Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Thais not allowed Thai lawyers

via CAAI

Published: 19/01/2011

The Lawyers Council of Cambodia has turned down a request to replace the two Cambodian lawyers defending the seven Thais facing trial in Phnom Penh with Thai lawyers, Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said on Wednesday.

The request was made by legal advisers of the Thai Patriots Network.

Mr Thani said this means the seven Thais will continue to be defended in court by the two Cambodian lawyers hired by the Thai embassy.

He said the lawyers were discussing a possible appeal to the Supreme Court with Veera Somkwamkid, the only arrested Thai still in detention. He was denied bail by the Appeals Court.

The Thai embassy would do all it could to help Mr Veera, he said.

Mr Thani also said it was still not clear whether or when the Phnom Penh court would call the next hearing.

Mathurapojana Itharong, deputy director-general of the Consular Affairs Department, and a team of psychiatrists left for Phnom Penh on Wednesday morning to meet the six Thais who have been released on bail and examine their physical and mental health.

Karun Saingam, an adviser of the Thai Patriots Network, also left for the Cambodian capital to visit Mr Veera.

Foreign Ministry: No confirmation on Cambodian border case trial date

via CAAI

BANGKOK, Jan 19 - There is no official confirmation available after Bangkok media reported Cambodia's Appeal Court is set to give a verdict February 1 on a case in which seven Thais charged for trespassing on Cambodian territory, a Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

Thani Thongpakdi, the ministry spokesman, said the ministry so far has not yet received official confirmation of a trial date.

A team of Thai physicians led by Consular Affairs Deparment's Deputy Director-General Madurapochana Ittarong have visited all six Thai detainees released on bail at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh and all are in good health, with one having caught a cold, he said.

Regarding a move of the Thai Patriots Network which has offered to act as a lawyer for any of the seven who might need, Mr Thani said the Cambodian Lawyers Council objected to the move. Therefore only a Cambodian lawyer is allowed to represent them in fighting the case, Mr Thani said, noting that no one among the seven asked for a change of lawyer and some of them have simply asked to have a Thai lawyer to join their Cambodian counsel.

The ministry spokesman made his remarks after Karun Saingam and Nattaporn Toprayoon of the Thai Patriots Network, a an ultra-nationalist movement, visited all six Thai nationals released on bail at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh and offered them legal assistance to fight their case, including Veera Somkwamkid, the only one still being held at Prey Sar prison.

Mr Veera is leader of the network, and he was denied bail.

Mr Veera, also a key activist of the "Yellow Shirt" movement, was additionally charged with espionage for attempting to gather information that could affect national defence, an offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

The Thai foreign ministry spokesman said the ministry is willing to provide any necessary help whatever decision Mr Veera might take whether or not to file an appeal for bail at the Supreme Court.

The seven Thais, including the ruling Democrat Party MP Panich Vikitsreth, were arrested in Cambodia on Dec 29 for illegal entry and trespassing on a military area, charges that carry a maximum combined sentence of 18 months in prison.

Meanwhile, the Thai Patriots Network supporters issued a statement denouncing the police for using unnecessary force during the arrest of two of their leading members--Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Somboon Thongburan--for their alleged roles in 2008 airport seizures by the Yellow Shirt movement or the People's Alliance for Democracy.

The arrest took place shortly after Mr Chaiwat and Mr Somboon led supporters in presenting a petition to the king asking for his help for the seven Thais.

The network supporters vowed to prolong their protest at Government House and to join forces with their arch rivals, the Red Shirt movement, to fight for what they called a common cause in winning back the contested territory along Thai-Cambodian border.

The network however agreed to a police request to unblock two lanes of the road near Government House for traffic during rush hour in the morning and evening from Thursday onward. (MCOT online news)

Court approves TPN leaders' detention

via CAAI

Published: 19/01/2011
The Criminal Court on Wednesday approved a police request to detain Thai Patriots Network leaders Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Somboon Thongburan for 12 days from Jan 19-30.

Mr Chaiwat and Mr Somboon were arrested by Crime Suppression Division police acting on court warrants at a restaurant on Tuesday on charges in connection with the seizure of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports by yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy protesters in late 2008.

Mr Chaiwat faces nine charges, including terrorism, and Mr Somboon seven, including terrorism.

CSD police took the two to the Criminal Court on Wednesday morning, seeking permission to detain them for 12 days from Jan 19-30.

The two did not request release on bail, even though police said they would not oppose it, subject to conditions. They instead submitted a petition challenging the CSD's detention application, saying they had been falsely charged.

The court this afternoon approved the request for 12 days detention, and dismissed their petition.

Sophon Thitithampruek, chief of the Bangkok Remand Prison, said Mr Chaiwat and Mr Somboon would be detained separately from United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) members, who also are detained at the prison, to avoid problems.

The two would be put in Zone 1 where no red-shirts are being detained.

Since the red-shirts are usually allowed visitors from 10am-11am, the visiting time for Mr Chaiwat and Mr Wiboon would be after 11am, Mr Sophon said.

They were arrested shortly after they led TPN supporters in a march from Government House to the Grand Palace and submit a petition to His Majesty the King.

The petition asked His Majesty the King to help the seven Thais being tried in Cambodia on illegal entry and other charges.

Six of the Thais have been freed on bail. The only one still behind bars is Veera Somkwamkid, a TPN coordinator.

Meanwhile, in another round of talks with Pol Maj-Gen Kreerin Inkaew, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, and Pol Maj-Gen Wichai Sangprapai, the Metropolitan Police Division 1 chief, core members of the Thai Patriots Network agreed to open two lanes of Phitsanulok road to traffic starting tomorrow between 6am-10am and 3pm-6pm.

The protesters earlier refused to yield to the police request.

TPN protesters refuse to open road

via CAAI

Published: 19/01/2011
Protesting supporters of the Thai Patriots Network on Wednesday morning rejected a police request to open Phitsanulok Road, in front of Government House, to traffic.

Pol Maj-Gen Kreerin Inkaew, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, and Pol Maj-Gen Wichai Sangprapai, Metropolitan Police Division 1 commander, tried to negotiate with Samana Phothirak, leader of the Santi Asoke sect for the protesters to open Phitsanulok Road, but to no avail.

Sunthorn Rakrong, a TPN core member, announced afterwards that the protesters would not open the road because they expected more people to come from other provinces to join them and wanted the space for them.

He read out a statement, saying that the TPN would continue to rally against the government because it had mishandled problems with Cambodia.

The statement also denounced police for the arrest of Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Somboon Thongburan, saying they had overreacted.

As a result, part of Phitsanulok Road from Panichayakarn and Suan Misakawan intersection remains closed.

Crime Suppression Division police took Mr Chaiwat and Mr Somboon to the Criminal Court on Wednesday morning, seeking permission to detain the two for 12 days from Jan 19-30.

The CSD police told the court they would have no objection if the two seek release on bail, on the condition that they must not take part in a political gathering or other political activities in violation of the constitution or spead information or give interviews that could obstruct police investigations and gathering of evidence.

Mr Chaiwat and Mr Somboon, insisted that they would not request bail. They instead filed a petition opposing the police request to extend their detention for 12 days, arguing that they had been falsely charged in connection with the occupation of Bangkok's two airports in 2008.

The court was still considering the matter.

Chaiwat's arrest 'over the top'

via CAAI

Published: 19/01/2011 

Thai People's Network core member Banawit Kengrian on Thursday lodged a complaint with national police chief Wichean Potephosree, accusing police of going over the top when they arrested TPN leader Chaiwat Sinsuwong and former senator Somboon Thongburan yesterday.

Admiral Banawit, a former deputy permanent secretary for defence, said the police overreacted when they tried to arrest Mr Chaiwat and Mr Somboon.

"The police approached [Mr Chaiwat] forcefully and carried him away while he was eating at a sukiyaki restaurant.

"They did not follow the legal process in refusing to read the arrest warrant," he said.

Adm Banawit said the officers initially made a mistake, trying to Chokepisit Worapattanachai thinking he was Mr Somboon. Mr Chokepisit was then charged with obstructing police.

He said a woman was also injured during the arrests.

He called on Pol Gen Wichean to clarify the situation to the public and give fair treatment to affected parties.

"If the process is slow, there could be more people at the yellow-shirt rally on Jan 25 and it could last longer," Adm Banawit said.

The clip below, uploaded by kasemtele30794, shows Mr Chaiwat being arrested and carried away by police at a restaurant on Jan 18, 2011.

Mr Chaiwat and Mr Somboon were arrested yesterday after they submitted a petition against the government addressing to His Majesty the King. The TPN accuses the government of mismanaging the border demarcation issue with Cambodia.

Youth of the week: Phicheth Rithea

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:00 Sothea Ines

It must be really difficult and complicated to do a career with no support from family as well as doing an irrelevant major at university.

Phicheth Rithea, a 22-year-old originally from Battambang province, is a year-five student major in medicine at the University of Health Sciences as well as a film director for the movie Boyfriend. He directs the film on weekends.

Despite the fact that he has piles of medical lessons to review, he sacrifices his weekend to fulfill his passion for producing films with this new project from the 4Ks – Kon Khmer Koun Khmer.
“Arts are my interest. I love art,” Phicheth Rithea stressed.

To pursue a passion that he rejected since he was young, for the past year he never let anyone in his family or close friends find out he was involved in the film sector. After he finished high school he chose to study medicine at the University of Health Sciences.

“I do not know what will happen if they find out, but I will not quit filming,” he said.

He said he used to dream of becoming an artist, signer, actor or anything related to the arts, but his parents refused this idea, so he never asked them again because he doesn’t want them to be disappointed in him.

In his fourth year at the University of Health Science he started searching for somewhere to indulge his passion. He searched for a film department where he could show his talent. After being selected as a participant in a one week workshop at the Cambodia Film Commission, or CFC, he worked as first assistant director in a French film called Golden Slumber by Davy Chou, a Cambodian filmmaker from France who was also a supporter of the 4Ks.

Phicheth Rithea explained that the most challenging thing he faces is managing his time, so he sometimes spends his sleeping hours reviewing medical lessons. He has to direct the Boyfriend that is being made on a small budget and with his lack of experience.

“I never made a film before – that is the most difficult thing,” he admitted.

As one of the next generation trying to promote the Khmer film factory, Phicheth Rithea believes that although the film sector in Cambodia today is not so good, having lots of young filmmakers such as the 4Ks will eventually lead Cambodia to a new golden age of cinema, like the country had during the 1960s and 1970s.

“Cambodia will find a new golden era of cinema if we keep trying to do our best,” said Phicheth Rithea.

Questioned about his long term goals, he said without hesitation: “I would like to be a doctor and filmmaker.”

5 Cool Things by Chanmaliny Sam

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:00 Chanmaliny Sam

It’s one of those things that somehow seems unavoidable, regardless of how many times you think you’ve learned your lesson. You go shopping for a new outfit, for a big event or whatever, and even though your fancy new dress looked awesome at the store, it just seems to have lost its attractiveness by the time you are on your way out the door. I offer a solution that has never failed me in such situations: keep a stylish belt on hand to liven up your wardrobe whenever you are feeling drab, it can make any outfit look glamorous.

Name card
The embarrassment of not having a name card when asked for one makes you want to run away and hide. It’s like telling someone that you’re not ready for the real world. Name cards are like proof of your identity in the professional world, but you don’t need to have a high paying job to understand the importance of contacts. It can be so frustrating to meet someone, and then realise you have no way of reaching them when you want to see them again. If you don’t have the money to buy professional cards, buy some nice paper and print your own. It will pay off in the end.

Nail Decoration
Nails have long been an essential part of maintaining your beauty, but just because fancy fingernails are an age old tradition doesn’t mean innovations aren’t being made. You may think you need to spend valuable time and money in order to get your nails sparkling, but you don’t need to make great sacrifices to keep your talons looking terrific. Pick up a cheap pack of stickers with flowers, stars and cartoons, and you can decorate your nails in seconds for next to nothing. Try it out. I dare you to tell me I’m wrong.

CD case
In case you forgot what CDs are, they are the plastic discs that people used to use to play music. Guess what? Now that owning an Mp3 player is just as common as owning underwear, CD players are the new black IPod. Trust me on this, but be warned that carrying your CDs in a disorderly manner is still categorically lame. The only answer, therefore, is to buy a CD player and an accompanying CD case that shows people that you care about your music. When someone sees you flip open the cover of your disc man and expertly slide a CD out of the case and into the disc tray, they won’t think your cool, they’ll know it.

Paper clip
Where is that document? This question usually leads to an hour of rifling through papers, which have been all mixed up, as inevitably happens. It’s unavoidable, unless, of course, you take my advice and start utilizing paper clips. They say you should use the right tool for the job, and sorting papers is just what paper clips were designed for. Spend a few minutes at the end of the day categorizing your papers, and then you can sleep soundly as your paper clip stands guard through the night, making sure no paper falls out of place.

Emails from abroad: Israel

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:00 Chanmony Chea

Fail to plan, plan to fail. We all know this very well. So when do I need to plan my class schedule for spring semester, which will not start until late January? The answer is as early as mid-November, though the earlier I start planning, the better and easier it will be for me.

Just like other university students in the United Stated, I am responsible for my own degree of progress. At first, it did appear to me as a challenge, considering my past experience as a student at Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Back then I did not have to worry about which courses I was required to take to graduate or who my professors would be because school took care of these hassles. All I needed to do at the beginning of every semester was to obtain a copy of the pre-arranged schedule and find out who my assigned professors turned out to be.

That is not the case here, obviously.

A few months before semester starts, the university will list all the classes being offered along with the information about instructors, room numbers and day and time of the class meeting. Once the information becomes available to students, my planning will soon follow.

I may have to decidea whether to take an accounting course in spring or save it for fall semester and take marketing instead. Once I have chosen to take one particular course, the next question will be who the potential instructors are. Very often I need to weigh the benefits of having a strict professor from whom I will learn a great deal against the luxury of not having to write a thick report should I take that same course with a relatively easier professor.

To be able to make an informed decision, the process may involve some research. I usually consult and seek advice from fellow students who have taken the course.
It didn’t take me long to adapt to this routine. I no longer consider it a challenge as I once did. Rather, I now appreciate and even enjoy the advantages that come with the freedom to make decisions regarding my own academic path.

One of the major benefits is I get to decide who I want to have for my professors. Taking classes with instructors whose teaching styles match my study techniques makes learning significantly easier and more effective and ultimately is good for my GPA.

There is also the freedom to select courses also allow me to efficiently balance my workload. By planning ahead, I can spread the deemed-to-be-hard classes instead of taking them all at once, so I hardly find myself in the situation of either under-load or over-load.

The distinct sense of independence and responsibility I have experienced is probably the greatest nonacademic reward. Not only do I get to make critical decisions, but I also learn to take full responsibility for the consequences that follow. I very much like the feeling of being in charge of navigating my own journey.

Personally, I find the education system in the United States more flexible than that in Cambodia. In addition to promoting independence, it encourages individuals to take charge of their education in a way that students in Cambodia cannot.

What do the stars know?

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:00 Post Staff

15 horoscopes, 5 people, 1 quest to find out which Khmer newspaper, if any, is reading our stars correctly.

Kampuchea Thmey:
Today your fortune is very good. You will have good news and benefits in both your work and business as well as in all your travels. Especially all work that relates to communications is welcomed by the business partner. However, you should be careful and carefulness always brings safety.

Koh Santepheap:
Today your fortune is fair. All your work today faces things that go up and down and that is not so clear as it requires you to be careful and try your best in order to be a success. If you run a business you can make a profit to support your family easily and there are no obstacles. For love, tolerance to each other is the key.

The Phnom Penh Post:
Today your fortune is good. You and your partner have such a good relationship. Your work has satisfied your boss. Both business and work will go smoothly. All your trades are very good. You are kind and generous which makes others like and admire you. Your words make others excited.

Today I faced lots of complicated things since the morning. I had to finish an assignment before 9.30am, but after I put a lot of effort in I didn’t really have much. At noon I was called in by my teacher because I did something wrong. With my friends, today I seemed so rude and naughty and after I felt bad. In the evening I was not paid well for my work and I have to wait until next month to get my full payment. It was such a disappointing day.  At the end of the day I found out that the horoscope that worked well for me was the one in Koh Santepheap.

Kampuchea Thmey:
Today your luck is down. You work very hard without any free time, but you have no specific job goal. Business is not making a profit at all. You care about money, making you upset and sad. For love, it is intimate without any problems.

Raksmey Kampuchea:
You have fairly good luck. Your work is going to be up and down today and not stable. Therefore, you have to be careful and strong with everything to succeed. For those who are business people, you are able to earn money as normal without any impediments. For those who have love, their partners understand each other and there are no arguments.

The Phnom Penh Post:
Your luck is declining. When you go somewhere near or distant to work, you will meet failure and obstacles, which makes you depressed. Your voice is not acceptable to others. For love, partners do not understand or forgive each other, which can lead to a separation or break-up.

Study: I was really happy with my studies on that day since I finished my assignment on time and was appreciated by my friends since I was able to finish my work on time and had a good result. In conclusion, my studies from morning till evening were good for me. For family, I did not have any arguments and everybody is fine, apart from a bit of a problem with money. I asked my sister for more money, but she said she had no more money for me.
In conclusion: I think that the horoscopes for Tuesday in these three newspapers were not correct for me as a university student.

The Phnom Penh Post:
My fortune today is good. Your work will be done smoothly, which will also making your Boss satisfied with you.  In the business, you will be able to earn a lot. In speaking, everybody will love what you say. Love, however, will not go well.

Rasmey Kampuchea:
Another great fortune! This is  bad month, but this week will be better than the others, and today in particular will go well. You will be successful in your work, strong in business, and people will tend to sympathize with your struggles. If you’re a woman, you may even see your love life pick up.

Kampuchea Thmei:
Today your fortune is high. Your good fortune may even last beyond today and into tomorrow. Your job is going well with no obstructions apparent. If you happen to own a business, you can move forward in expanding or investing without any fear of failure.

Reality: All three newspapers said today would be awesome,The Phnom Penh Post, however, seemed to be the most prescient. The prediction that I would appreciate my boss was spot on; my school director decided to use my quote that “donating blood is saving a life” in an announcement on our school’s information board. My classmates were all chatting about it. The only negative prediction from the Post was that it would be a bad day for love, which was also true, since I had a recent breakup, but I’m not getting down about it; that’s just the way life is, happy and Sad.

Kampuchea Thmey:
The horoscope says today I will have very good luck. There are good opportunities and I will get help from people around me. If I were a businessman, I would make a big profit today.

Raksmey Kampuchea:
The same as Koh Santepheap – it says I will be fairly lucky today. But I have to be careful with everything. If I were doing business, I would have to make a quick decision in order to make a profit.

The Phnom Penh Post:
The Post Khmer says it is not my day today. I would fall ill and my business is not running well since it would lose profit. But it is good in terms of love.

I don’t think today was my lucky day. In the morning there was a blood donation campaign at my campus and I was disappointed to miss taking photos of the event because I forgot to bring my camera with me. It would have been good to post the event on my blog. Later in the evening, while I was riding my motorbike home, I had a flat tyre and the mechanic overcharged me. I had no choice but to fix my tyre. However, I was not sick as my horoscope predicted. I had a bit of a cold the next morning, but I was better and recovered by the end of the day. I was a typical chilly morning.

Kampuchea Thmey:
Today your luck is not too bad. You should be more careful about your health, for you seem to have more tasks to do than usual, which will make you exhausted. Lovers who are far away from each other will be meeting and having a sweet time.

Raksmey Kampuchea:
You have fairly good luck. Be careful with your decisions today because there are enemies around. Therefore, you should not talk with sweet people or you will be cheated and will regret it. Whatever business you are doing, you should use your intelligence to deal with any problems.  Businesspeople could make good money. Partners in love do not seem to get along very well.

The Phnom Penh Post:
It looks like you need go to a pagoda to ask for a magic shower from a monk. You’re luck today is very down. Whatever you do, you will face obstacles. You might have some health problems because of carelessness. Your relationship with people around you seems to be in trouble too. What makes it even the worse for you today is you might have some quarrels with your beloved and that might lead to a separation.

Friday is my favourite day, and as usual, this Friday was still a bright day for me. I actually had a full schedule, but did enjoy the day and was satisfied with most of the outcomes of my efforts, including studies and work. My class went smoothly as usual. And what was even more exciting was my friend’s sister’s wedding reception, so we left the class a little early and went to the party. Friends and family were doing fine. It was not a surprise to me that no one fought with me because of love issue as I do not have any.

In conclusion, today’s horoscopes from these three sources did not really match my actual daily life. I am not a big fan of horoscopes. But I do not judge those who love them because I guess they may have helped them.

Searching for invisible answer

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:00 Post Staff

Four types of fortune tellers face off as Lift looks to determine the best way to look into the future.

By Vorn Makara
Many Cambodians do not dare to go to fortune tellers because they are afraid the fortune teller will say something bad about their lives, but some like to hear predictions.

I had never believed in fortune tellers, but still decided to try one. I had to give the year and month of my birth to the fortune teller, who also asked to look at my teeth, head and ears. Then he proclaimed I would have a good and fantastic future and become a wealthy woman. He also said that in the next five days or so I would have good luck and get everything I wished for. What really amazed me was when he said two men would ask to marry me this year.

However, after five days some things he said were correct and some were not. For three days I was happy with my studies because I had finished all my assignments before time and I was also praised by my lecturers. However, I had some health and study problems during the last two days. I couldn’t focus because I caught a cold. I didn’t read any lessons.

While I was riding a motorcycle to school I had an accident, but was not injured. And the end of the five days, while riding home a small insect hit me in the eye and it started to swell. I am waiting to see if two men ask to marry me this year. I will let you know.

By Tet Chann
Do you ever think about your destiny? How often do you think about your future?

If you answered yes to the above questions and you’re a Cambodian, you need a fortune teller.  

So I went to see a fortune teller who could read the palms of my hands. The fortune teller asked me my birth year and name while looking at both palms.

I was surprised when he asked to touch my neck and hair and to see my teeth. He then said I would have a good life and become rich and live as a Chumtav (the wife of a high ranking officer or a very rich man). He said I may have some bad luck because I lost two molars, which I had extracted after a toothache two years ago.  

He added that if I still had the molars I would become rich soon. He claimed that if I still had the molars I would have $1,000 in next few months.

I did not believe him, but it is true that I have been happy recently and have done well with my assignments or exams, as he said.

I think he guessed the things that I love, like my father more than my mother. I have spots on the sole of my foot and on my back which he said were bad luck.

There were a lot of funny things rather than sad ones during my 15-minute talk with the fortune teller. I just hope what he said comes true.

By Tivea Koam
Are you superstitious? What do you think about fortune telling? I have always been a sceptic, but last week I went to Wat Phnom with some friends to see what they predicted about the next five days – I had many things to deal with in that time. There were many kinds of fortune tellers there, but I picked cartomancy, or reading my fortune by the cards.

Before I started I was asked to pray for what I wanted and told to shuffle the cards nine times. The fortune teller told me that many girls loved me. That’s great to hear, but not what I went there for. She then told me about my next five days, saying I would be able to handle everything successfully. That made me happy, but she added that if I did not try hard enough, I would not get what I wanted in the next five days.

What she told me made me feel good. At first, I didn’t believe her, but after doing well over those five days I changed my mind. My final radio report to my lecturer turned out okay and the feature story I finished for my professor had only a few mistakes. The other courses I was doing were good too, and now I can say that I have some faith in fortune telling. But who knows? 

If you have doubts about fortune telling, go and see for yourself rather than read about what happened to me. For only 10,000 riels you may see your future.

By Ngo Menghourng
There are many ways to predict our fortunes or futures. As I am a student studying media and communications and also a freelancer for Lift, I was curious to know what would happen to me in the future, so I went to Wat Phnom to have my fortune read for the next five days.

At Wat Phnom I decided to choose the script style to tell my fortune. At first a layman prayed and then asked me to close my eyes, he put the script on my head, and let me pray. During my prayers, I wished for good luck over the next five days and hoped any bad luck would go away.

Then I had to guess my fortune by taking a small piece of wood and stabbing it into the script before giving it to the layman. He told me it was not good and to try again. I did the same again and gave it back to him. I then felt afraid because I did not want to have any bad luck.

Luckily for me, he said that I had a very good result because I would have a lot of money and everything would soon be good for me. You should remember that you can only try three times when getting your fortune read this way. Now I think the script fortune is true because I have a lot of money and everything is good for me. My father came to visit me in Phnom Penh and gave me money.

Constructive Cambodian: Photojournalist being apprehended

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:00 Tharum Bun
The Constructive Cambodian
Senior writer Tharum Bun writes on the repurcussions of a photojournalist being apprehended by the protectors of the people
Tharum Bun works for Voice of America and is also a freelance writer and one of the first bloggers in Cambodia.

Sovan Philong speaks with reporters after his run in with police and security guards at a protest by Boeung Kak lake. Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

There aren’t many people referring to it that way any more. City residents see that this decade’s privatizations and urban development is coming and nobody can stop it. All they hope for change is that Phnom Penh will be a more charming city, matching its neighbouring cities like Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, if not Manila and Kuala Lumpur. They’re hopeful that along with this dramatic development comes prosperity and peace.

Last week, when a Phnom Penh Post photojournalist had his two digital cameras confiscated by security guards when he was covering a clash with Boeung Kak residents, who were protesting, Cambodian journalists couldn’t help but be alarmed.

As a professional photographer, Sovan Philong was treated like a criminal and ordered to delete photographs from his digital cameras.

Like any other journalist, Sovan Philong’s role is to document lives of many, who have been affected by the city growth, and would otherwise be silent. Those photographs he took during the riot will become an invaluable draft of history, forever on record to show how this city has changed during this century.

But this case is an aberration in some ways. Private firms, still scared of journalists, could learn something from the government ministries general behaviour towards the press. They know they must communicate with the public in some way, and therefor select a spokesperson who carefully shares information regarding the activities of their ministry.

This mechanism of opening lines of communication with the public without allowing free access has been instrumental in building Cambodia’s unique brand of democracy. This clash with a photojournalist is not typical of their careful stance when exposed to public scrutiny.

Perhaps more importantly, this events reminds us all that the government and other power brokers may be talking, but there are things they don’t want mentioned. It is people like Sovan Philong, who was doing his job of documenting the history of Cambodia, who might eventually create a city that is once again called a pearl.
Phnom Penh has its rich history, during which it has seen drastic shifts in its reputation. In the 1920s, Cambodia’s capital city was also known as the Pearl of Asia.

Court date fixed for seven Thais in Cambodian border-crossing case

via CAAI

Jan 19, 2011

Phnom Penh - The deputy prosecutor of Phnom Penh's Municipal Court, Sok Roeun, said Wednesday that seven Thai nationals would be tried on February 1 on charges of crossing the border and illegally entering a military area.

Six members of the group have been released on bail and are believed to be staying at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh. The seventh, political activist Veera Somkwamkit, was refused bail Tuesday.

One of those bailed was parliamentarian Panich Vikitsreth of Thailand's ruling Democrat Party.

The seven, who were arrested on December 29, face jail terms of up to 18 months if convicted.

This month they told the court they had crossed the border accidentally.

During an earlier court hearing, Panich's lawyer said he had been visiting a border village 'to address the complaints of [Thai] villagers,' adding that the villagers had alleged that a border marker had been moved by Cambodians to encroach on Thai territory.

The court last week concluded its investigation into spying charges against Veera, a former leader of the nationalist People's Alliance for Democracy, a protest movement that shut down Bangkok's two airports for a week in 2008.

His secretary, Ratree Taiputana, was questioned along with him on spying charges, and the two face up to 10 years if convicted of that charge.

The Cambodian government has insisted the case would not affect relations between the two nations and said the judicial process needed to take its natural course.

Relations between Thailand and Cambodia have been tense for more than two years with sporadic clashes between troops over disputed territory surrounding the 11th-century Hindu temple of Preah Vihear on Cambodia's northern border.

The two countries are currently demarcating their border although talks have been stalled pending a repeatedly delayed vote in the Thai parliament to approve the latest round of negotiations.

City Hall proposes new regulations for rental properties

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:02 Mom Kunthear

City Hall has published a list of proposed measures to tighten the regulation of rental properties in the capital, in a bid to reduce crime, drug use and prostitution.

The measures, published on the municipality’s website, were drafted following a meeting on Friday with commune officials and police and military police representatives, and is set to be forwarded on to Governor Kep Chuktema for approval.

The measures, the website states, would help “strengthen the local security and timely prevention [of] all kinds of crimes” which often occur at rental properties.

“[T]he Capital Hall has noticed some complications … of the management of rented houses, thus some opportunists can commit some crimes such as prostitution, drugs using and gambling... etc which leads to harmful robbery or banditry,” the website states.

The proposed measures include mechanisms for people to register businesses operated out of rented homes and a requirement that landlords who do not live nearby their properties appoint a proxy to liaise with local officials.

Guests would also be required to provide identification before being allowed to rent properties, though the website does not clarify who those documents would need to be shown to.

If the measures are approved, rental properties “will be shut down” for failing to comply with the new rules, the website warns.

City Hall estimates that there are between 20,000 and 40,000 houses currently being rented in the capital.

Municipal officials could not be reached yesterday. But Suth Chaknara, deputy governor of Tuol Kork district, said yesterday that city authorities had decided to take action on rental properties after more localised attempts to tighten regulations had failed due to a lack of management.

“It is not only my district taking action over the rental houses, but all districts are paying attention to control this thing,” she said.

Property owner Ung Kit welcomed the new measures yesterday, saying that careful administration of rental properties is the key to ensuring they remain trouble-free.

“Before I rent my house to the tenants I have to know about them, such as where they work and how many people they will live with, and ask for photos and identity cards in order to report to the local authority,” he said.

Murder plot trial continues

Photo by: Pha Lina
Seng Chenda, the wife of tycoon Khaou Chuly, is led into Phnom Penh Municipal Court for a hearing yesterday.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

Phnom Penh Municipal Court reconvened yesterday to hear a third round of testimony in the case of an alleged attempted murder plot involving members of two prominent families.

Seng Chenda, the wife to tycoon Khaou Chuly, and four accomplices have been charged with attempting to murder Suv Chantha, Khaou Chuly’s daughter from a previous wife. Suv Chantha is married to Sun Chanthol, vice chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia and a former minister of public works.

All five accused have pleaded not guilty.

Yin Sophearith and Khorn Lak, both of whom worked as security guards for Khaou Chuly, gave testimony yesterday.

On the night of the alleged crime, June 13, Yin Sophearith said he was at his home with his mother and relatives, “who will come as witnesses to prove my innocence”.

Yin Sophearith said he had been seriously injured shortly before the alleged crime, seeking to cast doubts on his supposed role in the plot.

“I had suffered a serious traffic accident on May 9 ... and I was treated for my injury at the hospital for five days before being allowed to receive medical treatment at home,” he said.

Like Chan Sokha and Neang Sinath, who testified in previous hearings, Yin Sophearith said his previous confessions were given under duress.

“About five or six police officials, including Excellency Sun Chanthol’s two bodyguards, beat me several times and slapped me in the face at my workplace, and then pushed me into their car to go to the Ministry of Interior police station for interrogations,” he said.

He denied knowledge of the attempted plot, he said, “but they threatened me, telling me that ... my arrest was following an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen”.

Khorn Lak, the fourth defendant to testify, also said police had told him that he was arrested on the orders of the Prime Minister. He said he hadn’t met Seng Chenda or Chan Sokha since he worked at Khaou Chuly’s condo in 1999.

“I deny all my confessions at the Ministry of Interior’s police station, which I made under duress and threats,” he said.

Pal Chandara, an attorney representing Sun Chanthol, said the pair were lying and exaggerating.

“I would like to request the court in the next hearing to allow us ... to show a police video tape while they were being interrogated,” he said.

Seng Chenda, who is accused of masterminding the scheme, took the stand herself and denied all charges when questioned by presiding Judge Sin Visal.

“I have been married to my husband Khaou Chuly since 1995 and I’ve never had any dispute with his daughter Lok Chumteav Suv Chantha or his other 11 children, nor have I ever even met Lokk Chumteav Suv Chantha,” she said.

The court will convene tomorrow all day to hear more testimony from Seng Chenda. The defence has called 16 witnesses, including Khaou Chuly.

Standing outside the courtroom, Khaou Chuly said the charges against his wife had been “fabricated”.

Botched ransom: Police hold man for kidnapping

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:02 Mom Kunthear

Botched ransom

A 28-year-old Kampong Cham man was arrested on Sunday for kidnapping a 5-year-old boy from his former in-laws and then demanding US$3,000 cash for his return.

Provincial police said the boy was taken from his family in Cheung Prey district on December 30, without the family’s consent.

When family members contacted the suspect about the boy’s whereabouts, the alleged kidnapper confirmed he had the boy. The family didn’t suspect foul play, since the suspect was a former in-law.

Heng Vuthy, Cheung Prey district police chief, said the alleged kidnapper then held the boy at an apartment in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district for over two weeks before making a ransom demand last Saturday.

The family contacted the police after receiving the $3000 demand.

“The man’s plan failed because the Cheung Prey district police and Ministry of Interior police arrested him at a place where the man waited to get money from the boy’s family, at Meanchey district on Sunday,” said Heng Vuthy.

He added that the suspect is currently being detained at a Kampong Cham police station, where authorities are investigating his relation to the kidnapped boy.

Fake monk and aides charged

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:02 Phak Seangly

Threemen have been arrested and charged for posing as a monk, an apprentice monk and a moto-taxi driver in an attempt to trick residents into giving them money in Battambang province’s Banan district, officials said yesterday.

District police chief Buth Sambo said the three were arrested on Saturday after suspicious locals reported that the men were “roaming the village to raise money from them”.

“Villagers gave police a tip-off about the counterfeit monk and our police took immediate action to arrest and detain the suspects for questioning before sending them to the provincial court,” he said.

Buth Sambo said that during questioning by police, the suspects had confessed to the scam and had also owned up to conducting similar operations in Takeo and Kampot provinces.

Deputy provincial prosecutor Suy Sophea said all three men had been charged with impersonating monks for financial gain, even though one had been posing as a driver and one as an apprentice.

“They colluded to commit the same crime, so they [each] face imprisonment of between six days and three months under the new criminal law,” Suy Sophea said.

Drug cases to be tried in B’Meanchey

via CAAI
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
Ousted anti-drug czar Moek Dara will be tried in Banteay Meanchey province in connection with a bribery case that has ensnared a number of senior officials, court staff said yesterday.
Moek Dara, formerly the secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs was arrested last week along with Chea Leng, the former chief of the anti-drug office at the Ministry of Interior.
The pair were reportedly implicated by former Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Hun Hean and his deputy, Chheang Sun, who were themselves arrested earlier last week.
“Since this case happened in Banteay Meanchey, their hearing will be held in Banteay Meanchey at some point in the next six months,” Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy prosecutor Ton Sihak Teches said.
“We don’t know yet whether they will be tried on the same day or not.”
Ang Meal Tei, head of the Banteay Meanchey provincial court, said on Sunday that Moek Dara, Chea Leng, Hun Hean and Chheang Sun had been charged with receiving bribes under the Kingdom’s new penal code, which punishes the offence with a sentence of between seven and 15 years jail.
Ton Sihak Teches said, however, that the four had been charged with corruption under Article 38 of the UNTAC criminal code, an offence which carries a prison term of between three and seven years in prison.
“I am the only person who has charged these people in Banteay Meanchey,” he said.
Moek Dara was sent to Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh after being charged on Sunday, Ton Sihak Teches said, while Hun Hean and Chheang Sun are at Siem Reap provincial prison and Chea Leng is in Banteay Meanchey.
“We decided to send Moek Dara to be detained at Prey Sar because his health is not good and he has easy access to health facilities in Phnom Penh,” he said.
CRACKDOWN in banteay Meanchey
Key suspects
  • Moek Dara, secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, charged with receiving bribes
  • Chea Leng, chief of the anti-drug office at the Ministry of Interior, charged with receiving bribes
  • Hun Hean, Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief, charged with receiving bribes
  • Chheang Sun, Banteay Meanchey deputy provincial police chief, charged with receiving bribes
  • Lim Mab, Chief of anti-drug police in Banteay Meanchey, possession of counterfeit money and possession of illegal drugs
  • Nuon Vanna, head of Banteay Meanchey provincial prison, under investigation for allegedly accepting bribes allowing a prisoner to escape
  • By Nasy, administrative chief of Banteay Meanchey anti-drug office, under investigation in bribery case

aussenoNGOs regroup after fund rebuff

Photo by: Will Baxter
A homeless woman living with AIDS sleeps outside on a mattress in Daun Penh district last week.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:02 Thomas Miller

Goverment and civil society representatives will meet on Friday to assess how to move forward after two proposals seeking millions of dollars from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria were rejected, Tia Phalla, deputy director of the National AIDS Authority, said yesterday.

The Country Coordinating Committee, chaired by Tia Phalla, submitted a proposal to the Global Fund for US$47.5 million over five years to fund efforts to reduce the number of new HIV infections, as well as a pitch for $13.2 million over five years to reduce the transmission of TB.

But the Global Fund, which last month gave out $1.7 billion to 64 countries covering 2011-12, apparently didn’t take to Cambodia’s two proposals and asked that they be revised and resubmitted for the next round.

Pieter van Maaren, who is country director for the World Health Organisation and serves as vice chair of the CCC, said he was “disappointed” in the result.

“I think the rejections of the proposals do not cause an immediate shortfall of funding. There are other means of filling gaps that may occur,” he said.

The panel’s criticisms of Cambodia’s proposals were “of a technical nature”, van Maaren said. But they have “sufficient material” to make a more successful proposal this year, he added.

Van Maaren said, however, that if the next proposal is not accepted, Cambodia will “face problems” in funding its technical programmes for TB and HIV.

A technical review panel composed of global health experts reviews each proposal and makes recommendations to the Global Fund’s board, which makes final decisions.

The Global Fund “cannot comment on specific proposals”, said Nalin Mehta, senior communications officer at the Geneva-based organisation.

But some organisations could feel the pinch this year.

The Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance receives about $1 million annually from the Global Fund, primarily for its work supporting orphans and children vulnerable to the disease, executive director Oum Sopheap said.

“I think thousands of orphans and vulnerable children will be affected,” he said, adding that funds for programs that assist about 12,000 children will run out in September.

Oum Sopheap said KHANA would try to “redesign” their programs, which help children access HIV/AIDS-related medical care, schooling and shelter, in order to save money.

Some have called on the government to step up its share of funding to battle HIV. Van Maaren said he expects it to increase, but Oum Sopheap was “not optimistic”.

Cambodia has received over $350 million over 10 years from the Global Fund.

Hearings delayed in land dispute cases

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:01 May Titthara

Pursat provincial court has postponed until January 27 a hearing originally set for Monday after six villagers from Krakor district involved in a land dispute with a development company requested time to secure legal representation, a village representative said yesterday.

The six, from Ansar Chambak commune, were summonsed to the court after local conglomerate Pheapimex Group – owned by Choeung Sopheap, the wife of ruling party senator Lao Meng Khin – filed a complaint accusing them of destroying private property.

One of the villagers, Lach Saran, said yesterday that villagers had last week received permission to delay the hearing.

The dispute began in 2008, when Pheapimex began bulldozing land for development. In January 2000, the company was granted a 315,028-hectare land concession spanning Pursat and Kampong Chhnang provinces.

In an unrelated case, Kampong Chhnang provincial court yesterday delayed announcing a verdict for Adhoc provincial coordinator Sam Chankea, who was charged with disinformation and defamation following complaints made by development company KDC International in June.

The charges stem from a December 2009 interview in which Sam Chankea suggested that KDC’s clearance of disputed land in Kampong Chhnang province may have been illegal.

A verdict is expected to be handed down on January 25.

March target for union law

via CAAI

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 15:01 Sen David

The Labour Ministry will finalise the Kingdom’s first law on trade unions in March, an official said, speaking on the sidelines of a three-day consultation on the law that began yesterday.

Sath Samoth, undersecretary of state at the ministry, said the draft law would be sent to the Council of Ministers around the end of March, after officials had considered concerns raised during this week’s meetings.

“We will send this draft two months later, [in] March,” he said. “The draft still concerns some of the unions, but we will try to reduce the disadvantages of this draft.”

Speaking during the meeting, Labour Minister Vong Soth said the new law was designed to improve relations between employers and employees, and to make Cambodia an “attractive investment” option for businesses.

“We are making efforts to accelerate this draft to the Interior Ministry and the Council of Ministers for approval,” he said.

Rong Chhun, the head of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, told the meeting that provisions unions had raised concerns about last year had not been removed from the latest version of the draft law, which was circulated by the ministry this month.

“In the first and second meetings, a group of unions suggested to cancel some of articles 18, 19 and 30 because they affect union freedoms,” he said.

Rong Chhun expressed particular concerns about Article 30, which he said would allow courts to “melt unions if they find fault with the [union] staff”.

“It is not suitable,” he said. “If the court finds fault with staff, the court must sentence the staff, not melt the union like this.”

According to an unofficial translation of the latest version of the draft law seen by The Post this week, Article 30 states: “A competent court may dissolve a trade union or association where leaders, managers, and those responsible for the administration, or agents or members performing works on behalf of the trade union or association have committed wrongdoing” of certain types.

In response to Rong Chhun’s concerns, Sath Samoth told the meeting that there was still time for such issues to be addressed before the draft was finalised.

“It is a third consultation, so we can consider adjusting and cancelling some articles before sending [the draft] to the Council of Ministers,” he said. “We must be transparent about this draft.”

Vong Soth said the draft law would also be sent to International Labour Organisation headquarters in Switzerland for consultation prior to being finalised. “I will … send this draft to Geneva so they can look at it, because we need consultation of all sizes to make an affective law,” he said.