Another Thunderstorm – or the Start of a Climate Change – Sunday, 28.3.2010

Posted on 29 March 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

When we wrote, one week ago, about the raid on the Tuek Thla market, where military uniforms, but also many kinds of handguns and ammunition are sold, we mentioned also a cynical voice – “everyone knows this problem” as one paper wrote – as this was not the first such raid. And in the past, after a short time, the illegal trade used to come back. It had been reported that “the authorities confiscated hundreds of military uniforms and other materials from ten stalls, and arrested some sellers of those materials to educate them.” There were no reports that persons in the military, who had supplied these materials illegally, were punished.

The Prime Minister had warned, in a different context, “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.” He was aware that persons ‘higher up’ scare lower level officials so that they do not do their duty. But these ‘higher up’ were hardly touched. The ambiguities were addressed in a headline, “The Authorities Intercept Wood Every Day, but Never Arrest the Wood Traders – The persons who were arrested are mostly workers handling the wood on the trucks and the truck drivers.” So the old discrepancy between the law, and its enforcement, seemed to continue.

But the past week brought changes.

There had been reports of convoys transporting illegally cut wood, being shielded by cars of high ranking military officers. Now it was reported from Oddar Meanchey that high level military leaders had not only found illegally cut wood, but had confiscated thirteen cars – obviously a massive operation.

The Prime Minister is reported to have said, in a meeting of the cabinet, that forestry crimes have to be considered as acts of national betrayal, an opinion, which – though with other words – is very similar to the concerns expressed in former studies on deforestation in Cambodia by Global Witness and others.

In one paper we read, “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.”

In the meantime, such statements were followed by a series of reports from different provinces, that more and more storehouses for wood were found.

  • On 22 March 2010, authorities in Kompong Cham checked seven different storehouses for wood. It is reported that the seven storehouses store more than 2,000 pieces of luxury wood, and the traders had prepared it to be transported to Vietnam. “During checking everything, all the owners were able to flee.”
  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Cracked Down On a Big Storehouse of Luxury Wood in Chrouy Chongva [Phnom Penh] That Stores Various Goods, and They Seized 427 Pieces of Wood
  • A Strong Campaign Continues after an Illegal Storehouse for Wood of Oknha Ang Try, the [Owner-]Director of the Tiger Beer Company, Was Intercepted [almost 1,000 cubic meters of wood were found – Siem Reap]
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted Two Wood Storehouses and Found Nearly 400 Cubic Meters of Wood [of Oknha Sok Kong and of Oknha Lao Meng Khin – Siem Reap]
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted a Third Wood Storehouse, Seizing 523 Pieces of Wood [about 15 cubic meters] and 66 Round Poles

There are different opinions, why all these warehouses with huge amounts of cut wood pieces awaiting export had not been found earlier on. But the more important question is, what will happen next: will all the suspects – including the Oknhas Sok Kong (the head of the Sokimex conglomerate) and Oknha Lao Meng Khin (a director of the Pheapimex Group, involved in the filling of the Beong Kak Lake, and also involved in the taking over of the historical Renakse Hotel and now most recently also of the building of the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals) – be investigated in a transparent way?

It will not be only interesting, but it may be a decisive new start to see, if those persons, being suspected to have betrayed the nation, will be cleared from the suspicion, or will again only be “educated” – as if they would not have known that there was illegal deforestation and illegal trade – or if there will be any real punishment meted out by the courts for those who were involved in massive illegal operations, which the Prime Minister denounced strongly.

This will show if the present thunderstorm, which the Prime Minister’s words has created at a strength never seen before, will have introduced a climate change, or, after the storm has calmed down, things will continue as they used to, like after every storm at the Tuek Thla market.

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

Posted on 28 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“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.

“Samdech Hun Sen regards the interception campaign against illegal wood trading as a thunderstorm campaign, not a pleasant light drizzle.

“Also, Samdech Hun Sen knows that those who use to do such wood trading are backed by high ranking officials, but this time, no matter how high their positions are, they will be jailed.

“Samdech Hun Sen seriously warned some high ranking officials to withdraw from this business, because now the thunderstorm comes.

“He gave similar orders regarding the campaign to crack down on gambling sites and on drugs. All authorities must remember also the order to persecute the car owners that stick light black plastic foils on the inside of their car windows to conceal [who, or what is going on inside].

“Therefore, 2010 is a bad year for forestry crimes, for all kinds of gambling, and for cars which blackened windows.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2212, 27.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 27 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #445, 27.3.2010

  • Six Died and 50 Others Are Being Hospitalized – It Is Alleged to Be the Result of Cholera [Kratie]
  • A Strong Campaign Continues after an Illegal Storehouse for Wood of Oknha Ang Try, the [Owner-]Director of the Tiger Beer Company, Was Intercepted [almost 1,000 cubic meters of wood were found – Siem Reap]
  • Citizens and Civil Society [ADHOC and the World Wildlife Fund] Welcome the Suppression of Forestry Crimes in the Northeast

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2212, 27.3.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Considers Forestry Crimes to Be Acts of National Betrayal
  • The National Assembly Will Discuss an Anti-Terrorism Draft Law on 1 April 2010
  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Cracked Down On a Big Storehouse of Luxury Wood in Chrouy Chongva [Phnom Penh] That Stores Various Goods, and They Seized 427 Pieces of Wood

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #637, 27.3.2010

  • The Kompong Speu Court Promised to Release [Two] Representatives of the Amleang Commune Residents on Monday [29 March 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6919, 27-28.3.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Orders to Continue to Investigate Illegal Places [like gambling sites], Brothels, Cars with Light Black Plastic Foils Obscuring their Windows, and Forestry Criminals
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Issued an Arrest Warrant for the Owner of the White Club for Operating Nude Dancing Performances [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3843, 27-28.3.2010

  • After a Murder Thirteen Years Ago which Is Part of History, the Authorities Can Still Just Promise to Try to Arrest the Murderers for Conviction [this refers to the attack with four grenades on demonstrators in front of the former National Assembly on 30 March 1997, when 16 people were killed and over 100 others were injured]
  • Communities of Ethnic Minorities Asked the Government [during the presentation of books about measures supporting ethnic minorities, organized by UNDP at the Cambodiana Hotel] to Halt Providing Concession Land [to private companies] for Mine Explorations [which affect their land and their living environment]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5161, 27.3.2010

  • National Road 4 [connecting Phnom Penh and the major port city of Sihanoukville] Was Blocked Nearly Two Hours by Protesting Residents Who Asked for the Release [of two of their representatives who were detained for burning down the on-site office of Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company in a land dispute – Kompong Speu]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Ordered to Reduce the Number of Officials [who do not have duties, but are] Attending Cabinet Session [to prevent the leaking of confidential information from cabinet meetings to the public]

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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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Son Chhay Said that the Draft Anti-Corruption Law of the Government Seems to Protect Corrupt People – Saturday, 6.3.2010

Posted on 7 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“The government already sent an anti-corruption draft law to the National Assembly, after Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians had sent a request to the National Assembly to establish an Anti-Corruption Board – a proposal which was rejected by the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, saying that the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly had decided to accept the anti-corruption draft law of the government for discussion.

“Copies of the government draft were distributed to all parliamentarians, and the National Assembly plans to hold a meeting on 10 March 2010, where it is assumed that to discuss the anti-corruption draft law will be on the agenda.

“The leader of the group of Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, Mr. Son Chhay, who had requested the creation of an Anti-Corruption Board, said on 5 March 2010 in a press conference at the Sam Rainsy Party headquarters in Phnom Penh, that the draft of the government does not have clear goals to prevent corruption or to prosecute those who commit corruption.

“He said that 16 years ago, as a parliamentarian of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party of Mr. Son San, he once had requested an anti-corruption law, and then, under the next governments, he requested it again and again that the National Assembly should create such a law.

“The draft of the government limits membership in anti-corruption institutions to persons, to any individual, from various institutions who will be suggested by Prime Minister Hun Sen to the King, to be appointed.

“Regarding the suggested candidates from various institutions to be appointed, Mr. Son Chhay said that it is difficult that those officials to be investigated are in the same institution that suggest candidates, and he claimed that candidates appointed by the Prime Minister cannot be considered to be independent.

“The draft speaks also about the declaration of assets, saying that it has to be made confidentially, requiring that those who declare their assets have to keep one document for themselves, and another document has to be kept at a secret place by the anti-corruption institution, and if they will be prosecuted within five years, the confidentiality is lifted.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that the draft of the government does not clearly define the punishment for persons who commit corruption, and the punishment is based on different types of corruption, like minor corruption just for small thefts to eat [‘for the stomach’], and big corruption.

“Mr. Son Chhay raised the example that some custom officers get a salary of only about US$100 per month, an amount that cannot meet their daily needs. Therefore they make their fellow officials collect money for them every month, and they may get about US$20,000. Mr. Son Chhay asked, ‘Is this kind of corruption “just for the stomach” a minor, or is it big corruption?’

“Mr. Son Chhay said that if the draft law of the government is approved by the National Assembly without making some changes, it will not serve the national interest and the citizens, as this draft does not explicitly determine punishment for ‘corruption.’

“He added that this law seems to serve those who commit corruption.

“The Sam Rainsy Party, civil society, and donors have encouraged to approve an anti-corruption law, and finally a draft was sent by the government to the National Assembly, after it had been approved by the Council of Ministers in early December of 2009. This draft has been kept confidential and was delayed until now, and if Mr. Son Chhay had not sent in another draft request to the National Assembly, the government would likely not have released their draft now to the National Assembly. Anyway, regarding the rejection of the draft [presented by the Sam Rains Party] by Mr. Heng Samrin, Mr. Son Chhay considers it to be his success, because if he had not sent it to the National Assembly, the government would not have released the draft to the National Assembly.

“When journalists asked, ‘On 10 March 2010, during the meeting of the National Assembly, will the National Assembly approve the draft?’ – Mr. Son Chhay said that if the National Assembly does not discuss it in detail, it will be strange, and he will be more suspicious that this law does not serve the national interest and the citizens, but it will serve corrupt people, partisans, and powerful people.

“There are different opinions about a final rush to approve an anti-corruption law, as donor countries stay quiet and have not set a date for its discussions, unlike in previous years, where discussions started early in the years.

“Corruption in Cambodia is strongly criticized locally and internationally. Corruption exists from lower levels to the top, making Cambodia lose about US$500 million each year. This is figure was used by the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol Rodley.

“Nevertheless, there is also praise from various sides that the government wants this law to be approved by the National Assembly, as it can create some obstacles for corrupt people to continue to commit corruption.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #619, 6.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 6 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #427, 6.3.2010

  • The National Assembly Reinstated the Immunity of the Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian Ho Vann [suspended over a defamation allegation by military officials]
  • ASEAN Expresses Concern over the Cambodian Military Exercises [the ASEAN secretary general said that Cambodia might convey the wrong signals to the world regarding these exercises], while Bangkok Leaders Did Not Express any Concern

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2194, 6.3.2010

  • An Anti-Corruption Draft Law Will Be Discussed on 10 March 2010
  • Civil Society [the Cambodia Labor Union Federation and the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)] Fully Support the Elimination of Brothels and Gambling Sites

Note:

It is not clear so far how the ban of gambling sites will affect the big gambling institutions close to the borders with Thailand and with Vietnam, and if it will also relate to big gambling institutions in Phnom Penh, like the Naga World Casino and others.

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #619, 6.3.2010

  • Son Chhay Said that the Draft Anti-Corruption Law of the Government Seems to Protect Corrupt People

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6901, 6-7.3.2010

  • The White Club, a Night Club where there Was Nude Dancing, Has Been Closed Down, and 120 Men and Women Were Arrested [Phnom Penh]
  • While Iron Frames Were Transported on a Car, They Hit an Electric Power Line, Electrocuting Two Persons Fatally, Wounding Two Others, and Burning Down the Car [Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5143, 6.3.2010

  • The Government Approved a Conservation Project in the Anlong Veng Historical Tourism Region [which was the last holdout of the Khmer Rouge leadership]
  • Three Persons Died and Two Were Seriously Injured in Two Separate Traffic Accidents [Takeo]

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A Large Scale Raid Was Held to Stop the Selling of Military Materials at the Tuek Thla Market – Friday, 5.3.2010

Posted on 6 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“Phnom Penh: Hundreds of military police of the municipality, in collaboration with the Sen Sok district authorities and court officials, raided the Tuek Thla market at around 12:00 noon on 4 March 2010 and seized a lot of military materials, which had been displayed for sale. As a result, the authorities confiscated hundreds of military uniforms and other materials from ten stalls, and arrested some sellers of those materials to educate them.

“The operation was led by the Phnom Penh Military Police commander, Major General Ya Kim I, with the participation of the Sen Sok military police commander, the Sen Sok district governor, Mr. Khuong Sreng, and a Phnom Penh court official, Mr. Ek Chheng Huot.

“What the authorities confiscated most were military uniforms, and it is said that those uniforms had been sold by military generals to the traders; in some cases, the names of those who had provided them were still attached to the supplies of uniforms, which actually were to be distributed to soldiers at the Preah Vihear Temple.

“According to the authorities, there were not only military uniforms at the Tuek Thla market, but there were also many kinds of pistols and ammunition for pistols for sale. But they were not displayed openly for sale like the uniforms; they were sold and bought secretly.

“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. Therefore, the fellow personnel under their command lack uniforms and have to seek and buy these things by themselves. Thus, the sellers are not the ones to be blamed, because 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 – everyone knows this problem.

“Besides some heads of police units and military commanders, who sell a large number of uniforms, it is also seen that some police, military police, and military personnel sold their uniforms there, as they have low and insufficient salaries. As for hammocks for the military, almost 90% of the soldiers do not get them from their leaders, but they can get their hammocks by buying them at the Tuek Thla market.

“In addition to uniforms, hammocks, and hats, about 90% of police and military police have to buy also their pistols themselves, because their leaders do not release them to them, as they are expensive, and the leaders can benefit by selling them secretly. They order their closest subordinates to contact traders, doing it as a secret business.

“Therefore, the suppression at the Tuek Thla market is just an action that looks good, as sooner or later, such operations will start again because persons in the armed forces, who do not have sufficient materials, since their leaders take these things and do not distribute them as required, need to buy them from the Tuek Thla market.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2193, 5.3.2010

Note:

It is not clear whether one expected part of the whole affair is only missing from the report, or whether it did not happen. The report says: “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? – “…everyone knows this problem.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 5 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #426, 5.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Warned that 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 [from higher levels; officials who intervene against such activities will be demoted – he said so during a celebration on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, held in advance, on 4 March 2010]
  • Acid Attack Will Increase, as the Perpetrators Consider It to Be Only a Misdemeanor [the Ministry of Interior is drafting stricter regulations against acid attacks – it is a general concern: misdemeanors are minor offense where perpetrators will not be punished seriously]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2193, 5.3.2010

  • A Large Scale Raid Was Held to Stop the Selling of Military Materials at the Tuek Thla Market
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: 2010 Is the Year of a Campaign to Eliminate Brothels and Illegal Gambling Sites
  • The Exercise to Fire [215] BM-21 Rockets Was Successful, as the Targets Were Hit Very Well [Kompong Chhnang]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11#740, 5.3.2010

  • The United States of America Said that Cambodia Is a Transit Country for Money Laundering and Drug Smuggling [according to a report released early last week by the US Department of State, saying that Cambodia still does not have appropriate laws to control money laundering]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6900, 5.3.2010

  • Each Year There Are 200,000 Graduates in Cambodia [but it is not mentioned here how many can find jobs]
  • An Austrian Man [Mr. Motalic Ganhad ((phonetic – obviously wrong – we were not able to clarify the name))] Who Died Left His Inheritance to the Cambodian Red Cross, Including a House and Half a Million Euro at a Bank in Austria

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3824, 5.3.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Will Hold a Press Conference about the Importance of the [anti-corruption] Draft of the Opposition Party, That the National Assembly Sent Back

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5142, 5.3.2010

  • The National Assembly Rejected an Anti-Corruption Draft, Presented by the Sam Rainsy Party [according to The Cambodia Daily, copies of the government’s draft anti-corruption law were finally released and hand-delivered to all lawmakers in the National Assembly – nearly three months after being approved by the Council of Ministers]
  • The Case of the Accident, where a Korean Man Drove a Car and Hit Three Persons, Killing Them, in Kompong Thom, Has Not Yet Been Settled [compensation is still being negotiated]

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

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Friday, 4.7.2008: Civil Society Organizations Are Concerned That There Might Be a New Boom of the Spreads of AIDS

Posted on 5 July 2008. Filed under: Week 567 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 567

“Phnom Penh: Many Officials are concerned that there might be another boom of the spread of AIDS in Cambodia.

“Mr. Chuop Sok Chamroeun, a program officer of the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance [KHANA], said on 3 July 2008 that the spread of HIV might explode again in Cambodia, because of the change in the attitude towards sex. He added that since the government has strengthened the law enforcement on sexual and human trafficking, most sex workers had left brothels to find clients by themselves. ‘Some still work in places of entertainment, and some work during the night at public places, making it very difficult for us to educate them.’

“Dr. Teng Kunthy, secretary general of the National AIDS Authority, said on 3 July 2008 that the number of men seeking sexual services at brothels declined to half of what it was before, but men find the services at places of entertainment by asking for it. If they are careless, they will risk to get HIV.

“According to the study, 96% of people having sex at brothels use condoms, but the percentage of men using condoms when they have sex with their girlfriends or with occasional contacts is not known.

“Mr. Chuop Sok Chamroeun said if they are careless even only once, they might be infected by HIV. He added, ‘We are so worried that if there is no preventive action in time, there will be another boom of a second wave of HIV infections, because men getting infected with HIV in this way might spread HIV to their wives and children, which will become a tragedy. He asserted that previously, it was easy to educate sex workers at brothels so that they understand AIDS, but now they work outside, making it hard to educate them, because we don’t know where they are and where they work; some work at massage houses, karaoke parlors, or other places of entertainment. Because of the above problems, we are worried about a second wave of an HIV infection like in 1997, which was the first wave of a strong spread of HIV. Since then, AIDS was fairly well prevented, but if we are careless, the infection might boom again.’

“In order to prevent these problems, Dr. Teng Kunthy and Mr. Chuop Sok Chamroeun said that education is very important, and in addition also special measures, and they requested that all places of entertainment should participate to give their staff the opportunity to understand AIDS. Nowadays, staff at places of entertainment have formed groups of friends, to educate their own friends team to help each another at their workplaces, and by educating their friends to use condoms with their clients or partners.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1684, 4.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 4 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1684, 4.7.2008

  • Civil Society Organizations Are Concerned That There Might Be a New Boom of the Spreads of AIDS
  • Dr. Keo Iev, Director of the Oral Fresh Water company Who Was Shot and Whose Gold was Robbed, Died [on 3 July 2008]
  • Solar Battery Charging Station [with 5.32 kilowatt] Is Created in Cambodia [with Japanese aid]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #191, 4.7.2008

  • Ban Sreymom, [Pailin municipal governor] Ea Chhean’s Wife, Is Well-known in Pailin in Relation to Land Disputes
  • [San Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh] Son Chhay: Khmer Officials and Citizens Loose Approximately US$600 Million Gambling in Casinos Each Year


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #40, 4.7.2008

  • Community Sanitation and Recycling Organization Is Facing Market Crisis [to sell products to citizens – such as bags, vases, necklaces, or bracelets created from waste – because Cambodian citizens do not value these processed products]
  • Husband and Wife Were Robbed and Killed and Their Children Survived [on 3 July 2008 in Koh Sotin District, Kompong Cham]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6388, 4.7.2008

  • National Bank of Cambodia Announced Regulations to Be Implemented in Banks and Financial Institutions in Cambodia
  • The National Election Committee: From 26 June 2008 to 1 July 2008, There Were Forty Related Lawsuits Registered
  • Fifteen Hostages [eleven kidnapped soldiers and police, and three US defense contractors] Liberated from Colombian Rebel’s Camp [of the Revolutionary Arm Forces of Colombia – FARC] including Ms. Betancourt [a former presidential Candidate of Colombia with dual French-Colombian citizenship, on 2 July 2008]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3503, 4.7.2008

  • Human Rights Officials [from the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – and from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Push for Timely Trials of Ieng Sary and of Other Former Khmer Rouge Leaders, Being Afraid that They Might Die Like Pol Pot
  • World Bank Fails in Cambodian Army Reform


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4632, 4.7.2008

  • UNESCO [in Bangkok]: “It Is Too Late” for a Thai Protest Regarding the Preah Vihear Temple
    Cambodia [with support from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency – JICA] Could Hatch River Lobster Eggs for the Fist Time in Its History
  • [South] Korean Ministry of Finance and the Korean Busan Bank Signed an Agreement to Develop a Stock Market in Cambodia

Have a look at the last editorial – Preah Vihear still in the headlines – more information about Thailand’s and Cambodia’s documents.

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