Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Thousands to Rally in Bangkok Over Cambodian Border Dispute

VOA News
25 January 2011

via CAAI

Photo: Reuters
A supporter of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) gestures during a rally outside the Government House in Bangkok, 25 Jan 2011

Thousands of Thai nationalists say they will take to the streets Tuesday to press their demands that the government take a stronger line in its border dispute with Cambodia.

Leaders of the yellow-shirted People's Alliance for Democracy, or PAD, say they will continue their protest indefinitely until Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva tears up a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia and accedes to the group's other demands. Mr. Abhisit has already rejected the demands as impractical.

The government has deployed about 3,600 police to maintain order during the rally, which also involves two smaller nationalist groups. Leaders of the rival Red Shirt faction, whose protest paralyzed parts of the capital for weeks last year, say they will stage a counter-rally Tuesday.

The PAD protest, prompted in part by the recent arrests of seven Thai nationals by Cambodian troops, takes place less than one kilometer from the prime minister's office, known as Government House. The same group occupied Government House for three months in 2008, departing only when Mr. Abhisit's predecessor was ousted by a court ruling.

The PAD, or Yellow Shirts, have been generally supportive of Mr. Abhisit's government, which is backed by the military and the monarchy. But they feel it responded too weakly to the recent incident in which a member of parliament and six companions were arrested in a contested border area.

Five of the seven were given suspended jail sentences and have returned to Thailand. But an organizer from the nationalist Thai Patriots Network and his secretary remain in Cambodia facing espionage charges. The TPN is participating in Tuesday's rally.

The PAD wants Mr. Abhisit to renounce a 2000 memorandum on the handling of border disputes with Cambodia, withdraw from the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO and pressure Cambodian nationals to move out of disputed border areas.

UNESCO lies at the heart of a separate border dispute over land near the Preah Vihear temple, which has been declared a world heritage site.

Mr. Abhisit said Monday that if the memorandum of understanding is revoked, the disputed border areas will never be demarcated. He said to withdraw from UNESCO would give Cambodia a free hand to take control of the Preah Vihear temple.

Troops Tighten Thai-Cambodian Border Security

via CAAI

UPDATE : 25 January 2011

Cambodia has beefed up security at its heritage sites along the disputed Thai-Cambodian border area.

Meanwhile, Thai troops have also implemented similar security measures and urged all Thais to be cautious when approaching the border.

Fully-armed Thai soldiers along the Thai–Cambodian border have set up checkpoints on the roads leading in and out of the disputed Preah Vihear Temple in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district.

Troops have prohibited unrelated personnel and individuals from entering the disputed border zone after Cambodia put up a controversial sign at Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara Temple claiming it was the spot where Thai troops had trespassed on the Cambodian territory.

The move has put a sour note on the already tensed Thai-Cambodian relations.

Second Army Region Commander Lieutenant General Thawatchai Samutsakorn has planned to travel to Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara Temple to meet with Cambodia's military officials.

Thai residents in Phumisrol village, situated near the disputed Preah Vihear Temple, fear a full-scale war could erupt at any time and some have packed their belongings and prepared for an immediate evacuation.

At the ancient Tamuanthom Temple in Surin's Phanom Dongrak district, Cambodian troops have constructed roads and bunkers just 100 meters away from the temple.

Additional 300 soldiers with heavy weapons are on standby 500 meters from the temple.

More units from the Second Army Region have been dispatched to Tamuanthom Temple area and troops have been put on the highest alert.

Meanwhile, at Takwai Temple in Phanom Dongrak's Bak Dai subdistrict, Second Region Army soldiers and military engineers have constructed a route leading to the temple in order to facilitate troop mobilization, reducing the traveling distance from three kilometers to one.

Cambodian border troops have also built roads leading to the temple and for reinforcements of personnel and firearms.

There have been rumors that Cambodian troops are attempting to lay claim to Takwai Temple and the recently-built roads have attracted a large number of Cambodian tourists to the site while Thai tourists have avoided the heritage site.

Abhisit Warns Nationalists as Bangkok Protests Raise Specter of 2009 Clash

 via CAAI

By Daniel Ten Kate - Jan 25, 2011

Thai nationalist protesters will rally “indefinitely” starting tomorrow to pressure the government into taking stronger action in a border dispute with Cambodia, leader Chamlong Srimuang said. Photographer: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva warned nationalists over the planned blocking of a Bangkok street that raised the specter of protests two years ago that led to deadly clashes and airport closures.

The People’s Alliance for Democracy, which mobilized tens of thousands of people when it seized Bangkok’s airports for eight days in 2008, will gather at 2 p.m. on a bridge less than a kilometer from Abhisit’s Government House office. The benchmark SET Index rose 0.2 percent as of 11:34 a.m. local time, after its biggest drop in 15 months yesterday.

“This event may remind markets of the events in 2008,” Standard Charted Plc said in a note today. “The return of political tensions outside parliament would add to PM Abhisit’s worries and may lead to foreign portfolio outflows.”

The moves by the yellow-shirted protesters who backed Abhisit’s rise to power in 2008 and now say the government is ceding territory to Cambodia may undermine his efforts to prevent street clashes before an election he must call this year. Rival red-clad supporters of ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra, whose occupation of downtown Bangkok last year led to at least 95 deaths, will gather nearby today and have vowed to hold competing bi-monthly rallies.

The People’s Alliance is demanding that Thailand drop out of the United Nations’ World Heritage Committee, cancel a 2000 agreement with Cambodia on border negotiations and urge Cambodians to withdraw from disputed border areas, leader Chamlong Srimuang said yesterday. He didn’t rule out storming Government House in the days ahead as the group did in 2008.

‘Work as Normal’

“All parties should cooperate and act in line with the rules,” Abhisit told reporters in Bangkok yesterday. Protesters should “make sure they don’t harm the public and allow the government and Parliament to work as normal.”

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said today the protesters’ demands are “dangerous” to the country and the government wouldn’t follow them. The government will set up checkpoints along the route to the demonstration area to ensure the protest stays peaceful, he said.

Police arrested five suspects accused of aiming to sabotage today’s rally with homemade bombs, the Bangkok Post reported, without citing anyone.

Stocks Drop

Thailand’s SET Index fell 4.3 percent yesterday, its biggest drop since Oct. 15, 2009. The gauge has lost 8 percent since reaching a 14-year high on Jan. 6, joining regional neighbors from China to India in declining from recent peaks amid concern central banks will take extra steps to prevent their economies from overheating.

The baht slid 0.3 percent to 31.01 per dollar as of 11:35 a.m. in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency touched 31.02, the weakest level since Sept. 9.

Tourism stocks led declines, with Thai Airways International Plc poised for its lowest close since Oct. 13 and Airports of Thailand Pcl, the biggest airport operator, headed for its lowest close since July 2. Central Pattana Pcl, owner of a Bangkok shopping mall that was set ablaze during protests last year, fell 5.3 percent to 27 baht.

Global funds sold 4.05 billion baht ($131 million) more local shares than they bought yesterday, taking this month’s net sales to $955 million, according to stock exchange data.

‘Buying Opportunity’

The recent stock declines presented a “buying opportunity,” Credit Suisse Group AG said today.

“We consider politics a potential positive catalyst, rather than a reason to sell,” analysts Dan Fineman and Siriporn Sothikul wrote in a report today. “We still see a good chance for elections as early as April-May and expect the government to surprise the market with its margin of victory.”

Thai lawmakers today will debate two minor changes to the constitution that would alter the composition of Parliament and make it easier to sign international treaties. Passage of the amendments would fulfill one of Abhisit’s conditions for calling an election ahead of a deadline for the end of this year.

Abhisit’s Democrat party received support from coalition members to increase the number of party-list seats to 125 from 100, and boost the total number of lawmakers to 500 from 480, Krungthep Turakij reported, without saying where it got the information. In the last election in 2007, the Democrat party won the most party-list votes despite finishing with 68 fewer total seats than the pro-Thaksin party.

The People’s Alliance, led in part by a member of Abhisit’s party, ended six months of street protests in 2008 against Thaksin’s allies when a court disbanded the ruling party. Abhisit took power two weeks later in a parliamentary vote.

Protesters Killed

Soldiers declined to enforce orders from a pro-Thaksin prime minister in 2008 to disperse the People’s Alliance from Government House or the airports. The army has twice used force since then to break up protests from Thaksin’s supporters, most recently in May when demonstrators turned down Abhisit’s offer to call an early election.

Street clashes and small bomb attacks during the 2008 protests killed at least five people and injured hundreds of others.

Relations between Thailand and Cambodia soured in 2008 when a Thai court ordered a Thaksin-linked government to withdraw support for Cambodia’s bid to list the disputed Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site. Gun battles in the area since 2008 have killed at least six soldiers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Ten Kate in Bangkok at dtenkate@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg in Hong Kong at phirschberg@bloomberg.net  

MP Panich's parliamentary status needs to be cleared up

Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth

via CAAI

Published: 25/01/2011

Election commissioner Sodsri Satayatham has a valid point in raising the question of whether Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth is still eligible to hold a seat in parliament after being convicted and sentenced to jail in Cambodia.

Mr Panich appears to be the first serving Thai lawmaker to have been sentenced to imprisonment by a foreign court – the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in this case.

Whether the verdict will have an effect on his parliamentary status, although not yet a formal issue, is certainly worthy of consideration, as pointed out by Mrs Sodsri.

The election commissioner wants members of the parliament to ask House Speaker Chai Chidchob to raise Mr Panich’s parliamentary status with the Constitution Court, so seek a clearcut ruling.

The Democrat MP, who won his Bangkok seat in a July by-election, was convicted and jailed in Cambodia for illegal entry and trespassing on a Cambodian military area.

She would like to know if Mr Panich is still eligible for parliament, and whether the Cambodian court’s verdict is applicable here.

Article 106 of the constitution states, in essence, that a member of the parliament loses his/her status if sentenced to imprisonment and the verdict is final, even if the jail term was suspended. However, this would not apply if the sentence is for a petty offence or for commiting an offence by negligence, or in the case of a conviction for defamation.

Mrs Sodsri has a valid point . Mr Panich’s parliamentary status needs to be clarified by the Constitution Court, to set a precedent and also to pre-empt possible legal complications if the Democrat MP was later found to be ineligible as a result of the Cambodian court’s verdict.

Election commissioner Sodsri Satayatham

Personally, I believe that Article 106 of the charter was meant to apply only to a verdict by a Thai court and not the verdict of a foreign court - because that would amount to recognition of the jurisdiction of a foreign court in Thailand.

Since a law for a particular offence in one country may be different from the law for the same offence in another country, and the legal proceedings may differ from one country to another, it does not make good sense for one country to accept or to recognise a verdict delivered by the court of another country.

Take for instance the case of a public protest, which is legal in this country and illegal in Burma. If a Thai MP was jailed for holding a protest in Burma, should we recognise the Burmese court’s verdict here and let the verdict affect his parliamentary status?

But to clear up any doubts, Mr Panich’s case needs a ruling by the Constitution Court and a legal precedent to be set for the future.

EC checking Panich's credentials as MP

via CAAI

By The Nation

The Election Commission on Tuesday formed a panel to check into the credentials of Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth following his sentencing in Cambodia for a suspended jail term on the offence of illegal entry.

EC member Prapun Naigowit said the panel will have 30 days to complete its task.

Under Article 106 of the Constitution, MP sentenced for imprisonment or suspended jail term will be disqualified from holding the House seat. An exception is granted for minor offence or negligence.

Prapun said the panel would have to determine whether the verdict by a foreign court is applicable to Panich's job status.

Should the EC rule to disqualify Panich, this will prompt a mandatory judicial review by the Constitution Court.

Red Shirts, Yellow Shirts To Protest Tuesday

via CAAI

BANGKOK, April 24 (Bernama) -- The Yellow Shirts, who contributed to the downfall of the three administrations the preceded the present government, plan to hold mass rallies from tomorrow over the Thailand-Cambodia border issue.

The group wants the government to revoke the memorandum of understanding on the border signed in 2000, pull Thailand out of the Unesco World Heritage Committee, and expel Cambodians from the disputed area.

Their leader, Chamlong Srimuang, said: "Our rallies will end when the prime minister meets our demands."

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had already declared that his government would not bow to the demands of the Yellow Shirts, led by People's Alliance for Democracy.

He said yesterday that the two countries would be left with no other option but to use force to settle their border dispute if the MoU was revoked.

Although the group is known to be strong supporters of the present administration, Abhisit considered their demands to be so unreasonable that he has accused them of really wanting to oust his government.

"Their intention is not to push for the revocation of the memorandum. Their intention is to oust the present government," Abhisit said.

The Yellow Shirts claimed that the MoU has put Thailand at a disadvantage, and they are concerned about the decision that world heritage body is expected to make in June on the management plan of the Preah Vihear Temple in Cambodia.

The management plan of the temple covered a disputed area with Thailand claiming sovereignty over 4.6 square kilometers adjacent to the 11th century temple listed as a world heritage site in 2008.

The Yellow Shirts will begin their series of rallies at Makkhawan Bridge tomorrow morning.

Police have been mobilized to safeguard important installations starting today.

"We will not allow them to seize Government House. It is illegal," said Abhisit.

To add to his headache, the Red Shirts, supporters of the previous administrations, too planned to hold a protest in the capital tomorrow.

The protest will be led by June 24 Democracy Group, a splinter group of the Red Shirts movement. It will be held at Democracy Monument, about one kilometer from the protest site of their rivals, from 5pm until midnight.

The group is demanding that the government release the 400 leaders and supporters of the Red Shirts still being detained after the May 19 military crackdown to disperse their three-month rally.

"The authorities will take care of the two protests," said Abhisit.

Protesting Thai Red Shirts call for release of leaders

A large anti-government Red Shirt rally yesterday in Bangkok,Thailand. The Red Shirts plan to hold rallies twice a month. Photograph: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

via CAAI

The Irish Times - Monday, January 24, 2011

BANGKOK – About 30,000 anti-government Red Shirts rallied in Thailand’s capital yesterday in another show of strength that heralds a rocky run-up to an election due this year.

It was the second big rally this month by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and serves as a reminder of the polarisation that has plagued southeast Asia’s second-largest economy for the past five years.

The mostly rural and urban working-class Red Shirts marched from the upmarket shopping district they effectively closed for much of April and May last year to Democracy Monument in the city’s old quarter.

The protests last year were halted by a military crackdown. In all, 91 people were killed and many UDD leaders remain in detention – one of the reasons for the latest protests.

“We will stay until midnight and will meet again on February 13th,” said Jatuporn Prompan, who managed to stay out of prison because of his status as a politician. “Our rally will get bigger and bigger until the government releases our leaders.”

Some protesters said they were there to show support for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by the military in 2006 and now lives in exile to avoid a jail term handed down for corruption.

“This government’s policy is no good, I want Thaksin back,” said Boonsri Sudanetr (42), who is from Nakhon Ratchasima in the northeast, a Thaksin stronghold.

Prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has promised an election some time this year, perhaps in the first half, although that timeframe may not appeal to his coalition partners or his powerful backers in the military and royalist establishment.

Analysts say the regrouping of the UDD and the zero tolerance shown by the authorities threaten instability and economic damage if political tensions again spill over into violence.

“Despite [military and government] efforts to contain the situation, Thailand’s political crisis will continue in 2011,” risk consultancy IHS Global Insight said in a client note, adding there was a “high likelihood of further political instability, even if Abhisit manages to win the polls”.

Despite those risks, foreign investors put a net $1.9 billion into Thailand’s stock market in 2010 – the second-highest inflow in the region, behind Indonesia – helping to push the baht to a 13-year high.

Just as the UDD has taken extreme measures to try to bring down Mr Abhisit, the pro-establishment yellow-shirted People’s Alliance for Democracy came out in force in 2006 and 2008 and helped to undermine governments led or backed by Mr Thaksin.

The alliance is planning a rally on Tuesday, its biggest since 2008, to demand a tougher stance by the government in a long-running border dispute with Cambodia.

Its re-emergence on the street adds to the potentially explosive mix in the run-up to a general election. There is no guarantee either side would accept the outcome of the poll.

“The next election would certainly be the one where the risk of violence is greater than any before and it’s likely to be one of the dirtiest, with behind-the-scenes influences that could undermine the democratic process,” said Danny Richards of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“There isn’t a judiciary that’s accepted by all sides as being impartial, and that undermines how the results will be accepted.” – (Reuters)

Thai nationalists launch protest against government policy in land dispute with Cambodia

via CAAI

By The Associated Press (CP) – 2 hours ago

BANGKOK — Thailand's capital is bracing for a new round of street protests by nationalist groups that claim the government fails to safeguard disputed territory along the border with neighbouring Cambodia.

About 350 people gathered Tuesday for the start of a rally by the so-called People's Alliance for Democracy — also known as the Yellow Shirts — the same group that in 2008 occupied the prime minister's offices for three months and took over Bangkok's two airports. An associated fringe group, the Thai Patriots Network, has been protesting on the same nationalist theme since earlier this month.

The protest has been overshadowed by the arrest Monday of five men who allegedly were planning to set off bombs to disrupt the demonstrations.

Vietnam's top asset manager sets sights on Cambodia

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH | Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:03pm EST

PHNOM PENH Jan 25 (Reuters) - Vietnam's largest asset manager, VinaCapital Investment Management Ltd, is expanding into neighbouring Cambodia with a pledge to invest $100 million and eventually launch a dedicated fund, the company said on Tuesday.

Its new, wholly owned unit, VictoryCapital, will "invest in a broad range of sectors, including real estate, hospitality, infrastructure and agriculture", said VinaCapital, which oversees $1.7 billion in assets primarily in three London-based funds.

VictoryCapital will source and manage investments in Cambodia, with VinaCapital's Singapore office helping to raise capital, VinaCapital's statement said. It did not specify when it would launch its Cambodia fund.

VictoryCapital joins a small band of frontier investors sizing up Cambodia at a time when China and South Korea are increasing direct investment in its tiny $10 billion economy. Plans for a stock market are progressing, though slowly.

Simon Luu, formerly with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ.AX) in Phnom Penh, will be country manager and Don Lam will be chief executive. (Reporting by Jason Szep; Editing by Alan Raybould)

VictoryCapital commits USD100 million investments in Cambodia

25 Jan 2011 by The Asset

via CAAI

VictoryCapital has committed to invest up to USD100 million in Cambodia’s economy over the next several years and announced plans to launch a dedicated Cambodia fund.

The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of VinaCapital Group, an asset management and real estate development firm focussed on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The latter has about USD1.7 billion in assets under management, primarily in three investment funds traded on the alternative investment market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. It has raised funds internationally from such major institutional investors as Temasek, Morgan Stanley, and European and Japanese pension funds and private banks.

VictoryCapital will source and manage investments in Cambodia and will help bring more foreign investments into the country. It intends to invest in a broad range of sectors, including real estate, hospitality, infrastructure and agriculture. It will be supported from the VinaCapital office in Singapore which will play a key role in raising capital. Simon Luu, formerly with ANZ Bank in Phnom Penh, is the VictoryCapital country manager.

“Through VinaCapital, we have access to international funds which we are aiming to invest in long term projects in Cambodia that will create value and promote sustainable economic growth. Our track record is based on supporting the growth of domestic companies and the domestic economy. We intend to continue to follow this model in Cambodia,” VictoryCapital CEO Don Lam says.

Cambodia: Chokehold on Basic Freedoms Tightens

 via CAAI

UN, Donors Should Forcefully Challenge Increased Restrictions on Rights

January 24, 2011

Forced evictions continue to escalate in Cambodia. The forced eviction of more than 300 villagers in Chuk district, Kampot in 2008, was carried out by a mixed group of about 100 Brigade 31 soldiers, forestry and environment officers, police, and military police. Most were armed with handguns or AK-47s.
© 2008 Licadho..

(New York) - The Cambodian government tightened restrictions on fundamental freedoms in 2010, making it increasingly difficult and risky for human rights defenders, land rights activists, and trade unionists to operate, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2011.

The 649-page report, Human Rights Watch's 21st annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major human rights trends in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. During 2010, Human Rights Watch said, the Cambodian government increasingly ignored or dismissed human rights concerns of United Nations agencies and international donors that have made significant contributions to the country's budget for years. Instead, Prime Minister Hun Sen rebuked UN officials, threatening to expel the UN resident coordinator and the UN human rights office director in Phnom Penh.

"The Cambodian government has used bluster and intimidation to push the UN and donors into silence about abuses," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The international community needs to advocate more forcefully for the human rights of the Cambodian people."

The year started with the forced return of 20 ethnic Uighur asylum seekers to China, where they were at risk of torture. This flagrant violation of Cambodia's obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention was made over strenuous protests by key donors and UN agencies. In March, Hun Sen threatened to expel Cambodia's UN resident coordinator for calling for greater transparency in passage of an anti-corruption law. In October in a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Hun Sen demanded the closure of the UN human rights office in Phnom Penh unless the UN dismissed its country representative, whom the government accused without evidence of supporting the opposition.

A new penal code contains draconian and vaguely defined provisions that permit criminal prosecution for peaceful expression. Shortly after the law went into effect in December, a World Food Program staff member was sentenced to prison on politically motivated incitement charges. Laws being drafted to regulate nongovernmental organizations and trade unions are expected to restrict their ability to exist, operate, and organize activities, in violation of the rights to freedom of association and assembly. Even without these restrictive laws, authorities regularly use force to disperse peaceful protests.

"The Cambodian government is using laws to restrict political space for activists who peacefully speak out against government misconduct and corruption," Robertson said. "The government should recognize its obligations to protect peaceful political speech, and not persecute those who exercise that right."

The repressive laws are implemented by a wholly pliant judiciary controlled by the government, which made no efforts during 2010 to improve judicial independence. Instead, the government used the courts to bring politically motivated prosecutions against opposition party members. In January, the opposition leader Sam Rainsy was sentenced in absentia to two years in prison in a closed trial on charges of racial incitement and destroying border demarcation posts. In September, he was sentenced to an additional 10 years in prison on trumped-up charges of "disinformation" and falsifying maps.

The credibility of the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal was undermined by political interference from the highest levels of government. While meeting with Secretary-General Ban in October, Hun Sen stated that the court would prosecute only the four Khmer Rouge leaders in custody, even though the tribunal's international co-prosecutor had submitted the names of six additional suspects for indictment in 2009.

"The UN and donors need to be much more vigilant and vocal in challenging political interference with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal so that it can do its work independently and impartially," Robertson said.

Illegal land confiscation and forced evictions escalated during 2010, putting the livelihood of millions of urban and rural poor at risk. Land rights activists faced violence and arrest, with more than 60 people jailed or awaiting trial for protesting forced evictions and land grabbing.

Throughout the year the government arbitrarily detained sex workers, people who use drugs, homeless people, and the mentally ill in government-run Social Affairs Centers or drug detention centers, where they are subject to beatings and other serious abuses. More than 2,000 people have been arbitrarily detained in 11 government-run drug detention centers. Although they are mandated to treat and "rehabilitate" drug users, the centers subject detainees to violence, forced labor, and military-style drills. Many detainees are children or people with mental illnesses.

Women and girls involved in sex work, including transgender women, face beatings, rape, sexual harassment, extortion, arbitrary arrest, and detention by police, government-hired security guards and Social Affairs Center employees. Homeless people, beggars, the mentally ill, and other indigent people gathered in police sweeps are also detained and mistreated in these centers.

"Cambodia's donors need to wake up and recognize that the human rights situation in Cambodia is rapidly deteriorating," Robertson said. "They should demand that the government abide by its human rights obligations, and they should be front-line defenders of civil society against government intimidation."

Cambodia's micro-loan disbursement rises 33 percent in 2010

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 07:51 dap-news .PHNOM PENH, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's micro-lenders reported 33 percent growth of loan disbursement in 2010 thanks to better business environment after the slowdown in 2009.

The Kingdom's 23 microfinance institutions had lent 647 million U.S. dollars in 2010, 33 percent rise from 485 million U.S. dollars in 2009, according to the statistics released by Cambodian Micro Finance Association (CMA) on Tuesday.

The figure has been collected from the 22 MFIs in Cambodia and included the small loans of 222 million U.S. dollars disbursed by ACLEDA bank.

The number of borrowers has increased by 38 percent to 1.2 million in 2010 from 878,559 in 2009.

Meanwhile, non-performing loans, defined as loan repayments that are at least 30 days overdue, fell to 1.29 percent or 8.3 million U.S. dollars in 2010 from 2.86 percent or 8.5 million U.S. dollars a year earlier.

Chea Phalarin, president of CMA, said Tuesday that the increasing trend of loan demands started in mid last year and it's expected to continue to rise this year.

"We observed that the demand of loans for small businesses has been picked up sharply since mid-2010," he said.

"This reflected well growth of economic recovery last year after the impact from the crisis in 2008 and 2009."

Hearing today in activist case

Photo by: Photo Supplied
Sam Chankea, Adhoc’s provincial coordinator in Kampong Chhnang province (centre), speaks to reporters outside the provincial court earlier this month.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:02 May Titthara

Kampong Chhnang provincial court is set to hand down a verdict today in a case against a local activist that rights groups have branded an attack on freedom of expression.

Sam Chankea, the Kampong Chhnang provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, has been accused of defamation and disinformation by the development firm KDC International. KDC is owned by Chea
Kheng, the wife of Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem.

The complaint against Sam Chankea stems from a December 2009 interview with Radio Free Asia in which he suggested that the clearance of disputed land in Kampong Tralach district by KDC may have been illegal.

Sam Chankea said yesterday that he was confident that the court did not have the evidence to convict him.

“I have suggested that they show evidence, but they do not have it,” he said. He added, however, that he was concerned for his safety due to the powerful interests behind KDC.

Last week, Kampong Tralach villager Reach Seima, 30, was convicted of disinformation in connection with the land dispute. He was fined 2 million riel (US$495) and ordered to pay 8 million riel ($1,980) in compensation to the firm.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights said the case against Sam Chankea was evidence that “the democratic space for peaceful expression of opinions is shrinking in Cambodia”.

KDC, which claims to have purchased the land in question in 1996, said in 2007 it had struck a deal with 105 families to gain ownership to 145 hectares. Rights groups say that 64 families never agreed to the deal.


Freelance sex workers at greater risk: study

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:02 Summer Walker

A newreport on sex work in Phnom Penh has found that workers under less supervision are increasingly at risk for HIV and sexually transmitted infection, raising concerns over the shifting nature of sex work since the enactment of the 2008 Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.

The study, published in this month’s edition of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and which evaluates new HIV prevention challenges, finds the risk for both HIV and STI is higher for women working as freelancers or in multiple venues, as well as for women who use amphetamine-type substances on the job.

“Women who worked as freelance sex workers had higher odds of HIV infection compared with entertainment-based sex workers, and those who reported having a boss or manager had lower odds of HIV than those who did not,” the report states.

Researchers conducted a 12-month study of 160 sex workers, aged between 15 and 29, in Phnom Penh between 2007 and 2008.

The risk of STI was highest among freelance sex workers, women with a longer length of employment as sex workers, women without a boss or manager, and recent yama, or amphetamine, use.

The researchers express concern about the 2008 human trafficking law since it changed the typology for sex worker venues by outlawing brothels and pushing women further towards arenas where researchers found they are most at risk for HIV and STIs.

Cambodia country manager for Population Services International Chris Jones said prevention should take account of work venues and drug prevention, but noted implementation would be difficult.

“The shift of sex work from brothels to entertainment establishments has greatly complicated HIV prevention efforts, which rely on regular, unfettered access to women at risk of HIV to deliver information, products and referral to services such as STI and HIV testing and access to family planning services,” he said.

He added that prevention also requires access to male clients who play a key role in the use of condoms. “Scaling up condom availability at or near non-traditional outlets” ... has also proven effective.

Jones said partner organisations have adapted their approaches to reach women at risk, but the new environment is much more complicated and poses greater challenges than the model of the past.

Court sets Seng Chenda verdict date

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Sin Visal announced yesterday that he would hand down a verdict on January 26 in a contentious case brought against the wife of a prominent businessman and four others accused of attempted murder.

“Due to the complexities of the case, the court will continue its conclusions about these five defendants and will officially announce their verdicts on the morning of January 26,” Sin Visal said.

Seng Chenda, 48, wife of 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.

Seng Chenda reiterated her innocence in court yesterday.

“I have not committed the acts for which I’m charged. I think this is a trick by His Excellency Sun Chanthol’s family,” she said.

“I would like to deny these charges against me, and I would like the court to find justice for me.”

Pal Chandara, the lawyer representing Suv Chantha, told the court yesterday that police interrogations and confessions taken from suspected accomplices Chan Sokha, Neang Sinath, Khorn Lak and Yin Sophearith proved that they were ordered by Seng Chenda to carry out the murder of his client.

“Seng Chenda is the mastermind of this attempted murder, and these four people were involved,” he said.

The four alleged accomplices have testified previously that police and Sun Chanthol forced them to provide false confessions.

Lim Vanna, the lawyer representing Seng Chenda, dismissed the charges as an attempt by Sun Chanthol to victimize her over conflicts with her husband’s children from a previous marriage.

Seng Chenda and her four alleged accomplices were charged under Article 3 of the Law on Aggravating Circumstances for Felonies, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Defamation: Man held for cursing Suo Phirin

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:02 Thet Sambath


Thirty-two-year-old Nou Srin of Chong Kao Suo village in Siem Reap province was arrested on Friday after drunkenly cursing provincial Governor Suo Phirin in a public place.

Provincial police said Nou Srin drank four bottles of an unidentified alcoholic beverage and became angry at the governor because he did not receive a plot of land that he said was promised to him.

“We sent him to court, and the prosecutor is working on his [defamation] case,” said Suot Nady, Siem Reap provincial police chief, yesterday.

Sours Narin, a provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that he suspected the man suffered from mental illness.

Suot Nady questioned that allegation. “If he is mentally ill, how could he curse the governor,” he said, adding that there was no merit to the man’s claims that Sou Phirin had made any promises of land.

Siem Reap provincial prosecutor Ti Sovinthal said yesterday that this is not the first time that Nou Srin has cursed someone.

“I have accepted complaints and I have accused him of cursing others,” he said, adding that in those cases the suspect was not detained.

Poll says land theft remains key concern

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:02 Thomas Miller

A recent public opinion poll revealed a high percentage of Cambodians who say someone has tried to steal their land in the past three years, prompting concern from rights groups yesterday.

Seven percent of Cambodians said someone had tried to steal all or part of their land, in a poll released on Friday by the International Republican Institute.

That percentage represents about 500,000 residents based on the Kingdom’s population of an estimated 14 million.

Five percent said at least part of their land had been stolen.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said those responses were “not just an opinion poll”.

“It’s actually things that have happened to them. I think that’s very significant”, he said.

The poll’s sample size of 2,000 is representative for the Cambodian population aged 18 or older by gender and province according to 2008 census data, said John Willis, IRI country director.

Matthieu Pellerin, a consultant for the rights group Licadho, said the percentage was a “huge” number that appeared to confirm recent data.

A 2009 Licadho report said more than 250,000 Cambodians in about half the country had been affected by land disputes between 2003 and 2008.

Ou Virak said he was “surprised” by the high percentage in the IRI poll, but said it was “scientific enough.”

Even with a margin of error of 2.2 percent, he said, three percent of people who had land stolen would still be “very high”.

The poll excluded those who might have an interest in its results, Willis said. People were disqualified if they or their family members were employed by media, the government or political parties.

Only seven percent of respondents in the survey said that land-grabbing was the issue they felt “most impacts” their daily life. But Ou Virak said “there is no way” the government could avoid the issue.

“When people lose… land, which affects them directly, these are people who are going to be holding grudges”, he said. “You have people feeling angry that their property is unjustly taken away”.

New Pailin courthouse opens its doors

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:02 Tep Nimol

Ministry of Justice officials inaugurated a new courthouse in Pailin yesterday, which they say will prevent locals from having to make the 60 kilometre trek to Battambang provincial court for hearings.

Pailin provincial prosecutor Chum Sensakthea said Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana presided over the inauguration of the one-story court building in Pailin town.

“From now on, we will receive both civil and criminal cases that occur in Pailin to find justice for citizens,” he said. “They do not have to file their complaint at the Battambang provincial court as before.”

Chum Sensakthea, who has just taken up his post, said that Chum Sar has also been appointed as the first president of the court. He said judges started to receive cases yesterday.

Chum Sansakthea added that authorities in Pailin made demands for the establishment of a separate court and prison because of to the hardships faced by citizens and civil servants, who have previously spent both money and time filing complaints and attending hearings in Battambang.

“As the first step, we created the court and we plan to establish a prison in the future. We already have a location for it,” he said.

Heng Hak, director of the Department of Prisons in the Ministry of Interior, confirmed the ministry had plans to build a jail in Pailin, but could not predict when construction would begin on the project.

Chan Saveth, senior investigative officer for the rights group Adhoc, applauded the establishment of the court, saying it would streamline the administration of justice in the area.

History a work in progress in one-time KR stronghold

Photo by: May TittHara
Phen Soeurm, a grade 12 student at Malai High School, studies on a bench in the school’s courtyard in Banteay Meancheay. History is a touchy subject in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold.


Most students don’t want to study Khmer Rouge history ... because all of their parents are former Khmer Rouge.


via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:01 May Titthara

Banteay Meanchey province

Sittingunder a tree outside Malai High School, 20-year-old Phen Soeurm offers a dismissive approach to his history class typical of many his age.

As the teacher lectures, “the class just listens without paying attention at all,” Phen Soeurm says. “They just want to kill time.”

Here in this dusty district of Banteay Meanchey province, however, there is more to this phenomenon than a simple case of student laziness. The lecture in question covers the history of the Democratic
Kampuchea regime, an understandably sensitive topic in this former Khmer Rouge stronghold.

“Most students don’t want to study Khmer Rouge history because they don’t want to be reminded of what happened, and because all of their parents are former Khmer Rouge,” Phen Soeurm said.

In schools throughout the Kingdom, the introduction of KR-related material has been a sensitive project.

Prior to last year, high school history tests drew from a textbook that gave short shrift to the regime and its history, omitting some of the most basic facts about it. But on the 2010 national history exam, five of the 14 questions dealt with the Khmer Rouge period.

In addition to identifying regime leaders, students are asked to explain why it is said that Tuol Sleng prison was a tragedy for the Cambodian people; who was behind Tuol Sleng; how the administrative zones of Democratic Kampuchea were organised; and when the regime was in power.

These new additions to the exam follow the 2007 introduction of a government-approved textbook created by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia titled A History of Democratic Kampuchea.

DC-Cam has distributed roughly 300,000 of the textbooks to date in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, and plans to give away 200,000 more in 2011 and 2012.

Students at Malai High School received the text in 2009, but to date, it has played a limited role in their curriculum.

The book, complete with graphics and photographs, stretches 90 pages in Khmer and 73 in English. A teacher in Malai said, however, that he had compressed the material into just one lesson for 12th grade students in their second semester.

“We don’t mention the Khmer Rouge leaders because the parents of the students are Khmer Rouge,” the teacher said, declining to be identified by name. “If those students were reminded of the leaders’ names, their parents would be upset.”

A school principal in Malai, who also asked to remain anonymous, agreed that the local climate in the district made addressing Khmer Rouge history in the classroom a challenge.

“The parents are all former Khmer Rouge, and although everything is finished now, they still respect the [Khmer Rouge] leaders,” he said.

Youk Chhang, director of DC-Cam, said his organisation had seen similar intransigence in other former Khmer Rouge areas such as Pailin province and Anlong Veng district in Oddar Meanchey province. In other provinces, he said, teachers had been reluctant to teach the material for fear of rekindling painful memories of the period.

“This has been a political topic for nearly 30 years,” Youk Chhang said. “We all have to face it and address it.”

Many parents in Malai had warily followed the introduction of the new material, said Teng Ong, 56, a farmer in the district who was formerly a member of the Khmer Rouge.

“I have never told my children that I am a former Khmer Rouge soldier because I’m afraid I would scare my kids,” Teng Ong said. “I don’t want my children to study Khmer Rouge history because the Khmer Rouge were not always bad, and I’m afraid my children will hate all Khmer Rouge leaders.”

But the lessons, Youk Chhang said, seek not to demonise the entire Khmer Rouge movement, but to give students a fuller and more nuanced understanding of the period.

“In some areas, students face discrimination if they are known to be the children of former Khmer Rouge members,” he said. “Including Khmer Rouge history in the school curriculum is a way to promote reconciliation on the national, local and family level.”

Some students, at least, say they have internalised the horrors of the regime, even if they are reluctant to study them in class.

Puth Sophy, a 10th grade student at Malai High School, said she had attempted a few times to read her Khmer Rouge history text, but had never been able to study it at length.

“Whenever I read that book, I get a headache and I feel like I’m going to vomit, so I put it back,” she said. “I am angry with the Khmer Rouge because they punished their fellow Cambodians, so I don’t want to study or be reminded of this history.”

Den Raya, an 11th grader in Malai, said he had no need to study the regime in class because he had heard enough about it from his parents.

“My mother always tells me that during that time, she was forced to work very hard, was not offered enough food to eat and had no time to talk to her family like she does today,” Den Raya said.

Police Blotter: 25 Jan 2011

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:01 Phak Seangly

Student shot while resisting muggers
An 18-year-old student was shot three times during a mugging in an empty lot in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district on Friday night. According to a witness, the victim was sitting on a motorbike flirting with his girlfriend at about 7:30pm, when three men approached them on a motorcycle, threatening them with a gun and making off with the motorbike and three mobile phones. As one of the robbers was escaping on the stolen motorbike, the victim tried to grab it back and was shot three times in the waist. The victim has been hospitalised. KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Police link dead body to electric wire thefts
A man found the rotten corpse of an 18-year-old man while he was clearing bush beside an electrical pole on Sunday in Battambang province’s Battambang town. Police said the dead man went missing about a week ago, after he left home on January 16 with two friends. His 42-year-old mother reported him missing, and police suspect that the man climbed the electricity pylon to steal electrical wires and was electrocuted. Police said that electrical wires in that area are often stolen. KOH SANTEPHEAP

Moto-dop arrested for raping deaf woman
Russei Keo district police arrested a 29-year-old moto-taxi driver on January 18, after he was accused of raping a deaf-mute woman while she was taking bath at her Koh Dach commune home on January 13. According to police, the man secretly entered the bathroom, where the victim was bathing alone, and raped her. She tried to protect herself from the rape, but was not successful until her younger brother intervened and the rapist fled. KOH SANTEPHEAP

Dance party erupts into violence in Kampot
Police in Kampot province’s Teuk Chhou district on Saturday arrested two men, aged 19 and 20, after they allegedly stabbed a 19-year-old man while they were dancing at a party on Friday night. Police said the men were accused of intentionally injuring the victim with a knife. The incident occurred when two groups of men were dancing at the party, and a man from one of the groups accidentally stepped on the foot of a man from another group, who lashed out at his opponent and was then stabbed with a knife. The suspects escaped from the scene, but were apprehended the next morning. Police said that the men are being detained at the district police station. RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Market vendors protest

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:01 Kim Yuthana

Fifty vendors from Battambang province’s Moang market protested in front of Moang Russey district hall yesterday, calling for authorities to intervene after market security officials evicted them.

“We have been selling here for more than 10 years, and now the authorities said that it is against the public order,” said Oun Than, one of the vendors.

She added that the market security officials evicted all vendors outside the market.

Venders were told that security officials were only “following orders from higher authorities” and that the vendors were “causing traffic jams”.

Market vendors said that they were renting the areas in front of stalls from the stall owners and that they paid money to market security officials each day for the right to sell there.

However, Long Soum, Governor of Moang Russey district said the vendors posed another problem for the district.

“Vendors who sell outside the market affect public order,” he said. Then added that they also contravened fire regulations.

Mainland link boosts trade with Hong Kong

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:00 May Kunmakara

THE Kingdom’s growing trade with mainland China has also boosted its dealings with Hong Kong, according to Ministry of Commerce officials.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Hong Kong increased 28 percent in the first eleven months of 2010, to US$558 million, from $437 million for the same period the year previous, according to statistics from the Hong Kong Development Council (HKDC).

“We saw that the Chinese economy was very strong last year. This enhanced trade between Cambodia and Hong,” said Chea Socheat, chief of the Bureau of ASEAN and Economic Integration at the Ministry of Commerce.

“In fact, we don’t have all that much direct trade with Hong Kong. Investors in mainland China have businesses in Hong Kong – that’s why our bilateral trade with Hong Kong increased that much.”

The statistics show Cambodia imported some $538 million worth of goods from Hong Kong in first eleven months of 2010, a 27 percent increase from $425 million in the same months of 2009. Meanwhile, Cambodian exports rose 66 percent to $20 million during the same period.

The expanding Chinese economy will continue boosting trade between Cambodia and Hong Kong, said Chea Socheat.

“Mainland [China] has lots of businesses in Hong Kong,” he said. “It will increase production here in Cambodia so we grow together.”

Trade between the People’s Republic and Cambodia had surged over 42 percent over the twelve months of 2010, to $1.124 billion from $791 million a year earlier, according to Ministry of Commerce figures obtained last week.

Hong Kong’s main exports to Cambodia were fabrics and plastic products, the statistics show. Shipments of woven cotton fabrics to the Kingdom increased 33 percent.

Europe: major rice target

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:00 Chun Sophal

CAMBODIA is looking to Europe as its most important market for rice exports in 2011, with aims to quadruple global exports this year, according to Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun.

“The European Union is to be the major market for Cambodian rice exports this year, as we hope the EU will continue providing tax exemptions for Cambodia,” he said.

The European bloc’s 27 member states have granted duty free imports to Least Developed Countries including Cambodia under its “Everything But Arms” initiative. Cambodia exported some 40,000 tonnes of the grain to Europe in 2010, he said.

Speaking to The Post at an agricultural show in Kandal province on Saturday, Chan Sarun said that Cambodia projects exporting 200,000 tonnes of rice to global buyers this year, up from 50,000 total tonnes of exports during 2010.

However, he did not specify how much of the targeted 200,000 tonnes of rice would be sold to Europe, and how much would be exported to other countries.

Earlier this month, Economics Institute of Cambodia director Sok Hach raised concerns that the EU’s exemptions would expire at the end of 2011, but Chan Sarun downplayed the concern on Saturday.

“We will request the EU to continue import tax exemptions on our rice, in order to motivate our price producers to increase productivity,” he said. Rafael Dochao Moreno, ChargĂ© d’ Affaires of the EU Delegation to Cambodia, said earlier this month that there were no plans for exemptions to end this year, adding the program’s guidelines guarantee that no substantive changes would be made for the whole period of 2006 to 2015.

Silk Air ups charges on Southeast-Asia routes

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:00 Jeremy Mullins

SINGAPORE-based air carrier Silk Air would raise fuel surcharges for tickets issued from Thursday, the firm stated on its website. “The adjustments will offer only partial relief of higher operating costs arising from increases in the price of jet fuel,” it stated. Silk Air will raise the charge from US$33 to $37 for business travellers, and $25 to $28 for economy class on its routes from Singapore to Southeast Asian cities. The airline connects Singapore with both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh airports.

Bun Kenny draws top seed in Futures opener

Vishnu Vardhan of India, the top seeded player for this week's ITF Men's Futures event, practices at the National Training Centre yesterday ahead of his opening round match against Cambodia's Bun Kenny. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

via CAAI

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 15:00 H S Manjunath

Cambodia’s eagerly awaited tryst with tennis destiny in the form of its first US$15,000 ITF Men’s Futures event at the National Training Centre starts today.

However, the draw has not favoured Bun Kenny, one of the two national players who have been granted wild card entries into the 32-man event, as he has been pitted against top seed and the tournament’s highest ranking player Vishnu Vardhan of India in the first round.

The Kingdom’s second entry, two-time SEA Games bronze medallist Tan Nysan, will match strides with the third seeded 32-year-old Matsui Toshihide of Japan.

“It is a very interesting pairing,” said Tennis Federation of Cambodia General Secretary Tep Rithivit yesterday of the match involving the No 1 seed.

“Of course, Bun Kenny will be playing the most accomplished player in the whole draw. It is a tough beginner no doubt, but we are excited to see how he gets on with it.”

Ranked 387th in the world, the tall and well built Vishnu Vardhan, 23, has already created a buzz around professional circles with a steady rather than a spectacular progression to justify his billing as the best of the current crop of Indian players.

He was part of the Indian squad that took the mixed doubles silver medal with Sania Mirza at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last November, as well as a bronze medal in the team event.

“It is a stern test of skill and stamina for Kenny playing someone as strong as Vishnu,” said national team coach Braen Aneiros. “We have to wait and see how Kenny handles the pressure.

“Tan Nysan’s match-up against the Japanese third seed should be an exciting affair. Nysan has the flair and finesse to trouble the best in the business. It could be a tough call, but certainly not one beyond him,” added the coach.

The tournament’s second seed, 422nd ranked Nikolaus Moser of Austria, begins his quest for the title against Arata Onozawa of Japan, who is 605th in the world.

Thailand No 1 Danai Udomchoke, who was ranked as high as 77 in 2007 but has slipped over the years to 458, said he is happy to be here as a wild card. The fourth seeded Thai, who is arguably the second best known name in his country after Paradorn Srichapan, will play India’s Vijayant Malik.

Thailand No 2 Kittipong Wachiramanowong, who has also been granted a wild card entrance, plays one of the qualifiers in his opening round.

Indiam Yuki Bhambri, 18, who won the Australian Open Junior singles in 2009 and took silver in the First Youth Olympics in Singapore last August, has enjoyed a long run as the world’s top junior.

The fifth seeded youngster could be the one to upset all calculations.

Meanwhile, top rated Chinese player Wang Chuhan duly sealed his place in the main draw by winning his second round in the qualifiers yesterday. He put out Trijati Sunu Wahyu of Indonesia 6-3, 6-3.

In the day’s other qualifiers, Dae-Soung Oh of Korea beat Czech player Jan Belcah 6-4,6-3, Divij Sharan of India ousted Russia’s Arutunyan Araik 6-1, 6-0, India’s Kaza Vinayak Sharma edged Luca Margaroli of Switzerland 6-3, 7-5, Estonia’s Vladimir Ivanov defeated Hsu Hung Yuan of Taipei 7-6, 6-2, Elbert Sie of Indonesia walked over India’s Christopher Marquis 6-0, 6-1, Ashutosh Singh of India squeezed past compatriot Abhijeet Tiwari 6-4, 7-5 and David Agung Susanto of Indonesia overcame New Zealand’s Matt Simpson 6-3, 6-1.

All the winners of yesterday’s second round matches qualified for the main draw to be played over the next two days. Matches begin at the National Training Centre next to the Cambodian Country Club from 10am.