Week 646

Building Confidence Requires Transparent Application of the Law – Sunday, 10.1.2010

Posted on 11 January 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

Drafts for an anti-corruption law have been under consideration since 14 years, but now a draft was finalized by the Council of Ministers in December and sent to the National Assembly. The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers had declared – in response to expressed public interest its content – that it is still secret until it reaches the National Assembly.

This did not prevent him to disclose what we reported in the Mirror in our New Year’s comment:

The only details of the anti-corruption law that have been made public on Friday is the fact that the staff of NGOs are required to disclose their personal assets. Under the law, NGO workers are defined as public servants, and side-by-side with officials who are paid by the government, they must disclose their assets. ‘It is an obligation to do so, if you don’t do it, you are jailed,’ Mr. Phay Siphan is quoted to have said.

A New Year’s surprise is the news that – though the draft sent in December must have reached the National Assembly by now – it will not be debated until April at the earliest. The promise, that this draft will be made public after sending it to the National Assembly, is now added to the long list of not kept promises which led do the past delays.

And it has to be remembered that in the past, drafts of laws were available for public consideration during the often long processes of their preparation. Why not also now?

Such delays give only rise to rumors and speculations. For example, one voice claimed to know that the requirement to disclose personal assets will not apply to every low level public servant at the local level, but only to those elected into public functions, or higher level public servants appointed by sub-decree and decree. But as the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers said that also NGO workers will be considered to be public servants required to disclose their personal assets – at which level will this apply?

Whatever the reason for this promise of disclosure after transmission to the National Assembly not fulfilled, it does not build trust among the public.

A state of law is a situation where everybody – both law enforcement and the citizens – know the rules and what can be expected. The rule of law does not have much flexibility – like to apply or not to apply the law under specific circumstances. It is not a question of convenience when to apply it, or on whom not to apply it. Trust in the rule of law – trust that justice will prevail in society – is based on the confidence that the law is applied equally on every person, without any difference of social status of economic power.

This week brought some complex problems to the public.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia were established, after long and complicated negotiations between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations, as an independent court to clarify what had happened during a clearly defined and limited time of the Khmer Rouge regime, and to find justice for crimes committed.

After similar warnings by the Prime Minister, now the President of the Senate and of the Cambodian Peoples Party stated that he is concerned that war might break out, if more than the five people presently facing the court would be indicted. This gives not only the impression that highest level leaders of the state do not have confidence that the law enforcement agents, the courts and the police, and in addition other armed elements of the state are able to control and maintain public order. It raises the question whether the decision to establish the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia as an independent court, by agreement with the United Nations, is valid or can be conveniently be revoked.

Of course legal agreements can be revoked – with good reasons when they do not serve justice: the Mondolkiri provincial authorities canceled the concessions of 50 companies that did not do for what they had been contracted.

The removal of markers at the border with Vietnam by the president of the Sam Rainsy Party – in response to claims by Cambodian farmers that these border markers cut them off from some of their farming land – leads almost day-by-day to new levels of conflict. He committed what he says was a symbolic act to point to the loss of land. A court and leaders of the government point out that this was – whatever the motivation behind – an illegal act for which the courts find a response based on the law. The fact that most recently Mr. Sam Rainsy is quoted with a statement that he will agree to let the court convict him, if the arrested farmers are released and their land is returned, offers a deal. But as in the case of suggested restrictions on the independence of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, it is not easy to see how a deal could be made, which would allow the course of the law to be deviated. Present appeals to the King, asking for his intervention, do not show how this could legally happen; a Royal Pardon can be contemplated only after somebody is convicted.

The disclosures by publicly known persons, children in their twenties of high ranking parents, about the tremendous wealth at their disposal – a residence of US$500,000 and another residence of US$200,000 and a rubber plantation of 400 hectares – Porsches, Bentleys and Humvees, and a US$500,000 Mercedes McLaren SLR – automatic assault rifles, Glock pistols and a sniper’s rifle – provide an interesting field for the new anti-corruption law, once it is in place – plus the question whether all these weapons are legally licensed, and on what grounds. There were, over time, repeated shooting incidents reportedly by children of high ranking parents, who used firearms, but not for self-defense or protection against violence.

Will there be questions by some agencies – nothing is know yet – to investigate how such riches could be collected, while the modest salaries of the parents are known and cannot account for such extreme wealth. One of the children interviewed said: “Your parents give you all these things. You can’t say no. If someone gives you cake, you eat it.” A anti-corruption commission will not be satisfied with such an answer.

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Mondolkiri Canceled Economic Land Concessions of 50 Companies – Saturday, 9.1.2010

Posted on 9 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Mondolkiri: The Mondolkiri provincial authorities had decided to cancel the concessions of 50 companies that had planned to invest in agriculture in Mondolkiri, because those companies do not operate.

“According to different sources of information, some companies received economic concession land in Mondolkiri, but they do not develop anything following their contracts, and some cut trees and sold them, affecting the lives of the citizen. Therefore, the authorities decided to cancel the concession contracts of those companies.

“The new Mondolkiri provincial governor could not be reached for comment regarding this issue, because he had a meeting. The Mondolkiri deputy governor, Ms. Si Sokuntheary, could not be reached either, as she was busy. Anyway, according to a notification by the Mondolkiri authorities dated 4 January 2010 that Kampuchea Thmey received on 8 January 2010, the Mondolkiri authorities announced to cancel the concessions for land of 50 companies located in Mondolkiri. This was done by a letter dated 25 December 2009 of the Mondolkiri authorities canceling the legal validity of the concessions giving control over concession land by 53 companies. But 3 companies asked for a delay.

[…]

“The present notification of the authorities identified the three companies which had asked for a delay: the Heng Heang Siv Chanthou company, the Green Resources company, and the Agri-Resources company. The notification stressed that the canceling of 50 concessions became valid from the day it was signed. In the meantime, the authorities emphasized that they will not take responsibility for any companies that continue to operate, violating this notification, and the authorities informed the companies that really intend to invest there, to come to contact the Mondolkiri authorities.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2146, 9.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 9 January 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1426, 8-9.1.2010

  • [The president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim Is Concerned that War Could Break Out if the [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Indicts More People

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #383, 9.1.2010

  • The Royal Government Approved the Draft of a Cambodian-Chinese Consular Agreement [to promote the free flow of trade]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2146, 9.1.2010

  • Mondolkiri Canceled Economic Land Concessions of 50 Companies
  • A Traffic Accident Killed Three People and Caused Two Motorbikes to Be Destroyed by Fire [a car hit the motorbikes – Svay Rieng]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #576, 9-11.1.2010

  • [Two] Families Victimized by Yuon [Vietnamese] Land Grabbing and Detained by the Khmer Authorities Asked for Intervention by the King [over the removal of border markers]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Will Agree to Let the Court Convict Him if the Arrested Farmers Are Released and Their Land Is Returned

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6853, 9-10.1.2010

  • A Strong Press Makes Democracy More Lively; as a Basis, Journalists Need to Have Knowledge about the Law and to Have Ethic Positions [according to a training course organized by the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Vietnam Invited Mr. Obama to Pay an Official Visit [to attend the ASEAN summit in October 2010 in Hanoi]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5095, 9.1.2010

  • Three Companies [Si Chan Thun Development and Investment, Green Development, and Si Ngea Development] in Preah Vihear Are Late in Planting Rubber Trees after They Received the Right from the Ministry of Agriculture to Do so
  • The First Video Conference Cabinet Meeting Was Held Successfully [Phnom Penh]

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US Delegates Promised to Improve Ties between Cambodia and the United States – Friday, 8.1.2010

Posted on 9 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Phnom Penh: An assistant of Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, Mr. Eang Sophalet, said after a discussion between the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, and the US congressmen, Mr. Eni Faleomavaega, Mr. Mike Honda, and Mr. Joseph Cao, in the morning of 7 January 2010 at the National Assembly – that it is the second time that Mr. Faleomavaega visits the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the three congressmen welcomed the 7 January memorial day of Cambodia, the second birthday of the Cambodian people.

“Mr. Eni Faleomavaega said that he is glad to express his appreciation towards all Cambodian citizens. He will take the recommendations of the Prime Minister to encourage better cooperation and improved ties between Cambodia and the United States. As the chairperson of the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, he hopes that he can act as a bridge to enhance better relations between the two countries in order to contribute to make the world a better place for all people.

“As for Mr. Joseph Cao, he told Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen that after returning, he will make efforts to contribute to assist Cambodia in child health care and education problems.

“In response,the Prime Minister expressed his gratitude towards the US congress delegates led by Mr. Eni, and he expressed his great appreciation regarding Cambodia-US relations. Samdech Dekchor said that this is the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Cambodia and the United States, and a significant achievement is that recently, for the first time, the United States built an embassy complex in Cambodia, which shows how the relations have developed.

“Samdech Dekchor expressed his gratitude towards the United States for the cooperation with and assistance to Cambodia in HIV/AIDS education and children’s health care, for which American volunteers come to Cambodia, a bridge to strengthen the relations between both countries.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6852, 8.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 8 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #382, 8.1.2010

  • The Number of People Infected with A/H1N1 in Cambodia Increased to 550
  • US Congressman [Eni Faleomavaega] Will Appeal [to the US congress] for Cambodia’s Debt to Be Canceled

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2144, 7.1.2010

  • The Public Criticized the Forestry Administration of Only Being Able to Seize Motor Saws in the City, but Not Those in the Forest [about 700 motor saws were confiscated in Phnom Penh]
  • The Khmer King Built Houses for 80 Poor Families in Anlong K’gan [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #713, 8.1.2010

  • Prisoners in Cambodia [at all provinces and cities] Suffer from Lack of Water, and They Receive Insufficient Nutrition [reported a UN delegation after visiting detention centers for a week, according to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, ratified by Cambodia in 2007]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #574-575, 7-8.1.2010

  • [Opposition politician] Sam Rainsy Will Definitely Not Write a Letter of Apology to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Ask to Drop the Accusations [regarding the removal of border markers]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Prey Veng] Chea Pouch Denied that there Was an Appeal for Political Coordination between Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen [over the border accusations]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6852, 8.1.2010

  • US Delegates Promised to Improve Ties between Cambodia and the United States
  • [Two] 5-Tonne Trucks Crashed into Each Other, Killing Three from One Truck and Injuring Two Seriously from the Other [Siem Reap]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #84-85, 7-8.1.2010

  • The Ruling Party [the Cambodian People’s Party] Rejects Attempts to Use the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Undermine Peace in Cambodia [Cambodian and international co-prosecutors of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have conflicting opinions about summoning more suspects, while investigating judges have disagreements about summoning high ranking officials of the government to testify]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5093-5094, 7-8.1.2010

  • US Congress Member [Eni Faleomavaega] Agreed that 7 January is an Important Memorial Day
  • More Than 10,000 People Attended 7 January Meeting at the Headquarters of the Cambodian People’s Party
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Sent [3,000] Thumbprints to the King and to Samdech Euv [the Father King – asking to intervene to drop the accusation against Mr. Sam Rainsy over the removal of border markers]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1851, 8-10.1.2010

  • US Congressmen [who are visiting Cambodia] Asked the Opposition Parties to Unite

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National Holiday – Victory over Genocide Day – Thursday, 7.1.2010

Posted on 8 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

As every year, the memory of the 7 January 1979 shows that there is deep disagreement what this day in Cambodian history means. Of course any memorial day may have different aspects. But different statements in Cambodia show that there are fundamental differences in describing what has happened, related to this day.

What follows are some brief reports, reflecting different voices.

The speeches of the representatives of the government and of the Cambodian People’s Party see the significance of the day in what the official name of this holiday says: a commemoration of the victory over genocide. The end of the Khmer Rouge regime brought also an end to the tremendous loss of life and the suffering of the people of a degree never experienced in any other country. It initiated also a decade of Vietnamese presence – a decade of reconstruction after the devastation suffered under the Khmer Rouge regime.

The former King Sihanouk had expressed the meaning of this day some years ago in a very concrete way: Without this event, innumerable more Cambodian people would have lost their lives. This is a factual description.

Other voices state interpretations – this day initiated a Vietnamese presence for a decade. This is also a fact.

What is surprising is not that there are different opinions. Surprising is, when only one of the two elements is mentioned.

“French Indochina turned to Vietnamese Indochina.”

“Tomorrow is the 31st anniversary of the Vietnam invasion on Cambodia which consequently ruled over our country for 10 years and still continues its influence until today.” – There is not one word in this statement which would indicate that this day brought an end to a sequence of murderous years.

An anonymous blogger on the Internet wrote, in response to another voice: “You are stupid to say that: 7 January was an invasion not liberation.”

As the former president of the Federal Republic of Germany said 40 years after the defeat of the German state by the allied forces at the end of the Second World War in Europe, initiating the division of Germany and its occupation under military rule of forces from France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America: “First of all, this was a day of liberation.”

It is also surprising that in the different reflections on the 7 January 1979 we did not find any reference to the fact that the Khmer Rouge regime received considerable support from the People’s Republic of China.

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Three US Parliamentarians Come to Cambodia to Talk about Debt and Commercial Ties – Wednesday, 6.1.2010

Posted on 6 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Three US congressmen plan to visit Cambodia for three days, according to a Voice of America (VOA) broadcast in the morning of 5 January 2010, based on information from the Khmer ambassador to the United States, Mr. Hem Heng.

“But officials of the US Embassy in Phnom Penh told Khmer Machas Srok in the evening of 5 January 2010 that the three US congressmen will arrive in Cambodian in the evening of 5 January 2010, landing in Siem Reap first, before coming to Phnom Penh.

“The visit to Cambodia is to discuss about the debt of more than US$300 million that Cambodia owes, and about commercial ties between the two countries.

“Mr. Hem Heng added, ‘The intention of the visit to Cambodia is first, they want to discuss with Khmer leaders to solve the debt owed by Cambodia to the United States since the Lon Nol regime; second, the delegation wants to discuss about clearing unexploded bombs that America dropped during the war in the 1970ies; and third, the delegation aims to promote and to encourage trade between Cambodia and the United States.’

“The visit to Cambodia is led by Democrat Mr. Eni Faleomavaega, who represents the territory of American Samoa and is chairperson of the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment; Mr. Mike Honda, Democrat of California; and, Mr. Joseph Cao, Republican of Virginia [born in Vietnam and immigrated to the USA as a child].

“The three delegates will meet with high-ranking officials of Cambodia, including Prime Minister Hun Sen. However, two officials who work for two of the US congressmen who plan to visit Cambodia asked not to comment to VOA about the visit due to safety concerns.

“When the visit will have been finished in three days, the three US delegates will hold a joint press conference about their visits to Cambodia, Laos, Japan, and Vietnam.

“Previously, Cambodia had asked the United States to cancel the debt of more than US$300 million that Cambodia owes since the Khmer Republic led by Field Marshal Lon Nol during the 1970ies, and recently Cambodia asked the USA not to charge taxes on products exported from Cambodia to the United States. But there is no response from the United States.

“Officials of the two countries used to say that the canceling of the debt depends on decisions by the parliaments of both countries.

“It should be noted that the deputy spokesperson of the US Department of State immediately released a statement condemning Cambodia for deporting Uighurs to the Chinese authorities, when China had granted aid and loans of about US$1.2 billion to Cambodia during a visit by the Chinese vice president.

“The statement of condemnation was issued on 21 December 2009, after the Khmer authorities deported the Uighurs back to China, following a request from the long-term communist government.

“The spokesperson of the US Department of State, Mr. Gordon Duguid, said in a statement on 19 December 2009 that the Cambodian government, following a Chinese request, forced 20 Uighur asylum seekers back to China, in what is seen as a violation of international obligations by Cambodia. The United States is concerned about the wellbeing of those people who sought asylum and protection under international law. The United States is concerned also because the Cambodian government decided to deport those people without properly checking their refugee status, and without the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees participation.

“The United States strongly opposed the deportation of the asylum seekers by Cambodia without listening to the people’s reasons. This will affect the relations between Cambodia and the United States and the reputation of Cambodia on the international arena.

“As those people were already sent back to China, the US government asks China to conform to international standards, to ensure transparency according to the law, and to properly treat those people. The US government continues to call on all relevant parties to pay attention on the importance of the respect for human rights and of the obligations under international law.

“Anyway, officials of the Cambodian government immediately issued a statement to calm the US Department of State, saying that Cambodia will continue to maintain good relations with the United States. It is likely that this problem led the three US congressmen to pay a visit to Cambodia.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #573, 6.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #380, 6.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Warned the Groups of People That Plan to Distribute Leaflets against the 7 January Celebrations [commemorating when the Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown in 1979]
  • The USA Scrapped the Regulation Which Prohibited People with AIDS to Enter the USA

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2143, 6.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor: The Removal of Temporary Border Markers [by opposition party president, Mr. Sam Rainsy] Reached a Point That Cannot Be Tolerated

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #573, 6.1.2010

  • Three US Parliamentarians Come to Cambodia to Talk about Debt and Commercial Ties

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6850, 6.1.2010

  • Nearly 300,000 Copied Porn [and illegally copied music] Discs Were Crushed to Destroy Them [Phnom Penh]
  • [Opposition Party president] Sam Rainsy Admitted from Abroad that He Removed the Temporary Border Markers [in Svay Rieng]
  • A Small Bus Overtook a Camry but Hit a Motorbike on National Road 11, Killing Two People and Injuring One Seriously [Prey Veng]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #83, 6.1.2010

  • The Prime Minister Rejected the Possibility to Tolerate the Opposition Party President’s Action over the Border Markers Case
  • Famous Hol and Phamuong [Khmer traditional] Hand-Woven Cloth Made from Silk on Koh Dach Island in Kandal Is Finished [80% of the producers in this community stopped their traditional silk weaving, as the price of silk imported from China and from Vietnam more than doubled within one year from previously US$10 per kilogram to US$40 to US$80 at present]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5092, 6.1.2010

  • [Four] Men [an Indonesian, a Malaysian, and Two Khmers] Illegally Detained Others in a Casino, Interrogated and Hit Them – Finally They Were All Arrested to Be Sent to Court [Svay Rieng]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government Approved More Than US$7 Million for Buying Materials to Handle Demonstrations by the Red-Shirt Group [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra – the materials include plastic bullets, smoke grenades, shields, electric batons, and bullet proof vests]

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The Royal Government Requires Municipal Governors to Use Video Conferencing – Tuesday, 5.1.2010

Posted on 6 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Phnom Penh: To reduce expenses and to improve the efficiency of the leadership role of all provincial and municipal authorities countrywide, the Royal Government of Cambodia requires the authorities to set up video conference facilities for cabinet sessions every Fridays.

“A letter of the Council of Ministers dated 23 December 2009, sealed and signed by the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, informed all provincial and municipal governors in the Kingdom of Cambodia about Internet online meetings through the use of video conference facilities during cabinet sessions, following the wise instruction from the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, during a cabinet session on 4 December 2009.

“The letter stressed that, based on the above reasons, the Council of Ministers would like to inform all provincial and municipal governors that the Royal Government has already set up video conference devices, which allow to have direct on-line meetings with the participation from the provinces and cities. To promote the efficiency of the weekly cabinet sessions, and to ease the smooth and timely reporting, as well as to cover other urgent issues the Royal Government is facing, the Council of Ministers would like to ask all provincial and municipal governors to attend the weekly cabinet meetings through the video conference facilities, on every Fridays starting at 8:30 a.m.

“After receiving the letter, the Phnom Penh Municipality has already set up video conference facilities and started to officially operate them on 4 January 2010. Other provinces have also already made arrangements. This system is really important to connect offices outside of Phnom Penh with the Royal Government as well as with the Prime Minister. The aim of using video conferences is to enhance the efficiency of the work, and to reduce expenses of money, and to save time of the provincial and municipal governors, especially those in remote provinces. Also, the Royal Government wants to observe whether those governors work and are in the meetings, or where else they are, in order to avoid lying to the Prime Minister by just phoning, giving brief responses, now they can ask for instructions from the Prime Minister directly and on time.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6849, 5.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #379, 5.1.2010

  • Amnesty International Asked China to Disclose where the Uighurs Deported from Cambodia Are Living
  • A Lexus Hit a Three-Wheel Motor-Taxi near Calmette Hospital, Killing Two People [the offensive car was seized – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2142, 5.1.2010

  • The Prime Minister: Those Who Do Not Recognize the Importance of 7 January 1979 [when the Khmer Rouge Regime was overthrown] are Not Even Equal to Animals
  • An Anti-Drug Policeman Was Shot Dead in a Lexus [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Cham]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #572, 5.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Said There Is a Today because of 7 January 1979 while the Opposition Party Claimed Today Exists because of 23 October 1991 [the Paris Peace Treaties which (should have) ended the civil war in Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6849, 5.1.2010

  • The Royal Government Requires Municipal Governors to Use Video Conferencing

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #82, 5.1.2010

  • [About 70] Sereypheap Market Vendors Continue to Protest in Front of the Prime Minister’s Residence [after the authorities demolished the market]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5091, 5.1.2010

  • In 2009 There Were 622 Cases of Forestry and Wildlife Violation Crimes which Were Dealt with by the Authorities [compared to 2008, there were 615 cases; according to a report of the Forestry Administration]
  • Interior Police Arrested a Person Sending Threatening Messages to Kill an Advisor of the Royal Government [Phnom Penh]
  • Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Shot to Injure a Khmer Citizen Seriously [he went to find wild vegetables – at the Cambodian Thai-border]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1848, 5.1.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson] Mr. Yim Sovann: The Party Is Collecting Petitions from Cities and Provinces to Send Them to the King to Ask for His Intervention for Mr. Sam Rainsy [over the removal of temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]

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The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom – Monday, 4.1.2010

Posted on 5 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“A son of a high ranking military officer of the Cambodian government told a foreign newspaper that corruption in Cambodia occurs at present at every section of the society from top to bottom. An Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, interviewed a youth whose name is Meas Sophearith, a son of Four-Star-General Meas Sophea, a deputy Commander-In-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and the Commander of the Army of Cambodia, regarding his view about corruption in the Cambodian society.

“According to an article in this newspaper, written by Mr. Andrew Marshall, the young Meas Sophearith, who is studying political science at the University in Alabama in the United States, who has also a place for military studies at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, the French military academy, a son of Mr. Meas Sophea, was quoted as criticizing the present corruption in Cambodian society, saying that corruption exists from top to bottom.

“According to the same source, Meas Sophearith described the situation of corruption in the Cambodian society nowadays, saying that most leaders are corrupt.

“Also, a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia was quoted, to have said for publication in the paper, that a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia owns a most expensive car priced at US$500,000 a Mercedes McLaren SLR.

“Besides the publication about the description of corruption by the young Meas Sophearith, another young man, Ouch Vichet, called Richard, 28, who used to study in New Zealand, spoke in the Australian newspaper about the present show-off culture among the children of the powerful and of the rich in Cambodia.

“The young Vichet was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that if anybody want that the others pay respect, they have to own luxuries and expensive cars, big diamonds, and expensive mobile phones. This young man added that his parents provided him with a residence of US$500,000 and a rubber plantation of 400 hectares as his inheritance, while his parents-in-law gave him US$100,000 and another residence of US$200,000.

“The abundant wealth of high ranking officials, noticed by foreign observers as well as international journalists, where they compete with each other, showing off their luxury cars worth tens of thousands of dollars, helps to form the stereotypes of rich and high ranking officials of present day Cambodia.

“Mr. Andrew Marshall wrote in that Australian newspaper about Ouch Vichet, who said that people of his parents’ generation always kept money under their mattresses, but the children of the next generation keep money in safes in their houses.

“He said they usually keep a lot of money in safes at home, because they do not trust the banks, believing that if they keep their money in the banks, it will be known how much money their families have.

[…]

“The Tuol Kork area of Phnom Penh is compared to the Beverly Hills area of Hollywood in the United States, where there are, in Phnom Penh, many modern residences of high ranking officials, including of children of the prime minister, surrounded by high and sharp razor wire fencing.

“The same paper wrote that the residence of young Meas Sophearith, a son of General Meas Sophea, is carefully guarded by special forces soldiers.

“The young Meas Sophearith as well as Ouch Vichet, a businessman, who haves relations with the powerful and the rich of the country, are among the three sources that Mr. Andrew Marshall relied on for the article ‘Khmer Riche.’ The third person, Sophy, a child of a Deputy Prime Minister of the government of Mr. Hun Sen, is another source that Mr. Andrew Marshall depended upon to write about the showing off of luxury livelihood of children of high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia, while millions of Khmer common citizens live under the poverty line, though hundreds of millions of dollars of aid have been provided each year.

“The young Meas Sophearith told the Australian newspaper that he has a plan to create a foundation to help children of the poor to have a chance to study abroad, like the children of the powerful and of the rich. However, he stressed that they have to wait until their parents grow old.

[…]

“The young Meas Sophearith is not the only person who wants to see changes from what happens at present, but needs to wait until their parents grow old, or people from the old generation retire. Whether he can fulfill his intention to create a foundation to help the poor or not is another problem. [The original source is quoted here.]

[…]

“The account by a son of a high ranking official about corruption, which occurs from top to bottom, and by Mr. Ouch Vichet about how money is normally kept by high ranking officials and by the rich, is another source of information related to the question why the government is very late in adopting an anti-corruption law.

“Corruption is recognized, and the wealth of the high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia are kept in the safes at their houses, rather than at local and foreign banks. Therefore, can an anti-corruption law be adopted and can it be efficient to uncover the faces of corrupt officials, or expropriate wealth stolen from the nation, to become money to benefits the nation?”
[…]Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 4 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #376-278, 1-4.1.2010

  • [The Cambodian] Ambassador in Thailand Called the Editor of the The Nation Stupid [after the newspaper’s editor criticized the Cambodian Prime Minister in an article Hun Sen’s Vanity is a Danger to Regional Solidarity published on 29 December 2009, which said, “Hun Sen should know for a fact that the person who is really capable of toppling him is his recently appointed economic adviser – Thaksin Shinawatra. In the early 1990s, everybody knew that Thaksin, as a business tycoon, was involved in a short-lived plot to dislodge Hun Sen because of a conflict of interest over mobile telephone contracts.”]
  • During the Whole Year [of 2009] Cambodia Implemented 1,191 Projects to Develop the Country [reference is to cooperation with development partners like the UN, the EU, Japan, etc.]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2139-2141, 1-4.1.2010

  • The National Election Committee Published the Results of the Election Name List Checking in 2009 [there were 8,331,906 voters listed]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Vowed to Vigorously Protect the Throne [after the King promoted him to the rank of a five-star-general]
  • A Thai Army Commander Confirmed in Front of the Cambodian Army Commander to Let the Border Issues Be Solved by Both Countries’ Governments

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom
  • [The Opposition Party parliamentarian] Mr. Sam Rainsy: Those Who Were Behind the Grenade Attack on 30 March 1999 Are Those Who Are at Present Controlling the Power

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6846-6848, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Welcome for the Universal New Year 2010 in Cambodia This Year Was Different from the Previous Year as It Was Celebrated by More People in More Places [in Cambodia]
  • The [Svay Rieng] Municipal Court Dropped Questioning Three Suspects over the Removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers [they are no longer under arrest]
  • In 2009 There Were 44 Fires in Phnom Penh Which Killed 2 People
  • Seventy Six Journalists Were Murdered in 2009 [compared to 2008, when 60 were murdered worldwide, according to the Reporters without Borders]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #80-81, 1-4.1.2010

  • A Military Chief Who Was Involved in Illegal Wood Transport Was Released [by just paying a fine of US$1,500; he had been arrested for blocking the way of the authorities who went to crack down on illegal wood transports – Battambang]
  • The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Starts Operations Today [1 January 2010] – What Will Cambodia Get?
  • The Court Ordered the Arrest of Three More Citizens over the Removal of Temporary Border Markers in Svay Rieng
  • Tourist Arrivals in Cambodia Increased by 2% in 2009 [to 2.18 million, while in 2008, there were 2.12 million]

Note:

The China-ASEAN FTA covers a population of 1 billion and involves about $450 million of trade volume.

“The average tariff on goods from the ASEAN countries is cut down to 0.1 percent from 9.8 percent. The six original ASEAN members, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will slash the average tariff on Chinese goods from 12.8 percent to 0.6 percent.

“By 2015, the policy of zero-tariff rate for 90 percent of traded goods is expected to extend between China and four new ASEAN members, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.” [Source]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5088-5090, 1-4.1.2010

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Rejected to Enter Politics but Wants to Serve the Nation More [he said he could serve as a diplomat, as an adviser to the prime minister, as a lecturer on law, or related to cultural affairs]
  • An Old Man [69 years old] Raped Three Girls [10, 11, and 14 years old sisters] – He Was Arrested by Military Police to Be Sent to Court [Battambang]
  • Forty Two Packages of Heroin Worth Half a Million Dollar Were Seized [in Phnom Penh, but the ring leader of the smugglers is not yet found; Cambodia was removed from a drug black list of the international community]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1846, 1.2.1.2010

  • Mr. Rong Chhun Was Elected [again] as President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association

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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