Archive for May 24th, 2008

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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