Week 672

“The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia” – Sunday, 11.7.2010

Posted on 12 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

On Saturday, 10 July 2010, it was reported that the King had called on all development partners of Cambodia to provide financial and technical support for forestry reform in Cambodia.

At this occasion, we reprint part of the history before this call by the King, starting with an old statement by Global Witness from December 2004, continuing with texts which had all been in Cambodian newspapers in 2010 and had been translated and published in The Mirror – a historical review for further consideration.

Resign or be sacked
3.12.2004

With the advent of Cambodia’s Consultative Group (CG) donor meeting on 6 and 7 December 2004, combating corruption is once more at the top of the political agenda. In line with this renewed emphasis, Global Witness is calling on the Director of the Forest Administration to be made accountable for the rampant corruption within his own department.

“Ty Sokhun should do the honorable thing and resign. If not, the Prime Minister should sack him.” said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness.

Ty Sokhun was made Director of the Department of Forestry and Wildlife1 in 1998. Since then, corruption within the department has if anything got worse. The May 2000 Asia Development Bank [ADB] Forest Concession Review characterized the crisis situation in Cambodia’s forest as “…total system failure; resulting from greed, corruption, incompetence and illegal acts…” Since that time not one forest department official has been charged with corruption, let alone convicted…

“How can the new Forest Administration hope to address corruption if the people at the top remain the same?” said Buckrell. Ty Sokhun is hopelessly compromised by his familial links to the timber trade. His father-in-law, Khun Thong, is one of Cambodia’s most prolific illegal loggers. “Ty Sokhun’s failure to make public his familial links to the timber trade is a massive conflict of interest and is in itself reason enough to dismiss him.” …

Global Witness agrees with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sentiments, of more than two years ago, that “while good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.” … Global Witness Press Release

And from the Khmer press in 2010:

It Is Time to Stop: Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities
Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
29.1.2010

“Phnom Penh: The top Five-Star General, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, announced that from now on, military officials who are involved in illegal activities are not fit to work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, because they destroy the reputation of the armed forces, the reputation of the soldiers. …

“… ‘All military commanders, please remember that you have no authority to order soldiers to guard your mangroves. I tell you this for the future, because previously this happened… The role of the military is to fulfill obligations for the nation, not to guard your mangroves, please check this again! Please do not use soldiers and the military’s machinery to serve individual interests. If it still continues, do not say that I have not told you. How many stars showing your military rank you wear, though I wear only five stars, I will dismiss you even if you are wearing the big moon as the sign of your rank, I will dismiss you!’” – Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

The Authorities Intercept Wood Every Day, but Never Arrest the Wood Traders
24.3.2010

“After the Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, ordered to crack down on forestry crimes, the logging seems to continue even stronger, and some perpetrators drove luxury cars loaded with luxury wood in a procession of cars of high ranking officials to deceive the authorities.

“The authorities, including forestry administration officials, police, military police, and committees from the agencies from military and other units charged with suppressing forestry crimes and forestry criminals, intercepted cars and trucks loaded with wood and checked wood storehouses of some powerful people. But by now, the authorities have not arrested any traders to show their accomplishment to the Khmer public on television. …” – Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #634, 24.3.2010

Samdech Hun Sen Considers Forestry Crimes to Be Acts of National Betrayal
27.3.2010

“Phnom Penh: During a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen affirmed the position of the government regarding the campaign to strongly intercept forestry crimes, and not to give up. Although there may be barriers against it made of rock or of iron, any obstacles must be broken down.

“During the cabinet meeting yesterday, which took from morning to noon, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen spoke to all members of the Royal Government, saying that all related institutions, whether on the national or on regional levels, have to cooperate to intercept forestry crimes, and to reach the ringleaders. All authorities have to investigate this at every place to find the offenses and to arrest the offenders, the principal leaders, and other relevant persons, to be prosecuted without any exception regardless of how powerful those persons are, and whatever their relationships, because the suppression of forestry crimes is the suppression of criminal groups – their activities have to be considered as activities of national betrayal. …” – Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2212, 27.3.2010

Considering Forestry Crimes, Ty Sokun Should Not Be Allowed to Hold a Position,
but Should Be Punished according to the Law
7.4.2010

“Prime Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday morning, in a conference at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, to remove the director of the forestry administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Such a removal of the holder of the same position, of a former head of the forestry administration – Mr. Ly Kim Han – happened also some years ago, making him feel heart-broken, and he died. But in Ty Sokun’s case, according to opinions expressed among the general public, he should face the law and receive punishment. To remove Ty Sokun, but to appoint him at the same time as Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, shows the great tolerance of the Prime Minister.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly announced the decision to take out Mr. Ty Sokun from the position of Director General of the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, because he was involved in illegal wood trading. But Mr. Hun Sen did not specify any measures to be taken against Mr. Ty Sokun, and he reassigned him to the position of Under-Secretary of State of Agriculture. Prime Minister Hun Sen said on 6 April 2010 at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, that the head of the forestry administration, Mr. Ty Sokun, was involved in corruption related to forestry crimes, and that the authorities had recently started investigations to intercept them. …

“… Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed that at this time, there will be no tolerance for any official who got involved in forestry crimes. ‘We take hot measures to hit the heads of the main leaders. Therefore, the Prime Minister has to decide to do things, even if they hurt, in order to create models of law enforcement in the campaign to intercept forestry crimes.’ …” – Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3852, 7.4.2010

Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia
to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources,
after an Unclear Suppression Campaign
6.5.2010

“… Recently, Cambodia has started to crack down on luxury grade wood trading, and after activities for one month, the authorities confiscated 6,000 cubic meter of such wood that was to be transported to China and Yuon. Some was to be exported to the international market via Singapore. …

“The illegal wood trading in Cambodia reduced the rich forestry resource during the 1960s of about 75% of the whole country to drop to only more than 30% at present, according to some environmental organizations. Forestry expert officials and some sectors of the authorities have been blamed for their collusion, committing illegal wood trading, but most of the actors are not brought to the courts.

“According to reports from forestry administration officials, 207 forestry crimes have been reported to the courts, but some traders with a title as an Oknha, or with close relations to high government officials, have not been charged, though they colluded to commit forestry crimes in Cambodia. Some forestry administration officials enjoy their lives with the wealth they gained from the illegal cutting down of trees. …” – Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

Records show 17 held for forestry crimes
9.7.2010

A total of 17 people are being held in pretrial detention in Koh Kong provincial prison on forestry-related charges dating back to 2008, according to a document provided this week by a prison worker who expressed frustration with the release last month of four forestry officials charged with involvement in an illegal logging ring.

The document shows that an additional seven people in the province have been convicted of forestry crimes and are serving sentences at the prison.

The official, who asked not to be named, said that all the people on the list were “poor” Koh Kong residents who had been arrested for such crimes as “collecting wood” and “clearing farmland.”

“It doesn’t seem very fair,” the official said. “Poor people who depend on clearing forest for their livelihood are convicted for up to five years for forestry crimes, while forestry officials involved with illegal logging rings are released.”

Although their case remains under investigation, the four Koh Kong Forestry Administration Cantonment officials were released on June 24 after being arrested in a raid amid a crackdown on illegal logging called for by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“The small fish is punished, but the medium and big fish never get punished.”

Chhin Long, the chief clerk for the prosecution at the provincial court, said Tuesday that he had seen a document signed by Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun and the prime minister requesting the officials’ release.

Chheng Kim Sun, director of the Forestry Administration, noted on Thursday that the officials were still being investigated and could be summoned back to court at any time. He defended the release of the prisoners, describing it as part of standard legal procedure.

“The court is independent, and the court’s decision-making process in this case would be the same for rich and poor people, powerful and powerless people. It is not biased to one side,” Chheng Kim Sun said.

But Un Than Aan, provincial coordinator for the rights group ADHOC, said that although the releases might have been legal, the poor are bearing the brunt of the government’s logging crackdown.

“The release of the four officials can be done according to court procedure, because they are able to provide the court with a permanent job and address,” Un Than Aan said. “Poor people aren’t released because they have no permanent job or address, and they are often found guilty of forestry crimes because there’s enough evidence against them.”

ADHOC President Thun Saray said the pattern was consistent with past crackdowns.

“The small fish is punished, but the medium and big fish never get punished,” he said. “That’s been my observation for the last 15 years.” – Phnom Penh Post, 9 July 2010

“The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia
to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5246, Saturday, 10.7.2010

“Financial and technical support” – plus, as Global Witness had quoted a 2002 statement of the Prime Minister in 2004 – “While good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.”

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Human Rights Watch Criticizes Cambodian Military, but Cambodia Dismisses the Criticism – Saturday, 10.7.2010

Posted on 11 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“Phnom Penh: Human Rights Watch [“Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice”] criticized the Cambodian military for being involved in forced evictions.

“This criticism is made as Cambodian military forces cooperate with the US army to organize a big military exercise starting on Sunday next week.

“According to a report from New York issued on 9 July 2010, Human Rights Watch said that the joint military exercise, which the United States of America decided to organize in Cambodia, will affect the US commitment to promote human rights in Cambodia.

“Human Rights Watch said that Cambodian military forces are used to protect the interest of private companies [see Phnom Penh Post of 2 June 2010] and to evict Cambodian people by force in order to grab their land. In addition, Cambodian armed forces beat and sometimes shot at Cambodian innocent people over land disputes.

“Human Rights Watch asked the United States of America to suspend its military aid to Cambodia, where it granted about US$1.8 million in 2010 for the construction of a military training center.

“Anyway, high ranking officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia dismissed this criticism, adding that the cooperation between Cambodia and the United States of America continues.

“The spokesperson and Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat, said that what was mentioned by the Human Rights Watch was without clear basis and thus it is unreliable. Cambodian troops have never committed anything as criticized [see Phnom Penh Post of 10 May 2010].

The Asian Human Right Commission (AHRC) has learned that on November 14, 2006, three villagers were allegedly assaulted in relation to a land dispute by members of the military from the ACO command headquarters (tank headquarters)

“The spokesperson of the government, Minister of Information Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said that the Cambodian armed forces are used to protect and to maintain security and social order, and every country uses armed forces, also the United States of America. But the government has never ordered troops to grab people’s land.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said that the criticism of Human Rights Watch is unnecessary and useless.

“He added that the relations of Cambodia and the United States of America are smooth in all sectors, both in such fields as diplomacy and military. These ties will continue without change.

“It should be noted that the criticism of Human Rights Watch was made a week before Cambodian forces start to cooperate with the US Pacific Command to jointly organize a big multi-national military exercise and training from 17 to 30 July 2010. Twenty six countries will join in this exercise which is named Angkor Sentinel 2010.

“The multi-national exercise is organized with the aim to strengthen the capacity of military forces for peacekeeping missions in the region and in the world.

“Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat said that twenty six countries will participate in the military exercise which is divided into two parts: a ‘command post’ exercise in Phnom Penh in the Intercontinental Hotel, and field training exercise at the area of the ACO [‘allied command operations’?] Tank Command Post in Kompong Speu, along National Road 4.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5246, 10.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2297, 10.7.2010

  • The Appeals Court Determined 9 August 2010 as the Date for the Hearing of the Border Post Removal Case [on opposition party president, Mr. Sam Rainsy]
  • After Taking Out Money from a Bank, a Man [a factory accountant] Was Robbed and US$3,500 Was Taken Away [there may have been two or more robbers involved, but they are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7004, 10-11.7.2010

  • A Cambodian Muslim Man Got Drunk and Started a Shootout in a Cambodian Muslim Village, Killing Two People and Injuring Five Others Before He Escaped [Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3928, 10-11.7.2010

  • It Has Been Two Years Already, but the Authorities Still Cannot Arrest the Perpetrators Who Fatally Shot [Moneaksekar Khmer] Journalist Khim Sambo and His Son
  • Human Rights Watch Wants the United States of America to Engage in Strengthening of Human Rights During the Participation to Organize a Multi-National Exercise in Cambodia [the “Angkor Sentinel” exercise is part of the 2010 Global Peace Operations Initiative, an effort jointly run by the US Departments of Defense and of State to help train peacekeepers]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5246, 10.7.2010

  • Human Rights Watch Criticizes Cambodian Military, but Cambodia Dismisses the Criticism
  • [Former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch Asked to Change His Foreign Defense Lawyer Mr. François Roux [the Khmer Rouge Tribunal agreed to his request]
  • The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia
  • A Man Raped a Two-Month Pregnant Woman and Then Killed Her in a Rice Field [he was arrested – Preah Vihear]

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Cambodia Warned UN Officials Not to Interfere in Cambodian Affairs – Friday, 9.7.2010

Posted on 10 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia accused the director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Christophe Peschoux, claiming that he acted beyond his role when he criticized the deportation of two Thai red-shirt activists on Monday 5 July 2010, and the Ministry warned that such comment from him might make the government reconsider his presence in Cambodia.

“On Wednesday, 7 July 2010, the director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Christophe Peschoux, spoke to local media, saying that the deportation of the two Thais are ‘political decisions’ which lack appropriate procedure.

“In a letter dated 8 July 2010, the Ministry reminded Mr. Peschoux that he has no right to make such a criticism, as it relates to decisions within the exclusive right of the Cambodian government. The letter ends with the following remark, ‘Any such activities in future will make the Royal Government of Cambodia to decide over his presence in Cambodia.’

“This letter is similar to one sent in March to the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Douglas Broderick, which had warned to expell him from Cambodia for criticizing the process taken by the government for the adoption of the anti-corruption law.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said on 8 July 2010 that the letter was sent to Mr. Peschoux to alert him to respect a memorandum of understanding, signed on 1 January 2010 with the government. He added, ‘It does not mean that we want to expell him, but we just want to alert him.’

“Mr. Peschoux could not be reached for comment on 8 July 2010.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #211, 9.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 9 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2296, 9.7.2010

  • Workers Will Receive a Minimum Salary of US$61 per Month from 1 October 2010 [before that, the minimum salary is US$50; the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, announced a plan to strike on 13, 14, and 15 July 2010 to demand an increase of the minimum salary to US$70]
  • Because of Jealousy, a Man Killed His Wife by Cutting Her Throat [he was arrested – Pursat]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7003, 9.7.2010

  • Cambodia Is Open for Equity Ownership by Foreign Investments [according to the World Bank, Cambodia will allow foreign investors to take up to 100% of ownership in all sectors, except for electricity and the ports]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3927, 9.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Plans to Hold a Press Conference [about the courts and justice in Cambodia on 15 July 2010] a Day Ahead of the Deadline to Pay a Fine [for losing in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation case]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #211, 9.7.2010

  • Cambodia Warned UN Officials Not to Interfere in Cambodian Affairs
  • Defense Lawyers [of former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea] Asked [the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] to Investigate Political Interference into the Affairs of the Tribunal [they said that the government is interfering to threaten the right of their client in judicial hearings; the government opposes to question government officials and investigations of other former Khmer Rouge leaders]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Decided to Detain the Second Wife of Oknha Khov Chily over the [failed] Murders [of the wife and a daughter of a Senior Minister of the Cambodian People’s Party, a former FUNCINPEC minister of Public Works and Transportation, Mr. Sun Chanthol – Phnom Penh]
  • The Green Light Is Given for Marriages between Cambodians and South Koreans [the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said that the ban on marriages is lifted after the Cambodian government has organized a clear monitoring mechanism against fake marriages and human trafficking]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5245, 9.7.2010

  • A Gay Man Was Killed and His Body Was Thrown Away at Kilometer 6 [of National Road 5, in the Russey Keo district of Phnom Penh; perpetrators are not yet identified]
  • Two People Died and Fifty Seven Others Are Having Severe Diarrhea [Svay Rieng]

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Economists: A Cambodia Stock Market Can Use Both the Dollar and the Riel – Thursday, 8.7.2010

Posted on 9 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“Phnom Penh: The stock market of Cambodia scheduled to be established at the end of this year might use both Dollar and Riel.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Hang Chuonarong, said on 6 July 2010, after a press conference at the office of the Asian Development Bank in Cambodia, that this is a choice being discussed by stock market experts, but so far, no official decision has been made. He added, ‘The government has nothing decided, but experts, highly skilled in stock exchange matters, are thoroughly discussing and studying its advantages and disadvantages.’

“According to the Principal Economist in the Office of Regional Economic Integration of the Asian Development Bank, Mr. Jayant Menon, the choice to use both currencies (Dollar and Riel) is a mechanism that Cambodia must take into consideration, because it is related to the currency polices, and the polices about interest rates, especially the stability of the Riel, the national currency of Cambodia.

“He went on to say that to invest by using the Dollar or the Riel is not a problem for the operation of the stock market in Cambodia, but it depends on where Cambodia wants investments to flow to. He added that the problem is whether Cambodia needs local or needs foreign investment. If Cambodia needs foreign investment, foreign investors might find it somewhat difficult to invest in the stock exchange of Cambodia.

“So far, the Dollar, the US currency, is used for 90% of the transaction value [the Riel is used for 10%] at the markets and for payments in Cambodia, while in Laos, it is used only for 50%, and in Vietnam for merely 20%.

“Regarding this issue, Mr. Narong recognizes this point, but he said that the use of the Dollar has both positive and negative qualities. He explained that the use of the Dollar is good, because its value does not change much, it is easy for settling payments in exports, and it attracts foreign investment for economic growth, but it can cause difficulties for the authorities to manage currency policies and some other problems.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5244, 8.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 8 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2295, 8.7.2010

  • Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam Will Cooperate to Solve Dollarization Problems [to deal with challenges that result from using different currencies in the economy, to allow the three countries to promote efficient currency policies and currency exchange policies]
  • Samdech Hun Sen and His Wife Donated Two Male Elephants to the [South] Korean Government [for breeding]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7002, 8.7.2010

  • Police Intercepted a Twelve-Seater Car Loaded with 110 Pieces of Ebony, and a Person Who Tried to Protect the Wood Claiming that He Is a Military Police Officer [finally police seized the car and arrest the driver – Takeo]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3926, 8.7.2010

  • Cambodia Loses US$20 Million to US$90 Million per Year because of Failures in Its Dollarization Policy [according to studies by the Supreme National Economic Council – (interesting: its web site has also a non-operational button Call for donation) – the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank, the extensive use of dollars in Cambodia, on the one hand, helps attract foreign investment and trade and enables the banking and financial systems to improve quickly through the increase of deposited money, the prevention of market disturbances, and the inflation of the prices of goods – but, on the other hand, it weakens the possibility of the National Bank of Cambodia to create its own currency policies, including for the prevention of financial crisises in the banking system, the control of the inflation rate of currency exchanges, and the printing of currency notes]
  • The Court Will Issue a Warrant to Detain [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua on 16 July 2010 if She Does Not Pay a Fine by the Deadline [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #2, 8.7.2010

  • The World Bank: Cambodia Is Very Open for Foreign Investments [compared to other countries in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific, but It Takes Longer [to launch an operation in Cambodia, which takes 86 days on average, while in other countries, it takes only 42 days]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Starts to Construct a Demonstration Compound [at a park near the Canadia Bank’s High Rise Building]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5244, 8.7.2010

  • Economists: A Cambodia Stock Market Can Use Both the Dollar and the Riel
  • Cambodia Denied that Thai Red-Shirt [anti-government] Leaders Take Shelter in Siem Reap [the Thai Prime Minister said that two red-shirt leaders are hiding in Cambodia]
  • More Than 6,000 People Suffered Injuries and Death along the Road [within six months of 2010, there were 3,040 cases of traffic accidents in Cambodia which killed 991 people, seriously injured 2,853, and lightly injured 2,562]

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Within Five Months of 2010, Tourist Arrivals to Cambodia Were More Than One Million – Wednesday, 7.7.2010

Posted on 9 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“Phnom Penh: A report of tourist statics shows that within five months of 2010, there were 1,054,821 international tourist arrivals in Cambodia, an increase by 11.53% compared to the corresponding period in 2009, and the arrivals from Vietnam had the highest number.

“The report was released by the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, for Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen on 29 June 2010, and it was then made available to journalists on 5 July 2010.

“The report says that, among the international tourist arrivals to Cambodia of more than one million, 552,523 tourists came to Cambodia by air (243,907 through the Phnom Penh International airport, and 308,616 through the Siem Reap airport), 409,349 tourists arrived on land, and 34,349 by ship. 58,743 tourists made one-day-return visits.

“Minister Thong Khon said that the 10 major tourism markets of origin for Cambodia within the first five months were:

  1. Vietnam: 175,937 tourists, an increase by 43.76%
  2. Korea: 125,455 tourists, an increase by 33.53%
  3. China: 74,558 tourists, an increase by 32.07%
  4. Japan: 67,658 tourists, an increase by 4.80%
  5. America: 65,472 tourists, a decrease by 5.43%
  6. England: 47,635 tourists, a decrease by 4.86%
  7. France: 46,600 tourists, a decrease by 0.51%
  8. Taiwan: 41,707 tourists, an increase by 41.82%
  9. Australia: 38,118 tourists, an increase by 11.05%
  10. Thailand: 36,995 tourists, a decrease by 13.83%

“Mr. Thong Khon said that the number of international tourists visiting the four priority tourism sites of Cambodia within these five months were:

  1. Siem Reap-Angkor: 565,803 tourists or 45.87% of the total tourist arrivals, increased by 26.63% compared to the same period in 2009.
  2. Phnom Penh: 489,018 or 39.65% of the total arrivals, increased by 11.9%
  3. Seashore regions: 81,459 tourists or 6.60% of the total arrivals decreased by 7.65%
  4. Eco-Tourism regions at the Northeast: 39,791 tourists or 3.23% increased by 91.28%

“Minister Thong Khon said that the number of national tourists visiting tourism resorts and regions countrywide within five months of 2010 were about 3.5 million, increased by 17% compared to the same period in 2009.

“Minister Thong Khon added that the number Cambodian tourists going abroad within five months of 2010 were 194,473, an increase by 14.86% compared to the corresponding period in 2009, where there were 339,698 Cambodian tourists going abroad, a decrease by 56.79% compared to 2008.

Note:
The numbers in the previous sentence do not tally – and this text does not provide any clue how to interpret the figures – giving percentages up to two digits behind the decimal point, so that any effort to speculate what the figures mean could, at the best, lead to some general statements, without pretending precision up to some hundredths of one per cent.
But we still try to mirror in The Mirror what is in the originals.

“The president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, Mr. Ang Kim Ieng, welcomed the increase of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia and said this is because the world is recovering from the economic crisis.

“Mr. Ang Kim Ieng added that even though Asian tourists to Cambodia, especially from Vietnam that stand on top of the list, who spend a short period of three days on average, spending less money than European tourists, it is still a positive sign for the tourism to Cambodia. Also, the current political stability and the good infrastructure of Cambodia, as well as the expansion of flights, help to attract tourists.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5243, 7.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2294, 7.7.2010

  • Municipal Court Ordered [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua to Pay Her Fine within Ten Days [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen], otherwise she will be detained according to the law; Ms. Mu Sochua rejects to pay[as she considers the court decision not to have been just]
  • A Group of Japanese Investors Asked for Support from the Senate for Agricultural Investments in Cambodia [they began a pilot step by doing rice cultivation on 200 hectares in Battambang for rice export]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #787, 7.7.2010

  • Can the Decision of Ms. Mu Sochua to Allow Herself to Be Imprisoned Change the Judicial System in Cambodia, and Bring Help from the International Community?

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7001, 7.7.2010

  • The Appeals Court Delayed Sam Rainsy’s Hearing [over the removal of border markers at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; it was postponed as two prisoners involved in the case were not present]
  • Cambodia and Laos Connect a Fiber Cable Network [to expand highly effective communications]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3925, 7.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: The Sam Rainsy Party Does Not Recognize Any Border Demarcation That Leads to the Loss of [Cambodian] Territory to neighboring countries [especially to Vietnam, where recently some farmers lost their land because of the new settings]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #209, 7.7.2010

  • Cambodia Celebrated the Second Anniversary of the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site [on 7 July 2010]
  • Four Forestry Department Higher Level Staff [accused of being involving in forestry crimes] in Koh Kong Were Released Temporarily [but they are still under court investigation; Prime Minister Hun Sen signed off on a letter sent by the Minister of Agriculture to the Koh Kong Court, requesting the temporary release of those forestry officials]
  • [The manager of a company said:] A South Korean Company, Korean Overseas Grains Investment and Development Corporation – KOGID – Plans to Spend US$7.35 Million to Buy Red Corn [from Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5243, 7.7.2010

  • Within Five Months of 2010, Tourist Arrivals to Cambodia Were More Than One Million
  • The Minister of Agriculture of Cambodia Asked Vietnam to Invest in Agriculture [to produce more rice and become a major rice export country like Vietnam]
  • Eight Khmer Citizens Liberated from India Arrived in Cambodia [they had been trafficked to India]
  • [Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An: The Cambodian-Laotian Border Is No Longer a Problem [so far 88% of the border markers are set, along the border line of about 600 km]

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Officials: Cambodia Organizes Freedom Parks for Assemblies – Tuesday, 6.7.2010

Posted on 8 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“A government official said on Monday that Cambodia is making way to create Freedom Parks for citizens to demonstrate, but local activists are concerned that this would restrict the freedom of expression. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak, told Agence France-Presse [AFP], ‘All provinces and cities are organizing places for Freedom Parks.’ He added that the authorities countrywide had been notified accordingly.

“He went on to say that the parks planed to be established to provide safety and to permit people to freely express their opinions from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; it is compulsory to use them according to a law adopted last year that is the subject of controversial discussion.

“The law limits the number of demonstrators to 200 only; opposition party members and activists said that the authorities will use this limit defined in the law to restrict the freedom of expression.

“People from around the country have frequently demonstrated near the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen about various issues, including about forced evictions, for which the government faces increasing criticism.

“An official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Chan Soveth, said that the new parks might also reduce the level of attention from the general public, if demonstrators are forced to demonstrate far from the Prime Minister’s residence. He added, ‘It is a good idea to provide an opportunity to people to express their ideas, but we are worried that Freedom Parks might force people to demonstrate at places which they do not prefer.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #208, 6.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2293, 6.7.2010

  • [The Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Expressed His Gratitude toward Cambodia [for sending two bomb attack suspects to Thailand]
  • In a Tragic Event, a Whole Family [of six members] Was Killed in a Traffic Accident [after a collision between a car and a truck – Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7000, 6.7.2010

  • An Inhuman Man Raped a Seven-Month Pregnant Woman and Then Killed Her; It Is a Grave Tragedy Where the Mother and the Infant Were Killed [the perpetrator was arrested – Sihanoukville]
  • The US President Announced Investments of US$2 Billion for Solar Energy Projects [to create solar energy plants]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3924, 6.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Petition to Ask the United States of America to Help to Monitor Judicial Systems in Cambodia Has Reached the Hands of [US President] Barrack Obama

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #208, 6.7.2010

  • Officials: Cambodia Organizes Freedom Parks for Assemblies
  • The Opposition Newspaper Khmer Machas Srok Suspends Its Publication due to Bankruptcy [after Deum Ampil, another critical paper, was announced on 2 July 2010 to be bankrupt]
  • The Government Encourages the Conservation of Old Constructions to Attract Tourists [like buildings of historical nature or traditional houses]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5242, 6.7.2010

  • Mu Sochua Maintains Her Position Not to Pay a Fine [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen – considering the court verdict not to have been just] and Prepares to Get Jailed
  • Two People Were Killed and Four Others Were Wounded after a Truck Loaded with Cows Hit Motorbikes [Takeo]

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Cambodia Will Hand Over Two Terrorist Suspects to Thai Embassy Officials on Monday – Monday, 5.7.2010

Posted on 8 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“On Saturday Cambodian police arrested two Thai citizens accused of being involved in planing a bomb attack in Bangkok last month. The two alleged terrorists will be handed over to Thai embassy officials today [5 July 2010].

“According to an announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation that the Phnom Penh Post received on Sunday, Siem Reap police on Saturday evening arrested suspects Kobchai Boonplod, born on 19 July 1967, and Varissareeya Boonsom, female, born on 30 September 1967, accused of having performed a terrorist bomb attack on 22 June 2010 in Bangkok.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, said, ‘We had enough documents to confirm that they are bomb suspects before we arrested them.’ He added that the Cambodian authorities will hand over the two suspects to Thai embassy officials in Phnom Penh on Monday, 5 July 2010, at 9:30 at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

“He went on to say that Thai authorities spoke to the press last week, saying that the two suspects, who are masterminds of the bomb attack on the headquarters of the Bhumjaithai Party [a member of the present Thai government coalition] on 22 June 2010, escaped to Cambodia, but Thailand did not ask Cambodia to arrest them.

“Mr. Koy Kuong added, ‘The Cambodian government promised to extradite the two suspects to Thailand though there was no request from Thailand. This shows the willingness of the Cambodian Government to fight terrorism, as the Cambodian government always cooperates with other countries to combat terrorism. Monday last week, the Thai press had quoted Police Lieutenant Colonel Benjapol Rodsawas, deputy chief of the Sa Kaew immigration office, as saying that Varissareeya Boonsom and Kobchai Boonplod left Thailand separately on Wednesday last week and escaped to Cambodia a day after the bomb attack outside the headquarters of the Bhumjaithai Party at Phaholyothin Road in Bangkok. At that time, Cambodian officials rejected the information.

“Regarding this issue, the spokesperson of the Thai government, Mr. Panitan Wattanayagorn, stated yesterday that he could not comment on the situation until the perpetrators have been handed over to the Thai authorities today. But he welcomed the cooperation by Cambodia. He said, ‘In general, we welcome the cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia in all activities and we think that it encourages additional cooperation.’ Asked about the accusations by the Cambodian government, he said that he does not have a role to comment on the affairs or views of Cambodia.

“The executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, Mr. Chheang Vannarith, said that the arrest shows warming relations between both countries. He said, ‘I think that the Cambodian government takes a flexible position on bilateral ties with Thailand. I can see positive progress for bilateral ties.

“Both countries decided to withdraw their respective ambassadors in November last year, after Cambodia appointed former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [convicted for corruption in a land deal] as an economic advisor of the Cambodian government.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #207, 5.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 5 July 2010

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #108, 5-6.7.2010

  • Mr. Chea Mony: My New Term [as president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Is to Struggle to Demand a Salary Increase [to a minimum of US$93] and to Create a Labor Court

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2292, 4-5.7.2010

  • Illegal Check Points Are Increasing at Night in Phnom Penh [to extort money from citizens traveling on motorcycles], but Higher Level Officials Ignore This [they check whether people wear helmets, have back-view mirrors, number plates, and a motorbike license. Even if there is no problem, teenagers cannot negotiate what fine to pay to be free, even when they did not commit any wrongdoings]
  • [Ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Promises to Return to Thailand at the End of This Year [to unite the Thai nation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6999, 5.7.2010

  • A Newly Created Site for Producing Mreah Prov Oil [an important ingredient for producing the drug Ecstasy – no information about who is involved – Veal Veng district, Pursat]
  • An Inhuman Drunken Man Fatally Shot a Person for Pleasure [the perpetrator is not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3923, 5.7.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Will Return to Cambodia This Morning, While There Are Four Days Remaining for Her to Pay Her Fine [Riel 8 million or approx. US$1,860 for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Singapore Imports Sand to Enlarge Its Territory without Caring about the Destruction of the Cambodian Seashore Environment [according to Global Witness, this sea sand dredging threatens and affects fish as well as the bio-diversity of the sea]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #207, 5.7.2010

  • Cambodia Will Hand Over Two Terrorist Suspects to Thai Embassy Officials on Monday
  • Officials: The Number of Deaths from Lightning This Year Is Lower Than Last Year [63 people were killed during the first six months of 2010, in 2009, there were only 100 deaths]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5241, 4-5.7.2010

  • 32% of the Total Size of Cambodia Are Bio-Diversity Protected and Conservation Areas
  • Food Prices Increased by 30% within the First Six Months of 2010

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