Week 656

When the Law is Not Being Followed – Sunday, 21.3.2010

Posted on 22 March 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

It was early in March, when Prime Minister Hun Sen was quoted having said that the year 2010 is the year in which brothels and illegal gambling sites shall be eliminated. And there were additional warnings, saying that such campaigns are for real: “Police and military chiefs had better leave their positions if they do not dare to crack down on brothels and gambling sites, being afraid of interventions.” That there would be resistance from people who benefit from the related trade is obviously expected. Even that such resistance can come from persons ‘higher up’ who scare lower level officials so that they do not do their duty.

This is serious. Even the head of the government foresees that there will be resistance – resistance within the structures of law enforcement – to implement the law.

What is even more serious is that it is assumed that some sections of the authorities commit large scale violations regularly and in front of the public. Though this is known – “everyone knows this problem” one paper writes – the same activities continue: the illegal selling of military material at the Tuek Thla market: military uniforms, but also many kinds of handguns and ammunition.

But now, The Mirror reported, that there was a large scale raid:

“This was not the first raid at the Tuek Thla market to stop the selling of bullets and of police and military uniforms. There had been several raids before, but these activities could not be eliminated, as many heads of police units and military commanders do not distribute the materials to the fellow police and soldiers under their command, but keep them and sell them to traders… some heads of police units and military police commanders benefit personally by taking their troops’ belongings, and transport them by car to sell them to traders…

“Therefore, the suppression at the Tuek Thla market is just an action that looks good, as sooner or later, such operations will start again..”

The newspaper report said that “the authorities confiscated hundreds of military uniforms and other materials from ten stalls, and arrested some sellers of those materials to educate them… the sellers are not the ones to be blamed.” Was anybody also punished for these illegal actions? The traders were educated – but what about those who supplied the illegal merchandise?

Now, will this finally change?

There was one special case which had been highlighted a something that hardly ever had happened before: a misbehaving general was arrested and brought to court! The case started to be public through a report, saying that the family of a ten year old boy had complained to the Prime Minister, that a one-star navy general went to a school, called out their son by name, and beat him up.

Later some more explanations appeared: the boy had bullied the little daughter of the general, and the teacher had not protected the daughter adequately – so the general had actually also physically attacked the teacher.
The fact that this incident was not hushed up, but lead to a court case, motivated the former Co-Defense Minister Sisowath Sirirath to say in a letter to the editor of The Cambodia Daily:

“This is the sort of justice the Cambodian people need to see more of as we slowly move toward a more responsible society, a society that respects the rule of law and individual rights.

“People who wear uniforms are supposed to serve and protect us from harm, and not frighten us…

“I highly commend Defense Minister Tea Banh for his strong initiative in bringing this general to justice and allowing the Military Police to arrest him and to send him to trial, even in absentia, in Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court.

“The justice-loving people in Cambodia welcome with satisfaction the court’s decision. It is at least a step in the right direction.”

Actually, a very small step.

The accused did not show up in court, because he was now hospitalized – according to some report – for high blood pressure. But he was convicted to one year in jail. However, this sentence was immediately commuted to 10 days only. And as he is under Military Police surveillance in hospital, his days in hospital are calculated towards the 10 days verdict, so that he will be free after spending ten days in hospital.

There were other confusing reports:

  • Perpetrators Who Shot and Injured [three] Disabled People [guarding land in Kompong Thom] Are Out of the Net of the Law, while Some Victims Do Not Dare to Return to Their Own Homes [as the authorities are seeking to arrest them because of their protests against their eviction from the land]
  • Forestry Officials Intercepted a Car Loaded with Wood, but Let It Go Immediately after Negotiations [Stung Treng]
  • A Man That Produced Fake Johnnie Walker Whiskey Was Released by the Police because of His Strong Influence Relations [Phnom Penh]

What steps in the right direction are to be expected in these cases?

One long and detailed story was also published in full in The Mirror on Wednesday: The Order of Hun Sen to Prohibit Khmer Citizens from Gambling in Casinos Is Not Applied by the Owner of the Naga Casino, with detailed descriptions by a journalist who wanted to know.

“Based on Mr. Hun Sen’s order, Khmer citizens are not allowed to enter to gamble in casinos, but the Naga Casino allows Khmers to gamble freely. Some Khmers said that as long as you have money, you can enter the Naga Casino anytime and there are no problems.

“This casino is very lucrative, as it attracts addicted gamblers from small casinos that were closed by the government and it amasses all the profits alone here.

““Recently, Mr. Hun Sen reminded the Khmer authorities to close gambling sites and to restrict Khmer citizens from entering to gamble in casinos that operate with licenses, such as the Naga Casino and other casinos along the Thai and Vietnamese borders. Mr. Hun Sen warned that if any casinos, or the authorities monitoring them, permit Khmer citizens to enter, those casinos will be shut down and the police officials involved will be punished.”

The Mirror is looking forward to related information and we will publish it, when we find it.

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An Opposition Party Parliamentarian Accused the Minister of Agriculture of Being Inactive – Saturday, 20.3.2010

Posted on 21 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“Phnom Penh: In a letter from the opposition party parliamentarian Mr. Son Chhay, delivered through the office of the president of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, Mr. Son Chhay accused the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, of being inactive.

“Mr. Son Chhay, as a parliamentarian, sent the letter to Minister Chan Sarun through an arrangement from the National Assembly, asking the Minister to clarify the lack of activities in the ministry.

“Mr. Son Chhay wrote that there are complaints from citizens living along the Tonle Sap and the Mekong rivers, appealing to the Minister and to related authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture to assist farmers, to monitor the selling of pesticides, and to intercept fishery crimes more effectively.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that citizens often complain that institutions and departments of the Ministry of Agriculture are not active. They do very little to serve farmers. Thus, citizens requested the Minister of Agriculture to provide them training in agricultural techniques or to timely save their crops from being damaged by insects and to offer treatment for their livestock when it suffers from diseases. Some farmers said that at their place, some non-government organizations are working in agriculture, but it is not enough. Therefore they require agricultural officials at the province and district levels to do more. Mr. Son Chhay also asked the Minister of Agriculture to encourage his fellow officials to assist farmers regularly, and he asked for a detailed nationwide report from the Ministry of Agriculture. Doing so would allow to see whether agricultural officials work or not.

“Mr. Son Chhay implied that agricultural officials act irresponsibly, and the Minister has to take timely action against them.

“Regarding the selling of pesticides and fertilizer, the Ministry of Agriculture does not seem to care about it. At some border crossings, pesticides and fertilizer are imported without proper checking to be sold at the markets. Many types of pesticides were not carefully checked by the Ministry of Agriculture, and there is nothing in Khmer written on those products to show farmers how to use them. This is dangerous. Some farmers applied pesticides in a wrong way, which led to poisoning.

“To allow such problems to happen without taking action related to the selling of pesticides shows that the ministry is irresponsible.

“Relating to the destruction of fish by illegal fishing, the Minister Chan Sarun does not supervise fishery officials who collude with traders to do fishing during the season when it is prohibited to fish. Fishery crimes that lead to the destruction of fish are, for example, the use of fine-meshed nets during all seasons, so that both big and small fish are being caught. Other serious activities which lead to the destruction of fish resources is fishing during the season when the fish lay eggs, and the destruction of flooded mangrove forests.

“Therefore, the fishery crimes mentioned above lead to the destruction of all fish resources in Cambodia. In the evening of 19 March 2010, Minister Chan Sarun told Kampuchea Thmey that he had not yet received Mr. Son Chhay’s letter, but he is glad to clarify the case any time.

“Mr. Chan Sarun said, ‘We organize the work as a team, according to the administrative procedures in our institutions. Moreover, we assign teams to mentor and to observe the actual situation where the people live, and we regularly supervise our fellow officials.’ He welcomes Mr. Son Chhay and he is prepared to provide clarifications.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2206, 20.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 20 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #439, 20.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Warned [the relevant authorities] Again that Brothels and Illegal Gambling Sites Must Be Closed
  • The European Parliament Delegates Asked Questions about the Political Situation in Cambodia and the Role of the Opposition Parties in the National Assembly
  • A Man That Produced Fake Johnnie Walker Whiskey Was Released by the Police because of His Strong Influence Relations [no clarifying details given – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2206, 20.3.2010

  • An Opposition Party Parliamentarian Accused the Minister of Agriculture of Being Inactive
  • [Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that] High Ranking Officials Who Go to Karaoke Parlors Can Be Arrested and Videos Could Be Taken of Them to Be Broadcast on Television
  • An Agreement Was Signed for Grant Aid of More Than US$31 Million from the Japanese Government [for the Neak Loeung bridge construction on National Road One from Phnom Penh to Vietnam; for clean energy production by using solar energy; and for a forest conservation project]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #631, 20.3.2010

  • Delegates from the European Union Asked Leaders of the National Assembly about Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case [about the suspension of his immunity and his conviction to be imprisoned]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #69, 20-21.3.2010

  • The Senate Fully Agreed with the Content of the Anti-Corruption Law by 52 Votes in Favor, out of a Total of 53 Votes
  • Two Persons Transporting Drugs from Stung Treng to Battambang Were Arrested, ad the Authorities Seized 20,000 Tablets of Yama Drugs [‘extasy’] and a Car [Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3837, 20-21.3.2010

  • A Warrant Was Issued to Arrest Sixteen Poor Citizens in Kompong Speu Who Are Having a Land Dispute with [Senator] Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s Company [Kompong Speu]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5155, 20.3.2010

  • A Force of More Than 100 Persons Was Sent to Guard Machinery of the Phnom Penh Sugar Company [of Senator Ly Yong Phat, after citizens had burnt down the temporary on-site office of the company over a land dispute – Kompong Speu]
  • The Minister of Information Asked [the Phnom Penh Municipality] for a Place to Construct a Memorial Monument for the Journalists Who Had Died and Who Disappeared during the Five-Year War [between 1970 and 1975, during the Lon Nol regime]

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China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia – Friday, 19.3.2010

Posted on 20 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government told Deum Ampil on 17 March 2010 that a visit by a Chinese delegation to Cambodia concentrates on stepping up commercial ties between both countries, and three memorandums of understanding were to be signed.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said that a Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hui Liangyu [ 回良玉 ], visits Cambodia for three days from 17 to 19 March 2010. And the visit is not just to improve the already-good relationship with Cambodia, but also to expand commercial ties.

“Mr. Liangyu presided over the signing ceremony of agreements on agriculture, a sector that accounts for almost 27% of the country’s GDP. According to the announcement, another agreement to be signed is in the field of post and telecommunications between the Huawei Technologies of China and the Cambodian telecommunication system of CamGSM.

“It is seen that Cambodia has been successful in agricultural production in the last decade. Also, it is expected that the rice production of Cambodia for 2009-2010 will yield 7.286 million tonnes where 3.1 million tonnes are planned to be exported.

“In February 2010, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Hun Sen, stated that Cambodia plans to invest US$310 million, including a loan of US$240 million from China, to develop the irrigation systems in the country, a key factor to increase rice production for export.

“Many analysts said that paddy rice is a potential for Cambodian investment, but the opportunity to boost export remains weak, as Cambodia has not had sufficient irrigation systems for rice production.

“The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, said that the paddy rice cultivation might increase to 3.5 million hectares, while previously, rice was grown on just 2.6 million hectares. And this might yield 12.25 million tonnes.

“In 2008, the total market value of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector remains unchanged at US$429 million in 2008. According to a report of the Cambodian government, for six years, the average growth of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector was 31%. There are eight mobile phone companies in Cambodia, except for the Mobitel company that is co-owned by Luxembourg-registered Millicom International Cellular [Note: Interesting in the environment of present discussions of planned increased regulations for the telecommunications sector in Cambodia: Millicom International Cellular’s declared Mission is Freedom to access today’s world for people in emerging markets].

Mobitel, also under the name of Cellcard, http://www.mobitel.com.kh/ offers up to 66% of all services countrywide, followed by Camshin under the name of MFone http://www.mfone.com.kh/ with 12%. It is estimated that Cambodia might have more than 4 million mobile phone users among the population of 14 millions, where 90% of the population lives in rural areas. In addition, Cambodia has a potential for rice investment. Besides China, there are other big donors supporting Cambodia such as Japan and South Korea.

“Besides of the loans provided by the Chinese government to Cambodia, also the Kuwait government agreed to provide a loan of US$546 million to Cambodia, where US$486 million will be used to build up irrigation systems and US$60 million to construct roads in northeastern Cambodia, including in Battambang province, the biggest source of paddy rice. Moreover, Kuwait planned to invest US$200 million on rice production in Cambodia.

“Mr. Chan Sarun said, ‘We have money and we have land. They would not have come to invest if we would not have the potential to expand our agricultural systems.’

“It should be noted that the Chinese government had promised to provide more loans for investments for irrigation such as in Pursat, Prey Veng, and Oddar Meanchey.

“Responding to requests by the head of the Cambodia government to the Chinese government to invest more in Cambodia, the Chinese government eased Cambodian exports to China, allowing Cambodia to export up to 418 items of goods. In 2008, investment from China in Cambodia amounted to US$4.48 billion. But in 2009, the investment dropped to US$349.15 million due to the global financial crisis.

“Last December, the Chinese Vice President, Mr. Xi Jingping [ 习近平 ], visited Cambodia, and he encouraged more investments to be made in Cambodia. At that time, the Chinese government promised to provide US$1.2 billion in grant aid and loans for Cambodia to restore infrastructures which were devastated by two decades of civil war in the 1970s.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010

  • China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia
  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Talked about the Loss of Territory to Vietnam Again, but Government Officials Rejected It
  • While a Family Was Eating Dinner Together, They Were Attacked by a Grenade, Killing Two Children and Injuring Eleven Other Persons [a suspect, who had a conflict with the family, was arrested – Kompong Cham]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2205, 19.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Told the Great King [Norodom Sihanouk] that His Map [that he had used earlier] Is Right
  • The Construction Site of the Phnom Penh Sugar Cane Factory Was Burnt Down by [nearly 600] Residents of the Amleang Commune [accusing the company of violating their land – Kompong Speu]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #630, 19.3.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: We Want the European Community to Provide More Aid to Cambodia, but We Also Want the National Assembly to Play an Important Role [to review the implementation of laws by the government – he said so after a meeting with a delegation from the European Union]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6912, 19.3.2010

  • The Authorities Announced that Karaoke Parlors and Nightclubs Have to Shut by Midnight [Sihanoukville]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #134, 19.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Condemned the Coup of 18 March 1970 by [field marshal] Lon Nol [saying that if there had been no such a coup, there would have been no destruction of Cambodia – Note: It was on 18 March 1970 that the National Assembly instituted the National Assembly President Cheng Heng as acting chief of state by a vote of 89 to 3, while Prince Sihanouk was in Moscow; on 24 March he called, now in China, for armed resistance against the new government arrangements in Phnom Penh]
  • Two Separate Land Conflicts in Kompong Speu Led to Violence Which Resulted in 14 Police Officers and 12 Other Citizens Being Injured [in one case, the authorities tried to evict citizens who lost a complaint against the Meng Keth company, and in another, citizens clashed with the Phnom Penh Sugar company of Oknha Ly Yong Phat]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5154, 19.3.2010

  • [70 km of] National Road 78 from Ban Lung to Ou Ya Dav at the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Was Inaugurated [Ratanakiri]
  • Chevron Contributed Almost US$200,000 to Help Educate Poor Fishery Communities about Health and Micro Finance
  • Germany Donated [20] Computers Worth More Than US$30,000 to the National Assembly of Cambodia

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Two Foreign Companies Planning to Develop the Boeng Kak Lake Area Withdraw – Thursday, 18.3.2010

Posted on 18 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“An official of a party having seats in the National Assembly said that some foreign companies that cooperate with the Shukaku Inc. company to develop the Boeng Kak lake area have withdrawn their stakes, because the development in the area involves forced evictions of citizens which might bring a bad reputation for their companies on the international level.

“The Shukaku Inc. company of Mr. Lao Meng Khin, a senator and husband of Ms. Chhoeung Sopheap, known as Yeay Phou, who are very close to Prime Minister Hun Sen, had received the right from the Cambodian government to develop the area with a 99 years contract, which resulted in criticism from national and international organizations and from Sam Rainsy Party officials, as the authorities forcedly evicted citizens from the area.

“A government official told Khmer Machas Srok that foreign companies did withdrew their stakes in the Shukaku Inc. company. But this official did not disclose the identities of the foreign companies. The official added that also the government suspended the development plan for the Boeng Kak Lake for a while.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and an active activist who assists Boeng Kak Lake residents, Mr. Son Chhay, said that he also got the information, and he welcomes it. He added that he does not oppose the development plan of the government, but he wants a transparent solution for the citizens.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that he received the information over two months ago, and government leaders knew the real story relating to the Shukaku Inc. company that is dredging sand to fill the Boeng Kak Lake by colluding with officials of the Phnom Penh Municipality, while citizens were forced and threatened to remove their houses and leave the area. These activities are cruel and unjust.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘They evicted citizens by force and cruelly to grab the land for the construction of buildings for the profit of their company, and there are many irregularities that the leaders knew and then blamed on others. The company might be stopped from filling the lake and evicting common citizens.’

“However, Mr. Son Chhay could not make sure whether the information is true or not. ‘But we hope that it would be good information for the Boeng Kak residents, if the leader know about the exploitation and the mistreatment of the residents in the area, and ordered to stop these activities.’ He totally supports this.

“Mr. Son Chhay continued to say that he will encourage the government to offer ownership to the residents of the Boeng Kak community where some of them have been living over ten years.

“In 2009, national and international organizations and leaders of the Sam Rainsy Party seriously condemned the authorities’ action to evict the Boeng Kak residents, offering them US$8,000 [per family] as compensation in exchange. Some citizens did not want to suffer violence from the authorities and decided to leave with tears.

“A senior economist said that big international companies with a good reputation worldwide do not want to invest millions of dollars in a country where transparent solutions have not been offered to citizens. The solutions for the Boeng Kak residents came with force and intimidation, and such activities were known publicly.

“The Boeng Kak region extends to more than 130 hectares and was a reservoir for the water in the center of Phnom Penh when there was heavy rain, so that the city did not get flooded.

“The Shukaku Inc. company is dredging sand from the river to fill the lake and it is already almost filled 100% at the time when the new information became available that foreign companies revoked their stakes.

“However, despite the information that two foreign companies have withdrawn, after related problems had been published in newspapers, it is seen that the sand dredging continues sometimes.

“Last year, Boeng Kak Lake residents gathered in front of a foreign embassy when it was assumed that persons with the nationality of that embassy had invested in the Shukaku Inc. company. Consequently, the protest made the investors take out their stakes for the development of the Boeng Kak Lake.

“Nevertheless, there is no public clarification from the Shukaku Inc. company and from officials of the government about the suspension of the development of the Boeng Kak Lake.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #629, 18.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 18 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #437, 18.3.2010

  • 615 Drug Perpetrators Were Sent to the Courts in 2009 [according to the head of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, Mr. Ke Kim Yan]
  • Military Intercepted Seven Luxury Cars That Were Loaded with Kronhoung Wood, Following Officers’ Cars, to Pretend that They Are Part of the Officers Convoy [Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2204, 18.3.2010

  • Ethnic Minority People: The Provision of Concession Land Seriously Affects Them
  • The British Embassy Organized a Debate about Climate Change [according to the Asian Development Bank report in 2009, the temperature will rise by about 4.8 Celsius in 2011, the level of the sea will rise by 8 millimeter within a decade, and the rice yield will drop by 50% in Southeast Asia]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government Wants to Negotiate with [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra [according to the Bangkok Post]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #629, 18.3.2010

  • Two Foreign Companies Planning to Develop the Boeung Kak Lake Area Withdraw
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Called for a Reduction of Expenses for Those Accompanying Delegates Going Abroad [ some officials take several support staff and their wives with them – getting expenses covered for plane tickets, food, and hotels]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6911, 18.3.2010

  • The Khmer Teachers Association Asked the Ministry of Education to Take Action against Female Students so that They Stop Wearing Short Skirts [the skirts should cover the knees]
  • Drug Criminals Intend to Use Cambodia as a Drug Production Place

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #133, 18.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister: The Cambodian Economy Will Grow by 5% in 2010 [saying that agricultural reform programs, foreign investment, and political stability can be factors contributing to growth in Cambodia]
  • 18 March 2010 Is the 40th Anniversary of the Coup [by Field Marshal Lon Nol] to Oust Samdech Euv [the former King]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5153, 18.3.2010

  • The United Nations Asked the Government Not to Provide Forest and Mountainous Land as Concessions to Companies [which affects ethnic minority people – request related to the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Cambodia is a signatory]
  • FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party [the former Norodom Ranariddh Party] Will Unite [before the next elections]

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The Order of Hun Sen to Prohibit Khmer Citizens from Gambling in Casinos Is Not Applied by the Owner of the Naga Casino – Wednesday, 17.3.2010

Posted on 17 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“The Naga Casino, located in Phnom Penh, is operating to extract money from people addicted to gambling in Cambodia, earning colossal profits, while small casinos had been shut down by the Cambodian government, and those addicted to gambling include some officials, and even parliamentarians who frequently appear there.

“An official who used to go to the Naga Casino, said that all kinds of gambling devices, such as slot machines and electronic games, exist in the Naga Casino. For common people, they can gamble on the ground floor hall of the Naga Casino. But for big clients such as some oknhas, senior officials, and parliamentarians who are addicted to gambling, they gamble in special rooms on the upper floors.

“According to general observations, among 100 gamblers who enter to gamble, most of them lose. The Naga Casino might benefit from its clients up to 90% of the money they spend. This is completely different from other countries where casinos are allowed to retain just about 3% of the money from their clients [and pay back the rest as winning money to their clients].

“Some gamblers are informed by the casino about the many rewards, and there are advertisements to attract gamblers, making them more obsessed from day to day. Moreover, on the compound of the casino, clients can order food, drinks, and cigarettes for free.

“In the casino, there is music played for the addicted gamblers with singers wearing short skirts, showing their thighs to please the gamblers, after they have lost everything.

“Those addicted to gambling said that after 7:00 in the evening, many people rush into the large gambling hall that provides the impression as if they were attending a party, and most gamblers are Khmers, 95%. The rest of 5% are Asian nationals, such as Yuon [Vietnamese], Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese.

“Based on Mr. Hun Sen’s order, Khmer citizens are not allowed to enter to gamble in casinos, but the Naga Casino allows Khmers to gamble freely. Some Khmers said that as long as you have money, you can enter the Naga Casino anytime and there are no problems.

“Special cameras are set up in the casino for security reasons, and an internal security department of Mr. Sok Phal [a deputy commissioner of the National Police] is also present there. That means that the police can monitor all activities of Khmer citizens, including those of government officials, oknhas, and parliamentarians, who are addicted to gambling whenever they enter the Naga Casino, but still, there is no action taken by the government to close the casino. According to some unofficial sources, it is estimated that addicted gamblers, who enter the casino, bring with them each day at least US$3 to US$4 million to be lost there. This casino is very lucrative, as it attracts addicted gamblers from small casinos that were closed by the government and it amasses all the profits alone there.

“It should be remembered that before small casinos were closed countrywide, it was seen that a Malaysian investor and owner of the Naga Casino, Mr. Chen Lip Keong, donated to Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen [head of the Cambodian Red Cross] US$1 million, thousands of garments, and an ambulance. After [the Director General of the National Police] Mr. Hok Lundy died in a helicopter crash in Svay Rieng, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced to revoke the licenses and to close slot machine casinos nationwide. This resulted in the transfer of clients of small casinos automatically to the Naga Casino.

“Recently, Mr. Hun Sen reminded the Khmer authorities to close gambling sites and to restrict Khmer citizens from entering to gamble in casinos that operate with licenses, such as the Naga Casino and other casinos along the Siamese [Thai] and Yuon [Vietnamese] borders. Mr. Hun Sen warned that if any casinos, or the authorities monitoring them, permit Khmer citizens to enter, those casinos will be shut down and the police officials involved will be punished.

“However, it is really regrettable that some casinos owned by oknhas, who are investors and who are from the Cambodian People’s Party, especially also the Naga Casino, do not follow Mr. Hun Sen’s order. The Naga Casino has more clients of Khmer nationality entering to gamble, after Mr. Hun Sen ordered to close gambling sites and to ban Khmer citizens from going into the casinos to gamble, simply because the Naga Casino is not afraid of Mr. Hun Sen’s order since it had donated money and materials to the Cambodian Red Cross. At present, the Naga Casino seems open for Khmer citizens and offers a lot of incentives for gambling there.

“An agent of Khmer Amatak could get into the casino very easily, because guards did not ask him for his identification card. The agent wonders why the guards, especially the police of the Department of Information and Investigation of the Ministry of Interior posted there, do not care about Mr. Hun Sen’s order not to allow Khmers to enter the casino to gamble. The agent reached the ground floor and the upper floors and found that Khmer citizens, especially officials and businessmen of medium range, were openly gambling happily, as they did not need to hide themselves, as they would have to do at prohibited gambling sites, and they do not need to travel to casinos along the borders, which takes much time and money.

“Because of the growing number of Khmer citizens who enter the Naga Casino to gamble, this casino announced to recruit more staff to add to the current number of 2,000. According to information from the Naga Casino, more than 2,000 new staff are going to be recruited into the casino.

“Observers said that Mr. Hun Sen’s order is applied only to Khmer citizens who are poor and powerless, but it is not applied to all of the powerful, investors, oknhas, and especially not in big casinos with close relations to the Cambodian People’s Party, as they provide much financial support to officials of the Cambodian People’s Party and some humanitarian organizations. Typically, the owner of the Naga Casino consolidates his position by contributing millions of dollars and materials to the Cambodian Red Cross, and he seems to consider Mr. Hun Sen’s order as supporting his casino business, making him earn more profit than before, as there is no more competition from small gambling sites.

“Regarding the case of the Naga Casino, it is said that it is not afraid of anyone except of Mr. Hun Sen. Thus, to open the casino for Khmer citizens to enter is not something new, but it is just to attract Khmer citizens, to take their money, and to use it to bribe powerful officials. If Mr. Hun Sen really has the intention to suppress all gambling, he should dare to remove the ‘social worms’ that are making Khmer citizens to become poorer, and that are using casinos and other incentives to attract Khmer citizens. Also, it results from the weakness of the law enforcement authorities of the Cambodian government.

“The Naga Casino seriously violates the law about the suppression of gambling and it particularly violates Mr. Hun Sen’s order.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #745, 17.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #436, 17.3.2010

  • Sex Workers Call for the Permission to Continue Their Work to Sustain Their Lives
  • Forestry Crimes in Mondolkiri Continue Strongly

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2203, 17.3.2010

  • The Chinese Government Invites Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to Visit China in Late April [2010]
  • The New Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia [Mr. Pan Guangxue – 潘广学] Promised to Support Cambodia [to further strengthen ties, solidarity, and cooperation between both countries]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #745, 17.3.2010

  • The Order of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Prohibit Khmer Citizens from Gambling in Casinos Is Not Applied by the Owner of the Naga Casino/li>

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #628, 17.3.2010

  • Forestry Officials Intercepted a Car Loaded with Wood, but Let It Go Immediately after Negotiations [Stung Treng]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6910, 17.3.2010

  • A One-Star Navy General Was Convicted to Serve One Year in Prison [for beating a boy and two teachers], but He Will Be Jailed Only 10 Ten Days and Then He Will Be Released [his position was suspended, but he will need to ask for permission from the prosecutors if he wants to go anywhere; at present he is hospitalized in Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3834, 17.3.2010

  • The Anti-Corruption Law, Which Is a Tool to Protect and Hide Corruption, Might Become Valid only at the End of 2011

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #132, 17.3.2010

  • About 1,000 Villagers of Amleang Commune Protested in Front of the Phnom Penh Sugar Company [as it used machinery to clear their farmland – Kompong Speu]
  • First Agricultural Prison Is Opened [in Kravanh district, Pursat, on an area of 100 hectares, to train prisoners to do farming]
  • A Vietnamese Company [Vietnam Urban and Industrial Zone Development Investment Corporation] Studies a Project to Construct a Hydro-Electricity Dam in Stung Treng

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5152, 17.3.2010

  • The Government Plans to Publish the Commercial Law on the Website of the Ministry of Commerce [soon]
  • Blood Was Splashed [from bottles by red-shirt demonstrators, supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] in Front of the Government’s House, while [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Is Hiding in an Unknown Place

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Financial Aid from the Federal Republic of Germany for 2009 and 2010 Amounts to Euro 36 Million – Tuesday, 16.3.2010

Posted on 16 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“Phnom Penh: A delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany arrived in Cambodia last week to sign agreements with the Royal Government of Cambodia relating to grant aid for 2009 and 2010 of about Euro 36 Million [approx. US$49 million].

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Economy and Finance said that last week, the senior delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany led by the Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, came to visit to study the progress of Cambodian developments. The forty two delegates are from the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the parliament, civil society, and private financing agencies of Germany, and also journalists.

“The spokesperson said that the delegates met with the Minister of Economy and Finance, Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, in the afternoon of 10 March 2010 before signing agreements between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Federal Republic of Germany about financial cooperation.

“Officials said that the financial cooperation for 2009 amounted to Euro 19 million [approx. US$26million] to implement three projects: the second phase health program with Euro 6 million [approx. US$8million], the regional economic development project also with Euro 6 million, and the second phase rural infrastructure development with Euro 7 million [approx. US$10million].

“Officials went on to say that regarding financial cooperation for 2009 and 2010, the Federal Republic of Germany promised to provide Euro 36 million [approx. US$49million], where Euro 34 million [approx. 46 million] is new aid and the rest is aid promised in 2007. Officials added that the aid for 2009 and 2010 is planned to be spent in the health sector with Euro 10.25 million [approx. US$14million], for rural development with Euro 22 million [approx. US$30million], and for other sectors Euro 3.75 million [approx. US$5million].

“Officials of the Ministry of Economy and Finance added that despite the bad impact from the global financial and economic crisis, the Federal Republic of Germany keeps providing aid to Cambodia of about Euro 34 million for two years. According to the official statistics of Cambodia, between 1992 and 2009, the Federal Republic of Germany provided US$280 million [approx. US$384 million]. Based on these statistics, the Federal Republic of Germany is the fifth donor of Cambodia after China, Japan, the United States of America, and France.

“The officials continued to say that the senior delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany will visit Siem Reap to study the progress of a program implementation for ‘Regional Economic Development’ which includes the green ring area project being implemented by the Apsara Authority.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5151, 16.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 16 march 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #435, 16.3.2010

  • Cambodia Will Receive a Grant of More Than US$31 Million from the Japanese Government to Implement Four Priority Projects [relating to the Neak Loeang bridge construction, clean water, electricity, and solar energy]
  • The Prime Minister Ordered Soldiers Not to Stand along the Border while Red-Shirt Demonstrators Are Demonstrating in Bangkok [in order to avoid a misunderstanding that Cambodia would like to take the opportunity to invade Thai territory]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2202, 16.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Called on All Educational Institutions to Continue to Cooperate with the Ministry of Education to Strengthen the Quality of Education
  • Samdech Hun Sen Rejected the Information that [the Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Is in Cambodia

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #627, 16.3.2010

  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay: Cambodia Loses More Than One Billion Dollars Each Year because of Corruption [through custom officers and police officials]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6909, 16.3.2010

  • Three Khmer Citizens Were Shot Dead and 25 Others Were Arrested by Siamese [Thai] Soldiers [accusing them of cutting trees illegally in Thai territory] Along the Border in Oddar Meanchey, during Three Months Early 2010

Meatophum, Vol.54, #763, 15-20.3.2010

  • The Khmer King Becomes a Member of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres of France

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3833, 16.3.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Rejected Red-Shirt Demonstrators Demand [to dissolve the parliament and to resign from his office] before He Escaped by Helicopter from the [Thai] King’s Guard Barracks Which Had Been Bombed

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #131, 16.3.2010

  • Thai Soldiers Fatally Shot Two More Khmer Citizens at the Border [who entered Thai territory illegally to cut trees]
  • The Authorities Reorganize the Area Destroyed by Fire [near Wat Neak Voan, Phnom Penh; the authorities asked citizens to choose their representatives to reorganize the burnt area, while the Prime Minister ordered to construct again rooms for monks and for students in the pagoda]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5151, 16.3.2010

  • Financial Aid from the Federal Republic of Germany for 2009 and 2010 Amounts to Euro 36 Million
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Ordered Soldiers along the Border to Stay Calm and Asked Khmer Citizens Not to Join Demonstrations in Thailand

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Report of the US Department of State Is in Line with the Actual Situation in Cambodia – Monday, 15.3.2010

Posted on 15 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“Recently, the US Department of State assessed the human rights situation in Cambodia for 2009, saying that Cambodia progressed in the prevention of human trafficking. But the United States of America expressed some concerns, such as about the restriction of the freedom of expression, the deportation of Uighurs to China, land disputes, and the growing corruption in Cambodia.

“The report on human rights for 2009 of the US Department of State noticed that Cambodia positively promoted the rights of the disabled, and made also efforts at the national level to protect victims of human trafficking that helps the most vulnerable people. Besides this, the authorities worked to reduce serious crimes – the number of murders declined, compared to 2008. The report continues to say that the United States of America is worried about the restriction of the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press by the Cambodian government, pointing to court cases related to defamation and disinformation.

“The report continues that the United States of America is worried about land disputes, forced evictions, and corruption that frequently happens in Cambodia, while the court systems remains weak. The report of the US Department of State is not welcomed by high ranking officials of the Cambodian government, and they accused it as not being based on thorough observations. However, officials of human rights organization recognized that the report reflects the actual situation, and what is mentioned in the report is true.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia said that the Cambodia government is settling those problems, including through the adoption of an anti-corruption law soon. But meanwhile, the president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], said that in general, the work to prevent the trafficking of women and children still faces some shortages, but the government tried to do it to some extent. The other three points that are unacceptable for the United States of America are real issues, because land disputes is also recognized by the government as a major issue. The claim by non-government organization officials testifies that the situation of human rights violations in Cambodia has not improved.

“It is remembered that in late 2009, the Cambodia government arrested 20 Uighurs and forcedly deported them to China, while they were applying for asylum from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Such action caused concerns from human rights groups, voicing the concern that those Uighurs might receive the death penalty in China. Due to this deportation, the Cambodian government was strongly criticized by many local and well-known international human rights organizations.

“At present, heavy human rights violations happen in Cambodia, not different from the concerns raised in the report of the US Department of State. Typically, like in a land dispute in Kompong Thom, the authorities ordered armed forces to evict citizens without any justification, to grab land for a Yuon [Vietnamese] company. When citizens protested to protect their land and their shelters, they were shot at like animals – an unacceptable human rights violation.

“In another case, even the freedom of expression of a parliamentarian, who had expressed his opinion to protect the territorial integrity of the country, was restricted. The opposition party president and parliamentarian from Kompong Cham, Mr. Sam Rainsy, was convicted by the Svay Rieng Court to serve two years in prison and was ordered to pay millions of Riel as a fine, because he uprooted border posts at the Khmer-Yuon border in the Samroang commune, Chantrea district, Svay Rieng, while two villagers who lost their rice fields, Mr. Prum Chea and Ms. Meas Srey, were jailed unjustly.

“After all, the report of the US Department of State regarding human rights issues in Cambodia complies with the actual situation, and officials of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s government cannot hide this. Therefore, all members of the international community and donors, especially the United States of America, should encourage the Cambodian government to respect human rights, as stated in the Constitution. That means the government should stop restrictions that violate the freedom of expression, and protect the right of living of citizens by completely stopping to use the word ‘development’ as an excuse to evict citizens from their land.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3832, 15.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 15 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #434, 14-15.3.2010

  • The Government Reacted against the US Human Rights Report That Overlooks the Efforts of Cambodia [to improve the human rights conditions]
  • US$41.5 Million for Investment Projects Were Approved in February 2010 [mostly focusing on investments in the garment sector and in agricultural product processing; in January 2010, the Council for the Development of Cambodia approved US$75 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2201, 14-15.3.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Informed the Public of a Temporary Relocation, in Order to Construct a New Court Building [it is relocated to the previous headquarters of the Ministry of Tourism in Tuol Svay Prey II, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]
  • The Republic of Korea Congratulates Cambodia after an Anti-Corruption Law Has Been Discussed and Adopted

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #744, 15.3.2010

  • Chinese Hydro-Electricity Dams Cause Drought and Environmental Destruction to the Mekong River – as [Thai] NGOs Inform the United Nations

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #626, 14-15.3.2010

  • Perpetrators Who Shot and Injured [three] Disabled People [guarding the land of the Vietnamese Tan Bien company] in Kompong Thom] Are Out of the Net of the Law, while Some Victims Do Not Dare to Return to Their Own Homes [as the authorities are seeking to arrest them because of their protests against their eviction from the land]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6908, 15.3.2010

  • Among 569 Poor Communities in Phnom Penh, for More Than 300 Their Problems Have Been Solved [through ‘development-in-place’ and through compensation – according to the municipality]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3832, 15.3.2010

  • Report of the US Department of State Is in Line with the Actual Situation in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #130, 15.3.2010

  • The Opposition Party President [Mr. Sam Rainsy] Was Formally Indicted at a Count for Faking Public Documents
  • Cambodia Spent US$59 Million on Electricity Bought from Thailand [about US$19 million] and Vietnam [about US$40 million] in 2009
  • More Than 1,000 Hectares of Conservation Forest Were Destroyed by Fire in Siem Reap, Pailin, and Kampot [because people slashed-and-burnt some places to claim farmland, which led to fire getting out of control]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5150, 14-15.3.2010

  • Nine Members of the European Parliament Will Visit Cambodia [from 18 to 20 March 2010, to study the political and economic situation in Cambodia]
  • France Will Help to Establish a Chemistry Laboratory for the Royal Academy of Cambodia [according to a meeting between the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and the director of the National Scientific Research Center of France, Ms. Marie-Florence Grenier Loustalot; it might take two to three years]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1887, 15.3.2010

  • Citizens from 10 Villages in Amleang Commune, Kompong Speu, Are Struggling to Demand Their Land Back from a Company of [Senator and Oknha] Ly Yong Phat [who invests to grow sugarcane on this land]

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