Sunday, 26 September 2010

Thai-Cambodian border trade lively after PM's pledge to improve relations

via CAAI

BANGKOK, Sept 26 -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has agreed to improve bilateral relations with Thailand--relations which have been impeded by border dispute near an ancient temple, according to his Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Speaking Sunday during his weekly TV and radio address, Mr Abhisit said his meeting with Mr Hun Sen on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly in New York on Friday produced fruitful results as both agreed that relations between the two countries should become lively.

He said he will meet several times with Mr Hun Sen during upcoming sessions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to which both countries belong.

Friday’s meeting of the two leaders was the first time after UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission acted in late July to postpone its decision over Cambodian’s unilateral plan to manage the Preah Vihear temple complex following an objection by the Thai government.

Their cordial discussions in New York caused cross-border trade in the Thai border district of Phu Sing district in Si Sa Ket provjnce to become lively again early Sunday, said Hattachai Pengchaem, who heads the trade and tourism operators association in Chong Sa-ngam.

Residents from both sides of the border crossed over and exchanged consumer goods, Mr Hattachai said.

Cross border trade will again become lively, traders said, in response to seeing pictures of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Prime Minister Abhisit being cordial to one another.

"Seeing both men shaking hands during the [New York] meeting in local newspapers," Mr Hattachai said, was creating an improved spirit on the border.

“This is a good sign. Our peoples will gain more confidence and [the meeting] will help boost tourism, especially for Cambodia,” Mr Hattachai added. (MCOT online news)

Loved ones remember devoted father, 2 sisters

via CAAI

Here is a closer look at the three victims in the fatal shooting rampage in West Seattle last Thursday.

By Lynn Thompson
Seattle Times staff reporter

Melina Harm

Family was everything to Choeun Harm.

He had escaped the Khmer Rouge in his native Cambodia as a teenager, survived five years in a refugee camp on the border with Thailand, and then tried to re-establish his life in America, first in Pennsylvania, then in Stockton, Calif., before settling in Seattle in 1990.

He told his extended family that even if they had only a penny among them, if the family was together, it was OK.

That hope was shattered Thursday afternoon when Harm, 43, and two daughters, Jennifer, 17, and Melina, 14, were shot to death in their West Seattle home by Harm's mother-in-law, Saroeun Phan, 60, who then shot and killed herself.

Jennifer Harm

Police and family members said Phan, also a Cambodian refugee, had a history of mental illness.

Saturday, surviving family members and friends remembered the three shooting victims as part of a lively, close-knit family who were more often together than apart.

"He was a good person"

Choeun Harm was an enthusiastic fisherman who often could be found under the West Seattle Bridge during salmon season. He also fished freshwater lakes.

"If you had been there and watched him, you would know how good he was," said Sarun Chhom, Harm's friend for 15 years. "He would catch two, three fish before anyone else caught one."

Choeun Harm

For weekend camping and fishing trips, the five kids would sit on top of each other in the family's Ford Explorer, crammed in with all their food and gear, said another longtime friend, Sean Phuong.

"The kids would all run around and have fun. He was a good person," Chhom said.

Harm ran a landscaping business with his father-in-law, Chhoey Sok, 62. Harm's only son, Kevin, 16, was frequently at his side, friends said. The business struggled because of the economic slowdown, and in recent months, they often worked only a few hours a day, Phuong said.

That's why they had come home around 1 p.m. Thursday and were getting ready to go fishing when Saroeun Phan came into the living room and began shooting. Harm was killed first.

His daughter, Jennifer Harm, was shot as she ran downstairs to comfort her father.

A friendly, helpful daughter

Saturday, friends remembered Jennifer as lively, funny and social. She would call friends just to chat when she was bored, said Lisa Sun, a cousin who lived with the family and survived the shooting.

Jennifer was also a homebody, helping her mother with cleaning, cooking and caring for her sisters.

Jennifer had attended Rainier Beach High School but dropped out.

She met her boyfriend, Allen Green, two and a half years ago. Jennifer's MySpace page features a photo of her in a silk Cambodian dress, swept up in Green's arms. He wrote about his love for her on the page, saying, "Don't underestimate her because she is littlest ... the end of the day she's always right there on my side ... I love you baby."

Quiet girl adored older sister

Jennifer's younger sister, Melina Harm, known to the family as Lina, adored her older sister and looked up to her, friends said. Lina was quiet. Jennifer was outgoing. Lina was more serious, whereas Jennifer liked to joke and tease.

Lina liked to dance and sing at family parties, her cousin Sun said, and she liked having the older girls paint her nails. She also liked to play basketball.

Another Harm daughter, Angel, 12, said her favorite memory of her sister Lina is of going to Dairy Queen for ice cream together when an older sister who lived in Missouri came to visit.

"She was quiet and nice. She always helped me with my homework," Angel said.

Lina always wanted to be with Jennifer. "Everywhere they go, they always go together," Sun said.

And so it was that when the young people in the home fled to a small basement room to escape from Grandma Phan on Thursday afternoon, Lina would not leave the wounded Jennifer.

Kevin broke a window and quickly scrambled out with Sun and Green. Kevin reached back for Lina and urged her to come.

Their grandmother came around the corner, shot at Kevin and missed. She shot Lina where she stood in the window.

"She wouldn't leave her older sister. Her older sister is her best friend," Kevin said.

How to donate to the family

Phan/Harm Memorial Fund
BECU Account #3586082948

P.O. Box 34044
Seattle, WA 98124-1044
BECU members can call 800-233-2328.

PHILIPPINES: Cities ill-prepared for typhoons

via CAAI

BANGKOK, 26 September 2010 (IRIN) - A year ago today, typhoon Ketsana hit the Philippines, killing more than 1,000 in the region and displacing hundreds of thousands, but many cities are still ill-prepared for a similar disaster.

Photo: Mathias Eick/IRIN
One year on, still displaced in Metro Manila

The storm dumped a month’s worth of rain within 12 hours of striking the Philippines before moving on to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Local authorities in the Philippines have received little response from the national government over appeals for money to move thousands still living in tent communities, said Paul del Rosario, humanitarian coordinator with Oxfam, which recently released its assessments of communities one year after Ketsana.

“Without help relocating to safer areas, families started returning to unsafe communities around the [Laguna] lake’s perimeter,” said Rosario.

At 900 sqkm, Laguna Lake, the largest inland body of water in the country, spans six provinces and 61 towns and cities, including 29 lakeshore communities comprising poorly planned enclaves and residential areas.


While governments appreciate the need to prepare for weather events, it has not always translated into action, said Rosario.

“Cities should be looking at their land use plans and mapping risks to see what areas are not suitable for [habitation]; investing in early warning systems like rain gauges and flood markers; improving building structures, and contingency planning… A significant number have not.”

About 35 percent of Manila's 12 million people live in slums that are vulnerable to natural disasters, according to the UN.

The government’s recent passage of disaster risk reduction and management legislation is a good start to shift focus from emergency response to preparation, but implementing the act requires sustained political commitment and heavy investment, said Rosario.

Response focused

It is still difficult to interest donors in disaster preparedness, he added. It was an “exception” that Oxfam was able to get support readily from the Australian government to support its disaster risk reduction work in the provinces of Rizal and Laguna from March 2010-2011.

Only 5 percent of US government funding through its Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) goes toward risk reduction, with most allocated to relief and recovery, said Gabrielle Iglesias with the Bangkok-based Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), which has OFDA support for its Program for Hydro-Meteorological Mitigation in Secondary Cities in Asia until the end of the year.

Pasig, one of the hardest-hit cities, has worked with ADPC over the past year to brace itself against future disasters.

Greg Evangelista, the city officer in charge of village relations, ranked the city’s preparedness as five on a scale of one to 10 when the typhoon hit, but told IRIN it had advanced to nine over the past year.

He said eight of the city’s most devastated villages, known locally as barangays, had drafted disaster risk reduction plans and defined at-risk areas with ADPC support; 50 city officials who responded to the floods have received training in disaster response; volunteers have learned search and rescue techniques, and plans are under way to present disaster-preparedness seminars in the city’s remaining 22 villages.

“We want to make everybody disaster-conscious – then we would be at a rank of 10,” judged Evangelista.

Photos from the Anti-Hun Xen demonstration in New York

Messages on the posters held by the protesters sum up very well the current situation in Cambodia under Mr. Hun Xen's regime (All Photos: Michael Duong)

(Photos: Visal R.)

An inhuman education

via CAAI


A visit to the Genocide Museum in Pnom Penh is a ghastly reminder of Pol Pot's tyrannical rule.

Genocide museum: Tales of hopelessness

When we reached Pnom Penh, our guide welcomed us with gifts of checkered cloth which he called krama. It has multiple uses for the Khmer- to keep off the sun when working in the rice fields, to carry food such as vegetables or corn, to give to one's love as a token. And finally the Khmers used it to hang themselves in the ultimate act of desperation when they saw no other option to escape from the brutal regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Somehow it seemed an apt, albeit grisly reminder, of the reason I was here — to visit the Genocide Museum.

Pol Pot's prison

It looked like any other average school in Southeast Asia — long three- storeyed buildings whose whitewash has yellowed with the harsh heat and overuse. It was indeed an education for our little group of eight, one that will remain with us a longer time than the education given us by our blue- eyed Irish nuns in the convent schools we went to in South India.

The Genocide Museum was once the Tuol Svay Prey High School in Phnom Penh, and the five buildings in the complex were utilised to house prisoners who were being interrogated by the Pol Pot regime. It was then renamed Security prison 21 (S-21) in 1975 and the unspeakable horrors that went on here have been meticulously documented in the form of hundreds of photos taken by the prison authorities, instruments of torture and row upon row of grinning skulls.

I stopped cold in my tracks when my guide, himself a poignant casualty of that infamous regime, was detailing the events that led to the war in Cambodia.Our guide, a young man in his early forties, was one of six children who were parted from each other. It was only recently that he discovered one sister and brother in Canada. Of the rest he had no idea. What is like to have no past to hang on to?

The compound is surrounded by the original barbed wire. Building A, which was used for detaining cadres who were accused of leading the uprising against Pol Pot, had cage-like cells each with a bed, blanket, cushion, mat and an iron bucket for holding human waste. There were glass doors to minimise the screams of prisoners during interrogation. In Buildings C and D, the ground floor was divided into small cells by brick walls. In front of the first building were the graves of the seven people who had been discovered- barely alive; the last of the victims. Frangipani trees shaded them, and the white starred flowers lay softly like a benediction on their graves.

Tyrannical regime

There was a gibbet-like structure in the yard, which was once a wooden pole for exercise. The hands of the prisoner were tied to his back and he was lifted in an upside down position again and again until he lost consciousness, then his head was dipped into a barrel of water. The moment he regained consciousness the process was repeated. It was not surprising that confessions were extracted very quickly, even to crimes not committed.

Rooms after rooms are full of photographs of people interrogated, impersonally documented by the interrogators. Most had their arms tied behind their backs. But their eyes tell a different story — of anguish and hopelessness, of sometimes a grim defiance. It is an unremittingly cruel glimpse of the estimated 20,000 prisoners — men, women and fresh-faced children — who passed through these walls. The photographs were mostly of Cambodians, although there were some foreigners too. Pol Pot's twisted ideology meant that anyone with an education was suspect, even one who wore glasses.

Pol Pot's dream was concentrated on the growing of rice. To that end he saw no need for urban cities, trade or markets, money or medicine. He wanted to eliminate all these; and educationists such as teachers, doctors and dissidents. Every one had to work for 18 hours a day under the pitiless Cambodian sun on pitiful rations of rice gruel, supervised by pitiless “cadres”.

In another prison (Tuol Sleng), according to an article in a National Geographic issue, there was a notice translated into English with a list of 10 regulations. The tenth read: “If you disobey any point of my regulations, you will get either 10 lashes or five shocks by electrification.” The fifth regulation reads: “While getting lashes or electrification, you must not cry at all.”

The skulls in the Tuol Svay Museum are in a cupboard, ghastly reminders of cruelty. Apparently the most grisly attraction was a map of Cambodia using skulls; fortunately it was dismantled in 2002. And it's said that the Vietnamese found this prison by following the stench of decay.

Help Cambodia's disadvantaged with Food4Everyone

via CAAI

26 Sep 10
by Omar Hamwi

PENRITH psychologist Margarita Parrish says a lack of fresh food and water has made Cambodia one of the most socio-economically depressed countries in the world.

Margarita Parrish on a trip to Cambodia where Food4Everyone assists in building huts and wells.

For four years Mrs Parrish has operated Food4Everyone, a charity that raises money in Australia to build huts and wells there.

She travels to Cambodia twice a year to work with a team to help desperate families.

“Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world,” she said.

“Malnutrition is about 50 per cent and lack of water is a huge problem. We do work in Cambodia to help people have their basic right to food.”

Food4Everyone assists in building huts and wells in Cambodia.

Mrs Parrish said since she launched Food4Everyone the organisation had built 110 wells in the country. She added that global deaths due to lack of water equated to 20 jumbo jets falling out of the sky every day.

Homelessness is also a serious problem in Penrith and Mrs Parrish said it needed a solution - but Food4Everyone would not provide assistance here until local problems “remotely resembled” Cambodia’s.

“We have Aboriginal problems and homelessness,” she said.

“If we had (the same problems as Cambodia) here I’d be doing something here.”

The organisation needs 47 house sponsors at $100 each, 19 wall and roof sponsors at $50 each, seven well sponsors at $30 each and 72 mosquito net sponsors at $5 each.

Money raised would ease the suffering of 72 desperate families.

“We have huge plans. We will continue to build basic shelter for people,” Mrs Parrish said.

To donate call 4737 3400, email  or go to

In 1975 incident, officials considered US prestige

FILE - In this May 1975 file photo, the destroyer escort USS Harold E. Holt prepares to tow the United States owned cargo vessel SS Mayaguez on May 1975. When the merchant ship Mayaguez and its American crew were seized by communist forces off the coast of Cambodia in 1975, the Ford administration was determined to craft a muscular response in hope of limiting damage to U.S. prestige, according to newly declassified documents published by the State Department. (AP Photo/ U.S. Navy, File)

via CAAI

WASHINGTON — When the merchant ship Mayaguez and its American crew were seized by communist forces off the coast of Cambodia in 1975, the Ford administration was determined to craft a muscular response in hope of limiting damage to U.S. prestige, according to newly declassified documents published by the State Department.

U.S. Marines regained control of the ship three days after its seizure, and the 40 civilian members of the crew were safely returned. But three helicopters ferrying Marines to a nearby island defended by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge forces were lost to hostile fire, and 18 U.S. servicemen died. Decades later the U.S. was still recovering their remains.

Washington's initial response illustrated how, just weeks after the fall of Saigon, U.S. leaders were eager to put the Vietnam debacle behind them, erase the U.S. image as a helpless giant, and dissuade provocative action by other U.S. adversaries. A non-military response, such as freezing Cambodian assets, was raised and quickly rejected as ineffectual.

When Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was informed of the ship's seizure May 12, he was flabbergasted.

"How can that be?" he asked an aide.

"Now, goddam it: We are not going to sit here and let an American merchant ship be captured at sea and let it go into the harbor without doing a bloody thing about it," Kissinger said. "We are going to protest."

Judging by their remarks, Kissinger and other senior administration officials seemed chiefly concerned that the United States, whose prestige had taken a beating in failing to stop a communist takeover of Vietnam, not allow the Cambodia incident to further undermine U.S. standing.

"I know you damned well cannot let Cambodia capture a ship a hundred miles at sea and do nothing," Kissinger said, according to declassified minutes of a May 12 meeting of his senior staff.

A few hours later, after informing President Gerald R. Ford, Kissinger suggested at a National Security Council meeting headed by Ford that the U.S. could seize a Cambodian ship on the high seas to demonstrate U.S. resolve.

"Can we find out where Cambodian ships are around the world?" he asked. Answer: the Pentagon wasn't sure there were any.

Vice President Nelson Rockefeller joined Kissinger in advocating a strong response to avoid the impression of U.S. weakness.

"I think this will be seen as a test case," Rockefeller said. "I think a violent response is in order. The world should know that we will act and that we will act quickly."

Later the vice president added: "We have to show that we will not tolerate this kind of thing. It is a pattern. If we do not respond violently, we will get nibbled to death."

The White House meeting transcripts show that Washington was unsure what motive lay behind the ship's seizure.

William Clements, the deputy secretary of defense, said at the May 12 National Security Council meeting that the incident might not be intended as a challenge to the U.S. but rather a misstep linked to a dispute over oil resources in the region.

"We should not forget that there is a real chance that this is an in-house spat," Clements said.

"That is interesting, but it does not solve our problem," Ford responded. He called for a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to head toward the scene and for plans to be drawn up for laying mines in the waters around the seized ship.

In the early hours of the crisis, top U.S. officials debated the tone and content of an initial public statement.

Donald H. Rumsfeld, the White House chief of staff who later that year became Ford's secretary of defense, suggested a public statement declaring the ship's seizure an act of piracy and saying the U.S. expects the crew's release. He argued against demanding their release — because, he said, that would "activate the Congress" and "seems weaker."

Robert T. Hartmann, counsellor to the president, told Ford at a National Security Council meeting on May 13: "This crisis, like the Cuban missile crisis, is the first real test of your leadership. What you decide is not as important as what the public perceives."

The documents portraying the Ford administration's response to the Mayaguez seizure are among thousands of pages of documents published Friday in a new State Department volume of "Foreign Relations of the United States," covering the period January 1973 to July 1975. It focuses on U.S. policy toward Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

West Seattle survivors relive terror, struggle to understand

via CAAI

Sixteen-year-old Kevin Harm had just returned home with his father, Choeun Harm, after mowing lawns for the family's landscaping business...

By Lynn Thompson and Christine Clarridge
Seattle Times staff reporters

Statement from the Phan, Harm and Sok families released by Harborview Medical Center

Yesterday afternoon's horrible event cost us four family members. They will surely be missed by all of us. We ask that the media please correct the currently published report. Saroeun Phan has been struggling with schizophrenia and depression for several years and has sought medical attention numerous times. She has been taking medication prescribed to her by physicians. It is not certain whether she has been properly taking her medication these past couple of months.

It is tough enough to grieve with the loss of family members, it's even harder dealing with false reports. No arguments or fights took place the night before and no ill-will existed in the household. This has truly been an unforeseen, tragic event.

Our family would like to request solitude as we mourn the loved ones we lost. Thank you to all who have sent and continue to send their love, care & prayers. We will certainly need our friends in the coming weeks & months.

If you wish to contribute monetarily to costs of funeral & medical expenses, we have set up a benevolent account at BECU. That information is below. Deposits can be made at any BECU accepting deposits, by mail or electronically (for BECU Members only).

'Phan/Harm Memorial Fund'

Acct # 3586082948
PO BOX 34044
SEATTLE, WA 98124-1044
BECU Members can call: (800) 233-2328

Phan, Harm & Sok Family
Kevin Harm, 16, who was shot at by his grandmother but was not hit, was able to save one of his sisters. Two of his sisters, Jennifer Harm, 17, and Melina Harm, 14, and his father were killed.

Sixteen-year-old Kevin Harm had just returned home with his father, Choeun Harm, after mowing lawns for the family's landscaping business. A friend called his father with an invitation: The salmon were running.

Choeun was in the living room of the family's West Seattle home preparing to go fishing when his mother-in-law, Saroeun Phan, 60, came downstairs dressed completely in white. Phan spoke briefly with Choeun about taking some checks to the bank as Kevin's 7-year-old sister, Nevaeh — Heaven spelled backward — was cuddled beneath a blanket on a couch nearby, watching television.

Chouen, 43, bent over to tie his shoes when Phan pulled a small handgun from her jacket and shot him in the back of the head.

In the photo: Saroeun Phan in the middle; Choeun Harm, lower left. Next to Choeun is his son, Kevin Harm. To the right of Kevin is Thyda Luellen Phan. Next to her lower in the picture is her daughter Angel sitting with a family friend at far right. Above Angel is her sister Nevaeh Harm. In the upper right is Chip Sok, brother of Thyda. To Chip Sok's right is Chhoey Sok.

Kevin said there were no raised voices, nothing out of the ordinary in the moments before. It was just a seemingly normal Thursday afternoon fractured by the loud report of a handgun.

Phan next shot at Nevaeh, who hid under the blankets, and then at Kevin. Somehow, the bullets missed both.

After her gun jammed, Phan went back upstairs and retrieved another one. She then returned and resumed firing.

She finally ended it by turning the gun on herself. By then, Kevin's father, sisters Jennifer Harm, 17, and Melina Harm, 14, were dead and his mother, Thyda Luellen Phan, 42, was wounded.

"She was trying to take everybody out in that house," said Kevin.

On Friday, Seattle police said they were still without a motive behind the city's deadliest shooting spree in four years. And the family of Phan — a woman known to those in the crowded household as "Grandma" — was struggling to find answers.

Thyda Luellen Phan, at center, wounded Thursday at her West Seattle home, is surrounded by supporters after a religious ceremony at the Khemarak Pothiram Temple on Friday.

The surviving family members, in a statement, said Phan had been suffering from schizophrenia and depression for several years and had sought medical attention numerous times. She had been taking medication prescribed to her by physicians, they said, but it was not clear whether she has been properly taking it over the past couple of months.

Still, many said there was nothing that could explain why she would arm herself with two handguns and methodically gun down her family.

Family friends said Phan had fled the Khmer Rouge in her native Cambodia, walking through the jungle for days and crossing the border into Thailand. She and family members came to the U.S. in 1985, said family friend Sean Phuong, 47, who was 14 when he, Phan and thousands of others escaped the brutal regime.

In Cambodia, and later in Seattle, Phan was known for dressing young women and their bridesmaids for weddings. She spent whole days fitting them into gowns, arranging their hair and makeup. She made many friends in the community, Phuong said.

Several relatives said that Phan could be playful and funny, engaging in games of tag and hide-and-seek with young family members.

But she was also plagued by voices.

"She had too much in her head. She wanted quiet in her head," said Phuong.

In Cambodia, Phan once became enraged and stabbed her sister, said Itaily Sun, 26, another relative.

When Phan became agitated or fearful, she would be given her medication that would make her sleep, Phuong said.

Kevin recalled that one time his grandmother heard gunfire on a teenager's video game and thought someone was trying to kill her.

There were other pressures in her life over the past two years, said Koy Srouch, 39, another family friend.

Phan and her husband, Chhoey Sok, 62, paid rent for a house on Beacon Hill, but the landlord apparently didn't pay the mortgage. The couple was evicted.

Recently Phan had been mugged walking home from the grocery store on Beacon Hill, and feared going out alone. After the attack, she took a self-defense class and learned to fire a gun, Sok said.

Three generations of the extended family, including two cousins, moved together into the West Seattle home about a month and a half ago. Eleven people lived in the house with three stories, including a daylight basement.

Phan's daughter, Thyda Luellen Phan, worked at Magic Lanes Bowling & Casino in White Center. That job and the family landscaping business, which struggled in the recession, were the families' sole means of support.

Sok said his wife had been suicidal.

Sok said the guns used by Phan — a 9-mm Taurus and a .25-caliber Baretta — were his and had been purchased 10 years ago. Family members said they had been carefully hidden from her because of her mental-health problems.

"Nobody knows how she found them," said relative Tony Sun.

Gunfire and desperation

On Thursday, after shooting her son-in-law, then retrieving the second gun, Phan next shot her 17-year-old granddaughter, Jennifer Harm, who had run to her father's aid. She then shot her daughter, Thyda Luellen Phan, 42, who had also come to comfort her husband, Kevin said.

All were shot in the home's main living area on the ground floor.

Thyda (pronounced Tee-da) fled outside, only to return almost immediately in a desperate effort to save her children, said Lisa Sun, 31, a cousin of Thyda's who ran to a back bedroom when the gunfire erupted.

Thyda was shot two more times before she made it outside a second time, Lisa Sun said.

The others fled downstairs to the daylight basement, followed by Phan, who positioned herself in front of a rear sliding-glass door.

"She was blocking us in so she could shoot us all," said Lisa Sun. "She just wanted to kill her whole family."

Five people were cowering in a tiny bedroom that was plastered with green posters of the Buddha and lined with boxes from the family's recent move: Kevin, Lisa, Nevaeh, Melina, and Jennifer's boyfriend, Allen Green, 18.

Phan shot through the door, the bullet just missing Kevin's head. Kevin said he punched out the small window. Lisa Sun climbed out behind him and they ran to a nearby drugstore to call police. Green also made it out.

Kevin returned to the home and pulled Nevaeh out through the window.

By this time a wounded Jennifer had crawled into the bedroom where she sprawled on the floor. Unable to make it out the window, she pleaded with the others not to leave her, Kevin and Lisa Sun said.

Kevin begged Melina to come out, but she wouldn't leave Jennifer. That's when Phan, now outside, came around the corner of the house and shot at Kevin. Again she missed, and he ran off. She then fired through the window, striking Melina.

"The image keeps playing back: Lina crying at the window," Kevin said, burying his head in his hands.

"I don't see how she missed me five times," he said.

Police on the scene

By this time police had responded to 911 calls and were outside the home, according to Seattle's Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel. Officers heard gunshots coming from the home.

Sok, Phan's husband, arrived at the home, rushed past police and ran inside the home. He saw his wife put the gun to her head and kill herself, police said.

He walked back outside and told police it was over.

"I was too late to help her," a weeping Sok said Friday through a translator. "I was too late."

On Friday, after police completed their investigation at the crime scene, surviving family members were allowed inside the home to retrieve some of their belongings.

As he walked through the house where blood stains marked where his uncle and cousins were killed, Tony Sun, 17, was overcome.

"Oh my God. Oh my God," he said.

Friday evening, the large extended family gathered at the Khemarak Pothiram Temple for a memorial service. Sitting shoeless on rugs under a white tent, they prayed that the souls of the deceased would make their way to the next life.

Pink-wrapped packages had been prepared, filled with pencils, books, drinks and other things that the spirits would need for their journey. Monks clad in orange chanted prayers, and incense hung in the air.

Thyda was there, just out of the hospital. But she could do little more than whisper, her voice weakened after her ordeal.

Sok, Phan's husband, came outside toward the end of the ceremony, looking weary. Faced by numerous reporters, he clasped his hands in front of his face and looking pained. Speaking Cambodian, he repeatedly thanked those who had helped him.

Several family members had their arms around him. And then he walked away.

Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or

Seattle Times staff reporters Maureen O'Hagan, Nancy Bartley and Sean Collins Walsh contributed to this report. Ranny Kang provided translation.

Cambodia Spends 6 Mln USD in 2010 for HIV/AIDS Treatment

via CAAI

Web Editor: Gongming

Cambodia spends approximately six million U.S. dollars for HIV/AIDS treatment through providing of anti-retroviral drugs, a senior official of HIV/AIDS authority said Saturday.

Mean Chhiv Vun, director of National Center for HIV/AIDS Dermatology and STI said the government has approved a total amount of 6 million U.S. dollars for buying anti-retroviral drugs to help people with HIV/AIDS.

He said, as of June this year, there were 40,039 people living with HIV/AIDS who received the drugs, among them 3,881 were children.

Females stand at 52.5 percent of all people living with HIV/ AIDS.

The anti-retroviral drugs are provided to the victims, the adults, by the disease at 49 health clinics, while children can access such drugs at other 32 separate health clinics across the country, Mean Chhiv Vun said.

Cambodia began providing such drugs in 2001 during which there were only 71 people living with HIV/AIDS received ARV.

Cambodia has been recognized in the region as a success story for having significantly reduced its HIV prevalence rate. New estimates show that HIV prevalence among adults aged 15 to 49 has decreased to an estimated 0.7 percent in 2009 from 2 percent in 1998.

According to the government report, in 2002, there were 250 Cambodians received ARV, 1,700 people in 2003 and 8,500 in 2005.

Nearly everyone who is HIV positive is receiving the AIDS treatment they need due the efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia and its development partners.

Thai, Cambodian PMs agree to improve bilateral relations

via CAAI

NEW YORK, Sept 25 -- Despite a diplomatic standoff which resulted in part from Cambodia’s unilateral management plan for the environs of the ancient Preah Vihear temple that sits on contested land claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia, the prime ministers of the two countries have agreed to improve relations for the benefit of their peoples.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen talked for half an hour on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly agreeing that warm relations between the two neighbouring countries are vital for the benefit of their peoples.

Although conflicts remain, bilateral trade has increased, Mr Abhisit told a TNA journalist.

Mr Abhisit quoted Mr Hun Sen as telling him that a warm welcome was seen at a recent Thai trade fair in Cambodia and that both countries should refrain from confrontations or violence.
Frequent visits at the ministerial level and more joint activities should be organised, Mr Hun Sen was quoted as saying.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission agreed in July to consider a plan for managing Preah Vihear temple proposed by the Khmer government, but deferred the action until it meets next year. Both countries claim land adjacent to the temple.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice ruled the 10th-century border temple belongs to Cambodia, rejecting Thai claims. UNESCO named Preah Vihear a World Heritage site in 2008, after Cambodia applied for the status.

Armed clashes resulting casualties on both sides have occurred occasionally in the area since then.

Mr Abhisit said the temple row was not raised during his meeting with Mr Hun Sen as the issue is now being dealt with by concerned agencies while rhe premier and his Khmer counterpart could discuss details in several other upcoming international forums.

“The atmosphere for resolving the problem should improve,” Mr Abhisit said. (MCOT online news)