Monday, 13 December 2010

Brother Number Two 'sorry' for Cambodia's killing fields

via CAAI

Jonathan Miller
Foreign Affairs

Sunday 12 December 2010

Channel 4 News reports on the documentary Enemies of the People, in which former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea expresses his regret for a time in which nearly two million Cambodians died.

"I made mistakes, I have remorse, I am sorry." Those are the words of indicted Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea.

During his party's 44-month reign of terror in Cambodia in the 1970s he was known as Brother Number Two - second only to Pol Pot. Now that Brother Number One is dead, Nuon Chea holds all the secrets.

But he's refused to tell anything to the UN tribunal, where he'll go on trial next year. Instead he's revealed all to a Cambodian journalist, Thet Sambath. The result is a startling documentary based on hours of interviews, called Enemies of the People.

But its makers are refusing to hand over their material to the UN tribunal.

"They were enemies of the people"

In the back room of a back alley house in provincial Cambodia, sits an old metal trunk. Inside it: 1,000 hours of audio tape and 160 hours of video; ten years' worth of interviews, conducted by Khmer journalist Thet Sambath.He wants answers to the one question that survivors of the Pol Pot time have long feared to ask. And the question is "why?"

His interviewee's in his 80s. He was Pol Pot's Number Two. In ten years, Sambath got to know Nuon Chea well. In the end, the old man confessed to how suspected traitors were purged, saying:

"They were killed and destroyed. If we had let them live the party line would have been hijacked. They were enemies of the people."

By the mid 1970s, half-a-million tonnes of American bombs, aimed at halting the advance of fanatical communism, had left half-a-million Cambodians dead, but the Khmer Rouge was an unstoppable force.

By they time they took power 35 years ago, Cambodia was a brutalised nation. In Enemies of the People, Thet Sambath narrates:

"There is only two at the top of the Khmer Rouge. "Pol Pot. They call him Brother Number One. And Nuon Chea, Brother Number Two."

"They were killed and destroyed. If we had let them live the party line would have been hijacked. They were enemies of the people." Nuon Chea, Brother Number Two


They began their programme to return to the past: Year Zero. Cambodia became a vast workcamp, families were abolished; violent death employed a tool of social discipline. These were the Killing Fields, in which maybe two-million Cambodians died.

Nuon Chea told Thet Sambath that all this was what he called "the correct solution," but one day, he said something remarkable.

"I have always said I made mistakes. I am regretful and I have remorse. I am sorry for our regime. I am sorry." Nuon Chea, Brother Number Two

Channel 4 News interviewed a Cambodian survivor - Virak. The Khmer Rouge murdered three of her brothers. Her father ad two other brothers died of starvation in work camps. She said:

"I can never forgive for what Nuon Chea has done to all the Cambodian people.

"An estimated 1.7 m during the Pol Pot regime, and the people who are survive this Pol Pot time until now the scar of the genocide it never fade."

Tortured souls
The documentary also reveals the torment of those who actually did the killing at the orders of the regime.

In one section, a self-confessed peasant executioner, Soun, re-enacts with a plastic knife how they slit people's throats

Soun, with his fellow killer, Khoun, are today tortured souls, describing the desolation they feel, knowing what they have done.

At a recent viewing of the film by Cambodian refugees in the United States, the two Khmer Rouge killers agreed to participate in a video conference with the American audience. The result was startling; it was as though those watching understood that Khoun and Soun were themselves victims; for them it was a release.

The most senior Khmer Rouge henchman, Comrade Duch, was sentenced to 35 years for crimes against humanity in July. He'd run a torture centre in Phnom Penh. He'd admitted to his role in killing and torturing thousands of men, women and children but said he'd only been following orders.

The orders were those of Pol Pot - now long dead - and Noun Chea, now an indicted genocidaire, due to stand trial next year.

But prosecutors have been unable to extract a confession and the UN Tribunal's tried to subpoena the trunkload of audio and video tapes as evidence, but the film-makers have refused.

One day, after nearly ten years, Thet Sambath, revealed something to Brother Number Two, that he'd kept secret all that time:

"Now I know your father, mother and brother were killed.

"I would like to say how deeply sorry I am."

Sambath admits to having felt better for telling him. It's never clear whether Brother Number Two feels any better for confessing and saying sorry.

But 30 years on from the Khmer Rouge reign of terror, it's this avuncular 84-year-old man who's the enemy of the Cambodian people.


I come back here to where I killed people. And I feel terrible. My mind, my soul, my body is spinning inside. Soun, Khmer Rouge killer

Jaidee takes out Cambodia Open

via CAAI

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand showed why he is one of Asia's best when he won his unprecedented 13th Asian Tour title at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open on Sunday.

The decorated Thai star was clearly in a class of his own when he posted a final round seven-under-par 65 to win the US$300,000 full field Asian Tour event by four shots with a four-day total of 21-under-par 267.

Japan's Kenichi Kuboya, who held the lead for three rounds, had to settle for second place after signing off with a 70 for a 271 total at the Phokeethra Country Club.

Korea's Kim Hyung-sung returned with a 72 to take third place on 273 while India's Anirban Lahiri and Guido Van der Valk of the Netherlands took a share of fourth place on matching 274s.

Australia's Marcus Both together with Malaysia's Iain Steel and Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng took equal sixth on 275.

"I played really solid all week and I've no complains. This is my second win at the Johnnie Walker Cambodia Open and I'm really proud of myself," said Thongchai.

It was a close tussle at the top with Thongchai and Kuboya fighting neck-to-neck for supremacy through the first 12 holes.

Playing together in the last group, Thongchai, who started his round in third place, got off strongly with two birdies in his opening two holes to grab a share of the lead with Kuboya.

The Japanese responded with birdies on the second and fourth holes to regain the outright lead after six holes. However it was at the par-four seventh where the lead changed hands again. Kuboya dropped his first shot of the week there while Thongchai birdied his to move atop the leaderboard.

Kuboya regained the share of the lead briefly after another birdie on the 11th hole but Thongchai responded with another birdie of his own at the par-four 12th to move ahead at 18-under with six holes to play.

The contest was virtually over when Kuboya made a costly mess at the par-three 14th with a double bogey, giving Thongchai a three-shot lead.

Thongchai stormed home convincingly with three birdies in his last three holes to secure his first win this season and a record 13th career title on the Asian Tour.

"If I continue my good form, there is a good chance of winning again next week," said Thongchai of his title aspirations at next week's Black Mountain Masters which is also the Asian Tour's season finale in Hua Hin.

"I would like to thank my coach and sponsors for supporting me for without them, I would not be able to achieve so much success," added the Thai star.

While Lahiri hopes of winning his maiden Asian Tour title did not materialise this week, he was able to take comfort with his solid play that led him to this third top-10 finish this season.

"I only made one mistake today, a triple bogey on the seventh hole but I'm really proud that I made four birdies in a row after that to come back into it," said Lahiri.

With his Tour card also secured, the 23-year-old Indian is now looking forward to cap his season on a winning note at the season finale Black Mountain Masters next week.

"I'm happy with the way it has ended up and hopefully it should be enough to secure my Tour card for next year. I played really well in Black Mountain last year and now I've got to go there and try and win and get my rankings further up," said the Indian who finished fourth at the Black Mountain Golf Club last year.

Meanwhile Steel could only rue his calamitous hole at the par-three 14th during his opening round where he recorded an eight which cost him his chance of winning his maiden Asian Tour title.

"It was just one bad hole which cost me the tournament this week. Apart from that, it was a birdie fest," said Steel.

"There was no chance of me catching the leaders today. I had to shoot 58 or something today but realistically I wanted to play well by making birdies and move up the leaderboard," added the Malaysian.

Cambodia a new Hom Mali rival

via CAAI

Published: 13/12/2010

Thai Hom Mali rice could lose market share in Hong Kong to Cambodia, where premium fragrant rice sells at more competitive prices.

Chinese rice traders sample Thai Hom Mali rice at an event held in Si Sa Ket in response to reports that some shipments to China contained other varieties mixed with jasmine rice.

Hong Kong imports 220,000 to 230,000 tonnes, or 10% of the jasmine Hom Mali rice Thailand ships each year.

But the volume of Thai rice to the territory has been falling in recent years, as Cambodia offers lower prices by shipping out of ports in Vietnam, Thai exporters said.

"Cambodian fragrant rice sold in Hong Kong is very competitive at US$800 per tonne, lower than the $1,100 for Thai rice," said Charoen Laothamatas, the president of Uthai Produce, the country's leading Hom Mali exporter.

Thai Hom Mali exports to Hong Kong dropped to 196,100 tonnes last year, down 3% from the year before. In the first 10 months this year, the volume shrank 14% to 135,000 tonnes.

Charoen: New strains in Isan cause concern

"Cambodia's jasmine rice appears to have the similar fine quality of Thai rice since it also has many locally owned strains and cross-bred varieties, some developed from Thai Hom Dok Mali 105 and Pathum Thani 1," he said.

Its exports have been active in recent years thanks to good productivity and the strong sweet scent of its jasmine rice grown from fertile soil with fewer chemical fertilisers, said Mr Charoen.

Prime Minister Hun Sen forecast earlier that Cambodia would produce 7.5 million tonnes of rice this year, more than enough for local consumption of 4 million, so it plans to export the balance.

Thai Hom Mali rice also must deal with fake Hom Mali being sold in Hong Kong and China.

Because Hom Mali sells at a premium, it encourages traders to copy the trademarks on bags of lower-standard grain, said Mr Charoen.

Hom Mali exports have dropped to 1.82 million tonnes in the first 10 months of the year, down 14% from the same period of 2009.

His company's sales last year shrank to between 150,000 and 160,000 tonnes from more than 250,000 the year before.

To alleviate the problem, he suggests the government classify other Thai jasmine fragrant rice strains in order to offer choices for consumers who don't want to spend as much.

He added the quality of Hom Mali rice, especially the aroma, has been deteriorating due to a lack of investment in research and development of rice breeds and the lack of a zoning system to ensure the grain's properties.

"It is always frightening to learn there are new strains of less fragrant jasmine rice being planted in the Northeast, the region most suitable for growing Hom Mali," he said.

Mr Charoen also urged the government to guard against illegal imports of Cambodian jasmine rice by Thai millers because of the Thai government's income guarantee programme.

Buddhist pilgrims to get Visa-on -Arrival

Buddhist pilgrims to get Visa-on -Arrival

via CAAI

12 Dec 2010

As a New Year gift to Buddhist pilgrims, the government has decided to extend Visa-on-Arrival facility to five ASEAN countries from January 1,2011.

"It is being decided that Visa-on-Arrival (VoA)facility would be extended to five more countries -- Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. The scheme would be operational from the New Year 2011," a senior Tourism Ministry official said.

The single-entry visa, to be issued at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata airports, will have a validity of 30 days. "The decision was taken after due discussion with the ministries of External Affairs and Home. A formal announcement in this regard will be made soon," the official said, adding, "the VoA would facilitate in attracting more Buddhist pilgrims from these countries."

India had launched the VoA in January on a pilot basis for Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Finland and Luxembourg.

"The response is so far good and 5,644 tourists availed this facility between January and November this year. Now we want to include more countries," he said. Tourism Ministry has signed an MoU with International Finance Corporation to develop the Buddhist circuit.

"Currently, there is a special train connecting Buddhist sites and steps are being taken to make this circuit a well-connected route," the official said.

Hun Sen expects stronger Sino-Cambodian friendship ties

via CAAI

December 13, 2010

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Sunday that his official visit to China on Dec. 13-17 will further strengthen the friendship relations between the two countries with more than a dozen agreements to be signed.

"Fourteen agreements will be signed with China, possibly the 15th agreement on exporting cassava from Cambodia will also be signed" during his visit, Hun Sen said during the inauguration of new premises in a pagoda in Sen Sok district of Phnom Penh.

Some of the agreements related to China's financial assistance to construct a 300 km national road off the national road 4 to Chhumkiri district of Kampot province and a canal, he said.

And the agreements also include the construction of the second Chruoy Changvar bridge in Phnom Penh and a bridge across Tonle Bassac in Takhmao district of Kandal province, as well as the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Preah Sihanouk province, he added.

"In the past, we signed rice export agreement with China already, and we hope to sign the cassava exports to China during the visit and we are suggesting for corn export deal with China also," he said.

"Our farmers will make use of rice and cassava exports because Chinese market is very big."

Hun Sen said the visit is to strengthen friendship relations between Cambodia and China.

Prime Minister Hun Sen will pay an official visit to China from Dec. 13 to 17 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. He will be accompanied by Hor Namhong, minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Cham Prasidh, minister of commerce, and other Cambodian high ranking officials.


Chinese monks pray for dead in Cambodia's stampede tragedy

via CAAI

December 13, 2010

About 160 Chinese Buddhist monks from six countries and region gathered on Sunday at the Diamond Bridge, where a stampede occurred on Nov. 22 that killed 353 people and injured 393 others, to hold a Chinese traditional rite to pray for the dead to rest in peace and bring in happiness to the development of the Diamond Island.

The monks are from Chinese mainland and Taiwan, the United States, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam in the World's Chinese Buddhist Sangha Congress.

"We have already held many Cambodian Buddhist ceremonies to pray to the spirits of the dead to rest in peace, and now we hold the one-day Chinese traditional ceremony to dedicate to them and to bring in good luck for the development of the Diamond Island," said Pung Kheav Se, the owner and developer of the Diamond Island on Sunday.

The development of the one-billion-U.S.-dollar Diamond Island began in 2008, it is designed to develop as a satellite city that includes business centers, shopping malls, entertainment facilities, hotels, schools, hospitals, condos and apartments.

The stampede tragedy happened on Nov. 22, the final day of the Water Festival, at Diamond Island's north bridge, killing 353 people and injuring 393 others. The accident was caused by a panic which soon after led to the stampede.

Cambodia's Water Festival from Nov. 20 to 22 is the largest annual festival in the Southeast Asian nation, around three million Cambodians, especially those from rural areas converged to the city to enjoy the regatta.


AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

via CAAI


King-Father Reiterates Support for PM Hun Sen

Phnom Penh, December 13, 2010 AKP -- His Majesty King-Father Norodom Sihanouk has reiterated his support until the end of his life to Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen as Prime Minister.

“Since many years, I said and wrote (several times) that H.E. Samdech Decho Hun Sen, in his highest capacity as Head of the RGC (Royal Government of Cambodia), was supported at 100 percent by me, and that until the end of my life,” said the Cambodian former king in a statement dated Dec. 10 in Beijing, China.

“In this regard, my position remains unchanged,” said King-Father, stressing that he is retired and he will not re-enter the politics. --AKP




DPM Sok An Meets Ambassador of Singapore

Phnom Penh, December 13, 2010 AKP -- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers H.E. Sok An received here on Dec. 9 Singapore Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Premjith Sadasivan.

In the meeting, H.E. Sok An highly appreciated the good cooperation between Cambodia and Singapore.

Singapore has assisted Cambodia in vocational training and provided technical assistance such as computers to the Ministry of Commerce, two scanners and a thermal scanner to detect SARS and influenza A/H1N1 respectively, he said.

The two countries have signed agreements on investment and air services and on capacity building of Cambodia’s public administration. They have also signed a MoU on shared experiences of public financial management, and an agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic, official and normal passports. The visa exemption for normal passports for a less than-one-month stay has started since Jan. 1, 2006.

The meeting also touched on tourism and trade cooperation.

The Cambodian deputy prime minister also informed his guest of the success of the 6th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) hosted by Cambodia in early December this year.

He said that ICAPP delegations have visited the historical site of Angkor and Preah Vihear Temple, which is recently listed as a World Heritage Site. After their visit, they issued a joint statement, expressing their support to the International Court of Justice in The Hague that ruled that Preah Vihear Temple belongs to Cambodia and is located on Cambodian territory.

Earlier on Dec. 8, the Singapore ambassador also met with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance H.E. Keat Chhon. --AKP

Translated by SOKMOM Nimul



Public Servants to Declare Their Assets and Liabilities

Phnom Penh, December 13, 2010 AKP -- Public servants are requires to declare their assets and liabilities early next year as part of the efforts to implement and enforce the Law on Anti-Corruption.

Directives on the declaration of assets and liabilities were circulated during the National Workshop for Dissemination of Law on Anti-Corruption held at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh last Thursday.

The Article 17 in Chapter 4 of the Law, “Persons Required to Declare Assets and Liabilities” requires the following persons to make the assets and liabilities declaration upon taking and leaving offices, in writing or electronic form, regardless of whether the assets are inside or outside the country, and submit in person, to the Anti-Corruption Unit:

- Members of Senate, Members of National Assembly, and Members of the Royal Government;

- Appointed public officials with a specific mandate;

- Members of the National Council Against Corruption, Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons and all officials of the Anti-Corruption Unit;

- Civil servants, police, military personnel, and other public servants appointed by Royal Decrees or Sub-decrees;

- Other officials appointed by Prakas and decided by the Anti-Corruption Unit’s list of declaration on assets and liabilities, after consultation with the National Council Against Corruption;

- Trial judges, prosecutors, notary public, court clerks and bailiffs;

- Leaders of civil society.

Tong Sam, Chairman of the National Council against Corruption, said that the workshop was really beneficial as it was organized for the public officials with relevant obligations to get ready to declare their assets, and for the Anti-Corruption Unit and the National Council against Corruption to be able to publicize their roles and functions.

He appreciated the efforts made by the concerned agencies of all levels, which, he said, reflected their attention in improving the understanding, a precondition for participating in the implementation of the Law. --AKP

Text by CHIM Nary

Translated by Ravuth M.



Japanese Grant Aid for the Infectious Disease Control Project

Phnom Penh, December 13, 2010 AKP -- The Japanese government has extended over 201 million Yen, approximately US$2.4 million, in grant aid to the Cambodian Ministry of Health to support the Infectious Disease Control Project.

The grant aid handover ceremony was held here on Dec. 9 at the Health Department of Svay Rieng province in the presence of Prof Eng Huot, secretary of state at the Health Ministry and H.E. Masafumi Kuroki, Japanese ambassador to Cambodia.

According to Dr. Pen Sona, provincial director of Health Department, the Japanese government has so far provided material and technical assistance to Svay Rieng province through the Cambodian Health Ministry, JICA and other partner organizations including CHC.

For his part, Prof. Eng Huot said this grant aid will be used for the National Immunization Programme.

Japan has been an important development partner of Cambodia in the field of health since 1992, he said. --AKP

Translated by SOKMOM Nimul

Monks bless stampede bridge

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
People participate in a blessing ceremony led by Chinese monks yesterday at the northern bridge leading to Diamond Island, site of last month’s deadly stampede.

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:02 Tep Nimol

THE firm developing Diamond Island held a ceremony yesterday for victims of the deadly stampede last month that killed 353 on a bridge to the island.

About 100 monks, including 21 senior monks from as far afield as China, Vietnam and Taiwan, led the Chinese-language ceremony, joined by 300 others from the capital’s Chinese-Cambodian community, including members of Chinese associations, students and business leaders.

“This ceremony is aimed at paying tribute to the dead and allowing them to rest in peace,” said Pung Khiav Se, general director of Diamond Island developer Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation.

Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema led an official ceremony last week to reopen the bridge, which is now open only to traffic exiting the island in order to guard against a recurrence of the Water Festival tragedy. The governor also said OCIC had plans to build two additional bridges to the mainland.

An official investigation of put the death toll at 353, with 393 injured. The investigation committee said the incident occurred when festival-goers panicked over the swaying of the suspension bridge and rumours that it might collapse.

However, the committee did not ascribe responsibility for the disaster to any particular official, drawing criticism from the opposition and NGOs, who said it lacked the independence and competence to perform a thorough investigation and noting that the only member of the committee who was not a government official was Pung Khiav Se.

Say Sengly, director of the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital, said seven victims of the stampede were still receiving treatment as of yesterday, but that five in that group were scheduled to be discharged today. Chhouy Meng, head of the emergency care unit at Calmette Hospital, said yesterday that about 20 bridge victims were still receiving urgent care at the hospital.

China-Cambodia deal to back power plant

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:00 Chun Sophal

PRIME Minister Hun Sen will sign an agreement in China this week for the construction a US$362 million coal-fired power plant in Sihanoukville province, to be run as a joint venture between a local company and a Chinese firm.

The plant, approved by the Council of Ministers on Friday, is set to be built in Stoeng Hav Industrial Zone with a capacity of 270 MegaWatts of energy once complete, according to a government statement.

Cambodia International Development Group Co Ltd, a joint venture between unnamed local and Chinese firms, was granted a 33-year concession to build and operate the plant starting from next year.

Hun Sen said yesterday that he would sign a contract with China regarding the project during his five day-official visit to the People’s Republic this week.

Id Praing, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy said yesterday that the new plant would be operating by 2014.

“We hope that under this project Cambodia would have additional power to meet the demand for electricity in the future,” he said.

MIME’s development plan to meet growing electricity demand includes building plants with 700 MW total capacity around Sihanoukville between 2011 and 2015.

Chhit Sam Arth President of NGO Forum on Cambodia said the government should encourage in-depth studies on the environmental impact of coal-fired power plants, as approved locations are near coastal areas potentially popular with tourists.

“We agree that Cambodia needs electric power, but we encourage the government and the companies developing such projects to pay attention to the impact in order not to affect the quality of underground water and the sea,” he said.

But Id Praing said the project was not likely to affect the coastal environment because a study has found that the expected level of carbon emissions was lower than international standards.

“We need power from these plants. It is a sign of development in this sector that will be able to supply more power as soon as possible, but we will never forget the challenges,” he said.

Prince floats coalition deal

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Prince Norodom Ranariddh addresses supporters at a party congress on Saturday.

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:03 Meas Sokchea and Vong Sokheng

FORMER premier Nordom Ranariddh has announced that he will not play “political games” with Prime Minister Hun Sen upon returning to politics, instead expressing interest in a coalition government with the premier’s Cambodian People’s Party.

Speaking to more than 500 supporters on Saturday at the Phnom Penh headquarters of the Nationalist Party, which has changed its name back to the Norodom Ranariddh Party, the prince said he had no intention of provoking conflict with Hun Sen as he steps back onto the political field.

“I will not play – [Hun Sen] has given me a red card already. He gave me a red card for 18 months,” Ranariddh said, referring to the 18 month prison term he received in 2007 for fraud. Ranariddh went into self-exile in Malaysia following the conviction before returning in 2008 following a pardon from his half-brother, King Norodom Sihamoni.

Hun Sen last week warned that Ranariddh’s return to the political scene could drag the monarchy into politics, and said members of the royalist Funcinpec party holding government positions in the CPP-dominated coalition would lose their posts if they defect to Ranariddh. Ranariddh was ousted from the Funcinpec leadership in 2006 following embezzlement allegations, going on to form his eponymous party, though members of Funcinpec and the NRP have recently expressed interest in merging.

Ranariddh said on Saturday that he hoped to attract members of Funcinpec and the NRP to contest the upcoming national elections in 2012 and 2013 as the “Funcinpec 81” party, a reference to the founding of Funcinpec in 1981 by his father, Norodom Sihanouk.

In a hand-written letter dated Friday and posted on his website, the King Father wrote that he would continue to support Hun Sen “100 percent”, despite Ranariddh’s return to politics.

“For several years already, I said and wrote (many times) that H.E. Samdech Decho Hun Sen, in the very high quality as leader of the [Royal Government of Cambodia], was supported, 100 percent by me and [it will remain] thus until the end of my life,” the 88-year-old Sihanouk wrote.

While Ranariddh said earlier this month that Funcinpec was “just a party serving” the CPP, he expressed interest on Saturday in forming his own coalition with the ruling party.

“The King Father has supported Samdech Hun Sen as Prime Minister, 100 percent. We, Funcinpec 81, who are followers of Sihanouk, ask to work together, too,” Ranariddh said.

Ranariddh was elected prime minister in United Nations-backed elections in 1993 before being ousted from his position during the 1997 factional fighting by his coalition partner, then- “second prime minister” Hun Sen.

Deputy Prime Minister Nhek Bun Chhay, the secretary general of Funcinpec, said the formation of Ranariddh’s Funcinpec 81 would “create difficulty”, given that Hun Sen has pledged to continue the coalition partnership with Funcinpec in its current iteration.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said the premier prefers the current Funcinpec leadership to Ranariddh, adding that a CPP-Funcinpec 81 coalition was “probably impossible”.


Police Blotter: 13 Dec 2010

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:01 Phak Seangly

Girl, 16, takes her life to avoid problem at school
A 16-year-old girl from Kampong Chhnang province died in hospital on Friday morning, one day after drinking pesticide and slitting her wrists and ankles. Relatives said the girl had desperately wanted to leave school because of a “big problem” that she had refused to confide further details about. They said the girl’s parents, who had tried to encourage her to remain in school so she could become a teacher, had found the girl still alive after her suicide attempt on Thursday and rushed her to hospital where medical staff were unable to save her.

Boyfriend held over rape of girlfriend
Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district police have arrested a 30-year-old man after his 22-year-old girlfriend filed a complaint accusing him of raping her and physically assaulting her sister. Police said the man was accused of becoming violent after his girlfriend’s 26-year-old sister refused to allow her younger sibling to move in with him. The girlfriend has demanded US$3,000 in compensation from the man.

Hunt for man over killing of son-in-law
Bavel district police are searching for a 61-year-old man suspected of killing his 34-year-old son-in-law on Monday afternoon in Battambang province. Police said the suspect had been fed up when the victim – who reportedly often picked fights with his father-in-law when drunk – came home inebriated and argumentative one too many times. The suspect allegedly hit the victim in the neck with a wooden stick before fleeing the scene and leaving him to die.

Suspected motorbike thieves apprehended
Kratie provincial police on Wednesday arrested two men, aged 15 and 18, a few hours after they allegedly stole a motorbike from a student at Prek Prosob High School. Police said the suspects had removed the licence plates from the motorbike and were then spotted driving it toward Kratie town, where police believe they intended to sell it.

Married couple detained on drug charges
Daun Penh district police on Thursday arrested a 29-year-old man and his 26-year-old wife on suspicion of trafficking illegal drugs in Phnom Penh. Police said they confiscated five packets of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia from the couple during the arrest, which was made following a tip from a “secret source”.

State approves plan for new drug centre

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:03 May Titthara

THE Council of Ministers has approved plans for Cambodia’s largest-ever drug rehabilitation centre, following concerns from the United Nations and other groups about the Kingdom’s treatment model.

Moek Dara, secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said the facility, approved on Friday, would be built on about 20 hectares of land in Preah Sihanouk province and would have a capacity of 2,000 people.

While critics have urged Cambodia to move away from a punitive model of drug treatment, Moek Dara said some patients could be compelled to remain at the centre involuntarily.

“According to the law, we have to keep them at the centre if they refuse to receive the treatment, or we have to send them to court,” Moek Dara said. “We’re not forcing them to be bad, we’re forcing them to be good.”

In a report released earlier this year, Human Rights Watch documented numerous instances of rape, torture and involuntary incarceration at Cambodian drug treatment centres. The group has warned that by following the example of China and Vietnam, which also utilise compulsory detention, Cambodia risks employing a treatment model with no proven medical benefits.

The government has requested that Vietnam provide US$2.5 million in funding for the Preah Sihanouk centre, Moek Dara said.

Local tycoon Mong Reththy, chairman of the Mong Reththy Group, has pledged to donate land for the project, which is located near a port and plantations controlled by MRG.

“We will provide jobs to all drug-addicted people who are willing to work, and I welcome all drug-addicted people because I have a lot of space for them,” Mong Reththy said yesterday.

Joe Amon, director of Human Rights Watch’s health and human rights division, warned in October about the involvement of private companies in funding drug treatment, which is permitted under Cambodia’s pending drug law.

“The most worrying scenario is one of systematised forced labour by detainees for the benefit of private companies,” Amon said.

Mong Reththy said all those from the centre working for him would receive “normal salaries, according to their skill”.

The government signed a letter of intent with the UN in November to provide voluntary, community-based drug treatment options in addition to compulsory centres, following a visit to the Kingdom by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

Woman arrested over kidnap, ransom of girl

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:03 Chrann Chamroeun

PHNOM Penh police in cooperation with Kampong Cham provincial police arrested a woman yesterday for allegedly kidnapping and holding for ransom a 6-year-old girl.

Chem Seng Hong, deputy provincial police chief in charge of central justice, said the girl’s parents had filed a report at the police station at about 9:30 on Saturday morning, after realising that their daughter was missing.

“At about 10am, the girl’s parents came back to our police station to tell us that their daughter was kidnapped, after receiving repeated phone calls from the suspect demanding they transfer US$20,000 in ransom for the girl,” he said. “They had negotiated down to $12,000 and agreed to transfer the money through [a branch of] Cambodia Asia Bank in Phnom Penh upon the suspect’s request, which is where she was arrested that afternoon by bank security guards after being tipped off by bank officials.”

Police said the girl was unharmed and had been returned to her parents after her alleged kidnapper was arrested.

According to Chem Seng Hong, the suspect admitted to abducting the girl, citing a need for money to travel abroad as her reasoning. He added that the suspect would likely be sent to the provincial court today to face charges.

At-risk cattle vaccinated

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:02 Khouth Sophakchakrya

PROVINCIAL officials from the Ministry of Agriculture have provided vaccines to more than 1,000 animals in an attempt to stem the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Prey Veng province.

Heng Meth, chief of the veterinary department in the provincial ministry of agriculture in Mesang district, said officials from his working group gave vaccines by injection over the past week, and also provided information to farmers to help protect their livestock.

“When cattle die from the disease, villagers must bury them deeply or burn them. Please avoid eating the beef. Put the sick cattle away from the others and do not release them to graze in the rice fields,” he instructed.

Ros Sarou, 66, from Pon village in Chres commune, said the disease killed more than 10 head of cattle last week, including three of his own.

Kratie protest over eviction

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Monday, 13 December 2010 15:02 May Titthara

ABOUT 50 villagers representing 116 families protested in front of the home of Land Management Minister Im Chhun Lim in Kratie province yesterday, asking for intervention in a land dispute that could see them all evicted early next month.

Eang Phalla, a village representative, said residents from Snoul district’s Pi Thnou commune decided to stage the protest when they heard the minister was visiting his Kratie home.

“We are very happy to hear that the minister came home because the due date of eviction is coming,” he said. “Therefore, we come here to ask for help.”

Representatives said residents were issued a letter by provincial authorities on December 6 notifying them that they had one month to move from their homes to make way for the Sovann Vuthy Company, which plans to construct a rubber plantation on the land.

Eang Phalla said the protestors were told by police officers yesterday that the minister was busy and would address them on Monday.

Villagers from Pi Thnou commune have accused Sovann Vuthy Company – which was granted more than 7,000 hectares in land concessions in 2009 – of attempting to forcibly evict them from their homes, in addition to destroying six houses in November.

Representatives from Sovann Vuthy Company could not be reached yesterday.

The villagers have also said that families settled in the commune as early as 1979, and had held legal land titles, which have since been revoked.

However, Kham Phoeun, Kratie provincial governor, said the area doesn’t belong to the villagers and was originally a protected forest area. He said he received the villagers’ complaints and would consider holding a meeting next week to address the issue.

“If we find out that [the villagers] are really poor and don’t have any land, we will consider their case accordingly,” he said. “But if we find that they have just come to protest with support from anyone, we will take legal actions as well.”

Thim Narin, an official with rights group Adhoc, said the villagers “should have received some benefits” from the land concession, especially “if they are really poor”.

More than 100 ill from deer meat

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear

MORE than 100 people fell ill and 29 received treatment at a health centre last week after they were sickened by a meal of deer meat in Ratanakkiri province’s Veun Sai district.

Veun Sai district police chief Toeun Nou Thorng said several villagers had discovered a deer carcasss in the forest of Veun Sai’s Hatpak commune and had shared the meet with others in the area. The carcass was rotten and odiferous, and had likely been sitting in the forest for several days, he added.

“Several hours after eating, everyone in the village started getting stomachaches and diarrhoea until there were 120 people who had become sick,” he said.

To make matters worse, a number of villagers had eaten the meat raw, he said, adding that those who did were among the most severely ill.

Sum Samlai, director of the provincial health department, said none of those affected were in danger of dying, and that health officials had instructed the villagers not to eat rotten meat.

“We helped them in a timely manner and I told them not to eat spoiled meat anymore,” Sum Samlai said. “They listened to us and agreed that they would not do it again.”

More farmers grow organic

Men work at a new organic farm in Kampong Speu province late last week. Organic food is becoming more popular in the Kingdom. Photo by: Wesley Monts

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Monday, 13 December 2010 15:00 Khouth Sophakchakrya

A CAMBODIAN rural development group has leased more than 150 hectares of farmland in Kampong Speu province to meet a growing consumer demand for organic produce.

Bun Penhpheak organic marketing manger for the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture said the consumer appetite for vegetables grown without chemical fertilisers or pesticides was increasing every day, but production currently fell short of demand.

“This signals a consumer trend. It also motivates farmers who practice non-chemical or non-pesticide methods in farming,” he said. Pech Van, CEDAC’s chief of organic food gardening in Trapaing Prey village, in Kampong Speu’s Phnom Srouch district, said the new farm would provide crops such as cucumber, winter melon and tomato.

Mining giant hit with class action lawsuit

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:00 Catherine James

TELIASONERA AB fell 0.7 percent over the week in Stockholm trading last week, after announcing a merger between its Cambodian company Star-Cell and Smart Mobile.

The value of shares in Sweden’s biggest phone company initially climbed 0.65 percent on Monday to 54.2 kronor (US$7.85), as it announced a plan to merge its Cambodian operations with its rival. It said would take a 25 percent stake in the new Smart Mobile-branded company, pending approval from Cambodian authorities.

Share price continued to rise during the week to 54.5 kronor on Wednesday, but ultimately closed Friday at 53.8 kronor.

Meanwhile, the Australian Stock Exchange’s (ASX) fourth gold miner with a Cambodian focus began trading last week.

Indochine Mining Ltd, which is exploring 4,000 square metres of land in Ratanakkiri and Kratie provinces, debuted on the ASX on Thursday at A$0.20 (US$0.197) a share, with a market capitalization of $54 million following a $20.1 million capital raising.

Its share price fell in the first day’s trading to $0.17, and closed the week marginally higher at $0.175.

As Indochine’s debuted, another ASX-listed gold miner OZ Minerals, which operates concessions in Mondulkkiri province, was slapped with a class action lawsuit by Slater & Gordon.

OZ’s share price initially traded up to A$1.675 from its $1.66 open on Thursday, but fell back to $1.63 by Friday’s close.

Slater & Gordon filed a statement Thursday with the ASX saying it would begin contacting OZ Minerals 94,000 shareholders about the class action from Friday. It claimed OZ Minerals failed to disclose the full extent of its debt and refinancing difficulties as it “struggled to stay afloat” in 2008.

Bank of China, which opened the doors of its first branch in Cambodia on Wednesday, saw its share price drop 2.84 percent over the week on the Hang Seng in Hong Kong, closing Friday at HK$4.10 (US$0.53).

The bank said Friday 99.1 percent of shareholders took up the rights issue for the Hang Seng-listed shares, raising a gross amount of HK$20.8 billion ($2.7 billion), on top of the 41.8 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) raised from its Shanghai-listed rights issue a month ago.

Its share price has declined more than 10 percent since November 4 when it hit near-12-month-high of HK$5 as it undertook its $9 billion capital raising to meet new, tighter capital requirements.

Bun Kenny superior in singles

Bun Kenny (left) hits a return to Timo Sivapruksa of Thailand during their Super Singles final yesterday of the Tep Khunnah Memorial tennis tournament at the National Training Centre. The Cambodian No1 swept past his visiting opponent 6-2, 6-1 to clinch the title. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

Cambodia’s top ranked tennis player Bun Kenny elicited numerous errors from Thailand’s Timo Sivapruksa and exploited them fully to win the Super Singles final of the Tep Khunnah Memorial tournament 6-2, 6-1 at the National Training Centre yesterday.

With an occasional advance to the net, Bun Kenny kept the Thai junior guessing most of the time by frequently changing the flanks. In both sets, he broke through early and maintained the momentum to wrap up the contest in little over an hour.

Earlier, national team member Orn Sambath was listless in the men’s singles final when encountering a steady stream of good strokes from Ek Chamroeun, who completed a resounding 6-1, 6-0 victory.

However, Sambath was in a totally different mode when he played the U18 singles final against Kan Sophon. The Asian Games participant packed too many punches for Kan Sophon’s comfort, winning it 6-3, 6-2.

Moni Odam is best boy
The boys U14 singles final yesterday developed into an intense struggle between Saman Moni Odam and Touch Sophearath. After the first two sets were shared, Moni Odam came into his own in the third to polish off the tie at 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

The men’s over-45 singles went as expected to Sok Oun, who prevailed 9-4 over Yi Sarin, who is the younger brother of the oldest active player in the Kingdom, Yi Sarun.

The men’s doubles event was won by Long Samneang and Orn Sambath, the pair beating Ek Chamroeun and Seang Mao in a super tie-break 10-5 after sharing the first two sets at an identical 6-3.

The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief

via CAAI

Gaviola wins at Masters

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

In a thrilling duel down the stretch, Renato Gaviola of the Phillipines shot a one-under 71 in the second round, cushioning his first round even par 72 to beat compatriot Fabian Del Rosario by a single stroke in the Asian Senior Masters tournament at the Siem Reap Lake Resort golf club last Thursday. Del Rosario had completed a first round of 70 to make him the frontrunner for the title overnight on Wednesday. However, he drifted back with a subdued second round showing that saw him hit a two-over 74 and end with a total of 144. Ross Metherell of Australia and Tony Feminis of Germany tied for third on 145, followed by Don Leary of Australia and the Filipino pair of Antolin Fernando and Jessie Hernandez all tied at 147. The Beeline Cup, an amateur event that run concurrently to the Senior Masters, saw Cambodian rookies take the top three slots. Sam Kean’s 74 saw him edge out compatriots Cheng Heng (75), Ly Hong (76) and Ly Thuch (77).

Long Sophy triumphs

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:00 Robert Starkweather

Long Sophy beat Kao Roomchang on Saturday to win the four-man light-welterweight tournament at the TV3 boxing arena. Long Sophy, the 63.5-kilogram TV5 champion, weathered an early onslaught and used smart clinch work down the stretch to score the win. A barrage of knees had nearly put Kao Roomchang down in the fourth round.

Kids crunch maths contest

Om Tith Chann Villi, 10, pictured on holiday with his mother Phoeun Chann Vannary, is among 11 young Cambodians competing in a maths competition in Hong Kong this week.

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:00 Ou Mom

ELEVEN gifted Cambodian students flew out from Phnom Penh yesterday to take part in an international mathematics competition in Hong Kong this week.

The highest-scoring Khmer student is 10-year-old Om Tith Chann Villi, a grade-5 student at iCan British International School.

Before leaving, he said he was extremely hopeful and confident of doing well for his country.

Villi studied with a private tutor for about two hours a day, besides his schoolwork and homework, said his mother Phoeun Chann Vannary.

“Villi has not spent too much time studying because he has worked hard from the beginning and is very confident,” she said.

He had always been able to calculate math problems very quickly and loved to read, said his father Om Vuthy Rith, standing in front of mirrored bookshelves containing dozens of books.

After Villi’s study time each weekday, he had about an hour to chat with relatives or friends, his parents said, while on weekends he played games or used the internet.

“We educate him by encouraging him, and stick notes on the wall that record his highest marks,” said Om Vuthy Rith.

Villi obtained a scholarship to compete in the international proficiency test in maths with students from China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines.

The competition would find the region’s most outstanding students between grades five to 12, said Sok Touch, a director at Khamara University. Cambodia had selected 11 outstanding students from a nationwide field of 70 to compete in the event, he said.

Chan Roth, maths technical advisor at Khamara University, said that medals and cash would be given to winners.

A cut above the rest

Photo by: Wesley Monts

via CAAI

Monday, 13 December 2010 15:01 Wesley Monts

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest – well, at least for some. Women have their hair washed and styled at a small beauty salon located in Phsar Kapko market in central Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district yesterday.

Jaidee clinches second Open

Photo by: Reuters

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee was in a class of his own as he cruised to an unprecedented 13th Asian Tour title at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open in Siem Reap.

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Sunday, 12 December 2010 20:17 H S Manjunath

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee proved beyond anyone’s doubt yesterday that form is fleeting but class is permanent.

With an air of certainty and touch bordering on the brilliant, the 41-year-old golfing maestro produced a flawless seven-under-par round of 66, cherry picking six birdies for an aggregate of 271 to regain the US$300,000 Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open title at the picturesque Phokeethra Country Club In Siem Reap.

Undaunted by the buzz surrounding Kuboya Kenichi of Japan’s flourish and South Korean Kim Hyung-sung’s late dash to share the overnight lead, it was Jaidee – the first Asian to break into the world top 50 last year - who swiftly brought in his long range driving and precision putting.

“I was quite solid and very steady. No complaints, it has been a good week. To win in Cambodia again is exciting,” said the seasoned Thai campaigner, who won the event in 2008 and has now surpassed the $4 million mark in Asian Tour earnings.

Kenichi and Kim were left to bemoan their own lack of golfing finery in dealing with a man who was playing with the nerves of steel.

Starting the final round yesterday a stroke behind the pair, Jaidee landed a chip of great precision from a slope on the first hole to steal a birdie that served as a warning shot to the two leaders.

At no stage did Thongchai Jaidee slacken his grip, while Kuboya dropped a shot on the seventh and suffered a double bogey on the 14th to put the brakes on his title aspirations.

The eight-year hunt for a Tour success continues for the 38-year-old Japanese pro, who admitted later that this had been his best performance for some time now. For Kim, three bogeys and three birdies cancelled each other out to leave him hobbling with rage in third spot.

Three-time Order of Merit winner Jaidee reeled off three birdies in a row to finish the day on a blaze of glory, and confirm his place in Asian Tour history by becoming the first player to clinch 13 titles, one ahead of compatriot Thaworn Wiratchant, who finished yesterday in tied 13th place.

The victory boosted Jaidee’s bank balance by another $47,550 as he heads back to his homeland to wind up the season at the Black Mountain event in Hua Hin next week. Kuboya’s second was worth $32,550 while Kim picked up $18,300 for his third place finish.

A surprisingly bold charge came from India’s Aniraban Lahiri, who stormed home with a fourth round 69 to finish joint fourth with Guido Vander Valk of Netherlands at an aggregate of 274.

Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng was the talk of the town Friday when he recorded the first eagle of the tournament in the second round on the par five 17th hole.

Unbelievably, he went one better the next day when he produced a hole-in-one on the par three 16th. Despite the fireworks, he finished in tied sixth along with Ian Stell of Malaysia and defending champion Marcus Both of Australia, who was well poised for a strike at the end of Saturday’s third round but conceded ground on the final day.

It was a lesson of sorts for Thai teenage sensation Atwit Janewattananond on how the spectacular often loses out to the steady.

The 15-year-old was a raging bull on day one when he fired into second spot, but failed to keep up the pace in the next three rounds to come home in tied 23rd.

Cultural uppercut

Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Cambodian men practice the Khmer martial art Bokator in October of this year.

via CAAI

Sunday, 12 December 2010 18:46 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Members of an inter-ministerial taskforce are scheduled to meet today to discuss plans to nominate traditional Khmer boxing for inclusion in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Tem Moeun, president of the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Federation, said officials plan to nominate the martial art, known as Kbach Kun Boran Khmer, for inclusion in the list next year.

“We have almost completed the research about Kbach Kun Boran Khmer for submission to the list,” he said.

“We have many reference documents related to our boxing, and we expect that we will be able to register it ... by 2011.”

UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list is designed to help preserve and raise awareness of a wide range of international traditional cultural practices that also includes Peruvian scissor dancing, Tibetan opera and the Mediterranean diet.

Taem Moeun said Kbach Kun Boran Khmer deserved to be listed because there was evidence – in the form of carvings found on Angkor Wat and temples in Kampong Thom province – that the martial art dates back at least to the Angkorian period.

He said the practice of Khmer boxing had been abandoned during decades of civil war but began experiencing a re-birth after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979, and estimated that more than 1,000 people are currently practicing the martial art in Cambodia.

“Kbach Kun Boran Khmer now is very popular for Cambodians, and it is now developing and spreading out to other countries in the region as well as in the world,” he said, adding that he hoped a UNESCO listing would help to further increase the popularity of Khmer boxing.

“I hope that more people will know about our traditional boxing after it is included as [intangible cultural heritage] in the near future,” he said.

Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, and the Cambodian Amateur Federation, are scheduled to meet in Phnom Penh today to discuss the nomination.

Sbek Thom, Khmer shadow puppet theatre, is the only traditional Cambodian practice which is currently included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

New Sihanoukville power station

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Sunday, 12 December 2010 20:15 Chun Sophal

Prime Minister Hun Sen will sign an agreement in China this week for the construction a US$362 million coal-fired power plant in Sihanoukville province, to be run as a joint venture between a local company and a Chinese firm.

The plant, approved by the Council of Ministers on Friday, is set to be built in Stoeng Hav Industrial Zone with a capacity of 270 Megawatts of energy once complete, according to a government statement.

Cambodia International Development Group Co Ltd, a joint venture between unnamed local and Chinese firms, was granted a 33-year concession to build and operate the plant starting from next year.

Hun Sen said yesterday that he would sign a contract with China regarding the project during his five day-official visit to the People’s Republic this week.

Id Praing, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy said yesterday that the new plant would be operating by 2014.

“We hope that under this project Cambodia would have additional power to meet the demand for electricity in the future,” he said.

MIME’s development plan to meet growing electricity demand includes building plants with 700 MW total capacity around Sihanoukville between 2011 and 2015.

Chhit Sam Arth President of NGO Forum on Cambodia said the government should encourage in-depth studies on the environmental impact of coal-fired power plants, as approved locations are near coastal areas potentially popular with tourists.

“We agree that Cambodia needs electric power, but we encourage the government and the companies developing such projects to pay attention to the impact in order not to affect the quality of underground water and the sea,” he said.

But Id Praing said the project was not likely to affect the coastal environment because a study has found that the expected level of carbon emissions was lower than international standards.

“We need power from these plants. It is a sign of development in this sector that will be able to supply more power as soon as possible, but we will never forget the challenges,” he said.