Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Angkor Wat revenues rise more than 20pc

via CAAI

Tuesday, 09 November 2010 15:01 May Kunmakara

ANGKOR Wat ticket sales revenue rose more than 20 percent so far this year to the end of October, compared with the same period last year, the Apsara Authority said yesterday.

Director General Bun Narith would not give exact revenue figures, but said political stability, good security and economic recovery had led to an increase in tourists visiting the temples.

“We have got political stability and we keep tourists safer during their visits, making them very confident to enjoy our country — but the recovery of the economy also contributed to the growth,” he said.

He told The Post last year that 2009 revenue from ticket sales dropped to around US$27 million from nearly $30 million in 2008.

Bun Narith said most tourists visiting Angkor Wat this year were from the region — hailing from countries such as Vietnam, Singapore and Korea – but the number of tourists from Western countries was growing slowly.

The number of foreign tourists to visit the temple complex rose about 24 percent in the first nine months, to 804,170 from 648,972 tourists, according to official figures from Apsara Authority.

Bun Narith said he hoped revenue would increase by more than 20 percent this year over last year, but added he was not sure whether it could exceed 2008 revenues.

“Now, we are in the dry season, so there will be more Western tourists coming,” he said.

Foreign tourists pay $20 to visit the temples for one day, $40 for three days and $60 for a weeklong visit.

Tourist numbers have been on the rise all year.

In the first nine months of this year, the number of foreign tourists visiting the Kingdom has increased nearly 15 percent compared to the same period of 2009.

A total of 1,803,180 tourists entered the Kingdom via land, air and sea in the first nine months, a 14.6 percent increase on 1,573,940 tourists in the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Tourism.


Ericsson inks deal with Axiata

via CAAI

Tuesday, 09 November 2010 15:00 Jeremy Mullins

AXIATA, the parent company of Cambodian mobile provider, Hello, has signed a five-year framework deal with telecommunications equipment supplier Ericsson.

The deal inked in Kuala Lumpur late last week would allow Axiata to make bulk purchases in a faster period, as well as provisions to strengthen the exchange of technical information, a press release stated.

“The agreement will also enable Axiata to leverage on its volume, across five countries in the region, for pricing arrangements which will ultimately translate into cost savings for Axiata Group,” it said.

Axiata owns Hello, Cambodia’s fourth largest mobile provider by subscriber numbers, as well as controlling interests or full ownership of providers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Axiata president Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim said the agreement would make procurement quicker, and added that “speed is crucial in the telecommunications industry”.

Ericsson President Hans Vestberg claimed the deal was the first of its kind awarded by the Axiata Group. Hello officials could not be reached for comment.

Mobile progress: Beeline and ABA buzzed for top-ups

via CAAI

Tuesday, 09 November 2010 15:00 Jeremy Mullins

CAMBODIAN mobile provider Beeline will begin offering top-ups through ABA Bank’s ATMs and via online banking.

The new service will allow Beeline subscribers to access PIN codes in order to top up their accounts, worth between US$2 and $5 in value each, without the use of scratch cards.

“It is important for us to provide our clients with new services and to offer the latest technologies and solutions for payments and transactions,” said Juveris Tenisons, chief marketing officer at ABA Bank, after the deal which was inked last week.

ABA presently has 28 ATMs operating in the Kingdom, with plans to install more next year, he said.

The bank signed a similar agreement with Beeline’s rival Smart Mobile in August.

Beeline is a subsidiary of Vimpelcom, a Netherlands-based mobile service provider.

In August, the firm announced its “Easy Fill” program, which is a top-up service that does not require scratch cards. Over the counter top-up is available at Beeline-branded counters and sales outlets in 11 Cambodian provinces. The “Easy Fill” service is available on amounts between $0.50 and $500, according to a press release.

Young artist inspired by traditional beliefs

Artist Sin Rithy has already sold eight paintings from his exhibition of 19 canvases at Villa Langka in Phnom Penh. The graduate of Phare Ponleu Selpak deals with themes of belief. Photo Supplied

via CAAI

Tuesday, 09 November 2010 15:00 Emilie Boulenger

YOUNG Cambodian artist Sin Rithy, 21, has already sold eight paintings from his first solo exhibition at Villa Langka on Street 282.

The former arts student at NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang drew his inspiration from both positive and negative Cambodian beliefs, he explained.

“If somebody believes in something too strongly, it may end dramatically. I want people to think before believing in something,” he said.

His acrylic paintings on canvas explore people’s beliefs about their ancestors as well as animals and the sun. Nineteen of them are on show at Villa Langka until November 19, with prices between $350 and $600.

“Sin Rithy is sometimes shocked that Cambodian people are bogged down in beliefs which sometimes are harmful to them,” added Isabelle Drouillard, responsible for visual arts at Phare Ponleu Selpak.

Sin Rithy entered the NGO’s art school, dedicated to children that face deep social issues, when he was eight and left a year ago. For nine months, he then worked on paintings for his exhibition, but let the NGO deal with the whole organisation.

“He is now independent, but he still needs some help,” Drouillard said. Exhibitions were a good way to show the artist’s work and to sell a few paintings. “With the money they earn, they can buy canvas and brushes of better quality. This enables them to leave the nest and to become more confident.”

The NGO’s school in Battambang educates 1,200 children and 450 extra students also attend specialised art classes there.

Ly Nary runs personal best at NY marathon

Cambodia's Ly Nary competes in this year's New York marathon. Photo Supplied

Tuesday, 09 November 2010 15:00 Julie Masis

Cambodia’s first and currently only female marathon runner Ly Nary successfully completed the New York City Marathon Sunday – arriving at the finish line as the second fastest runner from Southeast Asia.

The 38-year-old athlete finished the 42-kilometer race in 3 hours and 16 minutes, arriving in 41st place in her age group in a race that had 44,829 finishers. As the only athlete representing Cambodia in the marathon, she was faster than all the runners from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar, according to the New York City Marathon website.

Only 28-year-old Rio De La Cruz from the Philippines, one of 131 Filipinos in the race, ended in front of Ly Nary with a time of 3 hours dead.

“I’m happy,” Ly Nary said by telephone from New York, whilst admitting that she endured hardship over the last mile. “This is my new record, my personal best.”

Ly Nary cut 18 minutes from her running time after attending a ten-week high-altitude training camp for runners in Kenya, where she was the first Cambodian participant. She claimed she could really concentrate on her preparations in the village where she stayed, and where 40 percent of the local residents are runners. Indeed, Nary revealed that she had learned a lot from running with the African athletes, who are among the best in the world. “We became friends,” Nary said. “They called me sister.”

In the future, Ly Nary said she would like to find sponsors to bring a team of about 12 Cambodian runners to the training camp in Kenya. She is set to return to the Kingdom on November 16 and will participate in the Angkor Wat Half Marathon in Siem Reap on December 5.

She is also hoping to represent Cambodia at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
via CAAI

Houses destroyed in mud bath

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Two men in Boeung Kak lake’s Village I secure their boat next to a house that has been flooded as a result of sand pumping.

via CAAI

Monday, 08 November 2010 20:53 Khouth Sophakchakrya

Representatives of about 100 residents staged a protest in the Boeung Kak Lake area after a development company resumed sand pumping that submerged dozens of homes last week.

Development company Shukaku Inc, which is owned by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin, temporarily halted pumping on Friday and villagers said they were told that they would have three days to collect their belongings before pumping resumed.

According to the rights group Adhoc, roughly 40 homes were submerged last week during three days of pumping by the company, which started filling in the lake with sand in 2008 to make way for a 133-hectare housing and commercial development.

Be Tharom, a representative of the lakeside’s Village 24, said police and military police had helped the company’s security guards disperse residents who gathered yesterday to protest against the resumption of pumping.

“The owner of the Shukaku company has used excavators to destroy our crops and mushroom farms and has pumped the sand in to fill up villagers’ houses illegally, and the authorities did not stop them but threatened to arrest me, a victim,” she said.

Company representatives who visited the protest site yesterday and Duan Penh district deputy governor Sok Penh Vuth, who was also there, declined to comment.

On Sunday, Sok Penh Vuth said the company had “the right to invest” and that he had no authority to intervene in the matter.

He noted that it was “normal” for development projects to affect people and said residents should “take the compensation” offered by the company.

Shukaku has been granted a 99-year lease for its development project, which rights groups say will ultimately displace more than 4,000 families.Those affected have been offered roughly US$238 in compensation and 5-by-12-metre plots of land in Dangkor district, or cash payments of $8,470, though some residents claim they are being denied full compensation.

Ty Pisey, a resident of the lakeside’s Village 1 in Daun Penh district, said that she had refused to accept the compensation offered to her because it wasn’t nearly enough to buy a home in the city.

Businesses and homes along the lakeside have been inundated with sewage and floodwater in recent weeks as the sand-pumping has disrupted drainage in the area.

In a statement released last month, Sia Phearum, secretariat director of the Housing Rights Task Force, said the pumping was being used to increase pressure on residents to move, and that flooding had exposed residents to “health hazards and conditions not fit for living”.

“This is [a] serious violation of the rights of the people,” he said.

Curry in a hurry 300km away

Photo by: Rick Valenzuela
Mount Everest restaurant, owned by Jehan Zeb, sends take-away Indian food 300km from Phnom Penh to Battambang

via CAAI

Monday, 08 November 2010 18:48 Matthew Backhouse

The Mount Everest restaurant in Phnom Penh will go more than the extra mile to get takeaway orders to customers – they’ll even deliver if you live a 300-kilometre drive away.

The long-established restaurant on Sihanouk Boulevard has been making weekly deliveries to Battambang, a town which has no Indian restaurants according to residents, for about seven months.

Owner Jehan Zeb said he didn’t think there was anything unusual about delivering to customers who lived more than four hours away.

“I say, why not?”

But regular customer Brett Matthews, who runs the Bus Stop guest house in Battambang, conceded it was an odd arrangement.

“I can’t think of anything else like it,” he said.

Matthews used to dine regularly at Mount Everest until he moved from the capital to Battambang three and a half years ago.

He continued to get takeaways from the restaurant whenever he was on business trips to Phnom Penh, and discovered the food stayed hot enough to eat even after the long drive to Battambang.

Earlier this year, he asked the restaurant whether they would deliver to him.

“Since then it’s become almost a weekly thing,” he said.

Matthews takes orders from a few expats in Battambang and calls the restaurant at about lunchtime.

The restaurant then carefully packs the orders into a box to keep the food warm. A motodop takes the food to a taxi driver, who makes the four- to six-hour run to Battambang – taking the dishes with him for a small fee.

Matthews said the curries arrived in the evening hot enough to eat – but not everything fared well.

“Obviously the onion bhajis won’t survive the trip, and it’s debatable whether the naans do,” he said.

Customers settle bills when they are in Phnom Penh.

Pakistan-born Jehan Zeb bought the 15-year-old restaurant from its Nepalese owners in 2000. Back then it was making US$70 a day, but now it brings in an average of $400 to $500 a day.

Zeb puts the restaurant’s popularity down to using freshly-ground spices and halal meats, which appeals to Phnom Penh’s Muslim community.

He has recently been busy expanding the business, having launched a buffet restaurant on nearby Street 288 just over a month ago.

The new restaurant, Qammar, offers the same Indian cuisine as Mount Everest, but charges slightly less to appeal to office workers at lunchtime. Qammar is already bringing in about $100 a day, and business has steadily increased as word of mouth spreads.

Zeb is also planning to find bigger premises for Mount Everest, which currently seats about 40 people and is often quite busy.

He has been asked to set up a restaurant in Battambang, but has dismissed the idea.

There was no access to halal meat in Battambang and he would have to rely on someone else to manage it. “It is very difficult to run an Indian restaurant there.”

Zeb previously opened a second branch of Mount Everest in Siem Reap, but had to close it after the restaurant lost $6,000 in three months due to management problems.

No surprises in Myanmar election

via CAAI

Monday, 08 November 2010 20:18 Aung Hla Tun

Myanmar's military will keep its grip on power after the country's first election in 20 years, backed by parties that on Monday looked set to win a vote marred by fraud and condemned by the United States, Europe and Japan.

Complex rules for Sunday's election thwarted any chance of a pro-democracy upset as Myanmar ends half a century of direct army rule. State TV said voters "freely and happily" cast ballots, but witness accounts suggested a low turn-out and irregularities.

Illustrating the strains multi-ethnic Myanmar has faced for decades, a clash erupted between ethnic minority Karen rebels and government soldiers in the border town of Myawaddy, causing about 12,000 people to flee into Thailand, Thai officials said.

By afternoon, plumes of black smoke rose above the town, a witness said. At least 10 people were wounded in the fighting, which involved rockets or mortars.
Ethnic groups fear the election will strengthen Myanmar's constitution and destroy any chance of achieving a degree of autonomy, stoking concern the fighting could spread to other armed ethnic groups such as the Kachin and the Wa along the border with China.

Official election results trickled out over state media, showing the military and its proxy parties ahead, but a clear picture of who won control of parliament could take a day or longer in the reclusive country where timely information is rare.

Many who abstained from the vote expressed doubt they could alter the authoritarian status quo in a poll that both US President Barack Obama and British Foreign Secretary William Hague dismissed in separate statements as neither free nor fair.


With the results largely preordained, focus turned to whether Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent 15 of the past 21 years in detention, will be freed when her house arrest term expires on Saturday.

The United States, Britain, the European Union and Japan repeated calls to free the 65-year-old pro-democracy leader whose National League for Democracy beat an army-backed party by a landslide in 1990, a result ignored by the military junta.

She urged supporters to boycott Sunday's election while about 2,100 political activists or opposition politicians are behind bars.

Cambodia fronts UN torture commission

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A guard looks out from a watchtower over Prey Sar prison

via CAAI

Monday, 08 November 2010 20:09 Chhay Channyda and James O’Toole

Five days after being arrested and charged with robbery, Heng Touch was sent to Prey Sar prison.

When his mother and brother visited him the next month, they learned that he had fallen ill; guards recommended that he be transferred out of his overcrowded cell, but demanded US$200 in exchange. The family could not afford to pay, and on a return visit, after learning that Heng Touch’s condition had worsened, his mother discovered bruises on his head, face and limbs and cuts on his tongue.

Heng Touch’s mother paid $30 to have him transferred to Monivong Hospital, where he later told her he had been viciously beaten by five men, sustaining lung damage and a fractured skull. Little more than six weeks after being incarcerated, Heng Touch died at Calmette Hospital.

This 2008 incident is documented in a report that was compiled by local rights groups ahead of Cambodia’s appearance today before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva, and the problems it illustrates – prison overcrowding, impunity for law enforcement, a lack of recourse for alleged torture victims – are sure to be high on the committee’s agenda.

“The situation of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in Cambodia is still of concern,” the rights groups said in a joint statement. “The country’s legal and judicial system is unable to effectively prevent and punish acts of torture.”

Cambodia ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in 1992, but is up for only its second review before the committee; the last was in 2002.

Although torture is punishable by up to 15 years in prison under the Kingdom’s new penal code, a difficulty in prosecuting such cases is the fact that “torture” is not clearly defined. The government said in a briefing to the CAT submitted ahead of Tuesday’s meeting that such a definition is not necessary because Cambodia “abides by the principles of international conventions”.

Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor for local rights group Licadho, said his organisation had recorded 108 reported cases of torture in police custody in 2009 and 101 in the first 10 months of 2010. Despite these figures, the rights groups said in their report that they knew of no instances in the last five years in which law enforcement officials accused of torture had been prosecuted.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak dismissed the allegations contained in the report.

“This report was written only to satisfy donors and get their money, so it is not true. It is an accusation against our police,” Khieu Sopheak said. “To arrest a thief does not mean to welcome that thief to sleep like a guest in a prison.”

Among their recommendations for improving Cambodia’s record on torture, the rights groups suggested the establishment of a civilian body to process torture complaints and greater use of bail to ease overcrowding in the prison system, which was operating at 173 percent of capacity as of June. The groups also called for the closure of controversial “Social Affairs Centres”, where sex workers, children and the homeless are often detained without due process, and where reports of abuse are widespread.

The meeting in Geneva comes just two weeks after government officials threatened to close the UN human rights office in Phnom Penh. Foreign Minister Hor Namhong backed away from these statements last week, saying there was “no decision to close this office yet”.

Hacker hits state website

Photo by: Rick Valenzuela
A page on the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy shows an image with a message that it had been hacked yesterday.

via CAAI

Monday, 08 November 2010 19:54 Jeremy Mullins

The website of the General Department of Mineral Resources has been periodically defaced by hackers, the latest in a number of similar attacks conducted against government websites since early this year.

A picture claiming “Hacked by Ashiyane” overlaying an image of Iran appeared on the department’s website on Sunday, before the website returned to normal by early afternoon.

Bernard Alphonso, director of ASC Information Security Consulting and Training, said a more aggressive stance by the public and private sectors towards information security would send more “reassuring signals”.

Cambodia is presently conducting consultations on a cyber-crime law, but it would be difficult to prosecute hacking in the Kingdom until a law was in place, National ICT Development Authority secretary general Leewood Phu said.

“Not much can be done yet,” he said. “No law, no crime.”

The latest vandalism follows a number of similar attacks staged against Cambodian government websites earlier this year.

On May 25, the Ministry of Commerce website was hit with a message stating “Panic system take over – one Turk against the world”, while the “Iran Black Hats Team” defaced the Ministry of Environment website earlier this year.

Bernard Alphonso said information security awareness is still low in the Kingdom, as many “wrongly assume that Cambodia is not a valid target for hackers”.

However, he stressed it did not appear Cambodia had been singled out in yesterday’s instance, as similar attacks were commonplace across the internet.

Japan International Cooperation Agency programme officer Seng Solady said that the aid organisation had been responsible for building the department website, but had handed over control to the department earlier this year upon its completion.

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Shukaku Begins Flattening Homes at Lake Development

Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Monday, 08 November 2010

via CAAI

Photo: by Heng Reaksmey
Children sit on top their inundated homes, where Shukaku, Inc., has been pumping fill into Boeung Kak lake.

Giant excavators from a Phnom Penh development company began tearing down at least eight houses Monday morning, with at least 100 families more awaiting the same fate, as an ongoing dispute over Boeung Kak lake is building to its conclusion.

The developer, Shukaku, Inc., is embroiled in an ongoing land dispute with families around the lake, where the company is planning a real estate investment worth nearly $80 million. It has been filling the lake with sand, and, villagers say, flooding people from their homes who refuse to make way.

A number of families around the lake where the development is planned have refused to take a buyout from the company or to move to another location. They say they have made official complaints to the city without resolution.

On Monday, the Shukaku excavators began the destruction in Village One, Sras Chok commune, in Daun Penh district, where company officials say they want to begin construction soon.

The two excavators arrived at around 10 am and began pulling the houses apart, as the families shouted for them to stop and as about 50 intervention police stood by.

Meanwhile, Shukaku has continued to pump sand and mud into the lake, which has begun flooding more houses in Village One.

Homeowners tried to use signboards of the Cambodian People’s Party—complete with the faces of Prime Minister Hun Sen and party leaders Chea Sim and Heng Samrin—to stop the flow of dredge. Police confiscated three of those signs Monday morning.

In protest, villagers also played a Hun Sen speech over a loudspeaker in which the premier said the government would protect families adversely affected by development.

A handful of villagers also lit joss sticks and stuck them in the sand while praying ill for Shukaku’s leaders.

Shukaku, which is owned by CPP Senator Lav Meng Khin, has been filling the lake since 2008. It hopes to fill and ultimately develop the 130-hectare lake into a business and residential district under a 99-year lease from the city.

The company wants to begin construction at Village One, which is home to more than 100 families. Representatives of the families say they need compensation based on the market value of their homes before they leave.

Shukaku says those whose houses are in the way of the development will receive $8,000 to rebuild elsewhere.

Phnom Penh port container traffic jumps by almost half


via CAAI

Nov 8, 2010

Phnom Penh - The number of containers passing through the river port in Phnom Penh rose 46 per cent in the first 10 months of the year over the same period last year, local media reported Monday.

Phnom Penh Autonomous Port deputy director Eang Veng Sun told the Cambodia Daily newspaper that the presence of the Cai Mep deepwater port in southern Vietnam, which opened last year, had helped boost trade.

Containers loaded at Cai Mep can sail directly to Europe and the United States, Cambodia's two key export markets. However, exports leaving via Cambodia's southern seaport of Sihanoukville must be reloaded in Singapore or Hong Kong.

Eang Veng Sun said 52,431 standard-sized containers had left through Phnom Penh this year, compared with nearly 36,000 in the same period of 2009.

Port director Hei Bavy said a new Chinese-funded facility located outside Phnom Penh and designed to boost capacity is on track for completion by mid-2012.

He said the 28-million-dollar terminal would be able to handle 300,000 standard-sized containers, nearly four times the capacity of Phnom Penh's port.

Cambodia's infrastructure has undergone significant rehabilitation in recent years. Last month, a 110-kilometre stretch of railway line opened after years of war and neglect forced the closure of the entire network.

The railway, which is to be used mainly for commercial traffic, was scheduled to be fully operational by 2015. When completed, it is to link Cambodia with Vietnam and Thailand, closing the last remaining gap in the rail link between Singapore and China.

Expand military presence in Australia to strengthen U.S. power in Asia-Pacific

via CAAI


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) addresses the Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) meeting in Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 8, 2010.  (Xinhua/Bai Xue)

By Vienna Ma

MELBOURNE, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- The 25th annual Australia-U.S. Ministerial (AUSMIN) talks on Monday ended in Melbourne of Australia, with the parties agreeing to more discussions on the U. S. expanding its military presence in Australia.

Specific measures have yet to be decided, with the U.S. yet to make any decisions under its Force Posture Review, which will examine its military presence in the Asia-Pacific.

However, Australia's major media highly expected the joint defense co-operation to include increasing combined military exercises, greater access for U.S. ships and planes, and increased use of U.S. military bases in Australia.

U.S. Congress on Monday passed the Australia-U.S. Defense Trade Co-operation Treaty, which means the U.S. equipment are also likely to be stationed on Australian soil, for use in military exercises and emergencies in the region.

"The one thing I believe we all agree on is that we are looking at an enhanced presence for the United States in Asia and not some kind of cutback," U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.

Speaking after the Australia-U.S. Ministerial (AUSMIN) talks with Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defense Minister Stephen Smith in Melbourne, Dr Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is keen to play a greater role in the Asia- Pacific region.

"We have re-engaged in a major way and now we are looking at the next steps in that," Dr Gates said.

Clinton on Saturday praised Australia's efforts to maintain stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and said a stronger U.S. presence would help Australia deal with the inevitable problems climate change will cause for smaller Pacific nations.

Smith was positive about the joint defense co-operation, saying that this is very important to Australia seeing the U.S. engaged in the Asia-Pacific.

As well as working together on cyberspace threats, Australia and the U.S. on Monday signed an agreement designed to lead to greater co-operation on the surveillance of space.

The proposal is to place radars and sensors in Western Australia, as part of its plan to track dangerous space junk, satellites and missiles in the southern hemisphere. The talks on the joint U.S.-Australia space monitoring facility will start in January next year.

Clinton said the closer of cooperation will make sure space is used for peaceful means only.

According to Australia Associated Press, some analysts suggested the expanded U.S. presence in Australia is designed to counter the rise of Asia-Pacific powers, such as India and China.

However, Clinton rejected the claims and said the U.S. had long been both a Pacific and Atlantic power.

"We are not doing anything differently to any significant degree. We are merely taking stock of what we're going to be needing to do in the future so that we are well prepared and working closely with our friends and allies," Clinton told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.

Rudd earlier indicated that Australia and U.S. are committed to build strong relationship with China, Japan and South Korea.

Australia is the final destination of Clinton's 10-day Asia- Pacific tour, which she has visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Clinton flew out of Australia on late Monday afternoon.

Editor: Tang Danlu

Drivers prepare last tickets for Cambodia's flying carpets


via CAAI


ARTICLE (November 06, 2010) : Legions of children world-wide know flying carpets as a magical way to travel from one place to another, but in Cambodia they have been a way of life for decades. Cambodia's flying carpets, of course, are substantially different from those found in fairytales. For a start this version is a lot noisier. But they have long proved a convenient way for people to travel with their goods along the decrepit national rail system.

To get from one village to the next, locals pay 50 cents and tourists a few dollars. There is no first class, and there are no seats or sides. Passengers hop onto a bamboo platform the size of a double bed, which sits on two sets of steel wheels. Next, the driver attaches a small motor, connects a fan belt between the engine and the rear wheels, and within minutes you are clattering along buckled tracks at 40 kilometres an hour, enjoying an uninterrupted view of rice fields, sugar palms and water buffalo.

It is a scenic and unusual way for hardier tourists to see rural Cambodia, but for locals the flying carpet has proved a lifeline. There are dozens of these flying carpets, or norries, running along stretches of the battered railway, but within a year they will be gone, brushed aside as the country's once-defunct national railway is brought back to life.

The railway rehabilitation project is expected to cost 142 million dollars. Just over half will come from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Australia and the Cambodian government will provide most of the rest. The railway shut down completely a year ago, and fixing it is an important step in improving the country's infrastructure, which was devastated by years of war and neglect. Ten years ago many roads were so bad that speeds between the main towns and cities could be as low as 10 kilometres an hour.

So those lucky enough to live near the railway were happy to pay small sums to be transported at much quicker speeds on flying carpets. Veteran norrie driver Prak Phea has been driving this stretch of track outside Pursat town for 17 years. He has a wife and child, and this job nets him up to 50 dollars a week, a decent wage in rural Cambodia where jobs are very limited.

The railway upgrade is meant to ensure that the local government pays compensation to those affected. In the case of norrie drivers, who are self-employed, that sum is set at 250 dollars. But 11 of the 15 norrie drivers operating out of Prak Phea's village received nothing. He says government officials turned up unannounced one day and wrote down the names of only those drivers who happened to head down the line. Prak Phea was not one of those, and he is annoyed. "It is not fair, because they could have just asked local officials here who could have provided a list of norrie drivers to pay money to," he says, adding that he tried to complain but got nowhere. Back in Phnom Penh, the ADB's country head Putu Kamayana promises the bank will take that up with the government. Then turning to the broader topic, Kamayana explains this project will rehabilitate 600 kilometres of track from Poipet on the Thai border through to Phnom Penh and on to the southern port of Sihanoukville. The upgraded railway will take cargo off the roads, particularly bulk cargo and dangerous loads such as fuel.

"That will reduce the damage to the highway network and also improve the safety on the roads," he says. The first stretch, running from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, officially re-opened to container traffic in late October. And once the upgrade of the existing network is completed in 2013, the sole missing link between Singapore and China will be the railway between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam. Earlier this month China announced it would fund the Cambodian stretch, which ought to be finished by 2015.

But long before that Prak Phea will have worked out his next step. "Perhaps I will plant rice - I have a half-hectare of land," he says, before adding hopefully, "Or perhaps I will get a job on the railway." And with that he starts the engine and heads for home, his flying carpet skittering west along the rickety track, back to Pursat.

Mobitel inks Refinancing Deal with Chinese Banks (Cambodia)

via CAAI

On 11.08.10, In Mobile, By Editor

Cambodia’s Mobitel has signed a deal with Chinese banks to refinance US$591 million of debt, which will enable, The Royal Group, the parent company to refinance a US$421 million loan used to buy out a majority stake in Mobitel from Millicom International last year. The Bank of China acted as the main lender.

According to Mark Hanna, chief financial officer for The Royal Group, the new loan deal was much longer term than the previous arrangement with ANZ, Standard Bank and Leopard Capital, among others. Securing refinancing some six months before the loan was due meant international banks would gain confidence in lending large amounts to firms in the Kingdom. The newly acquired financing would be put towards refinancing debt and funding Mobitel’s costs for capital expansion.

The company has also signed a five-year network expansion contract with Huawei, worth US$500 million.

Tea Banh insists Arisaman is not in Cambodia

via CAAI

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Tea Banh said Saturday that fugitive red-shirt leader Arisaman Pongruangrong is not in Cambodia right now.

Tea Banh was speaking to Thai reporters after attending the General Border Meeting with the Thai side in Chon Buri.

When asked whether Arisaman was in Cambodia now, Tea Banh initially replied: "I don't know."

When pressed on whether Cambodia would extradite Arisaman if he is in Cambodia, Tea Banh replied: "I said I don't know. And in saying I don't know means he is not in Cambodia. If he is in Cambodia, we must now."

The Nation

MoLISA Minister meets Cambodia Prime Minister

via CAAI


Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and her delegation paid a courtesy visit to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on November 8, as part of their six-day visit to Cambodia from November 5-10.

At the meeting, Mrs Ngan briefed Mr Hun Sen on the outcomes of talks between the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) delegation and their counterparts from the Cambodian Ministry of Labour and Training.

Vietnam and Cambodia shared working experiences and agreed to boost cooperation in human resources training.

The Cambodian PM praised the fine cooperation between the two ministries and Cambodia’s relevant agencies and also asked the two ministries to further promote bilateral cooperation in human resources training, particularly in human resources for agriculture.

Torture 'widespread' in Cambodian custody


via CAAI

November 8, 2010


Torture remains "widespread" in Cambodian police stations and prisons, local rights groups said on Monday ahead of a major United Nations review of the country's progress on the issue.

Shackling, intimidation, beatings and electric shocks are among the most common complaints, a group of 16 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) said in a joint report.

Most abuses occur in police custody, often with the aim of extracting confessions, the report said.

Advertisement: Story continues below Cambodian police stations are characterised by "an environment in which torture and other forms of ill-treatment are widespread," said the report by NGOs including ADHOC, Licadho and the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee.

Torture is also frequently used to punish transgressions in the country's overcrowded prisons, it added.

The report also accused authorities of denying detainees access to a lawyer during their first 24 hours in custody.

"In Cambodia today, there are still no measures available to effectively prevent acts of torture," said the report.

The strong criticism comes a day before the UN Committee Against Torture is scheduled to hold its second review of the situation in Cambodia, 18 years after the country ratified the Convention Against Torture.

For the first 10 months of this year, human rights group Licadho recorded 101 cases of torture in police stations and prisons.

In 2009, it recorded a total of 108 incidents, most of which took place in police stations. In the same year, rights group ADHOC said nine people died in police detention "apparently as a result of torture".

The abuse goes largely unpunished, the NGOs said.

"We are not aware of any prosecutions of law enforcement officials for torture-related crimes in the past five years," they said.

Their report urged authorities to clarify the definition of torture under Cambodian law and to set up an independent body to investigate complaints.

The report comes less than two weeks after Cambodia threatened to close the UN's human rights office in the capital.

Prime Minister Hun Sen told visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the office should have worked "to help the Cambodian government in human rights issues, not criticise", a government spokesman said.

Groups Denounce Torture Ahead of UN Hearing

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Monday, 08 November 2010

via CAAI

Photo: AP
The most common forms including beating, crushed limbs, electric shock and threats of family and friends, especially for suspects in police custody, the rights committee said.

“We have no hope they will say good things from Cambodia.”

Human rights groups on Monday denounced the continued abuse of prisoners inside Cambodia’s penal system, on the eve of a UN torture committee hearing on the country.

Cambodia is a signatory of the UN convention against torture, and it will face its second hearing with the UN Committee Against Torture on Tuesday.

But the practice is still a concern, the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of rights and development groups, said in a statement Monday.

The rights group Licadho counted 118 instances of torture in detention in 2009 and another 101 cases in 2010 so far.

The most common forms including beating, crushed limbs, electric shock and threats of family and friends, especially for suspects in police custody, the rights committee said.

Such treatments led to prison sentences between seven and 10 years, said Chan Saveth, an investigator with the rights group Adhoc.

Meanwhile, sentences are handed out without much information from the courts, said Kong Kim Suon, a lawyer for the Cambodian Defenders Project.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the government was committed to preventing torture, saying rights groups were only “making noise” ahead of the UN hearing.

“We have no hope they will say good things from Cambodia,” he said of the statement.

Suon Sareth, secretary-general of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, whose members have sent their own report to the UN torture committee, said the government had made “some” progress on preventing torture.

But leaders have stopped short of making it a national priority, he said.

Royalist Parties Plan Pre-Election Congress

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Monday, 08 November 2010
via CAAI

The Norodom Ranariddh Party has changed its name to the Nationalist Party, with Norodom Ranariddh leaving politics for a position with the Royal Cabinet.

“If the prince returns to join Funcinpec, we must receive more and more votes.”

Members of the Funcinpec and Nationalist parties say they plan to have a congress early next year to explore ways the two royalist parties can improve their election chances in 2012 and 2013.

Both parties suffered major defeats in the 2008 national election, each earning only two National Assembly seats, following a division when Funcinpec’s former president, Prince Norodom Ranarridh, formed his own party.

The Norodom Ranariddh Party has changed its name to the Nationalist Party, with Norodom Ranariddh leaving politics for a position with the Royal Cabinet.

“The congress aims to bring the two parties for reunification before the 2012 commune elections and 2013 national election,” Nationalist Party Vice President You Hockry said Monday.

The parties would like to see Norodom Ranariddh return to politics, he said, “but it is up to the prince’s decision whether he returns to politics or not.”

Norodom Ranariddh left the political arena after he was granted a royal pardon from an 18-month jail sentence stemming from the illegal sale of Funcinpec party headquarters.

“We all really want the prince to return to politics,” You Hockry said.

A spokesman for Norodom Ranariddh said the prince “has no intention to return to politics.”

Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bunchhay said the congress will also mean an election of a party president. He predicted the royalists could win “at least 17 National Assembly seats in 2013” if the parties join under one banner.

“If the prince returns to join Funcinpec, we must receive more and more votes,” he added.

Cambodia to host a series of regional summit meetings

via CAAI

November 08, 2010

Cambodia will host a series of summit meetings next week for regional leaders, according to a statement released Monday by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The statement said Cambodia will host the 6th Cambodia-Laos- Vietnam (CLV) Summit, the 5th Cambodia-Laos, Myanmar-Vietnam ( CLMV) Summit and the 4th Ayeyawady-Chao Praya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summit on November 16-17, 2010 in Phnom Penh.

The summits will be attended by Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of CLMV and ACMECS countries which include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will also participate in the event.

According to the statement, the prime ministers and ASEAN Secretary General will be received in a Royal Audience by His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni in the Royal Palace.

All the summits will be chaired by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen who is also the host of the event.

The summits will review the progress and set out the future direction for CLV, CLMV and ACMECS in all priority areas of cooperation, with a view to further advance these frameworks of cooperation for sustainable development and prosperity in this sub-region.

Source: Xinhua

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

via CAAI

Cambodia To Celebrate the 57th Independence Day Tomorrow

Phnom Penh, November 8, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia is going to celebrate the 57th anniversary of national independence from France on Nov. 9 (1953-2010).

His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni will preside over the celebration ceremony and light the “victory flame” at the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh.

High-ranking officials will participate in the ceremony with a crowd of Phnom Penh residents and students in attendance.

Foreign Ambassadors to Cambodia are also expected to be present at the event. --AKP


PM Celebrates Kathina Festival at Langka Pagoda

Phnom Penh, November 8, 2010 AKP -- Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen and his family organized a Kathina ceremony on Nov. 6 at Langka pagoda, adjacent to the Independence Monument in the heart of Phnom Penh capital.

Approximately 1,138 million Riel, Cambodian currency roughly more than US$270,000, collected on the occasion, will be a primary resource for the pagoda to further develop facility and service of Buddhism, the religion that more than 80 percent of Cambodians follow.

The 29-day Kathina is one of the biggest religious festivals in Cambodia. This year, it falls from Oct. 24 to Nov. 21. During this period, people of all strata jointly contribute their donation, either in materials or cash, for the Buddhist monks to build achievements inside their respective pagodas. One pagoda can host only one Kathina per year. --AKP

(By MOM Chan Dara Soleil)


Five ASEAN Member Countries To Meet in Three Separate Summits

Phnom Penh, November 8, 2010 AKP -- The Royal Government of Cambodia is preparing to host three separate summits in the capital city of Phnom Penh with the participation of top-level leadership from Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and the host country.

According to the press release dated Nov. 8 by Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the meeting including 6th Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Summit, 5th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV) Summit and 4th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy ACMECS Summit will be held from Nov. 16 to 17 in Phnom Penh.

Leaders at premier and ministerial levels are expected to take part in the function while the ASEAN secretary general will also be present.

ACMECS membership comprises of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Last Wednesday, Cambodia's Minister of Information H.E. Mr. Khieu Kanharith called a meeting with his colleagues to discuss and review preparatory activities on the part of the Ministry of Information to facilitate news media coverage on the events.

Over 80 national and international journalists have applied for accreditation passes to cover the summits, according to the Media Center of the Ministry of Information. --AKP

(By OK Kimseng)


Cambodia-Indonesia Trading Maintains Stable Growth

Phnom Penh, November 8, 2010 AKP -- Trading between Cambodia and Indonesia is going very smoothly, reaching an average annual increase of around 20 percent during the recent years, said Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia Saehardjono Sastromihardjo.

The ambassador was quoted as saying during the Nov. 4 opening ceremony of Indonesian trade and tourism fair at Koh Pich Center of Phnom Penh – the event that introduced products of 50 Indonesian companies to Cambodian people.

In 2009, added the ambassador, the two countries achieved US$202 million worth trading transactions. For this year, the amount is expected to reach US$250 million. Cambodia mainly exports agricultural products, clothing, and raw rubber to Indonesia and import from the country medicine and machinery.

According to Secretary of State at the Ministry of Commerce H.E. Kim Sithan, trading between Cambodia and Indonesia has maintained a stable increase despite the hit of the global crisis. And Indonesia is one of Cambodia’s key trading partners in Southeast Asia.

The Royal Government of Cambodia is encouraging foreign investment, especially in agriculture, agro-industry, transportation infrastructure, telecommunications, energy, electricity, etc. --AKP

(By MOM Chan Dara Soleil)


Cambodia’s Beach To Be Listed in the Club of the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches

Phnom Penh, November 8, 2010 AKP -- Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sok An held here last Wednesday a discussion with Mr. Jerome Bignon, head of the delegation of the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches Club on various issues relating to Tourism developments and the preservation of the world heritages.

On that occasion, Mr. Jerome Bignon briefed H.E. Sok An on his recent study and evaluation on the Cambodia’s Beach which is the attractively natural area along the coastal lines of Cambodia, according to the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers.

After having studied and evaluated on the beach of Cambodia, Mr. Jerome Bignon expressed his full support for Cambodia’s application for membership in the club and he will submit the document of the Cambodia's 440 km coastal areas stretching in four provinces of Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep to list with the club in February 2011 in the Philippines. The result of the membership of Cambodia in this club shall be announced in the 7th annual meeting of the Club of the world’s most beautiful beaches which will be held in May 2011 in Africa.

In reply, H.E. Sok An, also Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, raised the success of Cambodia on the preservation of world heritages through International Coordinating Committee (ICC) and Cambodian experiences have been used as a model in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Cambodian deputy prime minister hoped that Cambodia’s experiences would be helpful for the Club of the world’s most beautiful beaches through the vision of Royal Government of Cambodia on the preservation of the world heritages. He also hoped that Cambodia’s beach will be officially recognized as a member of the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches Club next year through the evaluation of the club which will be held in Africa.

It should be noted that if Cambodia is admitted to the club, the certificate for the world’s most beautiful beaches shall be issued to Cambodia which would help to attract more tourists to the areas, which have a potential to develop the nation's economy. --AKP


FCM-National League of Communes/Sangkats Cooperation for Economic Development in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, November 8, 2010 AKP -- An Inception Workshop on Municipal Partners for Economic Development was held here on Nov. 4 under the collaboration of the National League of Communes/Sangkats of Cambodia and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

According to Mr. Soy Kosal, president of the National League of Communes/Sangkats of Cambodia, the workshop was aimed to raise general awareness of the Municipal Partners for Economic Development program and to share new information related to economic development at the grassroots level.

From 2002 to 2009, some 12,102 local development projects have been implemented by the communes/sangkats councils, he said.

The two-day workshop was financially supported by the Canadian International Development Agency. --AKP

(By KHAN Sophirom)


Khmer Preah Reach Troap Dance Photo Expo Kicked Off

Phnom Penh, November 8, 2010 AKP -- A photo expo on Robam Preah Reach Trop Khmer (Khmer Preah Reach Troap Dance) was opened here on Nov. 4 at the National Museum in the presence of H.E. Ok Socheat, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

Mrs. Un Phallin, director of Museum Department of the Culture and Fine Arts Ministry said these photos have been taken by Mr. Ander Jiras, a specialized photographer from Sweden who has spent five years on his photo work in Cambodia from 2005 to 2010.

H.E. Ok Socheat said that the photo expo organized by the National Museum and Khmer Friends Culture (KFC) aimed at congratulating the 7th Anniversary of listing Preah Reach Troap Dance (Royal Ballet) as a masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO. --AKP

(By Théng)

National Day of Cambodia


via CAAI

November 8, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – The Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates its National Day today (Tuesday). On this day in 1953, King Norodom Sihanouk declared the country’s independence from French colonial rule.

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Cambodia were formally established in 1957. The Philippines and Cambodia have maintained cordial ties since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 1995 and the reopening of the Cambodian Embassy in Manila in 1999. The two countries have forged agreements on economic and trade relations, agricultural and agribusiness collaboration, and tourism cooperation.

On July 9-10, 2010, the First Philippine Trade and Investment Mission to Cambodia was held in Phnom Penh. The event was jointly organized by the Philippine Embassy in Cambodia, the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP), the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Philippines-Cambodia Business Council (PCBC), and the RFM Corporation-Corporate Export Division.

The opening ceremony included the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the PCBC and the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (CCC). The Philippine mission had two components – a trade mission with 21 participating Filipino companies and business establishments and an investment mission with three participating Filipino companies.

We congratulate the people and government of the Kingdom of Cambodia headed by His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni, and H.E., Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and its Embassy in the Philippine led by Ambassador Hos Sereythonh, on the occasion of their National Day. We wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors.

Boeung Kak homes lost under sand

Photo by: Sovan Philong
A pipe blows slurry into a neighbourhood in Boeung Kak lake’s Village 1 last weekend as part of a commercial redevelopment project by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin’s Shukaku Inc.

via CAAI

Monday, 08 November 2010 15:03 Sun Narin and Chhay Channyda

LOCAL residents fear a developer is set to resume sand pumping today at the Boeung Kak lakeside that has submerged dozens of homes since last week, with homeowners held off at gunpoint.

Ty Pisey, a resident of the lakeside’s Village 1 in Daun Penh district, said company representatives had halted pumping on Friday and told villagers they had three days to collect their belongings. Last week, according to local rights group Adhoc, roughly 40 homes were submerged over three days of pumping by Shukaku Inc, a firm developing the lakeside that is owned by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin.

“I am not sure when they will start pumping again,” Ty Pisey said. “The deputy district governor asked us to meet with the company and the municipality, but they always turn us away and tell us to talk to other people.”

Daun Penh district deputy governor Sok Penh Vuth said he had no authority to intervene in the matter.

“The company has the right to invest,” he said. “It is normal that development affects people, so they should take the compensation.”

Boeung Kak resident You Ro, 24, said he and other residents had not even been allowed to collect their possessions as their homes were covered in sand and mud. A Shukaku representative wielding an assault rifle threatened him when he attempted to stop his family’s trees from being destroyed by an excavator, he added.

“They said they would fire on anyone who tried to stop them,” You Ro said. “The government’s development project is robbing the people and making them cry.”

Shukaku has been granted a 99-year lease to develop a 133-hectare project that rights groups say will ultimately displace more than 4,000 families. Those affected have been offered roughly US$238 in compensation and 5-by-12-metre plots of land in Dangkor district, or cash payments of $8,470, though some residents claim they are being denied full compensation.

Businesses and homes along the lakeside have been inundated with sewage and floodwater in recent weeks as the sand pumping has disrupted drainage in the area.

Phnom Penh deputy governor Nuon Sameth declined to comment yesterday.

Kandal workers say recruitment firm defrauded them

via CAAI

Monday, 08 November 2010 15:03 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

FORTY-FOUR workers from four districts in Kandal province filed a complaint against a labour recruitment firm last week for allegedly cheating them out of money paid to secure jobs abroad, police said yesterday.

Chhuon Chhin, one of the workers suing two CDM Trading Manpower Co employees in connection with the firm’s agreement to find jobs in Thailand, said he and the other workers paid US$150 to CDM representative Um Roeun in May.

He said they have still received no work and are demanding their money back.

“We want the company to return our $150 to each of us, and we would also like to appeal to the police to take legal action against this company,” he said.

Kandal police chief Iv Chamroeurn said yesterday that police had received the complaint on Friday, adding that he expected the police to begin an investigation today.

Touch Manak, general manager of CDM’s office in Phnom Penh, yesterday blamed delays on political instability out of his control. “Our company has no intention of cheating the workers”, he said, adding “we are late because of Thailand’s political turmoil as well as the tension of politics between Cambodia and Thailand in the past six months.”

Third man charged in Takhmao murders

via CAAI

Monday, 08 November 2010 15:03 Chrann Chamroeun

A THIRD suspect has been arrested and charged with premeditated murder in connection with the triple murder of three women in Kandal province’s Takhmao district last month.
All three victims were found shot dead on the morning of October 9 at a restaurant adjoining their home, the day after they were believed to have been murdered.

The victims have been identified as 47-year-old Sok Koeu, her daughter, 24-year-old Seng Muoy Kea and a 17-year-old waitress whom police would not name.

Kandal provincial court prosecutor Ouk Kimseth said yesterday that a third suspect, Bun Vuthy, 27, had been arrested and charged with premeditated murder, in addition to two suspects who were charged on Thursday: Sok Koeu’s 44-year-old nephew Sok Seng, and former soldier Toan Sarom, 30.

“The judge has already ordered [Bun Vuthy] to serve pretrial detention pending further investigations,” he said.

He said Bun Vuthy was arrested on Friday in Kampong Speu province’s Baset district, where he had been hiding following the arrests of his two accomplices. If found guilty, each suspect faces between 15 and 20 years in prison.

Kandal provincial police chief Iv Chamroeun said last week that “according to our investigation and from the testimony of the suspects, Sok Seng killed his aunt, her daughter and the waitress after Sok Koeun did not give him US$2,000 to borrow.”

Sok Seng told police following his arrest that the trio went to visit his aunt to request the loan on October 8, which was approved by her daughter, but who said she would have to wait for her mother to return from the market.

However, when Sok Koeu returned to the house she refused the loan.

“Sok Seng then asked his colleagues, who were waiting outside, to rob her,” Iv Chamroeun said on Thursday.

They then tied up all three victims and demanded the money, but Sok Koeu refused though she had $10,000 hidden under her mattress.

Sok Seng then used Toan Sarom’s gun to shoot all three women in the head, before the men fled the scene on motorbikes and making off with “some cash and jewellery”.

Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor for the rights group Licadho, yesterday welcomed the arrests, but stressed that court officials work “in a thorough way to make sure they are the real killers to provide justice for the victims”.