losses and were forced to withdraw from the Cambodian territory. There were no “arrests” as Abhisit Vijjajeva had lied to the Thai people and the World. On 3 April 2009 Thai troops fired rockets and heavy weapons burning to the ground the Cambodian village market near the Temple of Preah Vihear. Abhisit has played with the word “arrests” to change the picture of the truth and the fact. He will get burnt when his campaign of intoxication is exposed. This analysis leads to the conclusion that Thailand is preparing the ground for the use of forces.

What’s next?

The Cambodian nation believes in the wisdom of Samdech Techo Hun Sen to seek peace with Thailand, but she also believes in his unmatched understanding of the state of war from A to Z, and his quality of a supreme commander of the armed forces. Thailand’s threat creates an urgency and a necessity for Samdech Techo Hun Sen to send letters to H.E. Vitaly Churkin, President of the United Nations Security Council, and H.E. Ali Abdussalam Treki, President of the United Nations General Assembly, on Sunday 08 August, 2010 to inform both of them about the belligerent statement of the Prime Minister of Thailand who advocates “the military means” to settle the border demarcation.

On the other hand, against Thailand’s campaign of intoxication, misinformation and the distortion of the facts, a successful media war could have the effects of discouraging Thailand from being a fool and a bully-boy.

Pen Ngoeun

Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers (OCM),

Member of the Advisory Council of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PRU) of OCM;

This analysis is strictly personal and does not reflect under any shape or form the idea or opinion of OCM and PRU.

ASEAN, UN and USAID Conduct Major International Exercise to Prepare for Severe Pandemic

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 04:36 DAP-NEWS / Soy Sophea .CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 10, 2010-International group here on Tuesday announced that they would host a pandemic preparedness and response exercise focusing on managing the impacts of severe pandemics on societies, governments and organisations in the Southeast Asian region.

The exercise, which is a first of its kind anywhere in the world, will take place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 16-20 August 2010, according to a joint press statement of ASEAN, UN and USAID, adding that It is expected to attract over 170 high-level participants from governments, UN agencies, international bodies and non-governmental organisations.

“The unprecedented event aims to improve the capabilities of ASEAN Member States, both individually and collectively, to prepare for and respond to a severe pandemic with potentially devastating effects on the region,” said the release. “The exercise also sets out to improve multisectoral preparedness and response at the country, regional and global level among the Member States and other international actors.”

A severe pandemic could have hugely damaging effects on the Southeast Asia region. While many countries are engaged in meeting such a threat, much of the focus in the past has been on health area preparedness.

ASEAN Members States increasingly recognize that non-health sectors can also be gravely affected, impeding a government’s capacity to respond to a pandemic. This thinking has led to the need to come together to identify the gaps in pandemic preparedness, and to strengthen collaboration and coordination among Member States.

In expressing his appreciation for the event and emphasizing its importance, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, said that ‘the table-top exercise will help us fulfill the wishes of our ASEAN leaders for our region to be ready in times of pandemics. We will use the exercise to identify our gaps in pandemic preparedness and prepare for a regional pandemic preparedness plan as called for in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint. Lessons learnt from this exercise can be used not only for cases of pandemics but also for other severe events affecting our region, such as natural disasters.’

Cambodia’s National Committee for Disaster Management Vice President Dr. Nhim Vanda emphasized the value of the event to the region; ‘Cambodia was one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to focus its preparedness efforts on non-health sectors. This event provides the opportunity to bring the multisector preparedness focus to a regional level and set an example that can be followed on a global front.’

The transboundary nature of pandemics means that they seldom remain isolated within a single country. Effective regional arrangements are imperative to ensure the continuity of operations and subsequent security of a country during a pandemic. The pandemic preparedness and response exercise aims to strengthen these arrangements.

‘No crime’ by Frenchman, judge decides

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:01 Chrann Chamroeun

CONVICTED French paedophile Jean Marie Beranger was found not guilty yesterday of crimes allegedly committed last September against a 13-year-old boy in Preah Sihanouk province, court officials said, outraging the child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants.

Presiding judge Plang Samnang said yesterday that there had been a lack of evidence in the case against Beranger, who had been charged with committing indecent acts and was facing three to six years in prison.

“We decided to find him not guilty based on reports from the provincial police chief that there was a lack of sufficient evidence,” he said.

Inconsistencies in the testimonies of witnesses who were counselled by APLE, he said, also contributed to the court’s ruling.

On the night in question, he said, the street where the crimes allegedly occurred would have been heavily lit, meaning witness accounts should have been the same.

“On that night at around 9pm it was light, and the streetlights were turned on,” he said. “Many people walked on the street, and if the victim’s mouth was shut up and his trousers were taken off, he must have screamed, so there is no crime.”

Samleang Seila, country director for APLE, vowed to fight the court’s decision, describing Beranger as a chronic offender. In June, Kampot provincial court convicted Beranger of committing indecent acts against two underage boys and sentenced him to one year in prison.

“We are very disappointed with Preah Sihanouk provincial court’s decision to lift the charges against the accused because we firmly believe the accused really did commit the alleged crimes, based on the facts heard in the victim’s firm testimony,” Samleang Seila said.

Beranger was not present at yesterday’s hearing because he was serving out his sentence in Kampot. His lawyer, Khun Sophal, said he approved of the court’s ruling.

“We are happy with the court’s decision, which is right and just for my client based on insufficient evidence,” Khun Sophal said.

Canadia set to grow following strong half

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:00 Nguon Sovan

CANADIA Bank Plc, the Kingdom’s third-largest bank by assets, reported total deposits and loans grew 23 percent and 15 percent respectively in the first half of the year.

The bank’s six-month data recorded customers’ deposits rose to US$682 million at the end of June from $555 million at December 31, while outstanding loans reached $442 million from $385 million.

“The strong growth we have seen in deposits reflects the public trust in us,” Dieter Billmeier, the bank’s vice president, said yesterday.

“The lending growth is in line with our predictions with increasing trends in the service, mortgage, wholesale and retail, as well as import and export sectors.”

He said the bank, which already has 28 branches nationwide, would look to open another five branches this year.

“We will continue to expand domestic branch network to explore growing possibilities to widen our customer deposit and borrower base,” he said.

Canadia, wholly owned by Cambodian shareholders, has also seen solid growth in total assets in the first six months, Billmeier said, coming close to $900 million at June 30 – about 20 percent higher than December last year – while the bank’s total capital base had grown to above $120 million by June.

Though he declined to disclose the bank’s profit for the first half, he said it was “slightly higher” than it was last year.

According to figures released by the National Bank of Cambodia in July, the Kingdom’s commercial bank deposits totalled $3.795 billion at the end of June, up 15 percent over December last year, and outstanding loans increased 9.8 percent to $2.74 billion at the end of June.

Hun Sen takes firm stand

Photo by: Uy Nousereimony
Hun Sen’s body language is quite clear as he speaks at the Koh Pich Centre in Phnom Penh yesterday. He said the Preah Vihear issue could lead to “bloodshed” and deviation from the One-China Policy to “disaster”.

Thai threat spurs calls for international conference talks sought onThai issue

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:03 Cheang Sokha and Sebastian Strangio

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has called for an international conference to address the Kingdom’s simmering border dispute with Thailand, saying that the established bilateral mechanism is “not working”.

Speaking at a forum on the government’s sub-national development programme yesterday, he said direct negotiations had run their course.

“I would like to request to have an international conference on the Thai-Cambodian border issue,” Hun Sen said, and added that the country would seek a “multilateral solution” by appealing to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the United Nations and the signatories of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords.

“The issue is very hot. It may cause bloodshed,” he said.

The prime minister repeated warnings that any attempt to use military force to settle the dispute would be welcomed “not by shaking hands, but by military operations”.

“Cambodia is poor and weak, but I can say that even an ant will keep an elephant from sleeping,” he said.

The comments came a day after the premier sent letters to the UN Security Council and General Assembly accusing Bangkok of violating the UN Charter.

The letters referred to comments made by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at a Yellow Shirt rally on Saturday, when he was quoted as saying the government was willing to dissolve a border-demarcation pact and use “both democratic and military means” to safeguard Thai sovereignty.

“In the face of this serious threat of use of armed forces against Cambodia to settle the border demarcation, I earnestly request Your Excellency to circulate this letter,” Hun Sen wrote.

Hun Sen said that Thailand’s attempt to internationalise the border dispute at recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation meetings, including the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil last month, had compromised the bilateral process.

After informing the UN of the situation, he said, the government would also consider approaching the International Court of Justice, which awarded Preah Vihear Temple to Cambodia in 1962. Both countries claim a 4.6-square-kilometre zone adjacent to the temple.

Thai officials could not be reached late yesterday, but the government has long opposed multilateral talks on the border dispute.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said the involvement of international organisations was “starting to make more sense”, given the difficulty in solving the dispute through one-on-one talks.

“The strategy of Thailand was to buy time and make the issue as fuzzy as possible,” he said. “I think it’s long overdue.”

Also yesterday, Thai media reported that Foreign Ministry officials and legal experts were meeting to draft a letter that would be sent to the UN to respond to Hun Sen’s charges.

“The letter would comprise three parts,” The Nation newspaper quoted government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn as saying.

“The first part will explain the legal matters that Cambodia mentioned, the second part about the invasion into our territory, while the third would be an assurance that we would handle the matter with peaceful means and according to the laws.”

Provincial governors told: Taiwan just one province

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:03 Sebastian Strangio and Cheang Sokha

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has warned provincial governors not to permit the establishment of Taiwanese government bureaus or offices at the sub-national level, reiterating Cambodia’s adherence to the Chinese government’s One-China Policy.

Speaking at a forum on the government’s sub-national development programme yesterday, Hun Sen said provincial governors were appointed by central authorities, and would “be fired immediately” if they allowed Taiwan to establish a political presence with their jurisdictions.

“[Taiwan] has wanted to set up such bureaus again and again. But I would like to stress that it is impossible on this matter,” the premier said.

“If the provincial governors think they are in power and Taiwan wants to hold any ceremony in their province or post any Taiwanese flags, there would be disaster quickly. I would like to send a message at this point.

“We follow the One-China Policy Taiwan is a just one province of the People’s Republic of China.”

Chinese embassy spokesman Qian Hai said yesterday that China “appreciated” the Cambodian government’s support, and that China was not opposed to Taiwan pursuing “private” business in the Kingdom.

The One-China Policy paints Taiwan as an indivisible part of the Chinese mainland, and calls for a peaceful reunification of the two territories under Beijing’s rule.

The premier’s comments came after officials withdrew Taiwanese flags from tables at a business forum in Phnom Penh on July 1.

At the Cambodia and Taiwan Business Meeting, jointly organised by the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce and the Taiwan Commercial Association of Cambodia, Taiwanese flags were visible on the tables during an opening speech by YH Chiang, the commissioner of Taiwan’s Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission.

Kith Meng, chairman of the CCC, admitted at the time that flags were removed by officials. “There were Taiwanese flags put on the table by a Taiwanese company, but we took them away,” he said. “We solved it.”

Professor Bruce Jacobs, a specialist in Taiwanese politics at Monash University in Melbourne, said the effort to block Taiwanese diplomatic efforts and prevent the display of Taiwanese flags – a controversial symbol even in Taiwan itself – was not surprising, and would likely not affect business.

“To the best of my knowledge, Taiwanese business in Cambodia is welcome,” he said.

Taiwanese officials in Thailand could not be reached yesterday.


Border spat set to drag on

Photo by: AFP
An elderly Thai woman holds a portrait of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej as she listens to speakers during a Yellow Shirt rally in Bangkok.

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:03 Sebastian Strangio

Sebastian Strangio

YESTERDAY, Thai media reported that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and nationalist Yellow Shirt leaders had reached a “common position” on the 4.6-square kilometre disputed area adjacent to Preah Vihear temple.

In a televised debate with the so-called Thai Patriots Network, a fringe group dominated by the yellow-shirted People’s Alliance for Democracy, Abhisit agreed that the disputed area belonged to Thailand, and that Cambodians had “encroached” on Thai land.

During Sunday’s debate, Veera Somkwamkid, leader of the network, called on the government to revoke the memorandum of understanding on border demarcation that Thailand signed with Cambodia in 2000.

A day earlier, The Nation newspaper reported, Abhisit told a rally of Yellow Shirts that he would be willing to trash the MoU and openly considered using “military means” in order to safeguard Thai sovereignty.

At the debate, however, he softened his stance, saying that preserving the MoU was in Thailand’s best interests, and that military force was a “last option”.

The fact that Abhisit eventually backed away from the confrontational stance advocated by the Thai Patriots gives little reason to hope for a solution to the border dispute that has captivated the two countries since July 2008, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation listed Preah Vihear as a World Heritage site.

Indeed, the Thai leader’s prevarications encapsulate Bangkok’s peculiar bind: how to pursue a rational solution to the border dispute while contending with the demands of the PAD demagogues who swept the government to power in 2008.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a fellow at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said that after using “irrational nationalism” and mass Yellow Shirt protests to unseat former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his proxies, the government was experiencing great difficulty putting the yellow genie back in the bottle.

As a result, he said, Abhisit has “lost legitimacy to deal with the [temple] issue without any political implication”.

“For Thailand, the danger lies in the fact that the Yellow Shirts, taking the same position adopted by the government, can aggravate the situation,” Pavin said. “How will Abhisit make sure that nationalism can be used at the appropriate dose?”

No end in sight
Following another round of sparring over Preah Vihear at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil earlier this month, a solution to the temple dispute appears as remote as it did two years ago.

With the Thai government now struggling to appease its own nationalist support base, analysts predict that the temple issue will continue to sour relations between Phnom Penh and Bangkok as long as the Thai crisis continues – that is, for the foreseeable future.

Puangthong Pawakapan, a specialist in Thai-Cambodian relations at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, said that even a handover of power at next year’s Thai elections could be stymied by continuing Yellow Shirt “misinformation” about the Preah Vihear issue.

Given that the temple issue was used by the PAD to force the resignation of former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama in 2008, she said, Thai governments of all complexions will be wary of giving ground. “This implies”, she added, “that even in the next election when the pro-Thaksin party might become a government, they will not dare to be friendly ... with Cambodia.”

It takes two to tango
Cambodian actions have also deepened the dispute. Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said Prime Minister Hun Sen’s own use of the Preah Vihear issue as an electoral tactic in 2008 had fuelled a dispute that he now “does not know how to stop”. He described the appointment of Thaksin as an economic adviser as a “mistake” that had allowed Thai nationalists to put a further obstacle in the way of a negotiated solution.

Ou Virak said Hun Sen’s call for the creation of an international conference to settle the border dispute, made in a speech yesterday, was “long overdue”, but Thailand has long opposed a multilateral solution.

Others said Cambodia and Thailand could benefit from taking a more creative approach to the border dispute.

In an article in the Bangkok Post yesterday, Morakot Meyer from Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok said the two countries should look to Germany and Poland, which turned a border zone into a shared heritage site.

Puangthong said similarly that Phnom Penh and Bangkok should jointly submit the 4.6-square kilometre disputed zone to UNESCO and develop the area as a “peace park”.

She said such a solution, denounced as “treason” by the Thai nationalist fringe, could be the last chance to prevent an international settlement that, following the 1962 World Court ruling that handed Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia, would likely turn out in Phnom Penh’s favour.

Such an outcome would “cause an upheaval in Thailand and thus worsen Thai-Cambodian relations”, she said.

“But the Abhisit government never cares to listen to different views,” she added. “He has been playing with nationalist fire ever since he was an opposition leader.”

Popular TV soap takes on issue of acid attacks

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:03 Mom Kunthear and Brooke Lewis

THE last time we saw her, Ana, formerly a glamourous young celebrity with a penchant for other women’s husbands, was lying in a hospital bed, stripped of her beauty after being attacked by two jealous wives who poured 5 litres of acid over her face and body.

Fortunately, Ana is a fictional character in a Cambodian soap opera, and she is being touted by the show’s producer as the first television protagonist to become the victim of an acid attack.

Poan Phoung Bopha, producer of Women Tricks, a popular primetime soap opera, said yesterday that she wanted to use Ana to foster a discussion among viewers about acid violence, as the issue is rarely raised in popular culture.

“I want to show the real situation of what happens in our society,” she said.

The law punishes them here, but in reality we do not see police arrest the suspect.

She said that she hoped Ana’s story would underscore the dramatic consequences of acid attacks, and thereby discourage Cambodians from using the corrosive liquid as a weapon. “It is an education point to all people,” she said.

The story differs from reality, she said, in that the perpetrators of the attack are arrested, detained and prosecuted. “The law punishes them here, but in reality we do not see police arrest the suspect,” she said.

Spoiler alert
Women Tricks, which has aired for the past three months at 7:30pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on the Cambodia Television Network, will conclude this week with a tragic finale, as Ana, unable to live with the scarring and trauma caused by the attack, takes her own life.

“At the end of the story, the victim, who is also the main character, dies because she could not live in society,” Poan Phoung Bopha said. “She used to be a modern woman and proud of her beauty, but she could not do that anymore when she was injured by acid on her face and body.”

Ouk Kimlek, undersecretary of state at the Interior Ministry and deputy director of a government committee tasked with drafting a new law designed to curb acid violence, said yesterday that he had never before seen an acid attack portrayed in popular media.

He suggested, though, that a show that demonstrated some of the factors that contribute to acid violence could be useful in discouraging attacks.

But he said it could be dangerous to broadcast a programme that shows “how to use acid to pour on someone, or to use acid for revenge”.

Ziad Samman, coordinator of the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, said yesterday that he had not been following Women Tricks, but that it was important for acid violence to be discussed more openly than it has been in the past.

“Changing perceptions in society is key to this legislation that is being developed being implemented successfully,” he said.

He said that portrayals of acid victims in popular media could help “reduce the demonisation” of acid victims, but he cautioned that it was important not to fuel stereotypes, such as the common misperception that all acid attacks result from love triangles.

“I think it is incredibly positive if it shows repercussions for the people who commit these atrocities, and that there are huge psychological impacts for victims,” he said.

Officials incinerate fake drugs

Photo by: Kim Sovannara
A police officer inspects a pile of counterfeit pharmaceuticals yesterday before officials destroyed the haul by setting it on fire.

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:03 Kim Yuthana and Tep Nimol

POLICE yesterday destroyed about 19 tonnes of fake pharmaceutical drugs confiscated from city pharmacies and drug smugglers, officials said.

Mok Chito, director of the Interior Ministry’s criminal police, said expired drugs and chemical-laced foods were also burned during a blaze at the Choeung Ek dumpsite yesterday morning.

“These fake drugs are very dangerous to people’s health if they are circulated at markets,” he said. “We have collected them since March this year in order to burn them.”

He said most of the drugs had been smuggled into Cambodia from China and called for all users of medicines to be careful.

The destruction of the drugs came as Ke Kim Yan, chairman of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, led a 22-member delegation to Vietnam in an effort to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries’ anti-drug authorities.

“The official visit ... was made in an attempt to strengthen bilateral cooperation on the issue of illegal drugs, and to exchange experience between the two countries,” said Neak Yuthea, director of the ministry’s Department of Legislation, Education and Rehabilitation.

Figures released by the NACD last week showed that the number of drug users in the Kingdom had fallen to 5,700 this year, representing a drop of 300 users from 2009 figures.

Neak Yuthea said the dip was the result of the migration of some drug users, coupled with a growing awareness of the dangers of illegal drug use.

Protesters back at their village

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A protester and her child are pulled up by police during a demonstration in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s villa on Sunday.

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:02 May Titthara

FOUR villagers who fled their homes in Battambang province to avoid arrest in 2008 returned to their village yesterday for the first time in two years, after surfacing in Phnom Penh over the weekend to join a protest that was quashed by police.

On Sunday, about 50 villagers from Battambang’s Kors Kralor district were forcibly dragged onto a bus and returned to the countryside after staging a protest near Prime Minister Hun Sen’s home in the capital.

The villagers were seeking to draw attention to their long-running land dispute with Long Sidare, a military police officer in Phnom Penh.

Van Dy, 42, one of four fugitives who participated in the protest yesterday and then returned home to Duon Ba village after a two-year absence, said that she had come out of hiding to support her community and prevent further loss of villagers’ land.

Villagers say that Long Sidare has, since September 2008, been trying to evict 415 families from 1,672 hectares of land to make way for the development of a rubber plantation. So far, he has allegedly forced more than 100 families from the land.

“I also decided to return because I am afraid that the provincial court will arrest more innocent villagers,” Van Dy said.

On August 22, 2008, Van Dy and four other village representatives were sentenced in absentia to five years in prison for robbery and destruction of public property.

Four from the group went into hiding after the verdict, but one representative, Hun Sengly, was arrested and is serving out his sentence. Van Dy has also promised further protests if the man is not released.

“We have asked the authorities to release our representative. If they refuse, the entire village will go to Battambang prison and ask to stay together,” she said, and added that additional protests will be held in Phnom Penh.

On Sunday, five people, including a 3-year-old, suffered injuries during the altercation with police, who eventually forced the entire group onto a Battambang-bound bus.

However, Luong Sokha, a villager who participated in the protest, said that authorities had dropped the group more than 20 kilometres from their village.

“The authorities cheated the villagers yet again,” Luong Sokha said.

“They only took us as far as the Banan district office and dropped us there.”.

Battambang deputy governor Saing Southong said the case was “extremely complicated”, but that provincial authorities would find a resolution for those affected.

“In accordance with government policy, we will provide them with a social land concession in the area,” he said.

Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor for the rights group Licadho, called the authorities’ violent response to Sunday’s protest “unjustified” and “disgraceful”.

“The authorities should quickly find a resolution to this dispute and for the man in prison. Otherwise, the people will not stop protesting because they are losing their land,” he said.

During the first six months of 2010, about 60 people were arrested in connection with land disputes, he added.

Long Sidare could not be reached to provide a comment yesterday.

Family ties: PM warns officials on nepotism

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:02 Cheang Sokha

Family ties

PRIME Minister Hun Sen told senior government officials yesterday that their jobs were not hereditary, and instructed them to focus on promoting the national interest rather than preserving their own positions.

In a speech yesterday, Hun Sen said government ministers should behave with humility. “Don’t forget that the positions for ministers, deputy prime ministers, secretaries of state and undersecretaries of states at all institutions aren’t positions that last forever or can be given to your children,” Hun Sen said.

“You should not keep your posts forever or transfer them to your children. Everything that we do is for the future of the whole nation.”

Hun Sen has previously said he does not want his 32-year-old son Hun Manet, currently a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, to enter politics.

Police employ guns and batons to drive villagers from disputed land

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:02 May Titthara

POLICE and military police used guns and electric batons to drive roughly 100 villagers in Kampong Cham province from 41 hectares of disputed rice fields yesterday, injuring three in the process, villagers and rights workers said.

Chear Thearith, deputy police chief in Stung Trang district, where the altercation occurred, said the police and military police had been hired by the Long Sreng Company, a firm that has been trying to develop the site into a rubber plantation since April.

“The police were hired by the company,” Chear Thearith said. He had not arrived at the site in time to witness the altercation himself, he said.
“When I reached there, everything was finished already, so I don’t know much about this case,” Chear Thearith said.

We were working on our farmland, but [police and military police] did not allow us to do this.

No Almath, a 29-year-old villager who witnessed the incident, said two elderly women and a 24-year-old man suffered bruises and other minor injuries at the hands of police, who he said had tried to convince about 100 villagers to stop cultivating the disputed land and leave the area.

“We were working on our farmland, but they did not allow us to do this, and they said the company had the right from the government to develop on our rice fields,” No Almath said.

The officers had fired into the air twice in an attempt to drive villagers away before using electric batons to forcibly remove them, he said.

A group of about 56 families claims to have farmed the land since at least 1970. But Ath Kimleang, the chief of Prek Kak commune, where the land is located, said it fell within a swathe of 3,000 hectares that were given to the Long Sreng Company in 2007 to be turned into a rubber plantation.

No Almath said company representatives and local officials asked the families to sell their land to the company at a price of US$500 per hectare in April. “But we don’t need to sell. We need to keep farming the land to support our living,” he said.

Ath Kimleang said he had reported the altercation to district and provincial authorities, but that he had no power to intervene.

“I have no right to say that I will cut off some part of the land to keep rice fields for the villagers. It is up to the government,” he said.

Stung Trang district Governor Kao Sok An could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Neang Sovath, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said the company had no right to remove the villagers from the land because they had been there for decades. “It is illegal. Even thought they got a grant from the government, they have to talk to villagers,” he said. “It is the rainy season, so villagers need to plant rice.”

Company officials could not be reached yesterday.

Ceremony celebrates museum

Photo by: Sovan Philong
Vann Nath (right), a survivor of Tuol Sleng, smiles during a ceremony at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum yesterday, along with fellow survivors Bou Meng (centre) and Chum Mey (centre, back).

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:02 Vong Sokheng

FORMER inmates of Tuol Sleng prison joined more than 100 government officials and diplomats yesterday to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the listing of the facility, now a museum, in the Memory of the World register of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Teruo Jinnai, UNESCO’s representative in Phnom Penh, said in a speech at the gathering that his organisation hoped to continue its partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to preserve Tuol Sleng and its voluminous archives.

“The place where we are all standing today deserves the understanding and appreciation of its meaning as a memorial, and a deep respect from us all,” Jinnai said.

Officials at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts announced earlier this year that they were working with UNESCO to digitise the complete archives of Tuol Sleng, building on the work of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia and other organisations. UNESCO has provided computers, scanners and technology training to museum workers, and plans are in the works to add on-site parking, a garden and other renovations at the site.

Under the Khmer Rouge regime, Tuol Sleng was run by the infamous Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch. Last month, Duch became the first person to be sentenced at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, receiving a 30-year jail term for crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

Nearly all of the roughly 16,000 prisoners who came through Tuol Sleng were executed. One of the few to survive, 67-year-old Vann Nath, said he was heartened by the preservation efforts going on at the site.

“I no longer have to worry that the genocide museum will be lost and forgotten by history,” Vann Nath said.

Chi Kraeng hearing concludes

Photo by: Rann Reuy
Villagers from Siem Reap province’s Chi Kraeng commune light joss sticks yesterday outside the provincial court, where nine villagers were on trial in connection with an ongoing land dispute.

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:02 Rann Reuy

Siem Reap province

SIEM Reap provincial court yesterday concluded hearings in the trial against nine men from Chi Kraeng commune who have been charged with attempted intentional manslaughter in connection with an ongoing land dispute, rights workers said.

About 300 villagers who had travelled from Chi Kraeng to watch the proceedings were barred from entering the courtroom, and they instead gathered outside to pray and light incense. Journalists were also prevented from attending the hearing.

The defendants have been accused of trying to kill military police officers during a March 2009 altercation that allegedly saw police open fire on a group of villagers, injuring four. No charges have been filed against any of the officers accused of being involved in the shooting, but the nine villagers were charged under the Law on Aggravating Circumstances of Felonies after police accused them of threatening officers with machetes.

Court officials either could not be reached for comment or declined to comment after the hearing ended, but Chheng Sophors, a senior human rights monitor for rights group Licadho, said a verdict in the case would be read out on August 20. “They delayed the verdict because they were afraid of villagers’ reactions and wanted to avoid any problems,” he said.

Ten Heab, the wife of Chheng Savoeun, one of the nine accused, was allowed to watch the hearing, and she expressed surprise afterwards that witnesses were not called by the prosecution. Only documents were presented as evidence, she said.

On July 27, the first day of the trial, judges heard testimony from the accused, who have pleaded not guilty.

“I don’t understand why they charged them with intentional manslaughter, because some villagers were just cutting grass and others were washing cows,” Ten Heab said. “I think they were angry at my husband because he recorded [the altercation] on his phone.”

The altercation stems from a land dispute dating back to 1986, when one large village was divided equally between Chi Kraeng and Anlong Samnor communes, leaving an unspecified number of hectares of farmland in dispute.

In January 2009, the provincial court ruled that all of the disputed land belonged to Anlong Samnor, triggering conflicts between villagers from the two communes. The altercation occurred on March 18 of that year, when villagers were trying to farm the disputed land.

Blue-ear: Pig farms in Takeo disinfected

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:02 Phak Seangly


TAKEO provincial authorities said yesterday that more than 170 pig farms in the province had been treated with disinfectant designed to stop the spread of blue-ear after an outbreak of the disease led Prime Minister Hun Sen to ban pig imports last week.

Thai Ly, chief of Takeo’s office of animal health care and production, said farms in three districts – Trang, Kirivong and Daun Keo – had been treated as part of an effort that would cover the entire province. Farmers and pork sellers have been instructed to use disinfectant soap themselves, he said.

Nhek Prong, chief of Takeo’s agriculture department, said approximately 600 pigs in the province had died since the outbreak began, with 1,000 more showing symptoms.

Blue-ear, or porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, has so far been reported in eight provinces. Concerns about the disease’s spread in the Kingdom emerged in May, when Svay Rieng provincial Governor Chheang Am banned pig imports from Vietnam. Hun Sen ordered a nationwide suspension of pig imports last week.

Sam Rainsy hearing delayed

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Court officials escort Meas Srey, a 40-year-old resident of Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district, out of the Appeal Court after the hearing in her case was postponed yesterday.

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:01 Meas Sokchea

THE Appeal Court yesterday postponed a hearing for opposition leader Sam Rainsy and two villagers convicted earlier this year on charges related to the uprooting of border posts in Svay Rieng province.

Judge Kun Leang Meng chose to delay the hearing for three weeks after the two villagers – Meas Srey, 40, and Prum Chea, 41 – appeared without a lawyer.

The pair said that their original lawyer, Sam Sokong, was travelling abroad, and that they had refused to accept his designated replacement.

“At the next hearing, the court will proceed even if the accused do not have a lawyer,” Kun Leang Meng said.

At the hearing, defence attorney Choung Choungy represented Sam Rainsy, currently abroad to avoid the two-year jail term handed down against him in January. He said he supported the postponement because it would allow the villagers to secure their right to legal representation.

Government lawyer Chan Sok Yeang said he, too, supported the postponement, although he expressed frustration with Sam Sokong for not informing his clients earlier of his travel plans.

“This lawyer’s mistake was that he appointed a replacement but did not inform his clients until very close to the day of the hearing,” he said.

Sam Rainsy and the two villagers were convicted by Svay Rieng provincial court in January, with the two villagers, both of Chantrea district, receiving one-year jail sentences for destruction of public property. Sam Rainsy was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail.

This is the second time that the Appeal Court has delayed the case. In June, defence lawyers walked out of the hearing because none of the defendants were present.

Police Blotter: 10 Aug 2010

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:00 Kaing Menghun

Two men in Kratie town have been arrested in connection with the murder of the husband of one of the accused’s rumoured former lovers in Ratanakkiri province last month. The pair were nabbed while trying to escape to Kratie, after having changed modes of transportation several times in a bid to elude authorities. It is believed that Phuong Bun, 30, was having an affair with the wife of Bean Phous. Once the affair ended, Phuong Bun decided to kill Bean Phous. After the arrests were announced, the wife of the victim denied ever having had an affair with either suspect.

A 45-year-old man was killed on Saturday in Kandal province’s Saang district after being chopped in the head with an axe, in what police said was an apparent revenge attack. The victim’s wife said that at around 4am, she awoke to a sound akin to “a coconut falling from a tree”. Her husband then kicked her in the legs, and she turned on the light to find him covered in blood flowing from a deep wound to the head.

Two people were injured after the tyre of a 5-tonne truck exploded, causing the truck to lose control and hit an oncoming Toyota Land Cruiser in Battambang province on Friday. Police said the Land Cruiser’s driver and passenger, both Korean men, were severely injured when the truck lost control. The truck driver fled the scene on foot.

An 18-year-old drug addict was arrested at Kandal Market in Phnom Penh on Friday after trying to stab a security guard who had objected to the teen’s walking on a garden he was guarding in Meanchey district. Victim Say Samphous, 25, called out to Sok Vong, who was walking on the garden’s grass, to ask him to move. It was then that the young man pulled out a knife and chased the security guard, prompting nearby motorbike-taxi drivers to intervene and rescue the victim.

A gangster who was recently released from jail was arrested in Kampong Thom after stealing the wallet of a Cambodian-American man last Wednesday. Police said Pheng Phea robbed 50-year-old Di Bora while the victim was eating. The thief nabbed the victim’s wallet and escaped despite calls for help from the victim. Police were later given a report of the incident, and they captured Pheng Phea late last week.

Road-expansion plan raises fears of land loss

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:01 Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Sun Mesa

AROUND 20 families in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune stand to lose land if a road-expansion project scheduled to commence today goes ahead, a resident representative said yesterday.

Muy Ny said that many residents living alongside Sothearos Boulevard in Village 9 had already ceded some of their land when the same section of road was widened by 5 metres in 2007.

“This road has been expanded twice, and the road expansion is ordered only for our side to move – why does the other side never move?” she said.

Uol So Panha, a representative of Lee Service Construction Cambodia, which received the contract for the project, said the road expansion was necessary to ease congestion.

“City Hall needs to expand a 60-metre length of the road by 3.5 metres in width after it was observed that the road in this area is too narrow and there are traffic jams almost every day,” he said.

However, he said that the residents’ concerns would be taken into consideration. “According to the City Hall statement [issued] on Friday, my company will start the road expansion [today], if there is no objection from the villagers,” he said.

Island developers warned

Photo by: Cameron Wells
Sunset at Lazy Beach on Koh Rong Saloem. The government is pushing forward development on the nation's islands.

via Khmer NZ

Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:00 Chun Sophal

MINISTER of Tourism Thong Kong told investors developing the islands off Sihanoukville to proceed with construction or forfeit their permits.

Speaking at a ministry workshop in Phnom Penh yesterday, he said: “We will request the government to cancel licences if we find that any of these important islands are left undeveloped.”

The minister, who did not call out any particular companies during his speech, said the islands held great potential as a tourism attraction and could assist in developing the Kingdom’s economy.

“If development on the islands can be carried out, I think it will attract many foreign tourists to come, and to stay longer,” Thong Khon said.

Statistics from the Council for the Development of Cambodia showed that approximately 20 island development schemes have been approved, but that plans are presently being implemented by only four developers. Some of the remaining 16 projects are being studied, and some have been left undeveloped.

CDC deputy secretary general Duy Thov said development could be a long process for investors.

“We support the desire to develop the coastal islands, but we do not expect real development activities soon, as there are many steps for developers before construction can begin,” he said.

Snake Island, Rong Island, Aun Island, and Bong Island were under development, and other islands granted approval were awaiting the start of construction.

Meanwhile, Daek Koul Island, located on the coast of Preah Sihanouk province, is finished and beginning to receive visitors, according to Duy Thov.

An official from Sea Snake Investment Group, which developed Daek Koul Island, said companies generally required about four years to plan and construct developments offshore.

“We cannot build on an island in a shorter time than this because, unlike places in the mainland, islands lack infrastructure connections,” Sea Snake Investment representative Saut Dy said.

Daek Koul Island was redeveloped in 2008 with the construction of a 12-room hotel, a restaurant, swimming pool, and fishing facilites. It receives between 10 and 15 tourists daily during high season.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom has continued to proffer development rights to its offshore islands.

Private developers received rights to four islands in Koh Kong province, including Torteung Island, Chhann Island, Puthsar Island, and Samith Island in July.