Archive for May, 2008

Friday, 30.5.2008: Handicap International Belgium Provided 215 GPS Receivers to the Commissioner General of the National Police

Posted on 30 May 2008. Filed under: Week 562 | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

“Phnom Penh: On the morning of 29 May 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by H.E Ouk Kim Lek and Mr. Bruno Leclercq, the Country Director of Handicap International Belgium for Cambodia, according to which 215 GPS receivers [satellite supported Global Positioning Systems] and other emergency equipment for road traffic safety were provided by Handicap International Belgium to the National Police at the Ministry of Interior.

“The Deputy Director of the National Police, H.E. Ouk Kim Lek, said that the aid now provided by Handicap International Belgium to the National Police is most important, because it is urgently needed by Cambodian people to reduce traffic accidents which are continually increasing.

“His Excellency continued, ‘Cambodia is developing, and at the same time, also traffic accidents increase. The aid provided today will contribute a lot to reduce traffic accidents in the future. Now, we are improving the traffic police to be much better than before to help reduce traffic accidents.’

“Mr. Bruno Leclercq stated that the equipment delivered will contribute to reduce traffic accidents. It is observed that traffic accidents increase in Cambodia, and he hopes that the number will decline after the new traffic law have been implemented.

“The manager of the Cambodia Road Traffic Accident and Victim Information System of Handicap International Belgium, Mr. Sem Panhavuth, said that the Memorandum of Understanding covers approximately US$100,000 for a period of two years from 2008 to 2009, which includes the 215 emergency GPS receivers, the training for traffic police countrywide on how to use the GPS receivers, and the training courses in emergency life saving skills for traffic police so that they can help traffic accident victims before they are referred to hospitals.

“Mr. Sem Panhavuth went on to say that these GPS receivers are used for road traffic safety work to find and to identify the locations where traffic accidents occur very often on some important roads. The locations which are noted as places that often have traffic accidents will be changed to avoid hazards and will be marked with warning signs to lessen traffic accidents.

“It should be known that during the period of the first four months of 2008, there were 2,249 accidents which caused 560 deaths, injured seriously 1,792 people, and injured 2,088 people lightly. The accidents which had happened involved 217 heavy trucks, 755 cars, and 186 other vehicles, 217 pedestrians, and 2,262 motorbikes. As for 2007, there were 9,449 accidents in which 1,545 people died, 7,150 people were badly injured, and 17,655 people were lightly injured.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4602, 30.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 30 May 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1654, 30.5.2008

  • US Embassy Supports Survey Result of the [US based] International Republican Institute Inquiry
  • The 240 Years History of the Monarchy of Nepal Came to a Complete End [Nepal becoming a republic on Wednesday, 28 May 2008; the King is expected to leave the palace in 15 days]
  • The Government Gives Opportunity to Teachers Who Have Bachelor Degrees to Take Another Examination to Get the BAC II Certificate [according to Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #585, 30.5.2008

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Forces People, the Voters, to Accept the Result [that the Cambodian People’s Party will win the election and will lead the next government] before the 2008 Election
  • Man Chhoeun Colludes with [Tuol Kork governor] Khlaing Huot and [Phnom Penh Thmey governor] Chum Saray to Take Citizens’ Land from 250 Families [citizens’ representatives said the Phnom Penh Municipality had decided to give the land to the 205 families, but Chum Saray, who got the authorization from the municipality, created ghost names and his group’s people’s names to get that land]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #165, 30.5.2008

  • [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ministry] Sar Kheng Was Very Upset and Announced He Might Cancel the Ceremony to Accept Members from the Sam Rainsy Party That Were Only Names on Paper [there were names, but the holders of the name did not show up]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3473, 30.5.2008

  • The Editor-in-Chief of Moneaksekar Khmer Was Charged [on 29 May by the Minister of Foreign Affairs], Accused of Publishing False Information
  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Declared that He Cannot Guarantee Ministers’ Seats of [Minister of Health] Nuth Sokhom and [Minister of Education] Kol Pheng [both from Funcinpec]
  • The [US based] International Republican Institute Shows that 58 Percent of the Citizens Want Serious Penalties to Be Put on Corrupt People
  • New Deputy Director of the Office of Administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [Mr. Knut Rosandhaug – until now Executive Director of the Kosovo Property Agency and the Kosovo Property Claims Commission of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] Will Get the Position Tomorrow [after the former Deputy Director Ms. Michelle Lee retired]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4602, 30.5.2008

  • Angkor Ratha Radio in Kratie [which criticized the government] Was Closed [on 29 May 2008 by the Ministry of Information] because Its Broadcasts Were Against the Terms of License
  • British Newspaper [The Sun]: The Explosion in the Sky over Kampot Can Have Been the Explosion of an UFO
  • Handicap International Belgium Provided 215 GPS Receivers to the Commissioner General of the National Police

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3321, 30.5.2008

  • Chargé d’Affairs of US Embassy to Cambodia [Ms. Piper Cambel]: Cambodia Should Not Use the Judicial System to Shut Up Politicians
  • US Troops and Troops of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Cooperated to Give Medical Treatment to People In Kompong Chhnang and Kompong Cham [29 May 2008]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #667, 30.5.2008

  • International Police Surrounded the Hiding Place of [former police general] Ms. Chea Ratha in Thailand [who is implicated in an acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, according to information from the Ministry of Interior]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: The oil price spiral – special investments – and a comparison of the activities in Myanmar and in China

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Thursday, 29.5.2008: Legal and Judicial Reform Remain Main Problems for Cambodia

Posted on 30 May 2008. Filed under: Week 562 | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

“Phnom Penh: The Senate of Cambodia, in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Center for International Migration and Development, held a conference about ‘Legal and Judicial Reform for the Modernization of the Kingdom of Cambodia’ on 27 May 2008.

The chairperson of the Commission on Legislation and the Judiciary of the Senate, Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun, stated, ‘The main problems for our commission to deal with are the legal and judicial reforms towards modernization.’

“Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun said that strategies for reforms in the fields of legislation and of the judiciary were adopted by the Royal Government in June 2003, to consider four basic areas: individual rights, democracy, the separation of powers, and legislation [cf. the address on ‘Doctrine of Precedents, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances‘ by Minister Sok An at a ‘Workshop on National Vision and Priorities on the Rule of Law and Judicial Reform,’ 10-11 June 2002].

“Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun hopes that the Royal Government will speed up the reforms on legislation and the judiciary, and also push to take policy initiatives to promote the wider provision of legal and judicial services, which are key conditions for a continuous development of social justice and for poverty alleviation.

“Mr. Kong Phaleak, a professor of law and a member of the Arbitration Council, mentioned that the legal and judicial reform process in Cambodia, from the past until now, has four main concerns: the general view of the legal and of the judiciary reforms, strategies for organizing the reforms, the implementation of the reforms, and the results of the implementation of the legal and judiciary reforms.

“The professor said that the general view of the legal and judiciary reforms is related to the political will of the Royal Government of Cambodia, where a Council for Legal and Judicial Reform was created in 2002. A permanent coordinating unit was created in 2002, and a project management unit was also created in 2002.

“Mr. Kong Phaleak stressed that the goal of the legal and judicial reforms is to create a state of law and a court system which can be trusted and which have the necessary stability to support the policies of individual rights, the separation of powers, and of the legislative process.

“The professor raised the question, ‘What should be done to achieve the goal of the legal and judicial reforms?’ Strategies for organizing the legal and judicial reforms have to consider basic values when organizing related documents, and these involve the four basic considerations of the Constitution of 1993: those views are individual rights, democracy, the separation of powers, and the constitution itself.

“The President of the Royal Academy for the Legal Professions, Mr. Tep Darong, intervened by pointing to the fact that the law is a tool which plays a most important role to guarantee economic growth, the progress of politics, of the culture, and of many other sectors.

“Mr. Tep Darong stated that a large number of judges and prosecutors working in the courts countrywide were not educated in professional legal educational institutions. Their basic capacity is low, which makes it difficult to implement important laws which will be adopted soon.

“Dr. Jörg Menzel, a Senior Legal Advisor to the Senate, said that in the process of the legal and judicial reforms in Cambodia, one should look and focus on minor points and start from there.

“Dr. Menzel raised as an example that now, when traveling at night and the traffic light is red, still there are vehicles crossing. At this point it is necessary to think what people should do when there are traffic lights, but people do not obey them.

“A Senate member from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Kong Korm, said that so far, legal and judicial reforms have not yet clearly focused on the separation of the legislative, the executive, and the judicial powers, as well as on the decentralization policy – all this is very difficult.

“Mr. Tep Darong explained that so far, the separation of the three powers has not yet been clearly established, i.e. the separation is still weak.

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia:

Article 128:
The Judicial power shall be an independent power…

Article 130:
Judicial power shall not be granted to the legislative or executive branches.

“He affirmed that if we want to achieve the separation of powers, we have to wait until an elected party fully adopt that absolute principle of law. Talking about decentralization, a part of the [executive] power is transferred to the communes, but this is not the whole power.

“He added that the reason why the Royal Government proceeds step by step is that the capacity for training for commune councilors is limited, and most of the commune councilors have a low level of knowledge.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4601, 29.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 May 2008

Cambodge Soir, Vol.1, #27, 29-4.5-6.2008

  • ‘If We Can Reduce Domestic Violence, the Number of Divorces Will Also Decline’ [says Director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – Dr. Kek Galabru]

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #108, 29.5.2008

  • [Municipal Governor] Kep Chuktema Is Successful in Moving Citizens from Expensive Areas to Suburbs [where there is no development, and the very poor infrastructure makes it difficult for them to live there]

Deum Tnot, Vol.1, #18, 29-30.5.2008

  • Minister of Social Affairs and Labor H.E. Ith Sam Heng and the Director of a Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor Mr. Chea Son Have Been Criticized over Their Partisanship [nepotism in employment]
  • Rubbish Piles of the CINTRI Company [rubbish collection] Destroy the Beauty and Reputation of Phnom Penh, the Heart of the Country

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1653, 29.5.2008

  • There Are Some Reactions [from the Sam Rainsy Party, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and Funcinpec] Related to the Survey Results of the [US bases] International Republican Institute [which show that 77% of citizens think that the government walks in the right direction]
  • [Human Rights Party president] Kem Sokha Will Hold a Farmers Congress on 30 May, but Some in Civil Society Said It Is Political Trick

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #164, 29.5.2008

  • Former Yuon [Vietnamese] Expert [Mr. Uy Tin] Talked about the Invasion by Yuon Soldiers into Cambodia [in 1979 – he said that the war in Cambodia by Vietnam was caused by China, he accused China to have urged the Khmer Rouge to fight against Vietnam in order to weaken Vietnam, which had just been united after the war against the US]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6357, 29.5.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen]: Some Developing Partners Are not Qualified because They Believe Other Reports and Do Not Ask the Government
  • The House Arrest of [Burmese elected democracy leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi Was Extended for One More Year [on Tuesday, 27 May 2008]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3472, 29.5.2008

  • The US Checks the Possibility to Provide Funds to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4601, 29.5.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor: ‘Reforms Are Crucial to Make the Royal Government to Die or to Live’ [he said so on 28 May 2008 in the annual review meeting on financial reform]
  • Legal and Judicial Reform Remain Main Problems for Cambodia
  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transport Called the Sou Guon [phonetic] Company to Evaluate the Use of Old Trucks [which cause many problems on the roads]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3320, 29.5.2008

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh]: Hun Sen Wants to Take Me to Prey Sar Prison, so Why Not they Arrest Murderers Murdering Film Stars, Singers, and Politicians?

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #666, 29.5.2008

  • Poipet Immigration Police Cause Damage to Khmer Laborers [by extorting money from Khmer poor laborers]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: The oil price spiral – special investments – and a comparison of the activities in Myanmar and China

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Wednesday, 28.5.2008: The Japan International Cooperation Agency Helps to Develop a Core Project on Khmer Minerals

Posted on 29 May 2008. Filed under: Week 562 | Tags: , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy of Cambodia and the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] signed an agreement on the implementation of a core project to improve mineral exploitation and the mineral industries in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The signatures were made by the Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy Mr. Suy Sem and by the Resident Representative of JICA, Mr. Yoneda Kazuhiro [米田一弘JICA事務所長], on the evening of 26 May at this ministry.

“The Director General of a department of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Sok Leng mentioned that the study focuses on a clear joint overview to improve the exploitation and the development of mineral resources, which includes the creation of strategies for the exploitation and for the development of minerals, mineral exploitation taxes, the transfers of techniques, and the development of human resources. The study will start in late 2008 and will finish in early 2011 – it will take thirty months.

“Mr. Sok Leng said that work to be implemented is first, to check the current situation of the mineral sector; second, to improve the information data on mineral geology which exist on 1:200,000 and 1:100,000 maps; third, to increase investment in the mineral sector; fourth, to create a storage for GIS data [Geographic Information System”] of the information on the geology and on the areas where minerals exist; fifth, to create a website for making the information available publicly; sixth, to send officials to be trained inside and outside of the country, and seventh, to transfer this knowledge to Cambodian officials through the implementation of this project.

“Mr. Yoneda Kazuhiro said that the JICA sees the the development of the private sector as a priority to develop, in order to improve investment. Recently, the international need for minerals is growing; and Cambodia is known as a country with a potential of minerals which attracts other countries. He added that the study does not only focus on action plans to improve investment, institutional reforms, the development of human resources, and the preservation of the environment in mineral exploitation, but it also focuses on the creation of a GIS system and the development of basic guide and introductory books on minerals. JICA hopes that after the project has been implemented, the Ministry will develop its capability and then can strengthen its own work in developing mineral exploitation.

“The Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy Mr. Suy Sem said that now, through signing this agreement, Japan starts to provide Cambodia with grant aid and a new cooperation in the field of mineral management and mineral development in Cambodian. It is the first time for Cambodia that the mineral field receives technical assistance from Japan through JICA..

“The Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Shinohara Katsuhiro [篠原勝弘 駐カンボジア日本国特命全権大使] also attended the signing ceremony.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4600, 28.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #108, 28.5.2008

  • Survey of the [US based] International Republican Institute: 75% of Khmer Citizens Will Go to Vote to Change Leader

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #70, 28-3.5-6.2008

  • [There was surprise about a report that Sam Rainsy Party deputy secretary-general] Mu Sochua Has Left the Sam Rainsy Party to Join with Kem Sokha [of the Human Rights Party], but She Denied This Report
  • International Police Issued of Red Warrant [a warrant issued internationally to arrest a criminal] to Arrest Ms. Chea Ratha; She Had Been Removed from the Position of Advisor and It Has Been Requested [by the Ministry of Defense] to Revoke Her Rank [as deputy head of the general staff of the Military Police – related to an acid attack]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1652, 28.5.2008

  • Cambodia-Japan Bilateral Meeting of Joint-Cooperation Committee on Drug Control Was Held
  • Areas Attacked by the Tropical Cyclone in Myanmar Are Facing Infectious Diseases

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #163, 28.5.2008

  • [Finance Committee of the National Assembly and the Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian] Cheam Yeap Pretends to Close His Eyes to Reject the Publication of a British Newspaper [The Guardian] Which Had Published an Article “Cambodia, a Country for Sale” [Mr. Cheam Yeap said that there is no sale of land, but it is the investments which covered almost 45% of the land]
  • People from Legal Professions Said that [the National Election Committee President] Im Soursdey and Secretary General Mr. Tep Nitha Will Not Be Able to Escape from Penalties in the Future [because they have created tricks to prevent people who do not support the Cambodian People’s Party to vote, and allow Vietnamese to vote to define the Khmer future]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #23, 28-30.5.2008

  • The National Election Committee Requires Political Parties to Report Their Equipment for the Campaign
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Relocate a Garbage Dump to a New Garbage Site in Early 2009 [from Stung Meanchey District to Baku Village, Dangkao Commune, Dangkao District, Phnom Penh, an area of 39 hectares]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6356, 28.5.2008

  • Cambodia Adds US$250,000 to Fill [Myanmar assistance] Up to US$300,000
  • Chinese Investment Company [Tianjin – 天津 – Union Investment and Development Group] Invests US$300 Million in the First Step to Develop Koh Kong [after the executive director of this Company Mr. Li Zhi Qiang discussed reportedly the project with Mr. Hun Sen on 27 May 2008]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3471, 28.5.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy: The Party that Wins the Election Has the Right to Organize the Government, but It Cannot Alone Control Committee of the National Assembly
  • Rice Price Might Dramatically Increase Soon if the Government Does Not Release Rice of Nearly Two Million Tonnes from Storehouses [according to observers]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4600, 28.5.2008

  • The Japan International Cooperation Agency Helps to Develop a Core Project on Khmer Minerals
  • The Court Requires Mr. Sam Rainsy to Appear to Give Explanations to the Court in Early June
  • Malaysian King [Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong XIII of Malaysia] Will Visit Cambodia Today

Have a look at last week’s editorial: The oil price spiral – special investments – and a comparison of the activities in Myanmar and in China

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Tuesday, 27.5.2008: Hun Sen Announced to Give Golden Handcuffs to Prince Norodom Ranariddh and to Invite Him to Prey Sar Prison

Posted on 28 May 2008. Filed under: Week 562 | Tags: , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

“According to Article 46 of the Criminal Code, the lawsuit between Prince Ranariddh and the Funcinpec Secretary-General Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay, accusing the Prince of abusing the confidence, motivated Prince Ranariddh to flee the country to stay with the ‘phantom fox’ [his partner Uk Phalla, whom the Prime Minister calls so] with no courage to face the law.

“Although Mr. Hun Sen indirectly insulted a president of a party who is outside the country, without mentioning the name of Prince Ranariddh, Khmer citizens understand well that when Mr. Hun Sen talked about Princess Marie Ranariddh, Prince Ranariddh’s former wife, and when he warned to offer royal golden handcuffs, it was clearly understood that Mr. Hun Sen directly warned Prince Ranariddh, who escaped and is living in Malaysia with the ‘phantom fox,’ and he does not dare to return to the country. He and his followers accused Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen of abusing the King’s right to grant a pardon to Prince Ranariddh.

“On the Morning of 26 May 2008, Mr. Hun Sen expressed his strong and direct reactions against Prince Ranariddh, who is the president of the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and who is living outside the country, ‘If you, all the Norodom Ranariddh Party officials, wonder, you can go to the Royal Palace to ask the King in which respect Hun Sen abused the King’s rights.’

“Mr. Hun Sen added that there is no one who rejects the King’s rights, but the King’s procedure must have their qualifications. Without mentioning any name, Mr. Hun Sen continued that previously they accused him of setting this or that condition in order that the Prince can return to the country.

“Mr. Hun Sen went on to say that previously, Prince Ranariddh had wanted the King to pardon him, because he has guilt – but now he announced also that he has no guilt. Mr. Hun Sen continued, ‘When did you have a guilt? When the court issued the verdict, you appealed – and because you appealed, the judgment did not became valid. Now the Appeals Court sentenced you and you appealed to the Supreme Court. So you claim that you are not guilty, but if you are not guilty, why did you ask the King to pardon you? Unless the Supreme Court has sentenced you… – but if you are guilty, you will be punished.’

“Mr. Hun Sen said that previously, when the Prince was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment over having a contract to import guns and dealing with the Khmer Rouge, ‘Hun Sen could spare him because it was my own case, but now this is not my case, I want to make this clear.’ Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘That party president and his officials, who accused Hun Sen of not recognizing the King’s rights, please tell me which points you refer to?’

“Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘This case has been delayed for a long time, because if I hit the older brother [Prince Ranariddh], it hurts his younger brother [the King], and if I hit the child [Prince Ranariddh], it hurts his father [the former King]. Some observers said that Mr. Hun Sen indirectly insulted and looked down on the Royal Family.

“Mr. Hun Sen added that arrangements for an amnesty were always made to be announced at the Khmer New Year, on Pchum Ben Day, or on the King’s Birthday, or the Father King’s, or the King’s Mother’s Birthdays; and the procedures for amnesties had been prepared by the Minister of Justice, together with clarifications by the heads of the prisons, to clarify that the prisoners had promised not to commit any crime again. Then they brought requests to the Ministry of Justice, the Minister will bring the clarifications about the prisoner’s promise to the Prime Minister. Finally, the Prime Minister will bring it to the King to be signed to grant an amnesty.

Article 27 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia says:
“The King shall have the right to grant partial or complete amnesty.”

“Mr. Hun Sen went on to say that the Prince claims that he has not any guilt; but then he said that I abused the King’s rights. Once he said it like this, once he said it like that – how can he be a person from the legal profession?

“Mr. Hun Sen warned, ‘I have asked [the Director General of the National Police] Mr. Hok Lundy to make handcuffs painted with golden color. If you are not guilty, why do you not return to the country? Nobody prohibits you. When you left, we did not force you, and if you come back, we will not care about you, so why do you not come when actually you are not guilty?’

“Mr. Hun Sen was very angry with the president of a certain party whose name was not mentioned, and he said that that party’s president’s officials in the country had also accused him of abusing the King’s rights…

“The US Ambassador, Mr. Joseph A. Mussomeli, had told journalists in Kompong Thom some days ago that Prince Ranariddh should return to the country to address and to finish his case legally at the court.

“However, people from the legal profession said that Prince Ranariddh has no courage to return and to face the court in Cambodia, because if he returns, the court will issue a warrant to detain him temporarily, to continue the inquest and to prevent him from escaping abroad again, even though the Supreme Court has not yet opened a hearing to decide whether Prince Ranariddh is guilty or not.

“Prince Ranariddh had been sued by Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhek Bun Chhay on the accusation of having abused the confidence over the sale of the Funcinpec headquarters at the base of the Chroy Chongva Bridge, and over putting of his name, to be the owner of the new headquarters at a Phnom Penh suburb.

“The Phnom Penh court had opened a hearing of Prince Ranariddh in absentia to serve eighteen months in prison, and ordered him to pay US$150,000 to Funcinpec, with Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay being the Funcinpec representative.

“Analysts said that if Prince Ranariddh does not dare to return to the country and to face the court, his party will lose the confidence and the supports from the citizens. And now, some officials who had followed him for many years, leave him.” Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #107, 27.5.2008

[Note: The translation of this article is slightly abbreviated while keeping the basic content intact]

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2780, 27.5.2008

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Ordered the Kandal Provincial Governor [Chhun Sirun on 23 May 2008] to Cancel a Land Title of the Phanimex Company in the Veal Sbov Commune [Kien Svay District – over a land dispute]

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #107, 27.5.2008

  • Hun Sen Announced to Give Golden Handcuffs to Prince Norodom Ranariddh and to Invite Him to Prey Sar Prison

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1651, 27.5.2008

  • Cambodia Canceled the Prohibitory Notice against Exporting Rice and Paddy Rice
  • Donor Countries Promise to Provide Aid of US$50 Million to Burma

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6355, 27.5.2008

  • Regarding an Attempt for “Change”, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Said: You Only Have the Right to Change through Voting [he said on 26 May 2008]
  • It Is about One Million Tonnes of Paddy Rice that Our Farmers Need to Export [says Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Land Disputes: Two Groups of People Protesting: One Group Is Walking towards Phnom Penh to Arrive at the Residence [of Prime Minister Hun Sen] in Takhmao, the Other Group Protests in Front of the Battambang Provincial Office
  • Workshop on How to Create Draft Laws for Drafters of Laws Held [on 22 May 2008 at Phnom Penh Hotel, sponsored by USAID]

Meatophum, Vol.52, #690, 26-31.5.2008

  • The Cambodian People’s Party Will Not Lead the Government together with the Sam Rainsy Party! [said the Prime Minister on 21 May 2008]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3470, 27.5.2008

  • Siem [Thailand] Is Happy that Deputy Prime Minister and Senior Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers Sok An Agreed to Only Include the Body of the Preah Vihear Temple [not the not yet demarkated area around the temple] to Be Listed as a World Heritage Site [after a three-sided meeting in Paris last week]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party president] Sam Rainsy: [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Is Wasting National Funds by Increasing the Number of Members of the National Assembly
  • Development Projects of Foreign Companies along Borders Might Affect Khmer Territory

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4599, 27.5.2008

  • Seven Parliamentarians from the Sam Rainsy Party [Mr. Mei Bunvithyea, Mr. Chab Rithy, Mr. Bean Thul, Mr. Heang Soriyak and Mr. Iem Chantha, six of them are from Kandal, and Mr. Nou Sovath, Phnom Penh parliamentarian] Left the Party While the President Mr. Sam Rainsy Returned [on 26 May 2008]
  • UN Secretary-General Hopes that Myanmar Will Keep Its Promise [to allow foreign relief groups to work in the destroyed areas]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3319, 27.5.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Continues to Call Those Who Had Left the Party to be Garbage and Calls the Cambodian People’s Party to Accept That Garbage

Have a look at last week’s editorial: The oil price spiral – special investments – and a comparison of the activities in Myanmar and in China

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Monday, 26.5.2008: More Korean Volunteers Have Arrived in Cambodia

Posted on 27 May 2008. Filed under: Week 562 | Tags: , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

“Phnom Penh: Fourteen new Korean volunteers, among them seven women, were sent to work in Cambodia. Nine of the fourteen volunteers arrived Cambodia on 21 May 2008, and five more volunteers will arrive on 26 May 2008. They will actively function assisting in the fields of human resources development in different institutions of the Royal Government of Cambodia for a period of two years from 2008 to 2010.

“According to an announcement by the Korea International Cooperation Agency [KOICA] for the year 2008, the group of these fourteen volunteers is the first new group to be sent to Cambodia to fulfill duties in various fields – such as health, arts, Korean language, tourism, sports, electricity, and information technology. The institutions, which have asked for volunteers, are the Calmette Hospital and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Phnom Penh, primary schools in Kratie and Pursat, professional training centers in Kompong Cham and Siem Reap, the National University of Management in Battambang, the Kompong Chhnang Referral Hospital, and the National Institutes of Education of Kompong Cham and Siem Reap.

“The Korean Volunteer Program is a program of the Republic of Korea to send Korean volunteers for cooperation in other countries to share and exchange different experiences for social and economic development. Since the creation of the Korean Volunteer Program in Cambodia in 2003, the total number of Korean volunteers has been 144, and they have been sent to Cambodia to work in various fields, such as health education, rural development, and the development of information technology, arts, agriculture, and tourism. With their skills and their commitment, all the fourteen new volunteers, as well as other volunteers who are already actively working in Cambodia [click for an example from 2007], are playing very important roles in contributing in programs and in assistance from the Republic of Korea to develop the Cambodian economy and society through the exchange and the improvement of human resources and other assistance from the Republic of Korea. This will strengthens the relations between both countries.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4598, 25-26.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 May 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #106, 25.5.2008

  • The Government, Students, and Civil Society React against Siem [Thailand] Which Wants to Take the Preah Vihear Temple [after the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on 23 May 2008 suggesting to jointly administer the Preah Vihear temple with Cambodia]
  • Director of Human Rights Watch Mr. Brad Adams Considers the Confiscation of The Burma Daily by the Government to Be a Shame
  • Dispute in the Center for Social Development [with Ms. Seng Theary as director] and the Corruption in the Cambodia Defenders Project [with Mr. Sok Samoeun as director] Is Like Giving a Sword to Officials of the Cambodians People’s Party to Use It as Their Tool

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1650, 25-26.5.2008

  • Burma Allows Foreign Relief Groups to Help the Tropical Cyclone Victims [on Friday]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #583, 26.5.2008

  • [Norodom Ranariddh Party president] Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh: It Is Dishonest Politics that Hun Sen Uses 39 Radio Stations Alone to Attack Other Parties

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6354, 26.5.2008

  • Khiev Samphan [the former Khmer Rouge leader] Is in an Unclear Health Condition Which Doctors Monitor Carefully
  • Guard [Mr. Van Vin, 43] of the ‘Land of the Disabled’ Was Attacked at Night with a Grenade in Veal Thom Village [wounding a man staying in his house – Phnom Sruoch, Kompong Speu]
  • Details of the Construction of the Satellite City “Grand Phnom Penh” Show that Two Companies [the YLP Group of Cambodia and the Ciputra Group of Indonesia] Cooperate to Provide Luxury Living in Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3469, 26.5.2008

  • More Than 40,000 Minority Tribespeople Made Thumbprints to Ask for the Removal of Lay Sokha and Keo Horn from the Positions of Mondolkiri Governor and Deputy Governor

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4598, 25-26.5.2008

  • More Korean Volunteers Have Arrived in Cambodia
  • [Former Thai prime minister] Thaksin Met Samdech Hun Sen and Suggested [on 23 May 2008] a New City Construction Project Worth Thousands of Millions of Dollars in Koh Kong [according to Mr. Hun Sen’s advisor Mr. Ieng Sophalet who informed Raksmei Kampuchea]
  • The Documentation Center of Cambodia Cooperates [with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center] to Create a New Website – – for Observing the Progress of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Children of a Chinese Man Are Not Very Happy, because the Director of the Department of Education, Youth, and Sport of Kompong Thom [Mr. Su Kimtry, who is now 59 years old – and teachers are required to normally retire at the age of 60] Postpones His Retirement for Five Years [on his own request]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: The oil price spiral – special investments – and a comparison of the activities in Myanmar and China

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Week 561 – 2008-05-25: Memorable Events – “Historical Events”?

Posted on 26 May 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 561 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 561

On Monday, we mirrored a report saying that the price of crude oil had risen to US$127 per barrel [one barrel corresponding to the 55-US-gallon steel drum, known also as the 44-UK-gallon drum, and as the 200-liter drum], from around US$100 at the beginning of the year. President Bush visited Israel, celebrating its 60th anniversary, addressing the parliament without any reference to the tragedy the affected Arab population endures. The subsequent appeal by President Bush, during a visit to Saudi Arabia, asking to increase the output of oil to lower the price of oil, was rejected, and by Friday the price was up to US$ 135. Compared to these hectic changes, the increase of the high grade gasoline price by Riel 200 per liter sees to be quite moderate. Some international banking experts predict a gradual increase up to US$200 per barrel.

Not many radical plans to re-arrange the economy to deal with such coming changes are known.

The week brought also some news about planned international investments. It was reported that the former Thai prime minister intends to invest approximately US$10 billion in the Cambodian border province of Koh Kong: to establish gambling casinos and other recreational sites. The sum of 10 billion sounds enormous – five times the amount spent by the international community for the 18 months of UNTAC administration of Cambodia during 1992/1993. The purpose of the reported investment is similar to the already existing casinos in the north-western border region adjacent to Thailand. The plans are said to have been discussed already between the former Thai and the present Cambodian prime ministers over a round of golf in Siem Reap.

A Russian investor wants to create factories in Cambodia and to export Cambodian agricultural products – agricultural products, when processed to international trading standards, have often been seen as an important fields to diversify the Cambodian export industry beyond the garment sector.

And two banks intend to set up branches in Cambodia: The president of the prestigious South Korean Woori Bank [우리은행] presented this intention to the Prime Minister.

And Mr. Han Chang-Woo [한창우] who is introduced to be a world class billionaire, with the 21st rank on a list of the super-rich, is creating the Maruhan Japan Bank [マルハンジャパン銀行] in Cambodia. Though there is not one of the big Japanese banks in the background, in this case information on the Maruhan Company is publicly accessible – quite different from some other business ventures with a supposedly Japanese background: the administration of the Genocide Memorial site in Chung Ek was privatized and handed over to a Japanese company, which has only a Post Box address in Phnom Penh, and about which the Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh could not give any information at the time when the Cambodian government transferred this historical genocide site to an unknown foreign business. – The Maruhan corporation and its plan are transparent: it has made its money mainly from the popular “Pachinko” pinball game centers in Japan, but it has also major investments in the casino industry in Macau. Its Japanese website list details of its central offices in Tokyo, and also the street address for the new bank in Phnom Penh, the name of the Chief Executive Officer in Cambodia, as well as the financial plan: to start with a capital of US$25 million – 85% will come from Maruhan, and 15% – US$3,750,000 – is expected to come from local partners in Cambodia.

In none of these investment plans are any references explaining how they relate to any general economic or social development strategies of the country – especially also in view of the world wide economic crisis related to the rising price of energy and the growing international food shortage.

The two major natural disasters – in Myanmar, and in China – were reflected in various ways in the local and in the international media. In Myanmar, the situation seems to have started to change, after the ASEAN foreign ministers met in Singapore – and it was agreed that help for the victims of the cyclone could be accepted only if it would be handled by ASEAN members, and by staff from Asian countries. At the same time unofficial voices from the very same region admitted that the ASEAN countries alone do not have the large scale logistical capabilities which were made available by many different countries during the disaster created by a tsunami in 2004, or after the major earthquake in Pakistan in 2005. Those victims who still survive in Myanmar would rather have to wait longer for attention, while the governments were sorting out how to respect the sovereignty of Myanmar, under a government which had swept away the results of an election which the military – the present powerholders – did not like.
In the meantime, the world observed how the government of China responded to their earthquake disaster: not only deploying their own resources, but welcoming foreign experts and foreign aid, under the eyes of the international press – acting as fast as possible. “Keep up the battle and do not fear exhaustion, strengthen supervision over the use of earthquake disaster relief funds to ensure relief work progresses forcefully, properly and effectively,” admonished the Ministry of Finance the public, and the vice-governor of the Sichuan province is reported to have initiated punitive action against some officials who were negligent in their efforts, or who misused relief material. He also invited the media to help supervise the distribution of relief materials; the province would publicize in detail the allocation of donated materials and cash.

After the UN Secretary-General had not received any response to his letters of concern from the leadership in Myanmar, and after they had even refused to accept his telephone calls, he traveled via Thailand to Myanmar, and was finally received by Senior-General Than Shwe, the leader of the ‘State Peace and Development Council’ – the organ of the military junta – for a two-and-a-half hour discussion. After the meeting, the UN Secretary-General announced that Burma would now allow foreign aid personnel from any nationality into all affected regions of the country, even foreign helicopters could transport aid into the country which has very limited, and partly destroyed land transport facilities. This was really a historical breakthrough: the serious restrictions on assisting the cyclone victims, which the assembled ministers of foreign affairs of ASEAN had accepted, were now removed.
An international donor’s meeting – today on Sunday in Yangon – was, however, confronted with a wide gap between different perceptions and positions. The material resources on US and French navy ships off the coast of the cyclone stricken region could be flown in within 20 minutes by helicopter – but the government of Myanmar will not allow that – the goods have rather to be loaded on small ships and brought into the port of Yangon. But these ships and the necessary unloading mechanisms on the high sea are not readily available – and even if they were, it will be much more time consuming to transport the relief goods on land, given the limited number of vehicles, destroyed roads and bridges, and therefore the difficulties to reach many affected areas. The desperate needs of many people cannot receive a timely response.

The Burmese side had prepared a list of request for US$10 billion – but the representatives of about 40 countries present were prepared to pledge only about US$50 million, because no realistic needs’ assessment and implementation plans were available. That the Burmese government continues to work with artificial figures – like on Monday: “Number of Deaths from Tropical Cyclone in Myanmar Climbed up to 77,738” – and reportedly presented on Sunday also lists with “precise numbers” of how many chicken and how many pigs had been killed by the cyclone, while the communication infrastructure in the affected ares is not functioning, created new conflicts.

The World Bank – approached for their response to the disaster – declared to be prepared to cooperate with expert personnel in assessment and planning. As Burma had discontinued to repay any loans since 1998, the regulations of the bank would not allow to extend new loans. How the opinion of the minister of foreign affairs of Singapore can be understood and handled, that the World Bank should forget about their regulations decided upon by the governments which provide its funds, only the future can show.

The concerns for the victims, and the concerns not to irritate those who assumed power over the country and hold it, had also its repercussions in Cambodia, when police were sent out on two days to confiscate an insert into The Cambodia Daily, called The Burma Daily, on 16 and 19 May 2008, for two reasons: “the articles showed a tendency critical of the government of the Burmese military junta,” as a Khmer newspaper wrote, and because they had been published without legal permission. The latter is contested by the publisher, as The Burma Daily was not sold separately, but was an insert, while the authorities claim, on the other hand, that this insert had the format of a new publication. The two confiscated issues of The Burma Daily – now available on the Internet at – are critical of the restrictive attitude of the military leadership preventing timely and effective international aid – but compared to the extraordinary efforts of the UN secretary-general to travel himself to Myanmar, after his phone calls were rejected, the criticism in The Burma Daily supplement were mild and not different from wide sections of the international press. The high praise in detail, which the UN Secretary-General has in the meantime given to the Chinese authorities for their way of acting in face of massive human suffering is an adequate comment on the situation.

That three Cambodian journalists were arrested and chained by the police, on a court official’s order, when they inquired about a truck transporting wood in an area of Kompong Thom where illegal logging is said to happen frequently, contrasts not only with the officially stated policy of the Cambodian government against illegal logging, but it is also quite different from the recently reported practice of the Chinese authorities in the earthquake disaster region, where the media are invited to help to prevent fraud. A similar clear, encouraging call from the authorities in Cambodia to the local media, followed by actual support in the case of conflicts, might become another historical step in fighting corruption.

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Saturday, 24.5.2008: Sar Kheng Said that the Government Does Not Dare to Arrest Drug Trafficking Chiefs

Posted on 24 May 2008. Filed under: Week 561 | Tags: |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 561

“This week Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng admitted that the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] government has not yet done anything noticeable over drug cases in Cambodia.

“He added, ‘The real chief has not been arrested yet, and drug trafficking chiefs still live freely. They are still acting freely and recreate their networks.’

“Over the course of time, the police had arrested some members of big drug networks in Cambodia, but there was no legal action taken to bring any drug trafficking chiefs to court; therefore drug trafficking and the production of drugs still continue and lead to the distribution and to the use of drug countrywide.

“When Mr. Sar Kheng said, ‘They know them, but they do not dare to arrest them,’ we do not know to which drug trafficking cases this refers, because previously, only small drug traffickers were arrested to be punished according to the law.

“The Minister of Interior Mr. Sar Kheng seems to take the opportunity to also criticize the ineffectiveness of the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s CPP.

“He said that previously, only small drug traffickers had been arrested, but the drug trafficking chiefs have not been arrested, and therefore drug trafficking still exits, together with the creation of new networks.

“The Minister of Interior Mr. Sar Kheng did not explain the reason why his ministry, which is in charge to deal with these cases, does not fulfill its work efficiently to arrest the drug trafficking chiefs.

“However, the fact that the minister made this comment is assumed by other people as a sign that he probably knows who the drug-trafficking chiefs are on the national level, but the government does not dare to take action because of some issues which are kept secret.

“However, what the Deputy Prime Minister said is quite different from what the Prime Minister and CPP Vice President Mr. Hun Sen had said – Mr. Hun Sen has never dared to raise the problem of drug trafficking.

“The police of the government, with help from international anti-drug-trafficking agencies, has frequently found many big drug manufacturing sites and planting areas in Cambodia. On 1 April 2007, a big drug manufacturing site and nearly four tonnes of substances used for producing drugs were found at Traeng Trayueng Commune, Phnom Sruoch District, Kompong Speu, after having received information from international anti-drug-trafficking agencies from outside the country.

“The owners of the site, which pretended to be a cow farm, were the Chinese national Chea Chung and his partner Oknha Om Chhai, both of whom had close relations with senior officials in the government and in the National Assembly of Cambodia.

“Chea Chung used to be an advisor to Deputy Prime Minister Nhek Bun Chhay, the Funcinpec secretary-general. According to many documents received from Funcinpec, Nhek Bun Chhay had appointed Chea Chung to hold high positions, like he had been appointed to work in the investment sector in the Nhek Bun Chhay group.

“Oknha Om Chhai was an advisor to the President of the National Assembly and Honorary President of the ruling CPP Mr. Heng Samrin. After his arrest and after he was brought to the anti-drug-trafficking section in the Ministry of Interior, carefully guarded by police, it was reported that Oknha Om Chhai had committed suicide by jumping from a window of the building. We do not know whether or not, what Mr. Sar Kheng said, ‘They know them, but they do not dare to arrest them,’ refers to the case of Chea Chung and Om Chhai, who have had relations with senior officials of this regime.

“Mr. Sar Kheng said, ‘The chiefs must be found,’ but we do not know whether these words are political words to agitate the public to restore the reputation of the ruling CPP, which is defamed by the Prime Minister Hun Sen who rules the country but lets corruption and land grabbing happen and does not arrest drug trafficking chiefs.

“It should be noted that the Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the anti-drug-trafficking chief, Sar Kheng, had announced publicly, at the time when police arrested the people and collected many pieces of evidence in the form of equipment used for producing drugs in a farm in Kompong Speu, that – even if the drug trafficking chiefs are backed by officials of any rank – he will arrest them to be punished. After this announcement, the national and the international public, hating drugs which destroy our social fabric, were happy and waited carefully to see the actions that would be taken by Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng. However, so far, there was no action taken over this Kompong Speu big case, a fact that also the US ambassador to Cambodia observes.

“For a long time we did not see that the Deputy Prime Minister and anti-drug-trafficking chief takes actions and expresses his commitment; it is just recently that the Deputy Prime Minister, who is second in power after Prime Minister Hun Sen, stated that there is no noticeable action used to persecute drug trafficking chiefs. This announcement makes observers think that those who are behind the big drug trafficking chiefs may be higher in position than the Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng.” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3317, 24.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 May 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1649, 24.5.2008

  • In Svay Rieng, Transportation of Paddy Rice to Vietnam Still Continues

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #161, 24.5.2008

  • Association of Friends of Khmer Journalists Called on the Authorities to Release Three Journalists
  • [Sam Rainsy Party deputy secretary-general] Mu Sochua: The Sam Rainsy Party Will Increase the Number of Woman Candidates to a Maximum; [Funcinpec new president] Keo Puth Rasmey: Funcinpec Has a Small Number of Woman Candidates, but They Are Very Qualified
  • Commune Councilors of the Cambodian People’s Party [from Phnom Sruoch District, Kompong Speu] Have Warned that Land Disputes Will Stop People to Vote for the Cambodian People’s Party

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #22, 24-27.5.2008

  • An Association for Helping Khmer Women Who Are Married in Foreign Countries Is to Be Created [Secretary of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs You Ay raised this in a meeting focused on human trafficking]
  • Khov Chily and Dac Lac Company Still Clear Land to Grab Minority Tribespeople’s Land [Mondolkiri]
    Phnom Penh Authorities Construct a Common Crematorium at a Phnom Penh Suburb [at Wat Prey Sar]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6353, 24-25.5.2008

  • Praying to the King of Bulls [in the Royal Ploughing Ceremony] for Good Agricultural Yields Showed a Good Omen: It Will Bring Good Yield of Corn, Pretty Good Yield of Paddy Rice, and Medium Yield of Beans
  • Regarding the Media for the Election, the Sam Rainsy Party Fears Three Fair Programs May Be Eliminated [the round table meeting and equity program of UNDP]
  • Nearly 200 Protesters from Battambang Walk towards Phnom Penh [to seek help from the government to solve land disputes]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3468, 24-25.5.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: The Government Is Extorting Money from Citizens through the Increase in Fuel Tax

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4597, 24.5.2008

  • Shortage of Medicines against Common Diseases and Discrimination from the Community Still Affect Those Who Have AIDS
  • Banteay Meanchey Governor Is Reshuffled [Mr. On Sum has replaced Mr. Ung Oeun, former Siem Reap deputy governor going to work in the Ministry of Interior]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3317, 24.5.2008

  • Sar Kheng Said that the Government Does Not Dare to Arrest Drug Trafficking Chiefs
  • Ms. Chea Ratha’s Visa Expired since 15 May 2008 [but she has not yet returned to Cambodia]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: How NOT to avoid critical reflection

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Friday, 23.5.2008: Three Journalists Were Arrested and Chained Just because They Asked for Information about a Truck Carrying Wood

Posted on 24 May 2008. Filed under: Week 561 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 561

“Kompong Thom: Three journalists were arrested by Santuk District Police under direct order by a Kompong Thom court prosecutor, and they were chained at midnight, because these three journalists were covering information about a truck carrying wood at 7:15 p.m. of 21 May 2008 at Kompong Thma Village, Kompong Thma Commune, Santuk District, Kompong Thom. Police said they were arrested on the accusation of attempting to extort money from the owner of the wood, while a prosecutor said they were accused of deception.

“The arrest of the journalists and the confiscation of reporting equipment, and sending them to the police station and then chaining their legs at midnight, just in response to the accusation from the owner of wood alone, seem to be too fierce an action to implement the law, and these acts also seem to threaten the journalists in general.

“The director of the Kompong Thma commune forestry administration, Mr. Mao Chanthy, said that his police arrested the three journalists based on a direct order from the Kompong Thom court prosecutor Mr. Ti Sovinthal, on the accusation that they tried to extort money, and besides this, he did not know anything more. The three arrested journalists are 1. Ruos Chanti, 2. Tob Suon – both of them are reporters for Samleng Santepheap – and 3. Suon Sinat, a reporter for Meatophum, and all of them live in the Prasat Commune, Santuk District, Kompong Thom, and in the Balang Commune, Baray District, Kompong Thom.

“Santuk District police chief Mr. Mat Moly, called Diyamong, declined to make any comments for Kampuchea Thmey and used very fierce words like, ‘What? You force me to explain? I will not explain, because I was busy with a meeting.’

“Mr. Ruos Chanti, the Samleng Santepheap reporter who was chained in the morning of 22 May at the Santuk District Police station, told Kampuchea Thmey with a sad face that this was a very painful experience, and it is not just for all three of them.

“Mr. Ruos Chanti said that at 7:00 p.m. of 21 May 2008, the three of them drove on two motorbikes to the Kompong Thma market, and by chance they saw a Korean 2.5-tonner-truck carrying wood used for construction, mixed with some new wood, and wood was piled up on the pavement at the above mentioned village, and then they went to ask for information and twice took photographs, when suddenly the prosecutor and the police arrived, and the prosecutor ordered the police to arrest the three of them.

“The Kompong Thom court prosecutor Mr. Ti Sovinthal told Kampuchea Thmey by phone that he ordered to arrest the three journalists because they were extorting money from the owner of the wood, as he pointed at the three journalists saying that they extorted money from him.

“Mr. Ti Sovinthal continued that the three journalists tried to extort Riel 450,000 [approx. US$115] from the owner of the wood, which made the owner of the wood almost faint, but the prosecutor affirmed that the person who received the Riel 450,000 was a person called Eng, and he is not a journalist among the three journalists arrested, and Ti Sovinthal said he did not accuse them of extorting the money. That would be too serious, but he accused them of deception, based on Article 45 [?] so they can be detained or not, depending on investigating judges. However, the person who received the Riel 450,000 named Eng will not be able to escape, because he had already issued an arrest warrant for him.

“Regarding the reasons leading to the arrest of the three journalists and the explanation by the prosecutor, there are many opinions mainly from some people in legal professions, saying that obviously there was no evidence and no witness to prove that the three of them had extorted money from the owner of the wood, because also the prosecutor said that they did not get the Riel 450,000. The prosecutor just got the information from the owner of the wood alone, and also there was no police who had directly seen the money that the owner of the wood gave the three journalists, and they did not hear anything from the three journalists speaking about money extortion, and there is no witness and no evidence to prove that they extorted or were trying to extort money.

“It is said that wood is being loaded from Tum Ring to Kompong Thma almost every day, and almost all wood merchants pay money to the forestry officials and to the police everywhere, and also the Kompong Thom forestry administration and the Santuk District Police chief get their benefits. Therefore, if journalists want to disclose the crime of illegally transported wood, those who destroy the natural resources are not happy. So it is likely that maybe they put the blame on the three journalists unjustly.

“A man who directly witnessed the event said that the three journalists did not say anything to extort money from the owner of the wood; they just asked where the wood was carried from, to whom money was paid, and whether there was a legal permit for the wood or not.

“While the owner of the wood answered their questions, claiming that there was a legal permission and money had been duly paid to every place, the journalists also took immediately pictures of the truck, when suddenly police and the prosecutor arrived, spoke to the owner of the wood, and arrested the journalists. Police officials of Kompong Thom said that they would start to defeat the journalists.

“Many journalists are observing these events and are waiting to see the next actions that will be taken by the powerful prosecutor Ti Sovinthal, the Kompong Thom court prosecutor, towards the three journalists. However, what makes our journalists interested is to see if the detention is just a pretext to extort money [from the three arrested journalists, so that they will be released].” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1648, 23.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 May 2008

Areyathor, Vol.15, #1329, 23-24.5.2008

  • Phnom Penh Has a Center for Education and Treatment of Drug Addicts [at Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1648, 23.5.2008

  • Three Journalists Were Arrested and Chained Just because They Asked for Information about a Truck Carrying Wood
  • Scandal at Center for Social Development Revealed [executive director Ms. Seng Theary is said not to respect some internal regulations]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #582, 23.5.2008

  • [Director of an institute of civic studies] Chhim Phal Vorun Revealed that the [US based] International Republican Institute Cut Aid because [the former president of Cambodian Center for Human Rights and now the Human Rights Party president] Kem Sokha Was Corrupt [he said so on the Sambok Khmum Radio]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #160, 23.5.2008

  • Sam Rainsy’s Lawyer [name not mentioned] Shifted Date to Appear to Explain to the Court over Hor Namhong’s Lawsuit
  • Burmese Embassy in Phnom Penh Prohibits Officials of the Sam Rainsy Party to Express Condolences to the Victims of the Tropical Cyclone
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: In the Third Term, the Government Has Power to Entirely Control the National Assembly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6352, 23.5.2008

  • On 30 May 2008, Chief Monks of Both Sects [the Thammayuth and the Mohanikay] Will Draw Lots to Assign Numbers to All the Eleven Parties on Ballot Papers
  • The World Bank Granted Cambodia US$30 Million for Maintenance Projects and US$11.5for Provision of Land Titles
  • Cambodian Security Ranks 91 while Thai Security Ranks 118 [global peace index]
  • Fifteen Women Were Burned in Kenya [they were accused of using ill will sorcery to kill other people]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4596, 23.5.2008

  • World Class Billionaire [21st in world rank – Han Chang-Woo – 한창우] Launched “Maruhan Japan Bank” in Cambodia [with Japanese capital participating]
  • Crude Oil Price Climbs Up to US$135 per Barrel [on Wednesday, 21 May 2008], Indonesia Faces More Protests

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3316, 23.5.2008

  • Each Party Has Only Eight Minutes to Present Its Policy on Cambodian National Television [TVK]
  • It is not believed that the [Phnom Penh] Municipality Dares to Truck Rubbish to Put It in Front of the CINTRI [rubbish collection] Company

Snadai Khmeng Wat, Vol.8, #146, 23-25.5.2008

  • Cambodian Police Cooperates with Thai Police to Arrest [deputy chief-of-staff of the Cambodian Military Police, now in Thailand] Ms. Chea Ratha [related to acid attack]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: How NOT to avoid critical reflection

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Thursday, 22.5.2008: Chea Sim Makes Pressure to Remove Sok An and Cham Prasidh from Their Positions after the Fourth Term Election

Posted on 23 May 2008. Filed under: Week 561 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 561

“According to some Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] officials, there have been strong arguments between the president and the vice-president of the CPP over the intention to remove Sok An and Cham Prasidh from their fixed positions of ministers after the fourth term election.

“This source said that Chea Sim, the President of the CPP, had told the CPP Vice-President Hun Sen to take actions to remove the Senior Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers Sok An, from his position, which he has held for many years and for many terms, and which is full of corruption, and also the Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, whose name in Chinese is Yu Tek Hua [phonetic]. This would bring some new blood, and some change among members of the CPP for the coming fourth term government.

“These requests had first been strongly opposed by Hun Sen in order to protect his in-law [there is a family link by marriage between children of the Prime Minister and of the Senior Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers] so that he continues to hold the controls of the main state machinery of the government. The Council of Ministers has the right to make initial decisions to accept money from foreigners, and to give the right to foreign companies to do businesses in Cambodia, and this institution has also a big power in land management. As for the Ministry of Commerce, it is seen that it functions in the second important role – after the Council of Ministers – as it can earn income form everything that comes in, and it is called a lucrative ministry.

“Previously, some people remarked that the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia was shrunk to be the ministry of Cham Prasidh’s family. It was seen that some important departments in the Ministry of Commerce were controlled by Cham Prasidh’s family and his relatives alone, including his sons and daughters, his nephews and nieces and cousins. Because of these reasons, the current Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh became miraculously a millionaire who has expensive villas in the city, in the suburbs, and at the coast, while some Khmer citizens can hardly buy rice to fill their rice cooking pots.

“As for Sok An, he is one level more special than Cham Prasidh. According to some ministers in the Council of Ministers, they said that in this ministry, many important positions belong to Sok An’s children and nephews or nieces who have just graduated. As for other staff, they were changed to any place where they cannot earn much. Moreover, Sok An has gained much benefits, called commissions, from foreign investors who want to invest in Cambodia.

“There was a report that last year Sok An collected tens of thousands of dollars monthly from some areas for which foreign companies had entered into some contracts with the government, but then left those areas unused, like the Koh Puas [Snake Island] island which had been contracted to the Malaysian Ariston Investment Company; but when Ariston was late and failed to make the planned investments, much money had already been collected and stuffed into Sok An’s drawer. In this case, one wonders if this happened just with the Ariston Company alone; Sok An eared tens of thousands of dollars per month – so how many other companies in Cambodia have a similar situation to that of the Ariston Company, and how many millions of dollars did Sok An earn from these cases?

“However, based on the information source from some CPP officials, in fact, the money earned by the Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers, as well as that of the Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, is not just for them alone: one third of the money is delivered to Hun Sen, to be spent as he decides.

“By now, because of the unbalance of sharing of benefits using the power of the ministries, Hun Sen also started to attack this situation indirectly in a speech, saying that now the houses of some ministers are no longer houses; they all became villas.

“To sum up, it is noted that both Cham Prasidh and Sok An are the pipe to pump in and to collect money for Hun Sen. Now, Chea Sim claims therefore a reassignment of Sok An and of Cham Prasidh from their positions, which they have held for many years, and this shows that the party president is presenting his real intention: to cut the economic blood vessel of Hun Sen, who is his strong opponent within the CPP. To be fair towards Chea Sim and his group, Hun Sen should now make some contribution, to respond to Chea Sim’s intentions.

“It should be mentioned that although Hun Sen and Chea Sim are the two main sides – one side is Chea Sim and the other is Hun Sen – inside the CPP, we cannot overlook Heng Samrin, the former President of the People’s Republic of Cambodia, and now the Honorary President of the CPP. Because in the party, Heng Samrin, who is known as the ‘Old Respected Leader Achar Vech,’ has also many honest people which are not much lower in rank than those of Chea Sim and Hun Sen. Heng Samrin’s and Chea Sim’s group have many points in common – both groups are victims of the injustice of Hun Sen’s group, that means high and important positions are held by Hun Sen’s people, but for lower positions, Hun Sen leaves them for Chea Sim’s and Heng Samrin’s groups.

“This is the reason why Chea Sim, who has been patient for many years, dares to protest against Hun Sen by requesting the removal of Sok An and of Cham Prasidh from their lucrative positions, to let other people from Chea Sim’s line to hold these positions in the coming fourth term government.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3466, 22.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 May 2008

Cambodge Soir, Vol.1, #33, 22-28.5.2008

  • ‘Inflation Will Push More Citizens to Vote’ [because it is the only opportunity for them to put pressure on parties to help solve this problem – says executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMFREL – Mr. Kol Panha]

Deum Tnot, Vol.1, #17, 22-23.5.2008

  • Gaps in the Election Law Make Some Parties to Have Access to Media to Propagandize All the Time

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1647, 22.5.2008

  • The Cambodian People’s Party Restates that There Will Be No Coalition Government with the Sam Rainsy Party
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Granted an Audience to a South Korean Bank President [on 20 May 2008 over the creation of a Woori Bank in Cambodia]
  • Thirty Percent of Ratanakiri Children [of minority tribespeople] Do Not Have Access to a School
  • The United Nations Secretary-General [Ban Ki-Moon]: Burma Allows Foreign Helicopters to Transport Aid into the Country [he said on Tuesday]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #159, 22.5.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party president] Sam Rainsy: Everyone Must Seriously Consider the Publication of The Guardian [reference to a publication, “mirrored” also here on 20.5.2008]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #21, 21-23.5.2008

  • The National Election Committee [NEC] Invited All Directors of Radio and Television Stations to Explain to them the Publication Regulations during the Election Campaign
  • Female Immigrants from Southeast Asia Face Difficulties in Taiwan

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6351, 22.5.2008

  • Cambodian Rice Price Increases 13% while in Vietnam It Increases 27% and in Thailand 23%
  • Russian Investor Wants to Create Factories and to Export Cambodian Agricultural Products [according to a meeting between the Rural Development Bank president and the government advisor Mr. Son Sokun, and Mr. Gugarevich Juri Vladislavovich]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3466, 22.5.2008

  • Chea Sim Makes Pressure to Remove Sok An and Cham Prasidh from Their Positions after the Fourth Term Election

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4595, 22.5.2008

  • Tens of Thousands of Teachers Got Only 488 Uniforms [after the Royal Government had organized a ceremony to show uniforms for teachers, with rank signs on them, on 17 May 2008]
  • Myanmar Does Not Accept Aid Sent by US Soldiers [according to a broadcast by state media on Wednesday 21 May 2008]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #660, 22.5.2008

  • Phnom Penh Authorities Are Hunting for Brigadier General Chea Ratha
  • Khieu Samphan Was Sent to Hospital [because of high blood pressure] while His Comrade [Ieng Thirith] Goes to the Court Dock

Have a look at last week’s editorial: How NOT to avoid critical reflection

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Wednesday, 21.5.2008: Mine Clearing Rate Will Decline in 2008

Posted on 21 May 2008. Filed under: Week 561 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 561

“A Senior Official of the Cambodian Mine Action Center [CMAC] said that in 2008 the mine clearing rate will decline because this year mine clearing officials are required to learn additional skills.

“CMAC general director Mr. Khem Sophoan said, ‘During this time, the mine clearing rate of landmines in 2008 will decline, because now some of our mine clearing staff have been withdrawn to learn more skills. Nowadays, there are 205 mine clearing staff of the CMAC who are being trained, and after they have finished their training course, we will send 205 more staff members until we have 600 of our staff trained according to the goal set.’

“Mr. Khem Sophoan continued that the training takes three months.

“In 2007, CMAC cleared 27 million square meters of landmines. In 2008, the landmine clearance will decline, because CMAC staff are busy with training.

According to the CMAC report, in the period of four months in 2008, the CMAC cleared 9,184,303 square meters of landmines and 1,115,580 square meters of fields with unexploded ordnance. The CMAC has also put up 1,690,454 mine danger signs, reduced landmine danger zone size by 24,432 hectares, and found a new areas of 18,583 hectares with landmines, 9,981 anti-personnel mines, 189 anti-tank mines, 36,295 unexploded ordnances, 49 hand-made mines, and 3,111 kilogram of bullets.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1646, 21.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #104, 21.5.2008

  • [Human Rights Party president] Mr. Kem Sokha Criticized Ratanakiri Authorities That Used Dictatorial Means to Prevent Citizens to Hold Non-Violent Demonstration against Forest Destruction

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #69, 21-27.5.2008

  • Prime Minister: Three Opposition Parties [the Sam Rainsy Party, the Human Rights Party, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party] Will Get 25% of the Votes and the Cambodian People’s Party Will Get the Rest
  • [By 20 May 2008] The National Election Committee Has Recognized Ten Parties, Rejected one Party [the Sangkum Khmer Niyum, because it did not complete the documents required correctly], and Asked Another Party [the Khmer Democratic Party] to Reorganize its Documents
  • The US Provided US$2 Million for Setting Up Information Boards at All Provincial and Municipal Courts

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1646, 21.5.2008

  • Mine Clearing Rate Will Decline in 2008
  • The Earthquake Makes China to Lose US$9,500 Million [while number of deaths reaches 71,000]
  • Burma Opens Its Door to Accept Aid from Neighboring Countries in Asia [it will allow neighboring
    countries to go to see the destroyed areas and to check the distribution of foreign aid to victims]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #581, 21.5.2008

  • If All Democratic Parties Unite, Those Who Steals from the Nation Will No Longer Be Able to Get Benefits from Khmer Inheritance
  • Land Disputes Strongly Spread while the Election to Change the Prime Minister Is Getting Nearer

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #158, 21.5.2008

  • The World Bank Said that Providing Land by the Government to Be Occupied by Companies for Long Years Is Like Preventing Khmer People from Becoming Richer
  • People from the Legal Profession Said that There Would Be Lawsuits against Hor Namhong from Victims of Boeng Trabaek Prison

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6350, 21.5.2008

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Open a Hearing on the Request for Bail of Ieng Thirith [Ieng Sary’s wife] This Morning

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #12, .5.2008

  • [Right] Ear and [right] Eye of In Soklida’s Aunt Has Been Removed [in a hospital in Vietnam], because the Wounds by the Acid Attack Were Too Serious

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4594, 21.5.2008

  • The Cambodia Daily Will Be Suspended for Thirty Days if It Continues to Publish The Burma Daily [according to a warning by the Minister of Information and the government spokesperson Mr. Khieu Kanharith yesterday]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #659, 21.5.2008

  • Samdech Prime Minister: “If the 7th of January [1979] Is Forgotten, There Should Not Be Hearings of [former] Khmer Rouge Leaders” [he said during a certificate awarding ceremony to graduates of the Western University at the National Institute of Education]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: How NOT to avoid critical reflection

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