Thursday, 9 December 2010

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

via CAAI


PM: The Date of Aggression and Withdrawal of Thai Troops Recorded in History

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- The date of the aggression of Thai troops on Cambodian territory at Preah Vihear Temple area and that of their withdrawal have been written there.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen said this morning at an inauguration ceremony at Battambang province.

All Thai troops have been withdrawn from the Keo Sikkha Kiri Svara Pagoda, said Samdech Techo Hun Sen, adding that the word “aggression” has now come to an end.

I had “This is the aggression place on July 15, 2008 and the withdrawal was made at 10:30am on December 1, 2010,” written there, he said.

Earlier on Dec. 6, the Cambodian prime minister affirmed that Cambodia-Thailand relations returned to the date before July 15, 2008 and this was the results of the four meetings between the premiers of the two neighboring countries. --AKP

Text by CHEY Phum Pul

Translated by SOKMOM Nimul



PM Hun Sen Presides Over Inauguration Ceremony of Battambang University

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen presided over today in Battambang province, some 290 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh, the inauguration ceremony of the Battambang University and other achievements in the university’s compound.

The university, equipped with modern equipment, and other achievements were built at the total cost of over US$65 million, funded by Senate President Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim, National Assembly President Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister H.E. Sar Kheng and many other local and foreign charitable people.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Samdech Techo Hun Sen was convinced that this new achievement will become an important education and training center for Battambang and other northwestern provinces.

Human resource is the major force to ensure socio-economic development and prosperity, and to increase people’s living standard, he said.

The Cambodian premier also called on both national and international development partners, private sector and charitable people to further contribute to developing Cambodia’s human resource.

The inaugurated achievements include school buildings, a library, a canteen, a teachers’ house, a boarding building, a laboratory, a conference hall, etc.

Battambang University has currently about 5,000 students, of them 2,182 are girls, studying in 24 different majors including the Nuclear Engineering, the newest major in Cambodia. --AKP

Text by CHEY Phum Pul

Translated by SOKMOM Nimul



PM To Visit China Next Week

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, will lead a high delegation to pay an official visit to the People’s Republic of China from Dec. 13 to 17.

The visit will be made at the invitation of H.E. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, said a press release of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation dated Wednesday.

During the visit, Samdech Techo Hun Sen will be received in a royal audience by His Majesty King-Father Preah Norodom Sihanouk and Her Majesty Queen-Mother Preah Norodom Monineath Sihanouk of Cambodia.

Besides, the Cambodian premier will pay courtesy calls on H.E. Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China; H.E. Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and hold official talk with his Chinese counterpart H.E. Wen Jiabao.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen will also visit cities: Tianjin, Wuxi, Suzhou and Nanjing.

During the visit, 11 documents are also expected to be signed.

The Cambodian delegation will include Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H.E. Hor Namhong, Senior Minister and Commerce Minister H.E. Cham Prasidh and other high-ranking officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia. --AKP



Cambodia, Cuba Reaffirm Friendship

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- Top Cuban and Cambodian lawmakers Wednesday reaffirmed the friendly relations between the two legislatures and the two countries.

Both President of the Cuban National Assembly of the People's Power Ricardo Alarcon and visiting head of Cambodian Parliament Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin reiterated the stance during their meeting at the National Hote, Chinese News Agency Xinhua reported.

Samdech Heng Samrin, who had visited Cuba four times before, thanked the host for the hospitality and reaffirmed his country's interest on expending ties with Cuba.

Alarcon said he appreciated Cambodia's struggle for independence and noted that Samdech Heng Samrin's visit was made on the occasion to celebrate 50 years of bilateral diplomatic ties.

Last month, Havana's Friendship House issued a stamp to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bilateral relationship. --AKP



Cambodian Premier Warns FUNCINPEC Officials’ Removal from the Government Posts

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen warned to remove immediately from the government posts those who leave the FUNCINPEC Party and wish to enter other political parties.

In a letter signed by the Cambodian premier on Dec. 8 and sent to Cambodian compatriots, he rejected a rumor that he gave a green light or a support to Prince Norodom Ranariddh to re-enter politics and government officials in the ranks of senior minister, minister, secretary of state, undersecretary of state or government advisor who join the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) to be changed from the Nationalist Party in the near future will be kept in their posts through a concession made between Norodom Ranariddh Party and him.

The premier’s letter also clarified the relation between him and Prince Norodom Ranariddh through a correspondence, and the formation of coalition government between the Cambodian People’s Party and the FUNCIPEC, not with the Norodom Ranariddh Party.

The Norodom Ranariddh Party was established in 2007 after the prince was toppled from the president of the royalist FUNCINPEC Party in 2006.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh was removed from his post as FUNCINPEC president in connection with claims that he embezzled party funds. --AKP

By THOU Peou



PM Hun Sen Receives Lao Minister of Labor

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen received here yesterday a visiting Lao delegation of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare led by its Minister Mrs. Onechanh Thammavong.

During the meeting, the Lao minister of Labor and Social Welfare informed Samdech Techo Hun Sen of her visit, the purpose of which she said is to promote the cooperation and exchange experiences with the Cambodian Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training.

She said she noted the Cambodian government’s attention in building human resource, the main factor for economic development, Ieng Sophalet, assistance to the Cambodian premier told reporters upon the meeting.

She also expressed her condolences to the Cambodian victims of the recent stampede tragedy.

In reply, the Cambodian premier thanked Mrs. Onechanh Thammavong for her condolences.

Regarding the cooperation between the two Ministries of Labor, Samdech Techo Hun Sen recommended that the cooperation should focus on the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle.

He deeply thanked the Lao government for its cooperation in providing medical treatment to the Cambodian people living at the Cambodian-Lao border areas. He suggested that this cooperation should be expanded, especially between the border authorities. This will help boost the cooperation and the closeness between the two peoples, he stressed.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen further shared with the Lao side Cambodia’s experiences in dealing with the global financial crisis. --AKP




Cambodia, Vietnam Further Strengthen Judicial Cooperation

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- Acting President of the National Assembly H.E. Nguon Nhel received here on Dec. 8 visiting Prosecutor General of the Supreme People's Procuracy of Vietnam Mr. Tran Quoc Vuong.

In the meeting, Mr. Tran Quoc Vuong said his first five-day visit to Cambodia (Dec. 5-9) is aimed at exchanging experiences and further strengthening the judicial and legal cooperation with Cambodia, especially that related to cross border crimes.

Mr. Tran Quoc Vuong also expressed his condolence to the victims’ families of the recent stampede tragedy at Koh Pich.

In reply, H.E. Nguon Nhel told his guest of the royal government’s special attention to the victims’ families.

Regarding the Cambodia-Vietnam judicial and legal cooperation, the acting NA president said the MoUs already signed by the two countries will help improve the capacity of the judicial and legal officials, and the effectiveness in combating offenses, particularly cross border crimes.

Cambodia and Vietnam had signed the MoU on cooperation in the fields of law and justice in December 2009 and the MoU on judicial cooperation in March 2010.

During his stay here, Mr. Tran Quoc Vuong was also received by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen. --AKP

By LIM Nary



Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos Determine to Enhance Co-op in Combating Drugs

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- The 10th tripartite/bilateral ministerial meeting on drug control cooperation between Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos began on Wednesday.

Ke Kim Yan, chairman of the Cambodia's National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), called for more cooperation among the three countries to achieve the ASEAN free of drugs by 2015.

“There are flaws in cooperation among the three countries in combating drugs,” Ke Kim Yan was quoted as saying by Chinese News Agency Xinhua as saying during the opening ceremony.

He said that the three countries should intensify more cooperation to complete the flaw of cooperation in order to prevent circulation, production, farming drug crops at border areas of the three countries and turn the border areas as the wall to prevent production, plantation, circulation, smuggling, transit, and consumption of drugs.

“We need more efforts and cooperation to combat drug criminals to achieve the ASEAN free of drug by 2015,” he said.

Moeuk Dara, secretary general of the NACD, told reporters after the opening ceremony that Cambodia is actively combating against drug criminals.

In 2010, 320 cases of drug offensives have been cracked down with 638 suspects including 63 foreigners (three Laotians) and drugs were seized for destruction, he said.

He added that the number of drug addicts in Cambodia is still stable at 6,000 drug addicts. Currently, 1,119 drug addicts have been in the centers for drug quit and education.

The three-day meeting is attended by 84 drug officials from Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

The Laotian officials led by Soubanh Sritthirath, chairman of the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision, and Vietnamese officials led by Le The Tiem, deputy minister of Public Security and permanent member of the National Committee on AIDS, Drugs, Prostitution Control of Vietnam. --AKP



Diamond Bridge Re-opened and Two More Bridges To Be Constructed Soon

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- The Diamond Bridge (Pich Bridge) was re-opened with a Buddhist ceremony yesterday after more than two-week closure since the stampede tragedy on Nov. 22, on the final day of the annual Water Festival that killed 353 people and injured 394 others.

Phnom Penh Municipality Governor H.E. Kep Chutema and the owner of the Diamond Island (Koh Pich) Oknha Pung Kheav Se participated in the Buddhist ceremony.

On the occasion, H.E. Kep Chutema told reporters that two more bridges will be built soon next to the Diamond Bridge.

A memorial for the deceased victims will be constructed in the north of the Diamond Bridge, he added. --AKP

By Théng



Cambodian, Thai Companies Reach Cement-Plant Investment

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- The Cambodian Chip Mong Construction Group and the Siam City Cement Public Co., Ltd. yesterday reached an agreement to explore a cement-plant investment opportunities in Cambodia.

Oknha Leang Khun, Chief Executive Officer of Chip Mong Construction Group said both companies will join hands in a cement-plant investment in Cambodia.

Under the two-year investment plan, we want to build a US$200-million cement plant in Kampot. This factory is expected to produce from 1 to 1.5 million tons of cement annually, Oknha Leang Meng, general director of the Chip Mong Construction Group said.

Our cement products are expected to meet the local demands and to be exported to European countries, he added. --AKP

By KHAN Sophirom



Cambodia’s Most Banks in Good Health in the Triple Rise of Capital: NBC

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia’s most commercial banks are set to meet the requirement of the triple increase of the registered capital by the end of this year, Director General of the National Bank of Cambodia, Tal Nay Im was quoted by Chinese News Agency Xinhua as saying on Wednesday.

“Our primary assessment shows that most banks have met the requirement,” she said.

“The process towards the triple increase of the capital by the end of this year for the banks in going well,” she said. “But I cannot reveal if all the Kingdom’s 30 commercial banks will meet the requirement until the deadline on Dec. 31 comes.”

In September 2008, in bid to strengthen the banks’ health against any financial crisis, the National Bank of Cambodia issued a prakas, or edict, requiring all commercial banks in the Kingdom to triple their registered capital from then US$13 million to US$37.5 million by Dec. 31, 2010.

The prakas excluded banks with at least one influential shareholder as a bank or financial institution with a rating “investment grade” extended by a reputable rating agency.

Thai Saphear, head of the governor’s office at the NBC cabinet, told Xinhua on Wednesday that in general, the banks are in good health, but he is not sure all the banks will meet the requirement. --AKP

Border mapping moves ahead

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A woman looks at a Cambodian map during a meeting last week at the Council of Ministers to review bids for mapping the border.

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:02 Meas Sokchea

BORDER demarcation efforts between Cambodia and Vietnam advanced yesterday when a joint committee ended its evaluation of five firms in a bid to draw up the shared boundary.

The Vietnamese-Cambodian Border Affairs Committee finished its review of proposals from five firms in competition to produce a new map of the border, and will make a selection by Friday, an official said.

“We are working on a draft contract that we will sign with the firm that is awarded the contract, which will be announced by Friday at the latest”, said Var Kimhong, the senior minister in charge of border affairs.

The committee saw proposals from BLOM Geomatics AS (Denmark), IGN France International, Kokusai Kogyo Corporation (Japan), Samboo Engineering Company (South Korea) and Pasco-FINNMAP (Japan/Finland). Costs, which will be split evenly between Cambodia and Vietnam, ranged in the proposals from US$1.5 million to $4.5 million.

However, the Cambodian Watchdog Council CWC, led by Cambodian Confederation of Unions President Rong Chhun, urged Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday to postpone the delineation of Cambodia-Vietnam border posts, citing outcry by local farmers in Kampong Cham province that current border posts have ceded land to Vietnam by as much as 200 metres.

The request, submitted by letter, followed a visit by CWC delegates on Sunday to border posts Nos 108 and 109 in Memot district’s Da commune in Kampong Cham province, after 260 people had signed a petition complaining about a loss of farmland from Vietnamese border encroachment.

“To avoid losing territorial integrity, the [CWC] would like the Cambodian government to reconsider the planting of the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, and wait for an international inspection to show transparency for both nations,” the letter said.

Meanwhile, lawmakers from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party yesterday confirmed plans to visit border post No109 on December 14.

“We want to see the situation because people have complained to us as representatives about the planting of border post No109 affecting their land. We will see with our own eyes, so that we can take those complaints to parliament”, SRP spokesman Kimsour Phirith said.

Safety fears for illegal worker in Malaysia

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:02 Phak Seangly

A WOMAN from Kampot province said yesterday that she has filed complaints with police and rights groups after receiving a phone call from her 20-year-old sister who claims she is being physically abused by a 70-year-old employer while working illegally as a domestic aid in Malaysia.

Tep Sophy said she had appealed to provincial and immigration police as well as rights groups Licadho and Adhoc to intervene after talking with her distraught sister, Ly Soben, on Sunday.

“I am very concerned about my sister’s situation,” she said, adding that she had heard horror stories of other young domestic workers being abused abroad, one of whom died.

“This makes me so worried about my sister and I rushed to seek an intervention,” she said.

As well as asking officials to help repatriate her sister, Tep Sophy said she plans to sue a Phnom Penh-based broker who she claims was responsible for sending Ly Soben to work abroad illegally through an unlicensed broker.

Tep Neang, provincial deputy police chief, said he had received a complaint from Tep Sophy on Tuesday morning.

“We will cooperate with the provincial Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection police to investigate the case,” he said, adding that authorities would decide whether it was necessary to involve Malaysian officials after first attempting to verify Tep Sophy’s allegations.

“This is just what she claimed,” he said. “We did not totally believe her because we did not meet the victim.”

Ngeth Soseng, provincial Licadho coordinator, said Tep Sophy had reported the case to her office on Monday, and that she had spoken briefly with the alleged victim by phone before the line was cut.

“I managed to speak with her just in short. She sounds piteous,” she said.

State plans ‘one-stop’ domestic violence centre

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:02 Chhay Channyda

THE Ministry of Women’s Affairs yesterday announced plans to create a “one-stop services centre” for victims of rape, domestic violence and trafficking in Phnom Penh, which would also aim to collate nation-wide data on abuses against women and children.

Sy Define, secretary of state at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said the centre, which officials hope to establish by 2012, would aim to coordinate services from police, court officials and NGOs in a bid to enable victims to more effectively seek legal action against perpetrators.

She said the establishment of a reliable central data collection system would also enable officials to better track and target abuses against women and children.

“Violence against women still happens, but we don’t know if it increases or decreases because NGOs like Adhoc [and] Licadho have different statistics from us,” she said.

The government was also concerned, she said, with training police and the judiciary in how to process cases of violence against women, which are often settled out of court.

“We must tell local authorities that rape is not [to be] compensated with money, but perpetrators must face legal action,” she said, adding that officials “must be trained to act as plaintiffs to file complaints against abuse instead of victims’ families”.

Hang Puthea, secretary of the Cambodian branch of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, welcomed the announcement from the government, saying it could result in more perpetrators being prosecuted.

“The court seems not to receive many domestic violence cases,” he said.

Concern over falling fish stocks

Photo by: Sovan Philong
Fishermen dry their nets on the banks of the Tonle Sap river on Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar peninsula. Fish stocks on the river are declining due to habitat loss.

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:02 Khouth Sophak Chakrya

THE destruction of flooded forests and illegal fishing remain widespread problems, threatening the Kingdom’s inland fisheries, the chief of the Tonle Sap Authority said.

Speaking on a Cambodian Television Network programme on Tuesday, Lim Kean Hor, who is also the minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, said illegal bamboo traps are found almost everywhere on the Tonle Sap river.

“This is a stubborn activity against the government’s orders to preserve fishing resources, biodiversity and the ecology system of the Tonle Sap river,” said Lim Kean Hor.

His comments came on the same day Nao Thouk, the director of the Fisheries Administration, deflected blame for the country’s declining fish catches and said fishermen were responsible for the ongoing crisis.

However, Lim Kean Hor said cracking down on illegal fishing was the responsibility of the Fisheries Administration, not the Tonle Sap Authority.

Khim Kea, a 52-year-old fisherman from Kampong Chhnang province, said fisheries enforcement had ramped up from previous years, but that offences were still common.

“Sometimes, the [illegal fishers] destroy boats and threaten to kill [fishermen] when we report illegal actions to the Fisheries Administration,” he said.

Minh Bunly, a Tonle Sap programme coordinator for the Fisheries Action Coalition Team, said illegal activity has been reduced in recent years. However, he said the use of illegal equipment, which is prohibited under 2006’s Fisheries Law, was still a threat “to reduce Cambodia’s fish profits”.

In October, Nao Thouk predicted that 2010’s fish yields would decline by 30 percent compared with last year.

Monitor issues new KRT report

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:02 James O'Toole

A US-BASED trial monitor has called on the Khmer Rouge tribunal to “publicly demonstrate its independence” from the Cambodian government by moving forward with investigations in its third and fourth cases.

In its December report, the Open Society Justice Initiative said the court needed to demonstrate that it was unaffected by recent comments from Prime Minister Hun Sen expressing opposition to Cases 003 and 004.

“In recent months, the credibility of the [tribunal] has been frontally challenged in an unprecedented manner by a Cambodian government determined to politically terminate Cases 003/004,” the OSJI said.

Cambodian court officials have thus far expressed opposition to these investigations, which are currently being handled by international staff.

Marcel Lemonde, who stepped down last week after more than four years as a Co-Investigating Judge at the tribunal, told The Post in a written interview that the court “must obviously be independent and impartial”, adding: “Of course independent of the Government of Cambodia, as we are reminded regularly, but also independent of the media and NGOs.”

Police Blotter: 9 Dec 2010

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:01 Sen David

Wife with axe to grind attacks her husband
A 36-year-old woman has been arrested for allegedly hacking into and severely injuring her husband with an axe in Pursat province. Police said the woman, who claims her husband is physically violent toward her and their five children on a daily basis, was arrested on Tuesday and had admitted to attacking her husband while he was asleep. Neighbours took the man to hospital.

Girl arrested for selling boyfriend’s motorbike
Police in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district have arrested a 20-year-old girl accused of “borrowing” her boyfriend’s motorbike and selling it on Tuesday. The owner of the motorbike said he had lent it to his girlfriend because he loved her, but filed a complaint after the girl – who he usually saw every day – disappeared for two days. Police said the woman had admitted after questioning that she had sold the motorbike.

Helpful old lady killed by truck in hit-and-run
A 70-year-old woman was killed in a hit-and-run on Tuesday while attempting to aid two victims of a traffic accident who had been severely injured and were lying in the road outside her house in Kampong Thom province. Police said a truck ran over the trio before the elderly woman had managed to get the two victims off the road, killing all three. Police said they are looking to arrest the truck driver.

Man drowns in pond after drinking like a fish
A 32-year-old man was found dead in a pond in Siem Reap town on Monday. Police said they had identified the body and concluded that the man had been drunk when he fell into the pond and drowned. The victim’s ex-wife said the man had likely been drowning his sorrows after their recent divorce, which she had asked for on account of the man’s excessive drinking. RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Thief nabbed for trying to rob three students
A 29-year-old man was arrested after the attempted robbery of three students in Kampong Cham province’s Stung Trang town on Tuesday. Police said the man, along with an accomplice who is being looked for after he fled the scene on motorbike, had stolen a necklace and two mobile phones from the students.

Lover kills himself over partner’s addiction
A 21-year-old man hung himself in Phnom Penh on Tuesday after learning that his girlfriend was addicted to drugs, Toul Kork district police said. The victim’s mother said the man had been distraught to learn that his girlfriend of five years was taking drugs, and had committed suicide because he viewed her addiction as his own failing.

No role for Ranariddh, says Hun Sen

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:01 Meas Sokchea

PRIME Minister Hun Sen yesterday issued a statement saying that he will not welcome the Nationalist Party into his Cambodian People’s Party-dominated ruling coalition, despite the return of royalist heavyweight Prince Norodom Ranariddh to political life.

Hun Sen wrote that the current government – a coalition the CPP and Funcinpec formed after the 2008 election – would likely remain unchanged.

“I really do not want to make a tripartite coalition government [of the] CPP, Funcinpec and Norodom Ranariddh Party,” Hun Sen wrote, using the NP’s former name. It is set to readopt the name at its party congress this weekend.

Ranariddh announced his return to politics in Kampong Cham on Saturday, more than two years after his retirement.

In announcing his return, Ranariddh railed against his former party Funcinpec, claiming that the current leadership had sold themselves to the ruling CPP in exchange for “rotten” government posts and personal benefits.

Ranariddh – who led Funcinpec to victory at the United Nationdsbacked 1993 election but was expelled as party president in 2006 – called for loyal Funcinpec members to defect to the NP/NRP ahead of elections in 2013.

In his letter yesterday, however, Hun Sen warned that any Funcinpec government officials defecting to the party would “be fired from their post immediately”.

Since Funcinpec’s electoral victory in 1993, the royalist movement has been on a steady decline. At the 2008 elections, Funcinpec and the NRP gained just four of the 123 seats in the National Assembly.

The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief

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Newspaper to reopen

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:01 Chhay Channyda

THE publisher of the suspended Deum Ampil Newspaper said it would resume publication on December 21 under his own financing. Soy Sopheap said the four-page paper would be published three days per week. He said the paper “would keep on printing stories from all sides, both opposition and government sides”. The media centre – which included a paper, radio station and magazine – suspended its operations in July due to financial losses.

Three jailed for kidnap

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:01 Chrann Chamroeun

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced three men to 15 years jail for kidnapping and detaining a 5-year-old boy last year, according to a verdict read out by Judge Duch Kimsorn. The three men, who demanded US$4,000 ransom for the return of the child, were arrested in November last year in Kampong Cham province. During hearings the men denied the charges. The trio’s defence lawyer Uk Vandeth yesterday decribed the verdict as “unacceptable”, and said he hoped his clients would appeal.

Red tape woes: SMEs call for simpler regulations

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:01 Rann Reuy

Red tape woes

REPRESENTATIVES from small and medium-sized firms and government officials yesterday raised concerns over the “complicated” nature of business regulations.

At a workshop in Phnom Penh, members of Cambodia’s private sector complained about complications caused by complex laws.

The owner of KT ice factory, who gave her name as Bory, said that difficult application forms were causing trouble for firms that did not understand how to meet legal requirements or process forms correctly.

“We request the creation of less complicated procedures for us,” she said.

Officials agreed that some protocols were complex, but said action was being taken. Meng Saktheara, director general of the Industry Department at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said: “Many existing regulations are so complicated. We will check again and we will keep the essential ones, but others that are not necessary will be reduced or annulled.”

He said the complaint was one often given by private sector business owners, as firms had to meet regulations from numerous different bodies.

“There is not one mechanism or a one-window service to get business application forms done all at once,” he said.

Factory venture cemented

Photo by: Sovan Philong
Chair of the Chip Mong Group board Pheap Heak presents a gift to Siam City Cement representatives at the signing ceremony.

---------------------------------------------------------Under this collaboration, Chip Mong will not only be able to sell its products in the Kingdom but we will be able to export

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:01 Chun Sophal

A US$200 million joint venture between Cambodia’s Chip Mong Group and Thai company Siam City Cement Pcl was signed yesterday, paving the way for the Kingdom’s second operating cement factory.

Leang Meng, chief executive of Chip Mong Group, told reporters at a Phnom Penh signing ceremony that the investment was a good opportunity as Cambodia’s continuing development meant it required large amounts of cement.

“Under this collaboration, [Chip Mong] will not only be able to sell its products in the Kingdom but also will be able to export to other countries,” he said.

“We hope that both companies will be able to successfully expand their businesses.”

The contract, signed at Raffles Le Royal Hotel, will see the companies establish a cement plant in Kampot province which can produce about 1 million to 1.5 million tonnes of cement powder per year, said Leang Meng. He said the plant’s construction, set to start next year, will take 24 months and the business is slated to start operating in 2013.

The two companies declined to disclose their relative share in the joint venture.

Philippe Arto, managing director of Siam City Cement, said the contract signaled a major step in promoting business cooperation between the two companies.

“We hope that both companies will mutually share knowledge via this close cooperation,” he said yesterday. He said SCC, which has been established for nearly 40 years, was known in international markets for its sales and production of cement powder – selling to around 70 markets globally, the largest of which are in Europe.

Leang Meng said the venture would tap into such markets.

“We will export our cement products because we want others to know that Cambodia also can produce cement,” he said.

He added cement demand in Cambodia had reached about 2 million tonnes a year, but production was not yet meeting demand.

Cambodia already has one cement factory in Kampot province – a joint venture between Cambodia’s Khaou Chuly Group and another Thai cement company Siam Cement Group.

According to news reports at the time, the operation was built with capital of $127 million and can produce about 1 million tonnes of cement per year.

SCG – Thailand’s third largest publicly traded company by market value – announced yesterday it was selling a 15.6 percent stake in PTT Chemical Pcl for 33 billion baht ($1.1 billion). “The proceeds will provide financial resources to accelerate its expansion and acquisition in the region,” Rattana Leenutaphong, an analyst at IV Global Securities Pcl in Bangkok, said.

Siam Cement’s shares fell 1.4 percent to 342 baht as of 12:24 pm in Bangkok trading.


Bank of China opens branch for business

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:01 Soeun Say

CAMBODIA’S first Bank of China branch opened in Phnom Penh’s tallest building yesterday, in order to test its operational systems before an official launch later this month.

“Today is the first working day for us,” said Yang Yun Xia, head of the Corporate Business Department of the Bank of China, at the offices in Canadia Tower. She said that from now on, customers can open bank accounts and do business at the bank.

“We haven’t decided the date of the grand opening yet,” she added.

The Bank of China was given in-principle approval by the National Bank of Cambodia in June to operate in the Kingdom. Its first branch occupies a 745-square-metre area on the first and second floor of Canadia Tower, after the firm signed a rental agreement in September this year.

The Bank of China is one of a number of foreign banks to receive NBC approval this year, following permits for the Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam and Malaysia’s CIMB Group.

Officials from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China have also voiced ambitions to open in Cambodia, after being granted in-principle approval from NBC in November.

As the thirtieth commercial bank to operate in Cambodia, Bank of China has already signed a refinancing deal with domestic mobile provider Mobitel worth US$591 million.

Premier field flocks for Open

Photo by: Photo Supplied
Prime Minister Hun Sen tees off during the opening ceremony for the inaugural edition of the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open in 2007 at the Phokeethra Country Club in Siem Reap.

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

Past winners of the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open all share a common thought that the second-to-last ranking event on the Asian Tour calendar, which tees off at the Phokheetra Country Club in Siem Reap today, could well be one of the toughest and the most exacting tournaments of the year.

Defending champion Marcus Both of Australia is now sitting in 24th in the Tour Order of Merit list after last week’s Hero Honda Indian Open in which he finished in fifth place, his best finish of the year.

Meanwhile, 2008 winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand is aiming for a record 13th Tour win after a relatively barren season, while inaugural edition winner Byran Saltus of the United States is coming back from a long spell away from the tour. All golfers feel that form and experience run deeper than in previous years, and success in the event will demand absolute focus and finesse.

This is Marcus Both’s fourth trip to the Kingdom, and his love for the place and the people has only grown. He produced a spectacular run in last year from way off the pace to land the title, and the moment still lives with him.

“Last year was a special moment for me,” he told The Post yesterday. “It was a thrill to win starting the final round from so far back, and it happened on my Mum’s birthday. My form last month has been quite good. I am working extremely hard on my game and it is beginning to show results – I finished tied fifth in the Indian Open.

“There were areas that let me down, but I am confident going in and looking for a big finish.”

As one of the most accomplished and decorated players from the region, Thongchai is a strongly touted front runner. In a remarkable career, the 41-year-old former paratrooper in the Thai army has amassed nearly US$4 million in prize money on the Asian Tour, and is currently ranked eighth on the Order of Merit for 2010.

The Thai maestro broke into the world top 50 last year and has an inherent knack of doing the right things at the right time, as mirrored by his imposing record of making all but three cuts in 30 appearances worldwide.

Colourful Californian Bryan Saltus is excited to be back at Phokeethra Country Club, the venue for his only tour victory in 2007. “There are more pictures of me here than in my mum’s house,” he said at the clubhouse yesterday.

Form and standing wise, Saltus is not the same golfing force he was when he took the Open by storm, which saw him sign off his triumph with a leap into a lake by the 18th hole after the final putt. He has been off a golf course for 10 months this year after he lost his tournament card, spending six months in California, three in Vietnam and a month in Bali. Two weeks ago he returned to the Siem Reap course in an event, but admits he is probably too far down the line to mount a sturdy challenge against the elite field.

“The scramble for year end rankings will fire up lot of these guys,” said Saltus, who is toying with the idea of shifting his home to Asia.

Siddikur, the first professional golfer to emerge from Bangladesh, is among the leading bunch determined to put up a stout performance. His fifth ranking on the Order of Merit is indicative of his consistency, and this year’s Brunei Open victory signalled his first triumph on the tour.

Juvic Pagunsan of the Phillipines is regarded as a worthy floater on the tour, though his big moment was as far back as 2007 when he won the Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational. Pagunsan’s form has been well sustained through the year in smaller pro events in Malaysia, Thailand and the Phillipines.

The field is also full of predators who could upset the applecart of many of the fancied golfers. Thai challenger Thaworn Wiratchant is capable of a big show on his day and is regarded as a “dark horse”.

But as the time tested golfing wisdom goes, nothing but the best card counts, and this assembly of hard-nosed professionals are well aware that victory goes to the one who does his best over the four days.

Some interesting insights into how the course plays calls for aggression on all par-5 holes and moderation on par-4s, which are among the trickiest. Holes 3 and 5 are par-3s, with the average strokes based on statistics recorded for the two holes being over par. Holes 15, 16, 17 and 18 form the Phokeethra Corner, a crucial test for any golfer.

A long roll of VIP invitees have been enlisted for both the opening and closing ceremonies for what is arguably the Kingdom’s most lucrative sporting competiton.

Cambodia, Thailand take one match each

Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Bun Kenny makes a shot during his match yesterday against Benjamas Pongsatorn in the Tep Khunnah Memorial tournament

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

It was not that Thailand youngster Benjamas Pongsatorn fared badly, it was just that Cambodia’s Bunny Kenny was far too aggressive and assured on his ground strokes.

The national tennis team No 1 made a sweeping start in the Super Singles of the Tep Khunnah Memorial tourney by beating his Thai rival 6-0,6-0 in the three player Group A at the National Training Centre yesterday.

But as if to avenge his compatriot’s loss, Timo Sivapruksa pulled one back for Thailand when he downed Cambodian team member Orn Sambath 6-1, 7-5 in group B.

Serving with spot-on precision and making numerous useful advances to the net, the Thai player took the first set with some ease. Though Orn Sambath staged a brief rally in the second, Timo Sivapruksa had all the risky areas well covered to seal victory.

Mini soccer tourney wraps up its first half

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Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:00 Dan Riley

The Phnom Penh Post Mini Soccer Championship, held at the Astroturf pitch of Kidzcool Children & Family Fun Village on Chhroy Changvar peninsular, reached its halfway point on Tuesday night with some strong candidates for the four-team final playoffs on February 25 starting to emerge.

JBCF have once again dominated the regular season, moving three points clear of the pack Tuesday with a 13-4 thrashing of Banzai. The team marshalled by Dutch dynamo Billy Barnaart have lost just once this campaign, against reigning champions Devenco, with triumphs over all others to set up a simply sublime +63 goal difference, nearly twice of the nearest rival.

Devenco are hot on JBCF heels however, and face last season’s runners-up Smart tonight in what should prove another feisty encounter between the two.

Banzai picked up their first points of the tournament on Tuesday night via a 12-7 victory over rock-bottom side Kidzcool, who have so far lost all of their matches but not without want of trying.

Me Mates, meanwhile, were involved in yet another riveting fixture but this time came out on the losing end of a 5-4 result against Cellcard.

The Post v Ezecom match up had to postponed due to some ‘logistical issues’ of Leonard Cohen proportions, while Me Mates were given a 5-0 walkover after ANZ Royal failed to show.

Tonight’s schedule sees Infinity and Ezecom chasing ascendancy into top four playoff spots, with both playing in two fixtures to claim some vital points.

Students’ dance show

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 15:00 Post Staff

STUDENTS from DanceWorkshopCambodia, a school teaching international dance, will present their third show on Saturday at Gasolina on Street 57, from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.

Around 40 students will showcase ballet, jazz, modern dance, funk and neo-classical routines. “The aim is to supply the expatriate and local community with professional dance classes, both for children and adults from all backgrounds,” said Laura Joy Kiddle, teacher and choreographer, who hopes to attract new faces through this free event.

Find more information on or by telephoning Kiddle on 012 634 008.

Questions linger over bridge shocks

Photo by: Rick Valenzuela
Police inspect the underside of the northern bridge to Diamond Island following a deadly stampede on November 22. A string of broken lights are visible in the lower left quarter of the photograph.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 December 2010 21:20 Thomas Miller

Diamond Island’s now infamous northern bridge reopened on Wednesday, 10 days after the government declared the case into how and why the water festival stampede left hundreds dead and injured closed.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin rejected an appeal by opposition lawmakers earlier this week to open an independent investigation into the tragedy, as the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights announced its own inquiry into the deadly accident.

Lingering questions remain, however, about what role, if any, electric shocks played in the stampede.

Numerous survivors of the stampede say they received shocks from the wiring of lights lining the bridge.

Srey Loeung, who survived the tragedy, said she supported further investigations into the issue “for finding the true reason for the unexpected tragedy of the stampede”.

“I still believe that some injured and dead people suffered electric shocks from the bridge railing, where some electrical lines were cut,” she said.

“My husband was also shocked from the bridge railing, but he immediately took his hand away, while my younger sister-in-law died as a result of electric shock,” Srey Loeung said, adding that her sister-in-law, Sum Chan Phoeun, 24, fell unconscious after being shocked and was trampled to death.

Srey Loeung and her husband escaped, like many others, by climbing over the railing and jumping into the river below.

During the early hours of medical response, a doctor at Calmette hospital told The Post that the two main causes of death among the bodies he had examined were suffocation and electrocution. That has since become an anomalous official assessment.

Hospital officials and the government have since said there is no evidence to support such claims.

“There is not any sign to prove that the victims suffered from electrocution,” said Minister of Health Mam Bunheng, who headed the sub-committee responsible for examining victims of the stampede for the government’s inquiry.

Chhouy Meng, head of the emergency care unit and vice chief of the technical office at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh, said he saw no signs of electrocution.

“Maybe some people who tried to jump over the bridge into the water touched the electric wire … but it’s not the cause of death or injury”, he said.

The government did not perform autopsies for its report.

Paul Hurford, an Australian firefighter who has been assisting with emergency response in Cambodia for more than four years and was on the scene within hours, said it would be difficult to prove that anyone was electrocuted.

“Without real physical surface burns, and without autopsies that they didn’t do, there’s no real way of proving electrocutions,” he said.

Galena Nicola, a doctor at Phnom Penh’s Naga Clinic, said the impact of an electric shock depends on a number of variables.

Touching an electric source with both hands can stop the heart, Nicola said, whereas it is easier to stop a current if someone is standing on the ground.

“If you use water, like I heard the water cannon was used, it increases everything,” Nicola said.

Numerous people reported that police used a water hose to cool down the crowd, but Hurford said the crowd had requested it.

“I do know from a source that water was used by the fire brigade to cool the crowd, primarily for that, and it was done at the request of the people.”

Some survivors reported minor shocks from touching the wiring on the bridge railing. Nao Vannak, 17, from Kandal province, said he survived by leaping into the water.

“But when I jumped down I touched the bridge and was electrocuted [shocked] a little bit.”

Phat Navy, 38 from Prey Veng province, said she had lost two high school-aged nieces, Thuc Srey Roth and San Srey Neang, in the incident.

“People said they got unconscious after fainting in the crowd and we didn’t know if they suffered electric shock or not, but I think they probably got shocked in addition to fainting because they turned off the bridge’s lights sometime after 10pm,” she said.

The government has concluded that the stampede was caused by the swaying of the suspension bridge, which sparked a panic among the crowd.

Ou Virak, president of the CCHR, said it would be “very difficult” to get to the bottom of such questions.

“Of course, it would be great if the companies and authorities would cooperate and allow us to have access”, he said.

But Ou Virak said he wanted to find out more about electric shocks.

“Maybe [the shocks were] just enough to slow people down, to numb people, and that could be even worse – people don’t know what’s going on,” he said.

“I hope the government will continue the investigation” Ou Virak said. “I don’t think an investigation of one week is enough.”


France put in spotlight

Photo by: Wesley Monts
France’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pierre Lellouche speaks to The Post over breakfast at the French embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday.

via CAAI

Thursday, 09 December 2010 14:15 Jeremy Mullins

Cambodia should seek business opportunities from “diversified partners” rather than become too dependant on a narrow range of countries, France’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade said yesterday.
Speaking to The Post at the French Embassy in Phnom Penh before setting off to meet Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, Pierre Lellouche said Asian nations such as China and South Korea had gained substantial market share in Cambodia.

“For these ... pre-emerging countries like Cambodia, I believe it is in their own good interest to have diversified partners and not just one,” he said.

“So, all in all, we expect to continue our efforts [in the region]. This is certainly what I’m doing in my job.”

Lellouche, France’s former Secretary of State for European Affairs, was speaking before visiting Laos for the inauguration a hydroelectric dam.

His visit to the Kingdom was billed as a trip to further French business ties in Cambodia and also included meetings with Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Finance Minister Keat Chhon.

“We have no political problems with Cambodia – it’s a very close friend of France.

“But we do have a lag in commercial investment, so we need to boost this relationship as we are doing in other countries in the region,” he said.

However, he added that he had observed a high degree of competition in both Cambodia’s domestic and regional markets.

“In my visit to Vietnam two weeks ago and again here, what is extremely striking is the extraordinary level of ruthless competition. It’s very, very tough,” he said.

“We are faced really with a wall of Asian presence, especially Chinese presence and market shares that are staggering.”

While France is the largest European trade partner with Cambodia and maintains close links through business and culture, Lellouche said its enterprises would like to play a larger role in the Kingdom.

He pointed to a number of opportunities.

Negotiations between Cambodia’s largest mobile phone provider Mobitel and France Telecom are ongoing, he said. France Telecom had previously been linked to a possible purchase of Mobitel.

Infrastructure development also offered opportunities for France, he said.

“We have essentially a country which is growing very fast, with a number of infrastructural bottlenecks – transportation, energy, water treatment, and so on. So what [France is] trying to do is be present in all of these fields,” he said.

He added that France also was interested in areas such as improving Phnom Penh’s lighting systems, through a public private partnership, as well as the airports and agro-industry.

France is also looking to build roads in Cambodia.

“At the moment, it’s essentially an Asian monopoly, but we hope to do a number of roads including here in the Phnom Penh area. We are working on it,” he said.

Lellouche said different approaches were taken towards doing business in pre-emerging markets. In many instances, France had cancelled debt “to clean out the board for a country so it can start anew, without debt”, he said.

“China has another policy. It has easily granted loans, which can give important advantages to recipient countries. They need the loans in order to quickly build infrastructure. But, at the same time, it has raised risk to increase debts’ level at a large scale,” he said.

France and the rest of the European Union have completely dropped tariffs for goods from Cambodia and other Least Developed Countries under its Everything But Arms initiative, providing an opportunity for Cambodia to increase exports.

There was a political dimension to French decision making, as well as a business-focused policy, according to Lellouche. As a democracy, France was concerned with protecting human rights.

“We are in the business of sharing universal values, we are not in the position of closing our eyes,” he said.

“But we believe through trade, through education, through development, you actually build up open society.”

Lellouche also extended France’s condolences to the Kingdom for the bridge tragedy.

“We do express deep sorrow for what happened on the bridge two weeks ago. It’s a very sad story and it has had quite an impact in France,” he said.

The secretary of state intends to travel to Cambodia again in late March for the inaugural flight on Air France’s Paris to Phnom Penh route.

International conference clash

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 December 2010 21:39 James O'Toole

North and South Korean delegates exchanged heated words last week at a conference of Asian political parties in Phnom Penh meant to showcase regional unity.

Huh Jungae, a counsellor at the South Korean embassy in Phnom Penh, said in an email that the delegations – both attending the 6th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties – had clashed over the North’s shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island last month, which killed four people.

“They mentioned that their attack is done for self-defence and that South Korea used human shields against attack,” Huh said. The South Korean delegates, she added, had forcefully rejected these claims, calling the shelling “a clear act of crime [that] should not recur”.

“South Korea never attacked nor has taken action against NK,” Huh said. “NK’s indiscriminate attack against civilians cannot be justified.”

Officials at the North Korean embassy could not be reached for comment, though Park Geun, deputy secretary of the North’s Workers’ Party international department, reportedly said on the sidelines of the conference that the Yeonpyeong incident had resulted from Southern provocation.

“We warned several times that we will strike if South Korea tests artillery around the Yeonpyeong area,” Park told South Korea’s Joong Ang Daily.

“We issued a warning on the morning of the event. But South Koreans ignored us and went on with their fire drill. We merely acted on our words.”

In a declaration issued upon the conclusion of the conference, ICAPP delegates from 36 countries urged the international community “to ensure that there is no recurrence of the use of force” between the neighbours.

“With respect to the recent provocation and military action in the Korean Peninsula, the ICAPP General Assembly calls on all parties concerned to immediately defuse the situation through dialogue and negotiations,” the declaration said.

Ek Tha, a spokesman at the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit and local spokesman for ICAPP, said the meeting had not focused on the Yeonpyeong incident and other sources of potential disagreement among the delegations.

“People have their voice, they can talk, but it’s not on the agenda,” Ek Tha said.

Neighbours step up drug fight

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a meeting of Cambodian-Vietnamese-Laos government ministers, which aimed at improving cooperation on anti-drug activities

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 December 2010 21:16 Mom Kunthear

Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos will focus efforts to curb the trafficking, production and use of drugs and improving enforcement in areas along the borders of the three nations, officials said during the 10th annual Trilateral Ministerial Meeting on Drug Control Cooperation.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the conference in Phnom Penh, Ke Kim Yan, director of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said building a “wall” against the flow of drugs crossing the borders would be essential to combating drug use across all three countries.

He added that improved cooperation would be required to meet an ASEAN target to completely eliminate drug use.

“These three countries need more cooperation to achieve an ASEAN without drugs by 2015, even though we [have made] good achievements in the past,” he said.

Moek Dara, secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said efficient information sharing between the three nations was essential to “cracking down on all crimes connected with illegal production and smuggling”.

He said there were an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 drug users in Cambodia, including 1,119 now receiving treatment in one of 10 government rehabilitation centres.

More than 80 officials attended the opening day of the three-day meeting, with the Laos delegation led by Soubanh Srithirath, chairman of the Laos National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision, and the Vietnamese delegation led by Le The Tiem, deputy minister of Public Security and permanent member of the National Committee on AIDS, Drugs, Prostitution Control of Vietnam.

Koh Pich Island crossing reopens

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
The northern bridge to Diamond Island, a scene of immense tragedy on November 22, is reflected in a motorbike mirror yesterday before its official reopening.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 08 December 2010 20:37 Tep Nimol

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema presided over the reopening of Diamond Island’s northern bridge on Wednesday, where more than 350 people were killed last month in a stampede on the final night of the annual Water Festival break.

Monks blessed the bridge in a ceremony meant to cleanse the structure of all misfortune before crossing it themselves in a gesture of reassurance that the bridge was safe to use.

However, Kep Chuktema chose to arrive and depart the event using the alternate Spean Hang bridge.

Others in attendance expressed lingering concerns over the structure, with one saying the governor’s decision not to use it was disconcerting.

“The governor should have crossed the bridge that he just inaugurated,” said May Kimly, 50.

“It shows that he still fears the tragedy on the bridge.”

But Ros Pich Davy, 27, said she did not support opening the bridge at all. “They should keep it as a historic bridge for tourists to remember the stampede,” she said.

“I’m scared because when we travelled near the bridge, we still imagined the piles of people upon people in our eyes.”

Some 353 people were killed and another 393 injured, according to government data, when revellers became trapped on the bridge in the waning hours of the national Water Festival.

An official government investigation determined that the swaying of the suspension bridge caused panic and led to the stampede, though some continue to question the government’s explanation.

Srey Loeung, who survived the tragedy but lost her sister-in-law to it, said yesterday the issue required further study.

“I would support further investigations for finding the true reason for the unexpected tragedy of the
stampede,” she said.

Others flatly refused to use the newly reopened bridge. Stampede survivor Ung Nget, 25, from Takeo province, said he would not yet cross the bridge.

“I’m waiting to see how the government prepares to avoid such tragedies [in the future],” he said.