Week 514

Sunday,2007-07-01: Understandings, Misunderstandings, and Surprises

Posted on 3 July 2007. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 514 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 514

Apologies for the late postings, due to my continuing sickness – but I hope to catch up during Tuesday.

Observing the Cambodian language press over more than 10 years has shown many developments. Especially the integration of Cambodia into the regional context of ASEAN, and into the global context of the United Nations, and the cooperation in many of its sub-structures or other regional and global organizations like, for example, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, have resulted in an ever wider sharing of information and orientation from this new context. And this context was new after the many years of international isolation.

After the National Elections of July 1998, the new government set out to implement a tri-fold reform course which aimed, first, internally, at strengthening the newly won peace and stability after decades of war, but, secondly at the same time promoting international integration, by having regained the seats at the UN and as the 10th member of the fellowship of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and thirdly, promoting socio-economic development together with administrative and judicial reforms.

Surprisingly the second of this objectives – integrating into the international fellowship of nations – seems to meet from time to time with irritating misunderstandings which can lead to serious situations. The most blatant example is the anti-Thai riots of 2003, which led to monetary damages of more than US$50 million in one night; the damage in the reputation of the country is still felt, as this present week has shown again.

In four quite different sectors there were surprising and confusing informations and opinions going through the media:

  • in relation to the plans of the CamKo company,
  • in relation to the reasons for the tragic crash of an airplane,
  • in relation to questions about the appropriate use of public funds and the next elections, and
  • finally again regarding the Thai-Cambodian relations.

Even smaller misunderstandings can be damaging. Before negative judgments are passed, a careful observation of details is important, in order to see if some assumptions may have been made without justification. We have not seen statements that the plan by a Korean company to construct a sister city at a cost of US$2 billion was to be made by Korean capital. The image, that all this is going to be funded by foreign capital is probably just a reflection of an expectation that foreign capital will be donated – in actual fact there are also many examples of international cooperation where a foreign company acts as the planner and coordinator, and many others cooperate. It is quite usual in many countries that large construction projects are planned, but financed from different sources, including from the people who make down-payments and acquire future residence rights. Had the writer had an opportunity to look into any of the newspapers in Malaysia, Singapore, or Thailand, with many advertisements to buy flats in houses which are not yet constructed, the following statement could have been avoided: “Such kind of development cannot be accepted by other countries, but for Cambodia it is made available.” – There are many models of economic activities which are new to Cambodia. But many of them cannot function in an environment which is described by one paper with the following headline: “Customs Law Adopted, but There Is No Hope that Customs Officers Reduce Corruption.”

After an airplane had disappeared, and after its tragic crash had been confirmed, different opinions were raised – but they were all assumptions: the fact that the tragedy happened during bad weather is not yet sufficient reason to blame the weather, and the fact that the plane was old is not necessarily a reason for a disaster; and the fact that the company claims to have performed standard maintenance, does not yet exclude the possibility of a technical failure. Closest to an explanation comes the information that the plane was off the normal flight path and the pilot dismissed the warning that he is flying too low: “No problem; I am familiar with this area.” – To prematurely accuse the Thai company – without any rational reason – which cooperates in providing air traffic control services, or to accuse the Vietnamese pilot who had caused another aircraft disaster some years ago of “too much pride, for they had occupied Cambodia,” seems to be far away from the need to concentrate on finding the real resons, to which the data from the “black box” flight recorder will contribute valuable information.

Some statements about ambulance cars for all provinces – involving a high monetary value – being given to the armed forces and not to the health care services, and that the Prime Minister is quoted to have said that though “he does not encourage it… the military police forces may pursue the opposition groups to their houses, because they interfere with humanitarian activities of Mr. Hun Sen” is surprising. In most countries the armed forces – as public servants – are expected to clarify any accusations of corruption, and not hit back at those who raise questions. – The observation and question from the leader of the opposition party: “No One Can Magically Produce Money; if Somebody Constructs School Buildings and Puts His Name on, from Where Does He Get the Money?” has often been raised but not yet been clarified.

The discussions about the reasons for UNESCO delaying the designation of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site, in spite of the fact that Thailand is also supporting this, are clear: “we have not yet fulfilled a few technical requirements,” as the Minister of Information explained.

But there have been fears, and many declarations to defuse them, remembering the 2003 violence against Thai properties and people in Cambodia. One of the most positive statements comes also from the Minister of Information, who is quoted to have expressed confidence in the young generation of today: “The 2003 event cannot take place again, because Cambodian youth no longer believe false information.”

With this attitude, if it is shared widely, Cambodia can surely overcome many misunderstandings and should not be shaken from a stable path of development with strange surprises.

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Saturday, 30.6.2007: UNESCO Delays Listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site

Posted on 1 July 2007. Filed under: Week 514 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 514

Apologies for the late postings, due to a light travel accident and sickness in our team.


“Phnom Penh: Cambodian and Thai officials said the UNESCO delays listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site until next year so that Cambodia can settle some remaining issues. As for a Thai newspaper, it reported on 29 June that the decision at this time makes the Thai embassy in Cambodia prepare to evacuate the Thai nationals in Cambodia for fear of a riot against Thais, as it had happened in 2003.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information and government spokesperson, told Rasmei Kampuchea by phone on 29 June that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee had really suspends the request for listing the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site, but the delay is not due to a demand by Thailand, it is because of a few technical issues.

“He stated, ‘Thailand does not oppose the request for listing the Preah Vihear Temple, but we have not yet fulfilled a few technical requirements, such as some new constructions, a radio station, market stalls, and sewers.’

“He continued that the Preah Vihear Temple is located at the Cambodian-Thai border, therefore there are some remaining issues such as the border demarcation between the two countries which has not yet been defined, arrangements for market stalls, sewers, and the distribution of benefits from the temple, because so far Thailand has got some benefits from the temple, and Thailand used to ask Cambodia not to release [sewage] water into a stream near the temple, a natural border between the two countries.

The Nation of Thailand, published on 29 June, said that the Thai authorities support the registration of Preah Vihear Temple as an UNESCO World Heritage Site; however, there are some issues relating to the temple hat have not been solved. Cambodia wants the Preah Vihear Temple to be registered as a World Heritage Site in order to help guarantee its conservation.

“However, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held a meeting recently and suspended any decision on the Cambodian request.

“The suspension was decided after the Thai side said that the Cambodian-Thai border has not yet been demarcated, and the plan for joint arrangements is still being discussed.

“The UNESCO committee asked the two countries to settle the remaining issues and suggested that Cambodia can apply again next year.

“The Thai Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Mr. Tharit Charungvat said on Thursday, ‘We do not appose the registration of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site. We support the request of Phnom Penh in principle. We hope the remaining issues can be settled and the request can be submitted again next year.’

“A Thai newspaper said that the decision by UNESCO to postpone the Cambodian request made Thai authorities to prepare contingency plans.. They fear this issue will be used to provoke anger among Cambodian nationals against Thais.

“In 2003, anti-Thai riots occurred in Phnom Penh, after the Cambodian media published a rumor, saying that the pretty Thai actress Phkay Proek [Suvanant Kongying] said that the Angkor Wat Temple belongs to Thailand. The Thai newspaper quoted a senior news source, that the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh held an urgent meeting with Thai nationals in Cambodia last week, in order to set up plans of an evacuation, after the embassy had been informed about the [Cambodian] government’s stance on the UNESCO issue.

“However, Mr. Tharit rejected such a statement by saying that it was just a normal meeting between the Thai embassy and Thai nationals in Cambodia.

“Mr. Tharit stated that the UNESCO committee wants Thailand and Cambodia to apply together next year for the registration of the temple into the World Heritage list, rather than Cambodia to apply alone.

“According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai National Committee on the Convention for the Protection of World Culture and Natural Heritage expressed concern over Cambodia’s lobbying of UNESCO without Thailand’s participation.

“The committee said that the consideration should cover the entire site, not only the part on Cambodian land. The entrance to the temple is in Sisaket Province of Thailand.

“Concerning the reports of Thailand preparing to evacuate Thai nationals for fear of riots, Mr. Khieu Kanharith said that the delay by UNESCO will not create a riot against the Thais by Cambodian people as it was in 2003. He added, ‘The 2003 event cannot take place again, because Cambodian youth no longer believe false information, and the Cambodian police now have more experience. Furthermore, Thailand does not oppose the UNESCO listing of Preah Vihear Temple.’

“The World Heritage Committee holds a meeting in New Zealand from 23 June to 2 July in order to decide the registration of a number cultural properties into the Word Heritage list. 45 cultural and tourist areas including Preah Vihear Temple are to be reviewed during the 31st Conference of the World Heritage Committee in New Zealand, before deciding what will be listed as World Heritage Sites.


“On the early evening of 29 June, the Cambodian delegation which attends the 31st Conference of the World Heritage Committee, issued a press release on the case of listing the Preah Vihear Temple.

“The press release described the 31st Conference of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 29 June 2007, discussing the request of the Kingdom of Cambodia for the listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site.

“The press release added that the Cambodian delegation led by Mr. Sok An, a Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of the Council of Ministers, and the President of Cambodian UNESCO Committee, discussed with the President of the World Heritage Committee and explained the issues relating to Cambodian sovereignty, the value of world cultures, and especially of Preah Vihear Temple as well as the process that Cambodia has taken in response to the procedures and conditions of the World Heritage Committee.

“The World Heritage Committee decided that the Preah Vihear Temple, which is internationally meaningful and with has value as an expression of world culture, will, in principle, be listed as a World Heritage Site. Cambodia has to move forwards to organize the management plan and to report the development of this work toward an official announcement for the registration of the Preah Vihear Temple in the 32nd Conference in 2008.

“Thailand agreed with Cambodia and announced to the World Heritage Committee that it will actively support this in order to register the Preah Vihear Temple officially.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4324, 30.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 30 June 2007

Chakraval, Vol.15, #2693, 30.6.2007

  • Ministry of Interior Allows Human Rights Party to Hold Congress at Olympic Stadium

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1379, 30.6.2007

  • Dengue Fever Invades; State Needs $5 Million to Save Children
  • Battambang Court Drops Charges against 7 Robbers and 3 Generals
  • 255 Red Pigs [imported from Thailand, which are said to be fed with chemical food] Seized [Angk Snuol, Kandal]
  • 68-Year-Old Man Rapes 12-Year-Old Girl on Straw Pile [he is arrested – S’ang, Kandal]
  • Floods Kill 50 People in Afghanistan

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6069, 30.6-1.7.2007

  • Council of Ministers Meeting Presided Over by Samdech Hun Sen Agrees on Creation of Two Departments at Ministry of Information [Department of Administration and Finance, and Department of Information and Audio-Visuals]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3198, 30.6-1.7.2007

  • Primary Assessment Says Plane Crash Is [Sihanoukville] Airport’s Fault [with uncertain command and inadequate technical equipment]
  • Svay Rieng Authorities Use King’s Name to Take More Than 200 Hectares of People’s Land by Saying that It Is to Prepare for Tree Planting Day

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4324, 30.6.2007

  • UNESCO Delays Listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site
  • Sihanoukville Military Chief Accused of Taking Nearly Six Hectares of a Widow’s Land

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3075, 30.6.2007

  • Dutch Government Defeats Ty Sokun [Director General of Department of Forestry and Wildlife] by Continuing to Aid Global Witness
  • Illegal Logging of Luxury Wood Trees Persists in Seim Pang District Which Leads to Ruin of Trees

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Friday, 29.6.2007: Plane Crash Caused by Pilot’s Error

Posted on 1 July 2007. Filed under: Week 514 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 514

Apologies for the late postings, due to a light travel accident and sickness in our team.

“Raining and dense jungle prevented searchers from finding the crashed plane immediately. 35 minutes after takeoff, a [AN-24] plane operated by the Progress MultiTrade Air [PMT Air] company, carrying 22 people, including 13 Koreans, from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, it crashed into Bokor Mountain, covered with dense jungle, after the communication between the pilot and the control tower was off, after speaking to each other a few words only.

“The Dong-A Ilbo of South Korea published on 28 June 2007 the conversation between the pilot and the control tower in Sihanoukville (quoting the pilot), ‘We are flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet.’ The control tower in Sihanoukville responded, ‘You are flying too low. Given your current location, you should move to an altitude of 4,000 feet.’ The pilot said, ‘No problem; I am familiar with this area.’

“The plane lost contact shortly after this communication, disappearing from radar screens as it crashed into the northeastern side of Bokor Mountain in Kampot.

“The newspaper says it is a pride-driven tragedy. According to a recording of the conversation obtained by the Korean Embassy in Cambodia, it is highly likely that the crash was caused due to pilot error. Mr. Oh Gap-Yeol, Ambassador for Koreans Abroad, said after hearing the recording at the embassy, ‘The plane was flying lower than the standard altitude.’ The Dong-A Ilbo quoted the ambassador’s words, ‘The control tower warned the pilots that their altitude at the time of the crash was too low.’

“Around 50 km into the flight path to Sihanoukville airport lies Bokor Mountain – standing around 4,000 feet above sea-level and near the coastal town. Given the height of the mountain, the plane should have maintained an altitude of at least 3,800 feet.

“However, the plane was flying at 2000 feet – far below the standard altitude for the area. The adverse weather made matters worse, but the pilot’s pride led him to dismiss the warnings from the control tower.

“The Russian news agency Itar-Tass confirmed that the pilot was Nikolay Pavlenko from Uzbekistan. Moreover, the plane was reported to have deviated from its flight path. According to a military pilot who joined the rescue efforts, the plane had flown slightly north of the normal flight-path to Sihanoukville. This argument was also verified by the fact that the plane crashed southwest close to Bokor Mountain, 3,600 feet above sea-level. The remote location delayed rescue efforts as workers had difficulty accessing the crash site.

“Concerning signs of tragedy, the Dong-A Ilbo continued that the rescuers first identified adverse weather conditions as the cause of the crash. [Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief] Mr. Ke Kim Yan, chief of the rescue team, said in a short interview, ‘The crash was caused by adverse weather; not by a technical fault.’ Prime Minister Hun Sen also shared the analysis in a news conference held soon after the crash that the cash was caused by the weather. However, safety is often compromised. The PMT airliner that crashed was a decrepit Russian-made AN-24 that was developed over 40 years ago. With a poor safety record, the aircraft experienced a separate accident in northern Russia in 2005 that took the lives of 29 people.

”PMT Air countered the accusation, stating that the plane in question was in good condition and met all safety standards before the flight. The airline added that it is too early to determine the exact cause of the accident, and it will remain so until the black box flight data recorder can be recovered. As soon as the black box is found, they will consult Russian aviation experts who have arrived in Cambodia to conduct further analyses.

“Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘All aircrafts will have to be checked for safety issues and those found to be too old and unsafe will be removed from service.’

“It should be remembered that this plane crash was caused by the same fault as the fault of the pilots who flew a Yuon [Vietnamese] plane which crashed near Phnom Penh about ten years ago. At that time, the stubborn Yuon pilots, with too much pride, for they had occupied Cambodia, said that they knew Cambodia like they knew the palms of their hand, and they did not follow the advice from the control tower at Pochentong Airport. As a result, the plane crashed early one evening, killing 65 passengers – only 2 children survived – one Thai and one Vietnamese.

“Whatever reason, the plane crash might have been due to the age of the plane, or the pilot committed an error, or carelessness. All mishaps carry many lessons.

“We wish all victims to reach paradise.” Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #439, 29.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 29 June 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1378, 29.6.2007

  • Ministry of Health Says Cambodia Has Approximately 700,000 AIDS Carriers
  • 13 Dead Bodies of South Koreans [plane crash victims] Will Be Returned Home This Friday Afternoon
  • [Indian] Maoist Rebels Burn Railway Station in India

Khmer Amatak, Vol.8, #490, 29.6.2007

  • Samdech Krom Preah Starts to Meet People at the Local Level Directly by Phone from Malaysia
  • Kampuchea Krom Khmers Warn that They Will Hold Pilgrimage on 7 July 2007

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6078, 29.6.2007

  • Cambodian People’s Party Announces that Samdech Hun Sen Is Prime Ministerial Candidate if It Wins 2008 Election
  • League of Civil Society Organizations Interested in Cleaning of Voter Lists [by National Election Committee]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3197, 29.6.2007

  • 300 [South] Korean Tourists [whose plane tickets had been booked by a tourist company for flights by PMT Air, whose plane crashed on 25 June killing 22 passengers and crew] Cancel Trips to Cambodia
  • PMT Air Provides $1,000 to Each Family of the Dead Victims’ Families; AN-24 Planes Had Crashed and Killed 1,725 People [world wide]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4323, 29.6.2007

  • Mr. Lao Mong Hay [former head of Legal Department of Center for Social Development, now professor at Toronto University, Canada] May Become Chairperson of a Committee of the Human Rights Party
  • 15 Big Companies of France Come to Cambodia to Check Investment Opportunities
  • Vietnam Plans to Construct Railway to Cambodia
  • Khmer Side Prevents 200 Black-Clad Thai Soldiers [special border protection unit] from Climbing Up to Preah Vihear Temple [for a visit]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3074, 29.6.2007

  • Plane’s Flight Data Recorders Sent to Russia for Finding the Real Reason of the Plane Crash

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #439, 29.6.2007

  • Plane Crash Caused by Pilot’s Fault
  • Son Soubert [member of Constitutional Council]: Prohibition of Monks’ Pilgrimage Contradicts Constitution
  • Funcinpec Officials Call Prince Norodom Ranariddh a Long-Term Tourist
  • Authorities Do Not Prevent [Illegal] Logging and Transportation of Wood in Kratie and Pursat

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Thursday, 28.6.2007: Sam Rainsy Says Hun Sen’s Speech Is a Folding Screen

Posted on 29 June 2007. Filed under: Week 514 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 514

“The President of the opposition party calls Prime Minister Hun Sen’s speech a folding screen that exaggerates some facts in order to hide corruption in Cambodia.

“Mr. Hun Sen said during a ceremony of awarding certificates to the students of a seminar of the European Federation on Tuesday that those, who interfere with his wife giving humanitarian gifts to soldiers, police, and military police, may be pursued to their houses and trouble might be made against them.

“On 19 June 2007, Ms. Bun Rany, Mr. Hun Sen’s wife, visited the armed forces in Banteay Meanchey, especially the center for education for drug addicts which is controlled by the provincial military police. During that occasion, Ms. Bun Rany handed over one ambulance car to the military police, like she had done for the military police from each other province and town.

“Mr. Kimsour Phirith, a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Banteay Meanchey, wondered why Ms. Bun Rany had not given this gift to the medical sector. The parliamentarian affirmed that it is not appropriate that the wife of the head of the Royal Government gave this gift to a group that does not have medical knowledge.

The head of the Royal Government said that if the Sam Rainsy Party officials cursed the police and the soldiers like that, who would vote for them? Mr. Hun Sen provoked the armed forces, saying that they might pursue those to their houses who said that his wife bribed the police, military police, and soldiers.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the opposition party, said that Mr. Hun Sen’s speech is just like a folding screen to hide the corruption of senior officials and businesspeople behind it. Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘The folding screen is an attempted threat, but nobody pays attention to it, because those who are corrupt and steal tens of millions of dollars and hundreds of millions of dollars from the nation we call corrupt, they ruin the nation by deforestation of hundreds of thousands of hectares, by grabbing hundreds of thousands of hectares of people’s land, by stealing tens of millions of dollars and of hundreds of millions of dollars of income from the state. That is what we call corruption. As for the police and soldiers with too small salaries to survive, who are forced to find something to have enough to survive day by day, we do not consider them to be corrupt.’

Officials of non-government organizations said that the Prime Minister’s speech, where he said that soldiers and police would pursue the houses of those who said his wife bribed the armed forces, is just a threat against the Sam Rainsy Party, not to push the government to adopt the anti-corruption law.

“Mr. Hun Sen had also – though it is before the election campaign time – called people to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP]. Mr. Hun Sen affirmed that police and soldiers will not vote for the opposition party, because the opposition party accused them of corruption. The head of the government called people to vote overwhelmingly for the CPP.

“Mr. Kimsour Phirith said that Mr. Hun Sen, as prime minister, should have not started the election campaign before the designated season like that.

“Though in the Commune and Subdistrict Council Elections in April 2007, where Yuon [Vietnamese] nationals helped to vote for the CPP, so it won the majority, Prime Minister Hun Sen is not confident about the 2008 election. Therefore, he openly started the election campaign. The effort to start the election campaign now seems to indicate that Mr. Hun Sen is sure that the popularity of the CPP seriously declined, after Global Witness released a report of more than 100 pages on 1 June 2007 with the title ‘Cambodia’s Family Trees,’ denouncing a group of thieves for stealing from the nation, where his name is put as the chief.

“The Global Witness report affects the popularity of the CPP, making the head of the government fear, and then he publicly started to conduct the election campaign before the season.

“It should be stated that the Global Witness report also describes in detail the involvement of Mr. Hun Sen’s bodyguards who protect the Seng Keang Company of Ms. Seng Keang. Due to the scope of the corruption of logging at the Prey Lang area which is quite big, it makes the popularity of the CPP leadership decline and will lead to embarrassing failure in the election in 2008.” Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #438, 28.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 28 June 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1377, 28.6.2007

  • JMAS [Japan Mine Action Service] Provides Nearly $300,000 to CMAC [Cambodian Mine Action Center] to Clear Mines in Cambodian-Thai Border Areas
  • Drunken Military Captain Fires His Gun Twice; He Is Arrested by Municipal Police [Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]
  • Man Uses Gun Illegally; He Is Arrested on Suspicion of Attempting to Rob Gold Stalls in Takhmao Market [Kandal]
  • Thai Police Raid Sex Phone Site [operating services for people who enjoy sex on the phone] in Bangkok
  • Tamil Tiger Rebels Call for Ceasefire

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6077, 28.6.2007

  • Head of Cambodian Royal Government Sends Condolences to Heads of Russia, [South] Korea, and the Czech Republic [on plane crash victims]
  • Official of Chamkar Mon Department of Social Affairs Cajoled and Killed [by unknown person – Kandal Stung, Kandal]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3196, 28.6.2007

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: No One Can Magically Produce Money; If Somebody [Hun Sen] Constructs School Buildings and Puts His Name on, from Where Does He Get the Money?
  • Pol Pot Was Not the Great Khmer Rouge Leader, but He Was a Person Who Feared the Loss of Power Very Much

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.14, #1196, 28.6.2007

  • Man Arrested for Taking His Wife to Be Raped by His Friend [Chaom Chau, Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4322, 28.6.2007

  • Crashed Plane Found: All 22 Passengers and Crew Died [Kampot]
  • Kampuchea Krom Khmer Community in Cambodia Submits Request for Second Time for [peace] Pilgrimage
  • Delegation of Asian Development Bank Comes to Cambodia to Strengthen Cooperation

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3073, 28.6.2007

  • Prime Minister Says Weather Is the Reason of the Plane Crash, Before Assessment of Airplane’s Flight Data Recorders Has Been Made

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #438, 28.6.2007

  • Sam Rainsy Says Hun Sen’s Speech Is a Folding Screen

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Wednesday, 27.6.2007: Samdech Hun Sen Calls Citizens to Vote for Cambodian People’s Party in 2008

Posted on 28 June 2007. Filed under: Week 514 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 514

“Phnom Penh: Responding to accusations against some humanitarian activities claiming they were carried out to attract votes, Samdech Hun Sen called for the citizens to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] in next year national election.

“Samdech Hun Sen’s reaction was triggered after officials of the opposition party and a civil society organization criticized the activity by which H.E. Bun Rany Hun Sen provided ambulances to the national military police forces in 24 provinces and towns [with a ceremony held in Banteay Meanchey].

“The Cambodia Daily quoted on 22 June a speech by Mr. Kimsour Phirith [a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Banteay Meanchey], saying that he was surprised that the ambulances were handed over to the military police rather than to the hospitals. As for Mr. Mar Sophal, the coordinator of the Committee for Free and Fair Election in Cambodia, he said that H.E. Bun Rany Hun Sen previously visited an island off Sihanoukville dressed in military uniform to visit the troops, claiming that such a visit may not be a direct election campaign, but it will likely attract votes from the security forces for the ruling CPP.

“Samdech Hun Sen said during a ceremony of awarding certificates to the students of a seminar of the European Federation on 26 June that the goal of providing the ambulances to the military police is because the military police observe the situation where they are placed, but they lack the means to send people to a hospital. ‘My wife went as my representative to make donations, but finally it is said that she went to attract votes.’

“Samdech Hun Sen said, ‘I would like to call citizens to overwhelmingly vote for the CPP in 2008.’ Samdech said, ‘I would like to inform you that the armed forces will not vote for any opposition group… I believe so.’

“Samdech Prime Minister said, ‘The opposition groups criticizes the soldiers, the police, and the military police, of corruption every day, if they criticize them like that, how would they vote for them?’ Samdech added, ‘To provide gifts to educational institutions, in order to help poor students, will finally also lead to the accusation that it is done to attract votes – if this will still be said, then please vote for me and vote for the CPP in the 2008 election.’

“Samdech Prime Minister also criticized the Khmer habit of being always jealous of each other, and also being jealous for getting attention from humanitarian activities. Samdech said that he does not encourage it… but the citizens or the military police forces may pursue the opposition groups to their houses, because they interfere with humanitarian activities of Mr. Hun Sen.

“Samdech Prime Minister said, ‘I must protect myself… I don’t want to loose the election; I want to win the election too.’ Samdech said that some politicians dream about getting the position of prime minister; whatever they dream, it cannot become true, because it is biased, unjust, and dishonest.

“Samdech said that a leader must be very honest – otherwise, how can he lead others? Samdech said that putting names on the achievements where he had led a constructions is not wrong, because the citizens put the label on it.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1376, 27.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Bakong, Vol.7, #228, 27-28.6.2007

  • Khmer Government Likes to Accept “Making Cake without Flour” Investors from Foreign Countries [mocking over sister city development by Camko City]

Deum Ampil, Vol.2, #24, 27.6-3.7.2007

  • Opposition Leaders Support Government over Preah Vihear Temple [to be listed as UN World Heritage]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1376, 27.6.2007

  • Samdech Hun Sen Calls for Citizens to Vote for Cambodian People’s Party in 2008
  • Samdech Hun Sen Warns Against Attempts to Release the Gang Members Who Were Shooting [in front of the new National Assembly building]
  • Military Colonel Chhor Dara Arrested on Accusation of Murder Attempt [against a woman – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Mekong, Vol.5, #284, 24-86.6.2007

  • Dengue Fever Is Spreading; in Six Months, 149 Children Died [countrywide]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6076, 27.6.2007

  • Samdech Hun Sen: It Is Unfair That Children of the Poor Are Often Jailed, but Children of the Rich Who Eat Enough, Ride Fast Motorcycles or Race Cars, and Meet to Shoot Each Other Are Not
  • Site for Hiding Counterfeit Dollar, Baht, and Riel Notes in Poipet Raided [Banteay Meanchey]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3195, 27.6.2007

  • Salot Sar [Pol Pot] Was Formerly Related to Yuon [Vietnam], but then He Served the Ideology of Beijing and Created the Genocidal Regime in Cambodia
  • Most Victims of Two Plane Crashes that Happened in Cambodia Are Koreans; Samart Company Has Also Responsibility for the Crash [because Samart provides air traffic control services]
  • Americans Against the Annexation of Cambodia and Laos by Vietnam Demonstrates against [visit of Vietnamese President] Nguyen Minh Triet [in Washington]
  • Corruption and Carefree Indifference [of government] Cause Plane Crash [plane is old and unqualified]

Neak Cheat Niyum, Vol.2, #39, 28-29.6.2007

  • Foreign Aid of [nearly] $700 Million for Development of Cambodia Is Hitting on the Heads of [the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia] Yash Ghai and Associates [mocking]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4321, 27.6.2007

  • More Than 1,000 Soldiers and 4 Helicopters Search for Crashed [missing] Plane; US Directs 2 Satellites towards Cambodia to Help Find the Plane; Prime Minister Calls All People to Help Provide Information

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3072, 27.6.2007

  • Prime Minister Starts Election Campaign Before the Time
  • 2008 Election Will Be Conducted Free and Fair if National Election Committee Is Reformed and Leaders Are Changed
  • Land Grabbing Increases after Government Received More Aid Than Before

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Tuesday, 26.6.2007: Keo Remy Leaves Sam Rainsy Party and Resigns as Parliamentarian

Posted on 27 June 2007. Filed under: Week 514 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 514

“Phnom Penh: Mr. Keo Remy, a parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, announced on 25 June that he decided to leave the Sam Rainsy Party [SRP] and give up his position as a parliamentarian, in order to join the Human Rights Party which is led by Mr. Kem Sokha.

“Without making any comment to be dissatisfied with the SRP, Mr. Keo Remy explained that his leaving is to give him the chance to organize the new party with Mr. Kem Sokha from the beginning. He continued that the statute of the Human Rights Party states term limits for the position of the party president, separate management roles for the steering committee, the president, and a regulations committee, in the form of a legislative, an executive, and a court, as well as the focus on the issue of Kampuchea Krom Khmers, which is an additional reason making him switch to the Human Rights Party.

“According to Mr. Keo Remy’s explanation, the position of the steering committee president and the position of the party president are separate from each other. The party president is the operational head of the party, while the steering committee president will take the responsibility as the leader of the legislative body.

“In late 2006, Mr. Keo Remy had announced that he would leave politics, beginning with the 2008 elections. With the decision to join Kem Sokha’s party, he explained that he decided to continue to be involved in politics, because he has received many requests from members of the civil society as well as from other citizens.

“Mr. Keo Remy’s leaving from the SRP is thought to be a loss for this opposition party, because Mr. Keo Remy is an important politician in Cambodia.

“However, Mr. Yim Sovann, [a parliamentarian] from the SRP, said, ‘It is the right of every citizen to join any political party that they like. This is part of the culture of democracy to which the SRP always adheres.’

“In spite of this, Mr. Yim Sovann added that Mr. Keo Remy’s leaving will not affect the popularity of the SRP.

“Ms. Pong Chiev Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], the President of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, expressed her surprise at the resignation of the parliamentarian Keo Remy, whose salary is more than $2,000, and she said that many people want to have such a position and to maintain it until the end of the term.

“Mr. Keo Remy is known as an outstanding parliamentarian, both in the SRP and in the third term of the National Assembly, because he often expressed ideas relating to social development as well as to state reforms, which the government defined in the Rectangular Policy [see “Documents” on the main page]. Mr. Keo Remy used to be a parliamentarian of Funcinpec from 1998 to 2003, before he joined the SRP in 2003, and he was elected as the fourth parliamentarian among six parliamentarians from Phnom Penh.

“Concerning Mr. Keo Remy’s leaving the SRP to join the Human Rights Party, Mr. Kem Sokha, the temporary president [of the Human Rights Party], told Rasmei Kampuchea that he will propose the candidacy of Mr. Keo Remy as vice-president of the party to its first extraordinary congress on 22 July. He added, ‘This position is suitable for Mr. Keo Remy. Mr. Keo Remy stands firmly for democracy, for the respect of human rights, he has ideals and a highly developed conscience.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4320, 26.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Areyathor, Vol.14, #124, 26-27.6.2007

  • Plane Crash in Kampot: 5 Khmers, 1 Russian, 13 Koreans, and 3 Chechens [on board] Are Missing

Chakraval, Vol.15, #2692, 26.6.2007

  • Mr. Keo Puth Rasmey [President of Funcinpec] Goes to Malaysia While Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Is There
  • Mr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, Encourages Direct Flights from Japan to Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1375, 26.6.2007

  • [Minister of Interior] Mr. Sar Kheng Calls for Relevant Institutions and Communities to Participate in Actions to Prevent Drugs in Cambodia
  • 300 Families Plan to Demonstrate to Eliminate Brothels in Soutr Nikom District [which harm their living situation – Siem Reap]
  • Guard of Ta Pav Rubber Plantation Shoots Rubber Scavenger to Death [he escapes – Krouch Chhmar, Kompong Cham]
  • Man, Whose Penis Is Small, Injects Hair Oil for Enlargement, Causing Cancer; He Hangs Himself [Kien Svay, Kandal]
  • [Young] Man, Who Is Told by [step] Father to Spend Honeymoon in Rice Barn, Hangs Himself [Soutr Nikom, Siem Reap]
  • Rain Storm Kills 228 People in Pakistan
  • Floods Kill 144 People in India

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6075, 26.6.2007

  • World Bank Promises to Help Cheapen Electricity Price in Rural Areas [Cambodia]
  • Thailand Provides Medical Supplies to Cambodia to Help Prevent Bird Flue

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3194, 26.6.2007

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: Cambodian People’s Party Is Corrupt and Is Controlled by Communists

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4320, 26.6.2007

  • Keo Remy Leaves Sam Rainsy Party and Resigns as Parliamentarian
  • Number of Chainsaws [used for cutting trees] in Stung Treng Increases to 771

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3071, 26.6.2007

  • Illegal Logging Is Like “Dogs Bark, but People Still Move Forward”

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Monday, 26.6.2007: Camko City Announces $2 Billion Capital for Sister City Development, but It Uses Khmer Citizens’ Money

Posted on 26 June 2007. Filed under: Week 514 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 514

“A [South] Korean company, which announced to invest approximately $2 billion in Cambodia, giving the image that this will be foreign investment, finally will use the money of Khmer citizens to build a city. An economic analyst said that such kind of an investment game would not be accepted by any country except Cambodia.

“At the Council for the Development of Cambodia, capital of approximately $2 billion had been announced, and this figure was used to be included in the development report, describing it as part of Cambodia’s economic growth, but finally this development company makes cake without flour, because it conducts the development of a sister city by starting to announce the sale of houses and land to Khmer citizens to get money to construct the buildings. Thus, it now advertises the sale of flats and of condominiums to start on 25 June, and those who visit the scheme of the sister city would sign contracts to buy such condominiums, and the company would later provide them. However, the condominiums do not yet exist; therefore, money has to be deposited so that the company uses the money to construct the condominiums.

“The plan of the sister city looks to be real, as Khmer citizens assume that the Korean company really brings $2 billion to build a city in Cambodia; in fact, the plan is just empty of any capital, the real money is the money of domestic Khmer citizens. The announcement is for the sale of houses that do not yet exist to Khmer citizens, so they will deposit money that will be used to build houses for them. Hence, the company comes to develop Cambodia using Khmer land, collecting money from Khmer citizens, to build houses and then sell them to Khmer citizens. Such kind of development cannot be accepted by other countries, but for Cambodia it is made available.

“According to the scheme and the model of the houses which look even more luxurious than buildings in America and France, it is announced that the sister city will cost $2 billion. However, the Korean investor does not bring $2 billion to construct the buildings, but they collect the money from Khmer citizens to construct the buildings, by selling houses that do not yet exist to Khmer citizens.

“So far, Khmer businesspeople or local companies also announce the sale of houses, or to build houses for sale, but they make such announcements after the constructions are 70% completed; they do not sell only the plan and demand Khmer citizens or customers to deposit money, so as to use the money from their customers to build houses. Therefore, the Korean company that announces the construction of a sister city should at least invest half of the capital to build the city, so the construction of houses is 50% completed before it advertises the sale of houses and collects deposits from the citizens who are their customers.

“However, it is funny that while not one flat has been constructed, the company announces the sale of flats to collect money; this is equal to making cake without flour, because it just shows the plan to the customers, and it announces the sale of houses and collects money. However, the government likes such kind of investors and allows them to enter the country, because they know how to go along with the way in which things flow in Cambodia, as long as Khmer officials and Khmer leaders get money or benefits from them.

“As for Japanese investors, if they come to invest that means they really come, they really bring money to do business; therefore, Khmer officials do not benefit from them, therefore Japanese investors did not come to Cambodia. For that reason it is difficult for Cambodia to attract Japanese investors, because they do not want to make cake without flour, or to farm on Khmer citizens’ backs like Chinese and Korean investors do.

“An economic analyst said that the Korean company which plans to constructs Camko City also opens a bank with the name Camko. The bank is located in [National Police Director-General] Hok Lundy’s villa on Norodom Boulevard. It is not known whether Hok Lundy holds shares of the bank, or whether he sold or rents the house to the Korean company, but Hok Lundy and the company are very close to each other.

“The economic analyst said that in other countries, the buying and selling of immovable property is very carefully monitored for fear of money laundering through such transactions. Also in Cambodia, it is easy to use much money for money laundering. Consequently, it is also necessary to be cautious about the Camko Bank, because this bank is for collecting the money from the sale of immovable property in the Camko Sister City; different images can be used to conduct money laundering under the pretext of trade in immovable property.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3193, 25.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 25 June 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1374, 24-25.6.2007

  • Truck Loads of Prohibited Eggs Imported [from Thailand] to Battambang; Officials Do Not Check Them

Khmer Amatak, Vol.8, #488, 25.6.2007

  • US Warns Yuon [Vietnamese] Leader Off Human Rights Violation in Kampuchea Krom [in part of the Mekong Delta area in Vietnam]
  • People Want to See that Cambodia’s Family Trees Dare to Challenge Global Witness

Khmer Mekong, Vol.5, #282, 22-23.6.2007

  • Oil Income: World Bank Suggests Use of EITI System for Transparency; Samdech Hun Sen Says Don’t Worry Too Much
  • Vietnamese Businesspeople Rush to Buy Luxury Wood from Cambodia

Khmer Mekong, Vol.5, #283, 24-26.6.2007

  • Bad Governance May Be Obstacle to Japanese Investors
  • Customs Law Adopted, but There Is No Hope that Customs Officers Reduce Corruption

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6074, 25.6.2007

  • Three Men Clear Forest to Claim Hundreds of Hectares of Land in Krakor District, 300 People Give Thumbprints Complaining to Provincial Governor [Pursat]
  • UNESCO Denies Involvement in Selection of Seven New World Wonders [by voting through Internet]
  • 40th Anniversary of Cambodian and Vietnamese Diplomatic Ties; Samdech Heng Samrin: Vietnam Helped Cambodian People from Dying

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3193, 25.6.2007

  • Camko City Announces $2 Billion Capital for Sister City Development, but It Uses Khmer People’s Money
  • Kun Kim, President of Advisors to Hun Sen, and Chan Sarun [Minister of Agriculture] Are Deeply Involved in Forest Crimes [according to Global Witness report]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4319, 24-25.6.2007

  • 53 Pieces of Luxury Wood Seized [by military officials] and 3 Cars Passed to Forestry Administration Officials [Kompong Cham]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3070, 24-25.6.2007

  • Reduction of Khmer Staff’s Salaries May Cause Khmer Rouge Tribunal Deadlock Again
  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh]: ‘If I am not there, Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy Will Be Two Tigers Biting Each Other, Competing to Dominate the Same One Mountain’

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #435, 24-25.6.2007

  • [Minister of Agriculture] Chan Sarun Says if Seng Keang Company Paid Tax Legally, Ministry of Economy Would Get Income of $5.4 Million per Year [according to Radio Free Asia]
  • Keat Kolny [Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon’s sister] Sues Ten Lawyers [who protect ethnic minority villagers over land disputes in Ratanakiri]

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