Archive for January, 2008

Week 543 – 2008-01-20: Intentions – Contradictions – Results

Posted on 21 January 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 543 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

Everyone who regularly observes personal relations or public developments – be it on the local, national, or international level – is made regularly aware of the fact that not all intentions lead to the intended results. And it is a constant challenge to reflect on this relationship between causes and effects which are – in human society – not at all predictable and firmly established, different from the relationship between cause and effect in the physical nature.

It is possible to roughly discern three different patterns: the intended goal is reached – or there is not much of a result to be seen – or, surprisingly, the original intention leads to unexpected side effects, or even to some surely not intended reactions.

To point to some such events during the recent past is mainly a reminder that in human society, whenever we take any action, we do not always have control about the results. Once we have spoken a word, it depends then on the listeners how they understand – or misunderstand it.

The Member of Parliament Mr. Cheam Yeap pointed to this situation that intentions are not always leading where one wants them to lead: “We always apply the Constitution very strictly. However, sometimes we meet difficulties and shortcomings that cannot be avoided.”

This week we carried also a report how the personal disappointment with the courts, which had not acted for years on a case of land grabbing, tragically led to wrong actions. – Land was taken away from one family – and we do not even know whether this was based on a justified legal action of if it was just a case of misuse of power. The victim of this action tried to get the problem sorted out legally by appealing to the court. But as nothing had happened for years, he finally acted criminally by hitting a person so that he had to be hospitalized, and he intentionally damaged the car and the house of the person he attacked. But this revenge was not even targeted at a person who had actively been involved. As a result of the fact that the organs of the state – the courts – had not acted for years, he started to have a grudge against all high-ranking representatives of the state, and finally he acted against a person who was actually elected to represent the people. The police said that the attacker had confirmed that he never had a personal anger against the person whom he attacked and wounded. – A tragically confused violent act. But it was triggered by justice violated without hope of redress.

Information about plans to start filling up a large section of Boeng Kak lake have been in the press for weeks, together with the grave expressions of concern about the environmental impact – even the President of the National Assembly was reported to have expressed his concerns in writing. But on the other hand, these plans seem to proceed, though neither the environmental impact study, nor an agreement with the many people affected seems to be in place. This seems to be so – not more can be said, because the authorities in charge have not spoken recently about a solution found. It has to be hoped that this will not lead to any kind of emotional reactions on a much larger scale than in the case referred to in the previous section.

We have mirrored since recently a series of reports which the allegation that substantial financial irregularities have happened at Telecom Cambodia. To mirror such reports does not imply a statement that the allegations are true; to have such allegations publicly repeated over an extended period of time indicates, however, that the public is concerned, and suspicions – justified or not – are growing, the longer there is no clarifying action: either confirming the allegations and initiating correction, or removing the allegations by providing transparent information. After all, the allegations relate to considerable amount of public money.

On Thursday we mirrored a report that an international effort, to ask the government of China to help to persuade the government of Sudan to take protective actions in Darfur, where probably 200,000 persons lost their lives during recent years. This is being done by a symbolic action of moving a torch like the Olympic torch already through Chad, Rwanda, Armenia, Germany, and Bosnia. Cambodia was intended to be the last station on the way to China. And the organizers had intended to organize the last action on the way here, because Cambodia had also suffered the death of a large number of people. As the Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia said: Khmer people know the value of life more than all other people, because the Khmer people lived through a regime of mass killings.

At the time of this writing, there are already more than one hundred press reports on the Internet, from many different countries, that the Cambodian authorities prevented, today, this symbolic act by deploying a large police force, blocking the streets and the access to the Genocide Memorial in Phnom Penh.

The different arguments have been publicly stated. Whatever they are – Cambodia is again negatively in the media of the world. This is always again sad.

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Saturday, 19.1.2008: A Move Toward the Coming Elections: Three Political Parties Express Their Positions for the Competition

Posted on 20 January 2008. Filed under: Week 543 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

“Phnom Penh: Representatives of the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP], of the Sam Rainsy Party [SRP], and of the Norodom Ranariddh Party [NRP] stated their policies in an analysis forum on strengthening the culture of multi-party democracy on 18 January in a move toward the fourth term parliamentary elections. Each party affirmed to respect the Constitution and liberal multi-party democracy, and said that they will accept the results of the 2008 election.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap, the representative of the CPP, said in the discussion of the forum that in the extraordinary congress of the CPP, which was held recently, seriously discussed the work to prepare the fourth term parliamentary elections, so that the competition is conducted on equal terms without violence, in order to hold the elections with dignity, maintaining good reputation, having the elections free, fair, and reliable, and to punish those who commit offenses.

“Concerning the application of the Constitution, Mr. Cheam Yeap said, ‘We always apply it very strictly. However, sometimes we meet difficulties and shortcomings that cannot be avoided.’ He went on to say, ‘We respect the Constitution, apply democracy, and respect human rights.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the SRP, said, ‘Previously, concerning the selection of leadership, we used appointments.’ But the SRP has conducted reforms by using elections from the low level up to the higher level, from villages up to the steering committee of the party. He added that he wants to strengthen democracy, to respect each other, and it is necessary to adhere to a culture of non-violence; he wants that all parties consider each other as competitors and not as enemies intending to kill each other.’

“Mr. Sam Rainsy said that the government will change when other parties get a majority of votes, but if the CPP wins, it will continue to hold power. Nevertheless, whether the SRP or other parties win, whoever wins, they will hold power; this is democracy, there is no democratic country in which one party holds power forever.

“Mr. Muth Chantha, the representative of the NRP, said that the NRP respects the equality of partners, it does not use violence or force to put pressure on other parties, and it does not use state resources to buy Khmer citizens’ feelings. He added, ‘To have many parties to participate in elections is not enough to call it democracy.’ He complained, ‘Some parties are just established to split votes away from another party; this is not in accordance with a culture of liberal and multi-party politics.

“Mr. Chhim Phal Vorun, the director of an institute of civic studies, said that this forum has the goal to strengthen multi-party and liberal democracy for the coming elections. He continued that his institute invited representatives of four political parties which participated in 2007 in elections, or those with seats in the National Assembly, but the NRP did not yet participate in the elections at that time. Mr. Monh Saphan, the representative of Funcinpec who participated in the forum, did not agree to make any comment.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6249, 19-20.1.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 19 January 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1549, 19.1.2008

  • China Communication Standards Association Interested in the Progress of Telecom Cambodia [Telecom Cambodia director Nhek Kosal Vithyea gave a warm welcome to a delegation led by Zhu Gaofeng, the president of the China Communication Standards Association, on the morning of 18 January – Phnom Penh]
  • A Chinese Company Takes 106 Hectares of Citizens’ Land in Kompong Tralach District [Kompong Chhnang]
  • [Osama] Bin Laden’s [26-year-old fourth] Son [Omar Bin Laden] Wants to Become a Peace Activist
  • 3,500 Animals and 120 People Die in Cold Weather in Afghanistan

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6249, 19-20.1.2008

  • A Move Toward the Coming Elections: Three Political Parties Express Their Positions for the Competition

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3368, 19-20.1.2008

  • Hun Sen Government Fears Yuon [Vietnam] and China Will Be Embarrassed, It Prevents Darfur Event
  • Hun Sen Promises to Transfer Power for Government Leadership to Sam Rainsy Party, if They Win 2008 Elections
  • Cheam Yeap [Cambodian People’s Party senior official and parliamentarian from Prey Veng] Stated that Another Group of 21 Funcinpec Officials and Parliamentarians Join Cambodian People’s Party
  • Many Wait to Observe Hearing of Nuon Chea on 4 February 2008

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4493, 19.1.2008

  • Czech Republic Announces [Cambodian] Debt Cancellation
  • In 2007, Cambodia Got $1.4 Billion from Tourism [according to Minister of Tourism Thong Thon]
  • A Chinese Company Takes Citizens’ Land in Four Villages in Kompong Tralach District [Kompong Chhnang]
  • Siem Reap Forestry Officials Tell Svay Leu District Military Police Chief [Yim Sopheap] to Stop His Wood Workshop [Siem Reap]
  • Woman Colludes with Karaoke Parlor Owner to Sell Her Virgin Daughter to a Foreigner [she and the karaoke parlor owner are arrested – Siem Reap]
  • Thailand Will Start to Prohibit Smoking in Nightclubs and in Public Paces from February This Year
  • Prince William Flew a Military Plane Alone [on Wednesday]

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Friday, 18.1.2008: Preparation to Start the Lightning Campaign 2008

Posted on 18 January 2008. Filed under: Week 543 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

“Phnom Penh: Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen ordered the municipal authorities to take action to crack down on all big and small gambling sites in Phnom Penh, for the citizens’ safety for the New Year 2008.

“A source from the Phnom Penh authorities said that Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s order has already reached all officials’ hands and the authorities have also started to meet with each other in order to plan a schedule to conduct a big crackdown in Phnom Penh.

“In the letter, Samdech Prime Minister noticed eight main targets for the campaign to be conducted successfully. However, it is not stated in which districts the eight targets are. A military police official said that the main sites to be suppressed are not big casinos but a number of guesthouses and hotels that secretly operate drug trafficking. Looking from the outside, some guesthouses seem to have guests entering to stay as normal, but inside, drug trafficking and sex trafficking is operated illegally. Some big casinos have even small children entering to gamble, badly affecting the society.

“A Municipal official said that some sites have some tacit agreements with local authorities. Generally, they hide something from the higher levels to keep their individuals’ interests. As for officials of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, they said that they do not know whether the sites are legal or illegal; they just know that the sites operate and pay taxes to the state – that is all.

“The official added that in some hotels they put up signs as massage and karaoke parlors, but actually they operate sex trafficking and gambling.

“A police official of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police Commission told Kampuchea Thmey that the police has already received the order, they are just waiting for the time to start the suppression. According to Samdech Hun Sen’s order, gambling at hotels and guesthouses will be suppressed, and if evidence is found that owners of the hotels and guesthouses commit crimes, they will be arrested and brought to the courts for punishment. The new year campaign to crack down on gambling, drug trafficking, and sex trafficking is named ‘Lightning Campaign 2008’.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1548, 18.1.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 18 January 2008

Areyathor, Vol.14, #1301, 18-19.1.2008

  • A Report Says [National Assembly President] Samdech Ponhea Chakrey Heng Samrin Signed a Letter for the Suspension of Pumping of Soil to Fill Boeng Kak Lake [the Phnom Penh governor and vice-governor allegedly also disagree with each other about pumping of soil to fill Boeng Kak lake]

Boeng Kak Lake in Phnom Penh - 16.1.2008

Boeng Kak Lage in Phnom Penh – 16.1.2008
The BoengKak Lake in Phnom Penh is contracted to an hardly known Korean company for “development” – 90% are to be filled in and built up. For a long time, it served as a reservoir to take in flood water. Several hundred families would be displaced…

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2748, 18.1.2008

  • Head of the Royal Government Orders Suppression on Illegal Gambling and Gambling Which Is Sheltered by CamboSix Club [gambling company for football match betting]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1548, 18.1.2008

  • Preparations to Start the Lightning Campaign 2008
  • AK-47 Gun Robbers Rob People in Their House and Take More Than $10,000 [Angk Snuol, Kandal]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #548, 18.1.2008

  • It Is Time Hun Sen Should Save the Nation by Taking Action against Corrupt Nhek Kosal Vithyea [Director of Telecom Cambodia]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #94, 18-19.1.2008

  • Government Should Take Urgent Action over Issue That Yuons [Vietnamese] Use Picture of Khmer Angkor Wat to Print on Shoes
  • Corruption in Educational Institutions Is a Bad Model for Society

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6248, 18.1.2008

  • The International Children Education Organization [a non-profit organization established with the aim to upgrade the standard of education in remote areas] Constructs Four School Buildings [one in Prey Veng and three in Kompong Chhnang] and Asks that Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s Name Be Used as the Name of the Schools
  • More than 10,000 Complaints Submitted to Khmer Rouge Tribunal for Hearings in 2008 [says Chhang Youk, Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3367, 18.1.2008

  • When Sam Rainsy Party Wins 2008 Election, There Will Be No Grabbing of Citizens’ Land

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4492, 18.1.2008

  • Samdech Krom Preah Has Submitted a Complaint to the Supreme Court [against the verdict to detan him over the sale of the Funcinpec headquarters]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #603, 18.1.2008

  • Sim Hong [Commander of Stung Treng Military Police] Uses Ambulance Which Was Donated by [the CambodianRed Cross President] Bun Rany Hun Sen to Transport Luxury Wood from Stung Treng to Phnom Penh
  • Sam Rainsy: Citizens Must Change the Government So That Gasoline Prices Decline

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Thursday, 17.1.2008: American Movie Star Attempts to Campaign Pushing China to Help to End Violence in Darfur, but Cambodian Authorities Are Likely to Reject the Attempt

Posted on 18 January 2008. Filed under: Week 543 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

“Phnom Penh: The 63-year-old American movie star Mia Farrow, now a UNICEF good-will ambassador wants to come to Cambodia at the end of the campaign, urging the Chinese government to help to end abuses in Darfur in the western part of Sudan, but Cambodia is likely not to allow the event.

“According to a report of Reuters, the American movie star had started a campaign with an Olympic-style torch relay, in order to push China, which has good relations with the government of Sudan, to help to end abuses in this area of conflict, ending the campaign in Cambodia, after she had already carried on the campaign which had started in Chad, near to Darfur.

“The same source said that Cambodia is the sixth country through which the American actress Mia Farrow carried the torch, after starting in Chad, and moving through Rwanda, Armenia, Germany, and Bosnia.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information and the government’s spokesperson, did not answer his telephone; as for Mr. Khieu Sopheak, the Ministry of Interior spokesperson, he did not answer his telephone either on the afternoon of 16 January, but he told the Herald Sun [Australia] that Cambodia does not welcome such a campaign, and Cambodia will also not allow any gathering for such an Olympic-style torch relay.

“He told the same source that whoever conducts the event would face a trial.

“So far, the crisis in Darfur is still the hottest in the world. Violence has killed approximately 200,000 people during five years of war, starvation, and diseases.

“Mia Farrow was born on Monday 9 February 1945. She started making movies in 1964 until now. She is also playing a role as a UNICEF good-will ambassador.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4491, 17.1.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 17 January 2008

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #52, 16-22.1.2008

  • Mr. Keat Chhon Asks Municipality to Reduce Lightening in Streets [in attempt to save fuel]
  • Chhang Youk [Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia]: Khmer People Know the Value of Life More Than All Other People Do [because the Khmer people lived through a regime of mass killings

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1547, 17.1.2008

  • Ms. Ho Naun [Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian – verbally] Attacked Mr. Sam Rainsy in National Assembly Session [Sam Rainsy had said some investors are a mafia, then Ho Naun said that what Sam Rainsy said is not in line with the purpose of the session, and it also contradicts the facts]
  • Opposition Leader [Sam Rainsy] Leads 300 Workers [of Cambodia Apparel Industry Garment Factory – Samraong Tong, Kompong Speu] to Strike [demanding that the factory accept three worker representatives, who were dismissed without reason, back at work]
  • Bird Flu Recurs in India
  • Cold Weather and Avalanches Kill 85 People in Afghanistan

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #93, 17.1.2008

  • Four-Years Anniversary of Death of Mr. Chea Vichea [leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia]; the Demand for the Arrest of the Real Murderers Still Continues
  • US Tries to Reduce Chinese Influence in Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6247, 17.1.2008

  • National Assembly Adopts Agreements to Protect Japanese Investments, as a Result of the Visit of Head of the Royal Government of Cambodia [to Japan in June 2007]
  • 6,517 Unexploded Grenades Collected [by police] from a House of a Scavenger in Poipet to Be Destroyed [by Cambodian Mine Action Center]
  • 224 Soldiers to Be Assigned Temporarily as Military Police to Maintain Security for Elections [Banteay Meanchey]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3366, 17.1.2008

  • Hun Sen Government Serves Yuon [Vietnamese] Company [Tan Bien – phonetic – for which the Cambodian government provided 8,100 hectares of land, including the land of 1,300 families in Santuk District, Kompong Thom, for a rubber plantation] without Thinking about the Sufferings of the Khmer Citizens

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4491, 17.1.2008

  • American Movie Star Attempts to Campaign Pushing China to Help to End Violence in Darfur, but Cambodian Authorities Are Likely to Reject the Attempt
  • Shanghai Group [of China] Will Contract Construction of Road 62 from Tbaeng Meanchey to Preah Vihear Temple [Preah Vihear]
  • Illegal Logging of Luxury Wood Trees Is Rampant in Thala Barivat District [Stung Treng]
  • Forestry Officials Seized a Car Transporting Wood, Then They Drove It to Their Office and Hit a Motorcycle Driver Who Died from the Accident [16 January – Svay Leu, Siem Reap]

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Wednesday, 16.1.2008: National Assembly Adopts Amendment of Constitution to Facilitate Preparation of Provincial and District Elections

Posted on 17 January 2008. Filed under: Week 543 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

“Phnom Penh: On 15 January, the National Assembly discussed and adopted draft amendments for the new Articles 145 and 146 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia with 88 of 107 votes, in order to open the way for the arrangement of a law on the organization of elections of the district, provincial, and town councils.

“Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Sar Kheng, the Minister of Interior, read the purpose of the proposed draft amendments of the new Articles 145 and 146 of the Constitution. He said that, based on the strategy of decentralization and deconcentration reforms, and the National Development Strategic Plan 2006-2010, the Royal Government of Cambodia has been organizing the management for the administration of low level national structures in order to guarantee the democratic development at those levels. He continued that to achieve those goals, the Royal Government of Cambodia has been organizing a draft law for this, as stated in the new Article 146 of the Constitution.

“The draft law impacts the regulations of the new Article 145 so that it is necessary to have an appropriate amendment reflecting the progress in politics, social administration, and national economy, both at present and in the future.

“The new Article 145 is amended to say: ‘The land of the Kingdom of Cambodia is divided into the capital city, provinces, towns, districts, communes, and subdistricts.’

“The new Article 146 is amended to say ‘The Capital city, provinces, towns, districts, communes, and subdistricts must be managed according to the conditions stated in the law on the arrangement of organizations.’

“The Royal Government hopes that the amendment will facilitate the arrangement of the administrative reforms of the capital city, provinces, towns, districts, communes, and subdistricts, according to the decentralization policy, in order to promote the democratic development at national administration low levels, in order to promote the provision of services and development effectively and regularly.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the opposition party, showed support for the draft amendments of the constitution for the new Articles 145 and 145 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia. However, he wanted a wider discussion about this issue.

“Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen said as Prime Minister, concerning the amendment of the Constitution on national low-level institutions, that what is proposed here to be amended refers just to the wording to be appropriate to the situation of the progress in the country. As for the content of the law to be made for the arrangement of the management of administrative systems at the national low levels, this will be discussed in detail when that law reaches the National Assembly next time.

“Samdech Dekchor said that this can be considered to be an important stage of structural reform, as it transfers higher power to the localities – what is intended with decentralization and deconcentration. Samdech continued that through that we hope democracy will increase through elections anyway, elections on the levels of the councils of provinces, towns, and districts all show the progress of democracy, decentralization, and deconcentration.

“As for the Norodom Ranariddh Party, it definitely opposed the amendment of the Constitution on the new Articles 145 and 146, in order to adopt a law on the organization of elections of the councils of districts and provinces, but not in general, providing such rights limited only to the commune and subdistrict councils to vote.

“In a statement on 15 January, the Norodom Ranariddh Party said that they find that the commune and subdistrict council members to elect the councils of districts and the councils of provinces and towns is not fair at all, and it is not appropriate as administrative policy. They would like to ask that, if the commune and subdistrict council members elect the councils of districts and the councils of provinces and towns, how will the leadership ranks of the local administration be implemented? Because normally provincial and town administrations govern district administration, and the district administration governs commune and subdistrict administration?

“The Norodom Ranariddh Party supports the elections of the councils of districts and the councils of provinces and towns, but the elections must be conducted as general elections with the participation of citizens in general. They would like to ask the Imperial Government of Japan and other development partners that provided technical assistance preparing the law on elections of the councils of districts and the councils of provinces and towns through a seminar in Sihanoukville in December 2007, that they consider the impact of the implementation of democracy in the Kingdom of Cambodia, because these elections are not to be general elections, but they provide only limited rights to the commune and subdistrict council members to elect the councils of districts and the councils of provinces and towns, which is violating democratic rules. Such elections are considered to be a democracy where one level is only benefiting from another level in the line.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4490, 16.1.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1546, 16.1.2008

  • Funcinpec Must Seek Support to Enter Coalition Government [Prime Minister Hun Sen reminds them]
  • Former Middle-Level Khmer Rouge Comrades in Pailin Asked for Information from Tribunal Co-Judges [from which level up will former leaders be tried?]
  • Phnom Penh Residents Concerned about Increasing Rice Prices

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #547, 16.1.2008

  • The Case of Nhek Kosal Vithyea Stealing from the Nation Reflects that the Government Is Systematically Corrupt

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #92, 16.1.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Demands General Elections, and Simple Majority System [for elections at all levels]
  • Hun Sen Tells Funcinpec Leaders to Try to Get At Least One Seat to Be [Cambodian People’s Party’s] Ally after 2008 Election

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6246, 16.1.2008

  • Newspaper Sellers in Phnom Penh Declare to Strike Not Selling Newspapers for Two Days [date not yet mentioned] Protesting against Authorities for Demolishing Newsstands Opposite Borei Keyla
  • UN World Food Program Receives Japanese Aid [US$5,000] to Help Hungry and Poor Students in Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3365, 16.1.2008

  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Authorities Secretly Enter to Put Border Markers Insolently in Contested Area in Doung Commune, Romeas Haek District [according a Duong Commune council member – Svay Rieng]
  • In Kampuchea Krom [formerly Maot Chrouk, now An Giang, Vietnam], Yuons [Vietnamese] Rob Land of Kampuchea Krom Khmers; in the Kingdom of Cambodia, a Yuon Company Robs Land of Khmers [in Santuk District, Kompong Thom, 1,300 families have land disputes with the Vietnamese company Tan Bien [phonetic] for which the Cambodian government provided 8,000 hectares of land, including the land of 1,300 families – probably for industrial plantation]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4490, 16.1.2008

  • National Assembly Adopts Amendment of Constitution to Facilitate Preparation of Provincial and District Elections
  • Prime Minister Demands Funcinpec Work Hard if It Wants to Retain Alliance after 2008 Election

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #601, 16.1.2008

  • Taiwan Regrets that Cambodia Does Not Allow Opening of [Taiwanese trade] Representative Office in Phnom Penh

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Tuesday, 15.1.2008: Getting Angry with Other People Who Grab Land, Taking Revenge on Parliamentarian Chin Kimsreng

Posted on 16 January 2008. Filed under: Week 543 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

“Phnom Penh: A man, who seems to have mental problems, knocked a Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker down, causing serious injury. Moreover, the same man rammed the lawmaker’s car into the front gate of his house, damaging it badly.

“This event happened at 11:30 p.m. on 13 January in front of the house #17, Street 71, Boeng Keng Kang, Chamkarmon. While being detained by the police, the offender tried to commit suicide repeatedly, but he was rescued in time.

“Local police said that the above home belongs to Mr. Chin Kimsreng, 70, a lawmaker of the Cambodian People’s Party from Kompong Cham. His house is separated into two halves, to rent one to a French person to open a small bar, while the rest was kept as his residence. The offender is Ros Sovann, 28, a guard working for Protek Security, residing at Russey Sros, Niroth, Meanchey. He had been sent by his company to guard Mr. Chin Kimsreng’s home.

“Ros Sovann seemed not to be frightened about his act. A witness, as well as the police, said that Ros Sovann behaved like a mad man. However, according to what Ros Sovann said, his act was planned. Ros Sovann said that he had a rancor against high-ranking officials, after his land in Russey Sros village had been abusively grabbed by high-ranking officials. This land problem prevents him also from getting married. His mother told him that only if she could sell her land she would be able to support his wedding. Since then, he has always been so rancorous against high-ranking officials so that he even requested that his company send him to guard high-ranking officials’ homes, in order to find a chance of taking revenge on them. Later, the company sent him to guard Chin Kim Sreng’s home which was rented to the French person to open a small bar.

“Ros Sovann added that while he saw Chin Kimsreng stopping his Lexus car in front of his house and was opening the gate, he attacked Chin Kimsreng with a steel pipe and knocked him unconscious, so that he fell on the ground. Then Ros Sovann got into Chin Kimsreng’s car and began ramming it into the front gate of the house.

“Police said that Ros Sovann confirmed that he never had a rancor specifically against Chin Kimsreng as a person, and he did not run away.

“Alerted by the noise of the Lexus, nearby private security guards turned out to help and stopp Ros Sovann. The victim Chin Kimsreng was sent to Calmette Hospital, and on 14 January he was still unconscious.

“At the Chamkarmon district temporary detention center, Ros Sovann tried to commit suicide 2 or 3 times, until the electricity was disconnected.

“According to the police report, first Ros Sovann tore a pillow into pieces and tied himself with the pieces to the bar of the door to commit suicide, but he did not succeed, because the pieces of the pillow were too fragile. After that, Ros Sovann tried to commit suicide with an electric wire, but he was rescued by police in time. Police said that they could not sleep the whole night, as they had organized shifts to keep watching Ros Sovann.

“Nov Yeab, 54, Ros Sovann’s mother said that her son has had mental problems after she didn’t agree to support his wedding, because her land dispute was not settled. She added that formerly she had a plot of land of 15×200 meters at Russey Sros village. Currently she has only 15×40 meters of land, because the other part was grabbed from her. That land had been rented out to Klauk Dul, the village chief, to build a village office, but later the land was sold by a new village chief. In 1994, she filed a complaint to the court, but no one has sought justice for her so far.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4489, 15.1.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1545, 15.1.2008

  • One Oknha [San Than] Dares to Makes a Fences Around and Grab 7,000 Hectares of Mountainous Land [Kors Kralor, Battambang]
  • Saudi Arabia Beheads Indonesian Housemaid [who killed her landlady and robbed her jewelry]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #91, 15.1.2008

  • Hun Sen Warns Funcinpec Not to Consider Those Who Join the Cambodian People’s Party to Be Traitors

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6245, 15.1.2008

  • Computer Room [of Open School Program, built in cooperation between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the NGO Open Institute] Set Up [at National Institute of Education] to Study How to Use [low-priced, low electricity consumption computers] at Schools
  • Ministry of Interior Opens Way for Khmer Republic Party Whose President Is Former Field Marshal Lon Nol’s Son [Lon Rithi – to open offices in villages, communes, subdistricts, districts, provinces, and towns]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3364, 14.1.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Criticizes Printing Money to Buy Votes Which Makes Value of Riel Decline
  • Yuon [Vietnam] Agrees to Release Tim Sakhan from Prison [who has been defrocked on accusation of having perpetrated an offense against the Buddhist law, because he is accused to have destroyed the harmony between Vietnam and Cambodia, now jailed in Vietnam] if He Will Not Return to Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4489, 15.1.2008

  • Getting Angry with Other People Who Grab Land, Taking Revenge on Parliamentarian Chin Kimsreng
  • Thailand Considers $41 Million Loan to Cambodia [for road development]

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Monday, 14.1.2008: Each Government Institution Should Review Their Web Sites

Posted on 16 January 2008. Filed under: Week 543 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

“Phnom Penh: Government institutions should review their web sites in order to facilitate those who do research and want to study about Cambodia.

“Earlier this week, a group of students discussed their research in a meeting in a complex of an university in Phnom Penh in order to complete their assignments and submit them to their professors; however, Rasmei Kampuchea became interested in their complaint about the lack of documents on the web sites of different ministries of the Cambodian government.

“The students complained that the web sites of almost all ministries do not have sufficient information for their research, and the information is not up-to-date.

“None of them dared to give an interview to Rasmei Kampuchea, but after getting this information, Rasmei Kampuchea tried to browse a web site they had mentioned – the web site of the Council of Ministers with the address But when it was visited, what they had stated seemed not to be right at all. The web site is written in Khmer, in good order, with many documents, though there are in general not so many which try to show something new and up-to-date. Rasmei Kampuchea tried to browse through it step by step, from the first page to a page which says ‘Ministries.’ When we clicked it, it names 26 ministries, 2 secretariats-of-state, and another link is to the Phnom Penh Municipality. From this point on, Rasmei Kampuchea journalists spent time from the beginning until the end of the week to click on the names of all ministries, from one point to the next, and they found that all ministries of the Cambodian government have their own web sites, and those web sites are designed not worse than the web sites of ministries or departments of neighboring countries. But what is a pity is that hardly any of those web sites have anything new, and some ministries show only information collected in 2005, while at this time the world moves already into the year 2008.

Rasmei Kampuchea could not contact the designers of those web sites; however, Mr. Phu Leewood, the Secretary-General of the National Information Technology Development Authority [NiDA], told Rasmei Kampuchea by phone that the government pays very high attention to information technology, but the design of the different ministries’ web sites is the work of the ministries. He said on Friday, 11 January, ‘According to the Rectangular Strategy of the government, information technology development receives high priority attention, but such development has always also many lacking points.’

“He continued to say that, seeing the importance of information technology, the government decided to create NiDA in 2000, and up to now, this Authority has trained approximately 6,000 public servants and the public; as for web site design, more than 30 people have been trained.

“Since 2000 up to now, after eight years, looking at the web sites of different ministries, it seems that a lot of information is lacking.

“Mr. Leewood said stated that it is normal that during a development process, there are always some missing points, but the government pays much attention; and concerning the web sites of the ministries, the Authority [of NiDA] does not have the right to intervene.

“He stated, ‘As for the web site of any ministry, that ministry has to find up-to-date information, not NiDA.’

“Mr. Eng Chhay Ieng, a parliamentarian [and secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party], said that web sites are like libraries or bookshops. Therefore the government should pay attention to organize them well, so that it becomes possible to find lots of information, because web sites are warehouses of documents which facilitate the work of those who do research and study about Cambodia.

“He stated, ‘The Ministries should pay attention to improve their web sites.’

“A senior official of a non-government organization who is working on information technology development, told Rasmei Kampuchea – without giving his name – that the lack of information on web sites is a deficiency that the ministries should rectify. He said, ‘The government should pays attention to this deficiency so that researchers do not waste time.’

“He went on to say that because some officials in some ministries have not been aware, they also seem not to be interested in this problem, and they do not consider the collection of information as a priority, while other countries pay much more attention. Mr. Leewood said that the promotion of web site design is part of the Cambodian government’s intention in its public administration reform programs.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4488, 13-14.1.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 14 January 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #27, 14-15.1.2008

  • Kem Sokha [president of the Human Rights Party]: Success of the Cambodian People’s Party Is to Rob People’s Land, Corruption, and Yuons [Vietnamese] Entering to Live in Cambodia [ironic]
  • Prices of Goods and Gasoline Increase because of Corruption and because the Economy is Managed Only by Families of Ruling Party Officials
  • If Khmer Citizens Want Prices of Gasoline and Goods to Decline, Don’t Vote for the Cambodian People’s Party
  • Cambodian Labour Supply Group Agents Deceive Each Citizen going to Work in [South] Korea of $4,500

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1544, 13-14.1.2008

  • CPP Extraordinary General Assembly Hopes to Win in 2008 Election

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #546, 14.1.2008

  • Hun Sen Leads the Country, Making Progress in Casinos Like Mushrooms; Foreigners Happily Collect Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Each Year from Cambodia
  • Chief Thief Nhek Kosal Vithyea [Director of Telecom Cambodia – plus some international background reporting] Who Steals from the Nation Prepares to Take Money Again from Telecom Cambodia] in a Project of More Than $2 Million through the PCP Company [owned by Nhek Kosal Vithyea’s wife – no entry in Yellow Pages only indirect web reference found]
  • The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights 2007 Report Says Land Disputes with Fatal Shootings and Arrests of People Sending them to Jail Were More Serious Than in 2006

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3363, 14.1.2008

  • Sam Rainsy: Increase of Inflation Is Caused by Corruption and Limited Economic Management

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4488, 13-14.1.2008

  • Each Government Institution Should Review Their Web Sites
  • Cambodian Is Not Prejudiced against Child Adoption to French Nationals [says Long Visalo, Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation]
  • CPP Moves Toward Success [in elections], but Not on Smooth Road

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3228, 13-14.1.2008

  • China Rushes to Exploit Oil in Cambodian Gulf

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #599, 13-14.1.2008

  • Son Chhay [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh] Says When Sam Rainsy Party Wins Elections It Will Get National Road 4 Back for the Citizens [it is now contracted out to the AZ Company – no direct web site found]

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Week 542 – 2008-01-13: No reconciliation without remembrance

Posted on 14 January 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 542 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 542

The past year brought finally the beginning of the work of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia – the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. It is only natural that 7 January 2008 – a national holiday to remember the end of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979 – got more attention than in former years. But this attention has always been controversial.

The Cambodian People’s Party considered and considers this date as the beginning of a welcome new phase of history, after a time when about a fifth or a quarter of the population lost their lives – nobody will ever be able to establish the correct figures.

The president of the Cambodian People’s Party confirmed their position again some days ago at a commemorative meeting: that the cooperation of Cambodian people and of Vietnamese troops led to the attack and finally the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Other sectors of society have put much more emphasis on considering January 1979 as the beginning of 10 years of Vietnamese presence in Cambodia – pointing mainly to negative aspects of this time. Among the Cambodian population in the border camps at the Thai border, many testified their conviction that they probably would not have survived without the Vietnamese intervention; other political movements acted parallel with the Khmer Rouge faction – some observers called it “battlefield cooperation” – against the new political structures in Cambodia.

The fact that for the first time the leader of the opposition party now reportedly “welcomed the 7 January as a holiday, when Cambodian people’s lives were saved and the country was liberated from the black-clad regime of mass killings,” received wide attention in the media. Such comments were not always focused on the historical remembrance of this day, but some commentators claimed that the newly expressed position reflects only present political interests of the leader of this party.

It is appropriate to add here, however, that this expression of welcome was a qualified, restricted one, as one paper wrote: “Though Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the opposition party of Cambodia, recognized the importance of the 7 January 1979, he also considered the 7 January 1979 to be the day when a foreign country invaded Cambodia. He said, ‘If they entered to free us and then they would have gone back home, we would be grateful to them. But they overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime and then they continued to control Cambodia. This was not good.’ He explained that 7 January 1979 also made Cambodia lose its independence and sovereignty, and it was controlled by Vietnamese troops.”

I am a German citizen who had to come to an understanding and evaluation of Germany’s historical point of a new beginning with the end of the Second World War. Though any comparison of different historical situations has problems, I dare to state some facts of our history and how we dealt with it.

In May 1985, 40 years after the end of the Second World War in Europe, Richard von Weizsacker, at that time the president of West Germany – the Federaal Republic of Germany – spoke of the danger of not facing but forgetting and distorting history, and especially of the danger of disregarding that many German citizens had committed crimes. “There is no such thing as the guilt or innocence of an entire nation. Guilt is, like innocence, not collective but personal. There is discovered or concealed individual guilt. There is guilt which people acknowledge or deny… All of us, whether guilty or not, whether young or old, must accept the past. We are all affected by the consequences and liable for it… We Germans must look the truth straight in the eye – without embellishment and without distortion… There can be no reconciliation without remembrance.”

In his speech in the West German parliament during the ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of the end of war in Europe, he said:

“Many nations are today commemorating the date on which World War II ended in Europe. Every nation is doing so with different feelings, depending on its fate. Be it victory or defeat, liberation from injustice and alien rule or transition to new dependence, division, new alliances, vast shifts of power – 8 May 1945 is a date of decisive historical importance for Europe…

For us, the 8th of May is above all a date to remember what people had to suffer. It is also a date to reflect on the course taken by our history. The greater honesty we show in commemorating this day, the freer we are to face the consequences with due responsibility…

For us Germans, 8 May is not a day of celebration. Those who actually witnessed that day in 1945 think back on highly personal and hence highly different experiences. Some returned home, others lost their homes. Some were liberated, whilst for others it was the start of captivity.

Some Germans felt bitterness about their shattered illusions, whilst others were grateful for the gift of a new start. It was difficult to find one’s bearings straight away. Uncertainty prevailed throughout the country. The military capitulation was unconditional, placing our destiny in the hands of our enemies…

Yet with every day something became clearer, and this must be stated on behalf of all of us today: the 8th of May was a day of liberation. It liberated all of us from the inhumanity and tyranny of the National-Socialist (Nazi) regime.”

Of course, that day was also the beginning of the military presence of the Allied Forces in Germany who had succeeded to defeat the tyrannical Nazi regime. The Allied Forces stayed in Germany for much longer than the 10 years of Vietnamese presence in Cambodia. There was no way to say that a new Germany could have been reconstructed if those who had entered and liberated Germany would have quickly gone back home.

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal has begun – but it has really only just begun. The new year will probably bring many challenges for society – to deal with the realities, dynamics, and responsibilities inherited from the years 1975 to 1979, as well as from the years before and after, as we had to do also in Germany. So far, there are not many records of dealing with the past, especially no such detailed ones as the German president had shared. No wonder, that his speech received a broad response not only in Germany itself – it was also translated and publicly discussed in neighboring countries in Europe. Furthermore, it was translated into Japanese and into Korean – and was used as reference to deal with the difficult historical heritage burdening the relations of these two countries. Maybe the considerations in this speech by the former German president can also help the necessary discussions in Cambodia.

Source of the full text of the speech:

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Sunday, 13.1.2008: Some software problems – we work on them

Posted on 14 January 2008. Filed under: Week 543 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 542

As some of you probably see, we have software problems, the color scheme of the headlines is changed irregularly – we do not yet know what has happened, but we work on solving this problem.

Fortunately, all the content seems to be OK.

I use this opportunity for another special appeal: some months ago, I had very friendly mail from, and an exchange of correspondence with a Cambodian person in Australia, who does web design and web hosting. Unfortunately, this mail and the address got lost at the time of a harddisk failure. If the person reads this – can you please contact me again?

Norbert Klein

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Saturday, 12.1.2008: Income from Angkor Wat Is More Than $60 Million, but the State Gets Less Than $10 Million

Posted on 13 January 2008. Filed under: Week 542 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 542

“Parliamentarian Son Chhay wrote a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen, asking him to reconsider the rights granted the Sokimex company to administer Angkor Wat. In a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen on 10 January 2008, Mr. Son Chhay pointed out that the rights granted to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to administer Angkor Wat makes the state lose not less than $50 million each year.

“In 2007 alone, the income from tourists visiting Angkor Wat was approximately US$50 million, but the government gave a contract to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat, through which the state gets every year only US$10 million from the company. As a consequence, Angkor Wat, which is the most important Khmer heritage, easily benefits Sok Kong’s company not less than $50 million each year. Therefore, Mr. Son Chhay asked the government, especially Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen, to reconsider the contract given to the Sokimex Company to administer Angkor Wat; otherwise, the government will continue to lose benefits while the company does not do anything to protect or maintain Angkor Wat. This means that the Sokimex Company of Oknha Sok Kong can sleep and still wait to easily receive benefits from the historical heritage of all Khmers.

“Mr. Son Chhay affirmed that this is an issue the government must reconsider, relating to the granting of rights, and in future there should be bids announced appropriately, not again to be conducted quietly, giving the right to Sok Kong’s company like it happened. At present, it is affirmed that the number of tourists increased in 2007; the number of foreign tourists that visited Cambodian was more than two million. According to officials of the Ministry of Tourism, it is expected that in 2008 the number of tourists will continue to increase. Though the number of tourists increases, the government does not update the contract with the Sokimex company to increase the amount of money to be paid to the government. The amount continues to be maintained at $10 million per year.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that there is nothing to be seen which was developed and paid for by the Sokimex company; that means that the company just waits to get benefits easily. He said that even the toilets for tourists are not good, which is a shame for the nation. Nonetheless, the government seems not to think about what Mr. Son Chhay has raised. According to reports, the government still continues to grant the right to Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat and to collect money from all tourists.

“The Ministry of Tourism boasted about the increase in the number of tourists visiting Cambodia, especially coming to visit Angkor Wat, and that in 2007, the number of tourists was more than two million. However, the big amount of income from the tourists does not go into the national treasury. On the contrary, it remains in the hands of businesspeople of a private company. To give the right to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat is like to allow this company to collect money from the tourists just on its own, while the state loses tens of millions of dollars each year. It is not known why such an easy arithmetic has been agreed upon; the government as well as the Prime Minister has many well-educated advisors – why do they not see an easy way of creating benefits from Angkor Wat; or is the money, which Sok Kong’s company earns, quietly shared with government officials and not put into the national treasury? If a simple farmer would manage Angkor Wat instead of Sok Kong’s company, and the government would each year just wait to get $50 million from the farmer, this would also be possible. But Sok Kong’s company probably provides $40 million of the $50 million earned to government leaders, keeps $10 million for itself, and hands on $10 million for the nation. Doing so can solve problems for this company so that the company maintains the right to continue to manage the temple area, and it can easily collect money from the tourists. It is believed that this is why the government does not stop Sok Kong’s company from managing Angkor Wat.

“Mr. Son Chhay thinks that it is a shame for the Khmer nation to have Angkor Wat, but the state does not have the ability to manage the temple area; instead, it gives the management to a private company to put toll gates on the ways into the Angkor Wat temple area in order to collect money from foreign tourists. Mr. Son Chhay demanded that Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen reconsiders the contract between the government and the Sokimex company on the management of Angkor Wat soon, because while the number of tourists increases, the company does not spend anything on Angkor Wat, the company just sleeps and waits to easily collect money from the historical heritage of our Khmer ancestors.

“But will the government take Angkor Wat away from being managed by the businessman Sok Kong or not? By retaining Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat, officials get much money into their own pockets, but the government gets little. When the government has little money, it cannot spend much on various services. At the end, only high ranking officials and businesspeople live comfortably from the heritage of our Khmer ancestors who are the ancestors of all.” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3227, 12.1.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 12 January 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1543, 12.1.2008

  • [Thach Phen] Secretary of State of Information Calls for Journalists’ Associations to Join Together
  • Sam Rainsy [opposition leader] and Nhek Bun Chhay [secretary-general of Funcinpec] Do Not Support Royal Family in Politics
  • Japan Provides Three Modern Machines for Destroying Mines to the Cambodian Mine Action Center
  • 200,000 People Evacuated from Floods in Mozambique
  • More Than 40,000 People Evacuated from Floods in Sri Lanka

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6243, 12-13.1.2008

  • Cambodia Is a Model of an International Tribunal; Japanese Delegation [of Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Satisfied with Peacefully Bringing Former Khmer Rouge Leaders to Court
  • Baribour District Police Inspector [Hem Heang] Extorts Riel 1.55 Million [approx. US$380] from [two] Fishermen Who Fished with Electric Prods [in exchange for releasing them – Kompong Chhnang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3362, 12-13.1.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Asks to Stop Plan to Pump Soil to Fill Boeng Kak Lake [Phnom Penh]
  • 1,000 Sam Rainsy Party Youth Will Wear Hats with [the party’s] Candlelight Emblem to Collect Rubbish from Wat Phnom to Chroy Chongva Bridge [Phnom Penh]
  • Na Mardy, Director-General of the Memut Rubber Plantation, Corruptly Takes State Money of Millions of Dollars per Year
  • Corrupt Officials at Poipet Border Crossing Continue to Extort Money from Vendors Freely

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4487, 12.1.2008

  • About 20 Former Senior Funcinpec Officials Will Appear in Cambodian People’s Party Congress Today
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson: Cambodian Government Adheres to Position of One-China Policy
  • Siem Reap Adds Another Deputy Governor [Um Mara from CPP], Making Total Number of Leaders [governor and deputies] Increase to Eleven
  • Three Americans and One Brit Drive [two] Cars [Trabant – made in former East Germany] Across 21 Countries and Arrive in Cambodia

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3227, 12.1.2008

  • Income from Angkor Wat Is More Than $60 Million, but the State Gets Less than $10 Million
  • Power of Senior Teacher Sok An Helps to Hide Corruption of Millions of Dollars of Nhek Kosal Vithyea [Director of Telecom Cambodia] Very Well
  • Test to Allow Youth of Sam Rainsy Party and Youth of Cambodian People’s Party to Collect Rubbish in Streets Together [on Sunday 13 January]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #598, 12.1.2008

  • 85% of Poor People in Prame Commune, Preah Vihear, Starve; They Eat Manioc Tubers Instead of Rice
  • More Than 100 Smuggled Motorcycles Imported [from Thailand] to Cambodia Every Day through Sampov Lun Border Crossings, Battambang

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