A Group of Soldiers Come to Intervene, Raiding the Battambang Forestry Department, to Take Back Wood – Friday, 10.7.2009

Posted on 11 July 2009. Filed under: Week 620 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 620

“Battambang: According to a report delivered to Kampuchea Thmey, at 10:00 in the morning of 8 July 2009 – at Chrab Krasang village, Wat Kor commune, Battambang – a group of forestry administration officials launched a raid on a truck loaded with 20 pieces of neang nuon, a type of luxury wood, of more than five cubic meters, transported by businesspeople on a truck using the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces number plate 07.3-4326, driven by Sa Moeun, a soldier of the Border Battalion 502.

“Forestry administration officials said that after the truck was intercepted, Sa Moeun immediately told them that they could not confiscate the wood, as it belonged to Major-General Bun Seng, the commander of Military Region 5.

“The forestry administration officials went on to say that after Sa Moeun had said that the wood belongs to Major-General Bun Seng, forestry officials led official personnel to prevent the truck from leaving. However, just ten minutes later, a group of soldiers, who were all armed with weapons, came by car to intervene, to let the illegal truck go, while forestry official could only stand by and look on sadly.

“The Battambang forestry administration chief, Mr. Ly Chou Bieng, told Kampuchea Thmey via telephone that the fact that armed soldiers came to intervene to take back the neang nuon wood loaded on the truck, is seriously wrong. He has already filed a complaint to the Battambang Municipal Court to issue a warrant to request the wood back and to keep it as evidence, to solve the situation according to the law.

“But some people said that there is little hope for action from the Battambang Municipal Court issuing a warrant to bring the wood back as evidence, because obviously, there had been already a first attempt to crack down on a crime, but we did not have a handle to halt their actions, and once there was an intervention to take the wood, it is not easy to take it back.

“Civil servants in Battambang criticized that even though there is a law for this field, Mr. Sa Moeun, a soldier of the Border Battalion 502, ordered soldiers, armed with weapons, to intervene to get the wood back illegally, which is a crime, and furthermore he dragged the name of the commander of Military Region 5 into the event, while actually, Mr. Bun Seng simply does not even know anything about this case.

Kampuchea Thmey phoned Major-General Bun Seng several times for a comment, but we could not reach him.”Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1992, 10.7.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 10 July 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #232, 10.7.2009

  • The G8 Meeting Focuses on Climate Change [the G8 leaders, meeting in Italy, agreed to reduce carbon output by 80% to control global warming]
  • A Judgment Is Announced [by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court] to Remove Ms. Seng Theary from the Position as Executive Director of the Center for Social Development [where there had been internal conflicts before]
  • France Continues to Assist Four Projects for the Development of Phnom Penh [the first project is the development of the northern area of city in Russey Keo; second, public transport; third, the development of green parks and plants; and fourth, the development of clean water for areas where the poor live]

Note:

In a press release dated 9 July 2009, members of the Center for Social Development, who have been implementing and controlling the actual, wide ranging work of the Center for Social Development during the last year [for example relating to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal], issued a press release, from which we quote the section, clarifying that the Ministry of Interior, in charge of Cambodian NGOs, had already ruled on this case:

The CSD press release 9 July 2009 which says [only selected sections]:

In order to show that this matter is incontrovertible, however, we now prefer to reference
the opinion of the Ministry of Interior – the authority which governs NGOs. CSD is able
to do so because Mr. HOUI in fact filed a complaint with identical accusations with the
Ministry of Interior in August 2008. After investigating the matter for four months, and
twice offering Mr. HOUI an opportunity to justify his complaint (which he declined), the
Ministry of Interior issued a mandate on 27th October 2008 concluding that Mr. HOUI’s
complaint should be dismissed:

“The Department of Political Affairs has conducted research over the
documents submitted by the complainant [Mr. HOUI], and discovered that
these documents forged the membership of one out of the three signatory
members of the Board of Directors.

(and)

“The contract of Theary Seng, and Articles 6 and 7 of the Statutes of the
Center for Social Development’s 2005 Constitution, prove that the
complaint of Mr. Vi Houi cannot be legitimate nor admitted. Thus the
Department of Political Affairs will not proceed with this baseless claim.

Given this history, CSD finds it baffling that Mr. HOUI brought this lawsuit as the
“President of the Board of Directors”, especially because on 13th May 2008—after almost
a year without a transparent, accountable, and functioning Board—the Ministry of
Interior officially recognized (1) Ms. SENG as the ED of CSD, (2) an amended CSD
Constitution, and (3) a functioning, 11-member Board of Directors—which did not
include Mr. HOUI as a member (full document attached). Thus, after May 13th 2008, Mr.
HOUI completely ceased to be a legitimate member of CSD’s Board—and also ceased to
have any of the legal rights associated with such membership, meaning he lacks any legal
standing to bring this complaint before the court.

CSD was even more taken aback and bewildered when we were informed that, not only
was the application not dismissed on account of Mr. HOUI’s lack of standing, but on 16
June 2009, the Municipal Court actually granted Mr. HOUI a temporary injunction
against Ms. SENG.

Taking into account the current laws, it is clear that the order was granted in error;
therefore, CSD took immediate steps to protect our self and our rights by filing an appeal
against the injunctive order.

In our minds, this whole process raises a very grave concern: If such a baseless claim can
persist as long as it has, and if a few individuals are able to abuse the legal system and
abuse process to harass and defame a large public institution, which largely specializes in
law, how can we expect average, individual citizens to find protection and justice within
this system?

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1992, 10.7.2009

  • A Group of Soldiers Come to Intervene, Raiding the Battambang Forstry Department, to Take Back Wood
  • Getting Angry with His Wife for Not Taking His Advice to Stop Gambling, He Killed Her, and the Court Sentenced Him for 12 Years in Prison, and to Pay a Compensation of Riel 20 Million [approx. US$5,000 – Phnom Penh]
  • The Institute of Cambodian Standards Signed an Agreement with the Groupe Energies Renouvelables, Environnement et Solidarités [GERES] to Use Their Laboratory for Bio-Energy Researches [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #443, 10.7.2009

  • The Human Rights Party [which won 3 seats in the 2008 national elections], and the Sam Rainsy Party [which won 26 seats] Will Merge at the End of the Present Mandate [in 2012]. [The president of the Human Rights Party] Kem Sokha Agreed that [the president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Sam Rainsy Will Be the President and Prime Ministerial Candidate of the New Party
  • The [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court Assits Vy Huy to Seize the Position as Director of the Center for Social Development while Seng Theary Is Abroad [reporting that the case has been already clarified by the Ministry of Interior, in charge of recognizing the structures of NGOs; the new demand taken up by the court disregards the previous official clarification; now the CSD appealed against the new ruling of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, with reference to the Ministry of Interior’s previous rulings, which had already confirmed Ms. Seng Theary as Executive Director, while Mr Vy Huy’s name is not in any documents relating to the board of the CSD, registered at the Ministry of Interior]

Note:

See also the related Note above, after the Headlines from Deum Ampil

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6698, 10.7.2009

  • At Present, Most Companies in Cambodia Are Family Businesses
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] and Samdech Mae [the former Queen] Arrive Siem Reap while Samdech Dekchor [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Visits the French Republic –
  • [The current president] Mr. Yudhoyono Gains More Than 60% of Votes in the Elections in Indonesia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4942, 10.7.2009

  • The Development and Investment Bank of Vietnam Invests US$50 Million in Cambodia [in financing, banking, and insurance]
  • China Provided from 2000 to 2007 Yuan 397.5 Million [approx. US$58.3 million] and US$698,148,000 to Cambodia [according to the first vice-president of the National Assembly, Mr. Nguon Nhel]
  • Police Raid a House Running Gambling via the Internet and Arrest 51 People [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1747, 10-12.7.2009

  • The Government Withdraws the Court Complaint against the Editor-in-Chief of Moneaksekar Khmer [accused of disinformation] in Exchange for the Promise to Stop His Publication [he had been in prison some time in 2008; now one of the few opposition newspapers is no more]
  • The Opposition Party Reacts against [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Saying that Foreigners Are Spokespersons of the Opposition Party [a parliamentarian from the Sam Rainsy Party said that the accusation is not true – though the opinion of some foreigners is similar to the opinion of the opposition party; a high ranking official from the Human Rights Party, Mr. Keat Sokun, said that those foreign observers of the situation in Cambodia say what they seen themselves, and no foreigners earn any salaries paid by the opposition parties]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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