Week 652

The Law and the Environment of the Law – Sunday, 21.2.2010

Posted on 22 February 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

Very often, when some international media, or some voices in Cambodia deplore what is seen as violations of human rights or just other forms of suffering of some people when their living space – they land on which they lived and the small shelter they built on it – is taken away, the justification is often to say: But it is done according to the law!

While this is sometimes open for controversial interpretations, in other cases it may be perfectly true. But this still does not mean that those who are at the weaker end of the conflict do not suffer, whether they know the law or not.

But there are obviously also cases where it is surely quite difficult for the public to understand the complexity of some legislation – and if it is not easy to understand the rules, there is a lower motivation to follow them – though this is normally wrong not to follow the law.

During the municipal annual reflection meeting looking back at 2009, the Governor of Phnom Penh proudly mentioned that as part of clean-up operations in crime prone environments, also gambling was targeted – all together 1,152 gambling sites had been intercepted. – And in the same week we report that a new casino starts to operate: US$100 million have been invested to create 6,000 jobs.

Surely both elements of this report are based on some laws. Whether the difference is easy to understand or not, is a different question.

About the same meeting of the Phnom Penh municipality it is reported: “The firm position of the Phnom Penh Municipality in 2010 is not like that in 2009; it will not allow dishonest officials to keep on committing bad activities towards the people… previously, some officials used the opportunity of their positions to extort money from the people. But now, [Mr. Kep Chuktema, the Phnom Penh Governor,] warned, saying that officials doing such bad activities will no longer be tolerated.”

During last year the law was not kept by all, as the Governor says, but nothing happened – during this year, however, the law has to be kept. What is the difference? It is the same laws – so will those who did not keep it last year be convinced to now keep it? It is not reported that those, whose money had been extorted, did get it back, nor that whose, who had used the opportunity to misuse their positions for their personal gain were punished. What is changed?

The authorities set again a deadline for illegal pharmacies to apply for licenses – that about half of the more than 2,000 pharmacies operate without a licenses, is known, exposing the public to dangers.

There were also reports about special initiatives by the Prime Minister, either to clarify some gray areas related to the use and registration of cars, or, more seriously, that past and present violations of the law by military personal, which went so far unpunished, should stop.

Some time ago, the Prime Minister had ordered to remove RCAF license plates from private cars to avoid irregularities. A member of the National Assembly from an opposition party found out: “But recently, there appear again several cars using RCAF number plates, and such number plates are used even on some foreigners’ cars and on private trucks for [private] businesses; this can be considered as an illegitimate use of state cars for business, and driving for personal pleasure.” This impression cannot be avoided when one sees who is using some cars with RCAF license plates, and where, and when. But – says the Ministry of Defense – all is now legal. Where private cars are used with military license plates, they have been “contracted” to the state. Does this lead to clarity? Why would anybody contract one’s private care to the state? Why not the other way round: If a state owned vehicle is used also for private purposes, why is it not leased to the private user for an appropriate fee, with a private license plate?

That the new emphasis on the enforcement of the new traffic law is not only leading to a better compliance with the law, becomes clear from the following report – again by a parliamentarian of an opposition party (the much larger number of parliamentarians from the government party were not reported to take such personal initiatives to strengthen the rule of law): Traffic police established check points to extort money from citizens near the Chroy Changva bridge, where police stop and “check” cars and trucks to make them pay money without giving our receipts – keeping some money for themselves, and sharing some with their next higher level superiors.

And the new, strong statements against forest crimes? “The transport of luxury wood in the Thala Barivat district of Stung Treng continues without any disturbance by the authorities.”

The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi, reported after his second visit to the country on 26 January 2010, that he is encouraged from his positive meetings with Cambodian highest level political leader, as he saw especially progress in the strengthening of legal frameworks: “The Government has been receptive to some of the suggestions, including developing binding national guidelines on land evictions, making the law-making process more transparent by sharing draft legislation which has an impact on human rights issues with the wider community, and creating a Government and civil society forum in order to foster an environment of cooperation to strengthen democracy and human rights in the country.”

As so often in the past, it has to be repeated again and again: Not only the quality of laws, but their implementation is decisive.

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Civil Society: Public Leisure Time Activity Space for Youth Becomes Smaller but Commercial Entertainment Space Increases – Saturday, 20.2.2010

Posted on 21 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“Phnom Penh: Experts in youth problems said that according to their observation, public leisure time activity space for youth in the country is becoming smaller, but commercial entertainment space, such as night clubs and beer gardens, is increasing significantly.

“A civil society organization official, who asked not to be named, said early this week that youth at present lacks public space for leisure time, but they are enjoying the increasing number of night clubs, bars, Karaoke parlors, and beer gardens, where they can drink alcohol, use drugs, and find many other services.

“He emphasized, ‘When young people nowadays open their eyes, they see nothing but beer gardens and night clubs.’

“At present, Phnom Penh has 375 square kilometers, but besides around Wat Phnom, youth can hardly find other parks. Places where they can do some physical activities are the Olympic Stadium and some few small parks, but when it comes to beer gardens, night clubs, and other places providing terribly services, they can be found at every corner of the roads.

“Regarding this comment, an independent councilor and researcher of youth problems, Mr. Tong Soprach, said on 17 February 2010 that as he has noticed, the above comment seem to be true.

“According to him, present day youth problems, such as drug addiction, crimes, and sex trafficking, result from two factors: modernization and the surrounding environment. Modernization pushes youth to fall into bad habits due to the influx of other cultures, materialism, and peer pressure. That young people are easily impressed by their peers happens because of their environment. The environment for youth is formed, at present, by beer gardens, bars, and night clubs.

“He said, ‘They are easily attracted by their friends – when they open their eyes, they see such places.’

“There are hardly any places for playing sports, besides one or two, at universities and at the old stadium.

“He added, ‘There is not much public space for youth, but we see there are more beer gardens and night clubs.’

“Besides the two experts above, the coordinator of the Cambodian Youth Council, Ms. Mao Puthearoth, recognized that libraries, bookstores, places in the open air, and places for playing sports were not increased in recent years, but there are many places of entertainment attracting young people when they travel around town every day.

“She said, ‘I do not see that cinemas were changed into libraries, but several were changed into night clubs.’

“Responding to this issue, she said that the Cambodian Youth Council will ask the Ministry of Education to focus on this issue.

“She stressed, ‘We want the government to pay attention to these issues and establish a youth policy on the national level, which is now still in the status of being drafted.

“Ms. Puthearoth said that the Cambodian Youth Council is encouraging the government to create places of entertainment for youth and take youth problems into consideration, before it decides to provide licenses for any commercial entertainment places to be operated, especially night clubs and other strange places for youth.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5131, 20.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 20 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #415, 20.2.2010

  • Cambodia [the Cambodia Angkor Air company] Buys [two] Planes Worth US$40 Million [to boost the country’s tourism sector]
  • A Teacher Who Tortured Her Adopted Daughter Was Sentenced to Serve 20 Years in Prison and Her Husband to Serve 10 Years [Phnom Penh]
  • Three Nigerians Were Convicted to 16 Years Imprisonment for Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2182, 20.2.2010

  • Police Arrested 21 Black People and Seized One Kilogram of Drugs [Phnom Penh]
  • The United Nations Called on the World to Contribute US$1.44 Billion as Aid for Haiti

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #607, 20.2.2010

  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Gangs Jointly Beat Three Khmer Siblings, Killing One and Injuring Two Others Seriously [in Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6889, 20-21.2.2010

  • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Surround a Bank in Bangkok and Are Selecting an Uniformed Guards Troop to Oppose [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Groups
  • Khmer Farmers Continue to Illegally Cross the Border to Enter Thailand [to seek jobs – Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3813, 20-21.2.2010

  • Charges [over defamation regarding a conflict in a Cambodian Muslim community] against a Radio Free Asia Reporter [Mr. Sok Serey – and others he had interviewed: two local human rights defenders, and one more person] Were Dropped [because there was no “malicious intent” in the reporting, and no reason to assume that the report would be “disturbing or likely disturbing the public peace” – but another person was jailed for five months for destruction of property – Takeo]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5131, 20.2.2010

  • Civil Society: Public Leisure Time Activity Space for Youth Becomes Smaller but Commercial Entertainment Space Increases
  • The Cambodian Mine Action Center Needs US$95 Million to Support Five Year Operations [from 2010 to 2014, to clear landmines from 20,000 hectares, and to clear 100,000 hectares suspected to have mines]

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The Asian Development Bank: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is in Danger – Friday, 19.2.2010

Posted on 20 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“While within five years the global Millennium Development Goals should be reached, the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank said in a report on Thursday, 18 February 2010, that the global economic crisis had made Cambodia to walk ‘off track,’ and the government policies must focus on social welfare.

“Placing Cambodia together with Nepal and Laos, this report says that these countries are very much in danger due to a slow development process, which does not contribute to preventing poverty and child malnutrition.

“Cambodia walks ‘off track,’ not fulfilling more than half of the benchmark points listed in the global development goals, not fulfilling these Goals in seven of the eight Goals, which include to eradicate extreme poverty and the reduction of child mortality rates, to drop by two thirds of the 2009 rate by 2015.

“In 2003, Cambodia added one more Goal to the eight Millennium Development Goals, increasing their number to nine: the clearance of mines and unexploded ordnance and the aid for the victims.

“This report shows that only 20% of the Cambodia population were covered by any social protection projects. Only more than 1% of the GDP of Cambodia is spent on social protection measures, less than the
expenses in other countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan.

“The vice president of the Asian Development Bank, Ms. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, said on 18 February 2010 in a statement that most stimulating measures focus on other fields rather than on social protection. ‘If we want to solve impacts of the economic downturn and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, necessary expenses on social protection must be increased substantially.’

“Relating to these comments, the Director of the UN Development Program’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Ajay Chhibber, warned that if there is no better social protection, people will fall back into poverty again.

“Among the 21 development indicators in this report, Cambodia is making slow progress in 9 indicators, including registration at primary schools, completing school education, child mortality, malnutrition, and maternal health care during pregnancy.

“Based on this report, there is no progress regarding the accomplishment of environmental sustainability in forestry cover and carbon emissions absorption.

“Anyway, this report says that Cambodia had achieved some specific Millennium Development Goals, such as combating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and supplying clean water. Also, the gender equity goals at most schools will be accomplished.

“A parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, the chairperson of the Commission on Economy, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the government made plans in the national budget to help people who have difficulties.

“He added that the government had asked the National Assembly to provide US$18 million in addition to help people in agriculture.

“He went on to say that Prime Minister Hun Sen had asked bank officials to increase loans with low interest rates for the public. The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, referred questions to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, but Secretary-General Sok Chenda could not be reached for comment.

“In an interview with the country representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Ajay Markanday, he said that it is necessary to concentrate on investments in agriculture.

“He added that to address food security problems and starvation in developing countries, it is really important to focus on the amount of investment to strengthen agriculture. And a sustainable solutions for food security must be found.

“He continued to say that public funds have to be provided to create jobs for members of the poorest in the society, mostly of those are living in remote areas.

“Mr. Markanday added that when the economy starts to recover, food prices will likely rise. He added that the impact of this problem on the levels of poverty and malnutrition depend on the capacity of a country to counter it, based on the achievement of economic growth through investments.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1877, 19.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #414, 19.2.2010

  • The Government Allowed Siamese [Thai] Embassy Officials to Meet Their Prisoner [sentenced to serve twenty years in prison for planting landmines in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2181, 19.2.2010

  • The Ministry of Information Advised Radio and Television Stations to Stop Reading Texts from Newspapers and Making Additional Comments
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Received a Medal for “Most Innovative Use of Technology During a Trial” [by the Law Technology News Awards magazine, based in the United States]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #606, 19.2.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Said to Arrest the Chief Drug Smugglers Is Better Than to Create Rehabilitation Centers [for drug addicts]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6888, 19.2.2010

  • The UN Human Rights Council Rejected the Global Witness Report about Illegal Logging [accusing that families of some Cambodian leaders to cut trees – according to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3812, 19.2.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Warned that If Cambodia Does Not Make More Efforts, It Will Fall Into Serious Poverty

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #115, 19.2.2010

  • The Authorities Set a Deadline for Illegal Pharmacies to Ask for Licenses [according to the Ministry of Health, there are more than 2,000 pharmacies operating countrywide where more than 1,000 have no licenses]
  • Construction Projects Approved in 2009 Declined by More Than 47% [amounting to only over US$200 million, while in 2008, they amounted up to US$381 million]
  • The Anti-Acid Crime Draft Law Will Reach the Government after the Khmer New Year [for adoption and to be sent further to the National Assembly]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5120, 19.2.2010

  • Japan Promised to Provide Aid [of about US$20 million] for the Development of the Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos Triangle Zone
  • After a Woman Was Gang Raped, Her Hands and Legs Were Tied and She Was Then Drowned in a Sewage Ditch in the CAMKO City Construction Area [the perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]
  • [The president of the Human Rights Party] Mr. Kim Sokha Guaranteed that He Will Provide Financial Support for [two] Villagers Imprisoned for Removing Temporary Border Markers [offering them money and rice amounting to about US$100 per month for each family]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1877, 19.2.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is in Danger
  • [The President of the National Assembly] Heng Samrin Sent an Opposition Parliamentarians’ Questions over Border Issues with Vietnam to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Respond

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The First Meeting about the Implementation of the National Strategic Plan to Stop Violence against Women – Thursday, 18.2.2010

Posted on 19 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“Phnom Penh: The Open Institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, held the first consultative meeting on the topic ‘Participating in the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women, and the Importance of Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Combat Violence against Women.’

“Opening the meeting in the morning of 17 February 2010, a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Sy Define, said that the meeting was the first one held by a government institution with a civil society organizations on this issue, and it was organized after the government had published the ‘National Action Plan about the Prevention of Violence against Women’ last year. She stressed that even without reference to specific figures, rape and violence against women appear in new ways, and all forms appear more frequently and more cruelly. This is a concern for the government as well as for non-government organizations.

“She added that a major challenge for the prevention of violence against women, which needs to be addressed immediately, is the victims’ fear and shame. She emphasized that the victims often try to hide what happened, and even as there are more rapes happening, there is also the increased tendency to hide them. This is because women feel ashamed and they are afraid of being treated with contempt by the society, and also the knowledge of citizens in many communities is limited, including the knowledge about the legal procedures to appeal to the courts which require the victims, mostly the poor, to pay money.

“Based on the above issues, Ms. Sy Define called for more publications of laws about rights and other measures that are important for preventing and reducing violence against women, where Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays an important role.

“ICT provides a modern and fast way of communication using computers or mobile phones; it can reach us wherever we are, as far as the communications network extends. It provides easy and quick access to a collection of all kinds of information.

“Regarding this issue, the Executive Director of the Open Institute, Ms. Chim Manavy, said that this meeting is really important for reflecting about violence against women and the intersection between this problem and Information and Communication Technology. In many countries around the world, women’s networks and organizations use the Internet and communicate, using these technologies, to share their experiences and to gather resources and support for their activities, and organize for the creation of global strategic actions. She said that in Cambodia, however, most women have not developed the habit and the ability to use the Internet and to communicate through it to support their activities like it happens in other countries.

“She added, ‘Recently, there is more recognition of the intersection between violence against women and the instruments for electronic communication [with computers and mobile phones]. Violence against women and ICT have an impact on establishing fundamental freedoms and human rights.’

“But Ms. Manavy raised also other examples, saying, ‘While mobile phones and websites can benefit women who suffer violence, seeking information and assistance, some wicked persons use the same technology for exploitation, sending images violating women’s rights, which are human rights.’

“Relating to the negative use of ICT, Ms. Sy Define called on women to be aware of this problem and to join together to control it and to use ICT to combat such wrongdoings.

“She emphasized that the government alone cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goals for 2010, which state [as Goal 3] ‘Promote gender equality and empower women,’ without cooperation in many fields with non-government organizations and development partners to promote the capacity, knowledge, strength, and courage of women.

“She also asked all women’s and other institutions to join to encourage the use of ICT to help prevent violence against women as well as domestic violence, following the National Action Plan about the Prevention of Violence against Women.

“During the meeting held at the Hotel Cambodiana, participants from more than 40 institutions working on women and rights presented their results from separate observations about violence against women and domestic violence, and discussed to share their experiences, knowledge, lessons learned, other strategies, and the use of ICT to prevent violence against women and domestic violence.

“In the three hours meeting, participants offered recommendations and sought to identify key priorities for cooperation between civil society organizations and government institutions to develop joint strategies to effectively prevent violence against women, to encourage gender equality, and to empower women. Ten other organizations cooperated and attended the meeting: Cambodian Women for Peace and Development, the Cambodian Defenders’ Project, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (NGO-CEDAW), the Project Against Domestic Violence, Legal Aid of Cambodia, the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, the Women’s Media Center, Positive Change for Cambodia, Pharmaciens Sans Frontières, and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO).” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5129, 18.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 18 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #413, 18.2.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen: Cambodia Never Plants New Mines along the Border [he said so in response to some accusations, especially by Thailand]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Create Senior Citizens Associations Soon in the Eight Districts
  • Seventy One Journalists Were Killed in 2009 Worldwide [including 33 in the Philippines; according to the Committee to Protect Journalists]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2180, 18.2.2010

  • More Than 100 Cleaners at the Angkor Resort [of the Apsara Authority] Protested over the Late Payment of Their Salaries [Siem Reap]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Signed an Agreement to Create a Digital Tribunal [with the Stanford University and the Berkeley War Crimes Study Center of the University of California]
  • Report: America and Pakistan Arrested the Head of the [military wing of the] Taliban

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #605, 18.2.2010

  • A Casino of Oknha Ket Theang Worth US$100 Million Will Open Next Week [in Bavet, Svay Rieng, at the border to Vietnam – he said that his casino can offer jobs to about 6,000 Khmer citizens]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3811, 18.2.2010

  • Avoiding to Respond to Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians’ Questions [over border issues] Shows the Irresponsibility of the Government

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #114, 18.2.2010

  • Thirty One People Died in Traffic Accidents within the Three Days of the Chinese New Year [in Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5129, 18.2.2010

  • The First Meeting about the Implementation of the National Strategic Plan to Stop Violence against Women
  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the Ministry of Education Plan to Create a Navigation School to Improve Waterway Traffic Safety [this navigation school is for youth of the next generation to get training, based on proper educational standards to obtain a license. Before, the provision of shipping licenses depended on the testing and questioning previous experience of piloting ships or motor boats, but there was no training offered. Two or three years ago the Phnom Penh port started training for its personnel, but it was not open for the public]
  • The Transport of Luxury Wood in Thala Barivat District Continues without Any Disturbance [by the authorities – Stung Treng]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1876, 18.2.2010

  • [A Sam Rainsy parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay Asked [the Minister of Interior] Mr. Sar Kheng to Check Road Traffic Police Activities that Establish Illegal Check Points to Extort Money from Citizens [he raised a case near the Chroy Changva bridge where police stop cars or trucks to make them pay money unofficially which they keep for themselves or share some with their next higher level officials]

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The Ministry of Defense Rejected a Parliamentarian’s Request to Remove Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Number Plates – Wednesday, 17.2.2010

Posted on 18 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“An opposition party parliamentarian asked the Prime Minister to take action to check and have Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) number plates removed from private vehicles, but the Ministry of Defense said that there will be no more removals of such number plates.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kompong Thom, Mr. Men Sothavarin, told Rasmei Kampuchea by phone on 16 February 2010, ‘I asked the Prime Minister to take action to have RCAF number plates removed from private vehicles, because there have been a lot of irregularities occurring related to RCAF or police number plates. After the Prime Minister had ordered to take measures in this case, such cases almost disappeared. But recently, there appear again several cars using RCAF number plates, and such number plates are used even on some foreigners’ cars and on private trucks for [private] businesses; this can be considered as an illegitimate use of state cars for business, and driving for personal pleasure.

“Mr. Men Sothavarin added that before, he had asked the Ministry of Defense, but the Ministry did not respond. Therefore, this time he decided to ask the Prime Minister, because previously, after the Prime Minister had given orders, such number plates were removed.

“Mr. Men Sothavrin’s letter to the Prime Minister, sent through the president of the National Assembly, says that after the land traffic law had became valid, together with a public statement by the Prime Minister regarding private vehicles using state, police, and RCAF number plates, related ministries had effectively taken action to stop these trespasses, but recently, many private vehicles are again found using such number plates, which seriously violates the law.

“His letter mentions also some RCAF number plates, such as 2.8168, 2.0098, and 2.4191. The letter says that most of those plates are used by officials from units of armed personnel. Some others are used by civil servants and civilians, and some even by foreigners. The spokesperson, an Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Defense, Mr. Chhum Socheat, spoke to Rasmei Kampuchea, saying that following the Prime Minister’s order, the Ministry of Defense had already taken action and there is no illegal use of number plates, as claimed by the opposition party parliamentarian. He added that the rest of cars with such number plates still being used are mostly contracted as state cars, or as cars volunteered to be used as state property, that have proper legal documents at the Department of Supplies [it is interesting that the Website of this one department of the Ministry of National Defense is registered under the general Internet domain .info and not under the Cambodian country domain .kh]

“Mr. Chhum Socheat went on to say that after there was an order from the Prime Minister, all persons applying for RCAF number plates to be used on private vehicles had to make contracts, putting those vehicles up as state vehicles, so that they can receive military number plates. He emphasized that he also sees many vehicles with RCAF number plates, but if one questions them, they all have proper legal documents.

“This spokesperson added that formerly, the Ministry of Defense had taken actions to remove many number plates and practically, there were really many vehicles affected. But at present, there is only a small number of vehicles using such number plates, and they all have proper legal documents – they do not use fake number plates or use them illegally as it was before. He claimed that all those cars have been taxed and are recognized as belonging to the state.

“Though there is such a claim from the Ministry of Defense, many citizens said that many cars of powerful officials are parked illegally and they do not obey the traffic law.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2179, 17.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2179, 17.2.2010

  • The Ministry of Defense Rejected a Parliamentarians’ Request to Remove Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Number Plates [from private vehicles]
  • [San Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians Asked the Government to Explain the Position for the Setting of Four Temporary Border Markers [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border – Mr. Sam Rainsy had published data, based on satellite based GPS verification, showing that the border markers are set inside of Cambodian territory]
  • Siamese [Thai] Army Commanders Told Khmer Army Commanders that Thai Politicians Are Attracting Troop Loyalties [to support them; according to the Cambodian General Srey Dek in the Preah Vihear region]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6886, 17.2.2010

  • In 2009, the Municipality Closed 1,152 Gambling Sites and Intercepted 243 Felonies
  • During a Travel to Visit Relatives during the Chinese New Year, a Boat Sank by Rough Waters in the Sea so that Seven People Died and Five Were Rescued [Koh Kong]
  • Thirty Five People Were Prevented [by the authorities] from Climbing the Dangrek Mountains [in Thai territory] to [illegally] Cut Kronhoung Trees [as they might be shot by Thai soldiers]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #113, 17.2.2010

  • 106 Garment and Shoes Factories Closed [making more than 45,000 workers unemployed in 2009 due to the global economic crisis; according to the Ministry of Labor]
  • More Than 700 Khmer Workers and Beggars Were Brought by Thailand to the Border [and sent back to Cambodia on Monday, 15.3.2010. A Thai government spokesperson said this was done implementing Thai immigration law; it is reported that in 2010, already 16,253 Cambodians had been repatriated, after returning 91,268 Cambodians in 2009]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5128, 17.2.2010

  • The Japanese Government Adds US$5.5 Million for the Cambodian Mine Action Center
  • [Six] Gunmen with Paramilitary Uniforms Robbed a Commune Chief and Took Away Nearly US$50,000, then Burnt Their Own Car [used for the robbery – Banteay Meanchey]
  • A Cambodian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce Is Established in Phnom Penh [according to an economic official of the Israeli Embassy, this shows the effort of the Israeli government to strengthen commercial, economic, and political ties with Cambodia]

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In 2010, Officials Who Use Their Positions to Extort Money from the People Will Not Be Tolerated – Tuesday, 16.2.2010

Posted on 16 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“Phnom Penh: The firm position of the Phnom Penh Municipality in 2010 is not like that in 2009; it will not allow dishonest officials to keep on committing bad activities towards the people. This was declared by an official during the convention in the morning of 15 February 2010 to reflect on the work during 2009, and to determine the targets for 2010; the meeting was chaired by the Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Kep Chuktema.

“During this annual convention, Mr. Kep Chuktema advised all civil servants and all armed personnel to continue to be strictly honorable towards the people, so that they have confidence and trust in the services provided, though previously, some officials used the opportunity of their positions to extort money from the people. But now, he warned, saying that officials doing such bad activities will no longer be tolerated.

“The governor went on to say that only by obeying discipline and with heightened responsibility can the efficiency of the work and its results increase. He added, ‘Considering 2009, Phnom Penh can be proud for having cooperated well with each other, effectively deploying our forces to prevent and intercept crime, the activities of gangs, the illegal use of weapons, gambling, human and sex trafficking, and drug related crimes.’

“He continued to say that in 2010, what remains to be done is to focus more on such issues as public order, car parking facilities, traffic jam, illegal construction sites, and violations of the regulations regarding the use of pedestrian’s sidewalks. Also, he shared the information that Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen had ordered the Phnom Penh Municipality to create ties with the Intervention Brigade 9 of Division 3, stationed at the battlefield in the Preah Vihear area. ‘It is a new obligation for all of us to support the battlefield which is a great pride for the people in Phnom Penh.’

“During the convention, the Phnom Penh governor delivered a new car the Tuol Kork district command station, as a reward for its previous hard work.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5127, 16.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2178, 16.2.2010

  • [The spokesperson of the Royal Government, the Minister of Information] Mr. Khieu Kanharith: Cambodia Welcomes the Thai Position [to solve the border disputes bilaterally], but He Questioned whether Thailand Is Willing to Do so or Not [recently Cambodia had suggested to settle the border issues internationally, but Thailand suggested to Cambodia to solve them bilaterally]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6885, 16.2.2010

  • An Outbreak of Diarrhea with Vomiting Caused 38 People to Be Hospitalized; One Villager Died, Leaving His Children Behind; Medics Call for More Sanitation [Kompong Chhnang – there is an ongoing public controversy: some experts say there is an outbreak of Cholera, which requires a different treatment from diarrhea – but the authorities maintained that it is not Cholera, and even if it were, the treatment is the same]
  • [Eighty eight] People Gathered at the Provincial Administration to Ask for the Removal of a Corrupt Village Chief [as he sold village land secretly for his own benefit – Kompong Speu]
  • Siam [Thailand] Sent Three Khmer Kampuchea Krom People to Cambodia from Detention in Bangkok [they failed to seek asylum in a third country]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #112, 16.2.2010

  • The President of the Human Rights Party [Mr. Kem Sokha] Calls for Unity [with other parties, to compete with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5127, 16.2.2010

  • In 2010, Officials Who Use Their Positions to Extort Money from the People Will Not Be Tolerated
  • The Spokesperson of the Government Told Journalists to Be Careful when Translating Words [he reminded foreign journalists and foreign agencies in Cambodia to do so, otherwise the Prime Minister will appear to have done wrong and is then criticized for it; as an example, he said that the Cambodian Prime Minister challenged the Thai Prime Minister to ‘swear’ that he and his family should die if he claims that Thailand did not invade Cambodian territory, but some English newspaper incorrectly translated it as if he had ‘cursed’ the Thai Prime Minister]
  • Four Banks Provided Loans for an Electricity Plant Powered by Coal to be built in Sihanoukville [the OCBC Bank, the Maybank, the AmBank, and the Bank of China jointly offered US$140 million in loans to a Malaysian company, the Cambodia Energy Limited, to establish a 100 megawatt electricity plant]
  • Two Motorbikes Crashed into Each Other, Killing Two People and Seriously Injuring Three Others [Pursat]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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Cambodia Will Have a Law to Control Battery Acid in the Future – Monday, 15.2.2010

Posted on 15 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Cambodia is discussing to find ways to establish a law to control battery acid, as many victims are suffering from having been attacked by acid, using acid as a weapon.

“According to a source from the Ministry of Interior, the Acid Control Committee of the Ministry of Interior organized a meeting on 12 February 2010, to discuss some resource documents to create a law for the control of battery acid, after many citizens had been victimized by acid, while some perpetrators have not been convicted for their offenses. This happens because acid is being sold openly without any proper control.

“This source added that the discussion was held with a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Teng Savong, in the chair. Mr. Teng Savong said during the discussion that the Ministry has just received documents from various countries to be used as a basis for the discussion how to create an explicit acid control law. Meanwhile, he called on experts on the issue of acid to join in the preparation of a draft to create a law.

“Mr. Teng Savong said that the acid control law to be created relates to the checking, the uses, the distributions at markets as well as at other places, the storing, and the import and export of acid. Based on that source, that draft law follows a law from Bangladesh as the basis for further discussions.

“The Acid Control Committee discussions do not plan to deal with violence in the planned acid control law, and it is not intended to deal with criminal legislation in this draft.

“According to officials of the Ministry of Interior, the Acid Control Committee was formed by a decision of the Ministry of Interior dated 28 January 2010 and signed by the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, and there are 11 members from 11 ministries in the committee.

“The initiative to form an acid control law started after it was found that acid was available freely and openly, and that it had been used as a weapon for attacks, which resulted in many victims.

“It should be noted that there had been big cases of acid attacks, like those against Ms. Tat Marina, Ms. Ya Sok Nim, Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, and a CTN presenter, Mr. Tet Polen. Besides these major cases, there are many others. Generally, the lives of the victims of acid attacks were completely ruined, as they cannot work or come out to live in public like other common people.

“In the meantime, many citizens asked the authorities to prosecute acid attackers seriously so that such cases stop.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2177, 14-15.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 15 February 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2177, 14-15.2.2010

  • Cambodia Will Have a Law to Control Battery Acid in the Future
  • Three Former Khmer Rouge Leaders [Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Khiev Samphan] Are Requesting Bail

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6884, 15.2.2010

  • There Are 300 to 400 People Visiting the Preah Vihear Temple Each Day during the Chinese New Year

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #111, 15.2.2010

  • An UNESCO Official [Mr. Jinnai Teruo] Said that the Documents Relating to the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site [presented by the Cambodian government] Are Sufficient [he said so after the Cambodian government rejected a claim from Thailand that the documentation for the Preah Vihear Temple is not complete]
  • The Ministry of Tourism Is Seeking to Start Flight Connections with India, Russia, and some Arab Countries
  • An American Man Was Sentenced to Serve Two Years in Prison for Child Molestation [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5126, 14-15.2.2010

  • A River in the Northeast of Cambodia [the Sesan river] Is Drying Out [due to the damming of the flow of water by a hydro-electricity dam in Vietnam; some portions of the river can now be crossed walking]
  • Khmers in Kampuchea Krom [from Kampuchea Krom, now in the southern area of Vietnam] Can Air Their Voice through the National Radio of Cambodia [the Ministry of Information now allows the Khmer Kampuchea Krom community to broadcast educational programs and programs related to their culture through radio in Cambodia]
  • The Youngest Brother of Pol Pot [the head of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, Salot Nhep] Died [at the age of 84 from high blood pressure]
  • More Than Riel 1,000 Million [approx. US$240,000] Was Given to [40 Cambodian] Medal Winners [after the South East Asia Games in Laos]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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