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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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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Amnesty International: Cases of Rape in Cambodia Increasing – Tuesday, 9.3.2010

Posted on 10 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

“Amnesty International said that cases of rape in Cambodia increased, and what is worse is that rape victims do not have sufficient access to receive justice, medical care and treatment, and consulting services. Amnesty International released a report on 8 March on the occasion of the International Women’s Rights Day.

“In the 60-pages report, 30 victims between the ages of 10 and 40 years old recounted their experience of corruption and the discrimination suffered from the police and the courts, which prevent them from getting necessary services; and on the other hand, most perpetrators are not arrested and convicted by the courts.

“Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, Ms. Donna Guest, stated that there is a lack of support for the victims, and the government must publicly take action against sexual violence, to show that there is no tolerance for such crimes, and to recognize the victims’ suffering. Amnesty International encouraged the government to promote education and to offer materials to police officials and especially policewomen, and to provide the necessary resources for them to professionally conduct timely investigations whenever there is an accusations.

“The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, could not comment on the report of Amnesty International, saying that she had not yet seen the report. But she stressed that the government is also focusing on the prevention of violence against women. Regarding legal assistance for rape victims, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi said that the government granted Riel 100 million [approx. US$24,000] for such legal services. She acknowledged that the number of rape cases increased. But the figure may not correctly reflect the reality of what happened. It can be said that the police works more effectively than before, and that the increasing number of reported rape cases reflects alsothat the police is more active than before.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5144-5145, 7-9.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #428-429, 7-9.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Requests the Promotion of Four Generals to Become Four Star Generals [requesting the King to enact the promotions; they are the generals Sao Sokha, Chea Dara, Hing Bun Heang, and Nhek Huon]
  • A Woman Died from the Use of Skin Cream [Banteay Meanchey; recently, the Prime Minister had just warned about dangerous cosmetic products]
  • A/H1N1 Increased to 562 Cases by March 2010 [in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2196, 9.3.2010

  • A Fire Destroyed Hundreds of Houses in the Railway Block Region [Phnom Penh]
  • A One Star [navy] General Was Accused by the Family of a [10-year-old] Boy, Denouncing Him to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [for beating the boy cruelly – Sihanoukville – the reason for the beating is not mentioned, he just went to the boy’s school, called him out by his name, and beat him up]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #741, 8.3.2010

  • Global Witness Criticized that the Government Sells Some Military Units to Private Companies [Prime Minister Hun Sen had announced that 42 private commercial companies in Cambodia tied the knot with some Cambodian military units]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #620-621, 7-9.3.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Lawyer Asked for a Delay for Him Not to Appear at the Court on 9 March 2010 [over a new complaint of the government relating to the allegation to have faked maps; as his client is not in the country]
  • [The president of the National Assembly of Vietnam] Nguyễn Minh Triết [Nguyen Minh Triet] Invited Samdech Euv [the former King] and Samdech Mae [the former Queen] to Visit Yuon [Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6902-6903, 8-9.3.2010

  • [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s] Reaction in Response to the ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, Saying that It Is the Interference into Cambodian Internal Affairs [the ASEAN Secretary General had said the the military exercise test-firing some 200 Russian-made Katyusha rockets 100 kilometers from the disputed border area of Preah Vihear; he said that this might cause instability in the region. But Prime Minister Hun Sen responded that the Secretary General’s comment is an interference into Cambodian internal affairs]
  • Anti-Corruption Draft Law: An Asset Declaration Is Obligatory for Officials Starting and Up from Those Nominated by a Sub-Decrees
  • An Old, Fatal Well, 10 Meters Deep, Took the Lives of Six Villagers [in one day, because they worked in it and did not have sufficient oxygen – Kompong Cham]

Note:

TodayOnline reports about the same affair as Koh Santepheap:

Hun Sen slams Asean Sec-Gen

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday hit out at the Asean Secretary-General, accusing him of “crazy work” for questioning a recent rocket drill.

“I think that his excellency Surin Pitsuwan is not suitable as ASEAN Secretary-General,” Mr Hun Sen said during a speech, adding: “If you are stupid, don’t do it.”

He pointed out that other ASEAN leaders, including Thailand – with whom Cambodia has an ongoing border dispute – showed no concerns about the test.

Calling on Mr Surin, who is a Thai citizen, to retract his statement or face a confrontation when Asean leaders meet next month in Hanoi, he said: “You must make a correction … The rockets did not hit your head.”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3826-3827, 8-9.3.2010

  • More Than 50,000 Tonnes of Remains of Bombs Dropped by B52s Are a New Instrument to Put Pressure on the United States of America to Consider Canceling the Debt of US$315 Million [that Cambodia owes the USA]
  • The Opposition [Sam Rainsy] Party Demands a Delay for the Discussion of the Anti-Corruption Draft Law, but Will Not Walk Out of the Parliament Meeting

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #125, 8.3.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected the Concern Expressed by the ASEAN Secretary General Regarding the Launching of BM21 Rockets
  • Income from Tourism in 2009 Dropped by 2%, from an Amount of US$1.5 Billion [though tourist arrivals increased by 1.7% – according to the Ministry of Tourism]
  • Cambodia Will Send More Than 200 Troops of a Construction Unit to Chad [in April 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5144-5145, 7-9.3.2010

  • Amnesty International: Cases of Rape in Cambodia Increasing
  • The Human Rights Party Announced to Boycott a Meeting [of the National Assembly] to Approve an Anti-Corruption Draft Law [saying that parliamentarians do not have enough time to review the draft documents distributed on 5 March 2010, while the meeting will be held on 10 March 2010]

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Khmer Citizens along the Sesan River Suffer from Infectious Diseases Coming from the Yali Dam in Vietnam – Monday, 25.1.2010

Posted on 27 January 2010. Filed under: Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: Khmer citizens in Svay Rieng village, Ta Lan commune, Sesan district, Stung Treng, who live along the Sesan River, suffer from infectious diseases because they use dirty water flowing from the Yali dam in Vietnam.

“A woman in the village, Sa Ngak, 22, said, ‘My son Oeun Khon, 7, has had diarrhea and he has been vomiting for several days.’ She added that her son fell sick because he drank yellowish water from the Sesan River, coming from the Yali dam in Vietnam.

“Another woman in the village, Sen Ri, 40, said that her two daughters have had itchy skin diseases for many days after they had using water from the river, which contains chemicals and dirty water flowing from the dam.

“Regarding the impact from diseases when using water from the Sesan River, the Svay Rieng village chief, Mr. Sang Kan, said that he has been living in the village since the Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime [1955 to 1970], and the citizens who used the water had never gotten diarrhea.

“He added that at present, the villagers have different types of diseases such as diarrhea, itchy skin diseases, swollen limbs, typhoid, and many other diseases, caused by the water from the Sesan River, which flows from the Yali dam in Vietnam near the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.

“He went on to say that 70% of the villagers use the water of the Sesan river.

“The head of the Water Resources Committee in Svay Rieng village, Mr. Pai Thang Nhok, said that the Yali dam of Vietnam does discharge dirty water, rubbish, and feces and water infiltrates also from a red earth area which makes the villagers to suffer from infectious diseases. He added that in January 2010, more than 20 children and adults have diarrhea and itchy skin diseases.

“Concerning the infectious of diseases in the Svay Rieng village, the Sesan district governor, Mr. Bou Keosovann, said, ‘So far, I have not received information about this case.’

“It should be noted that according to a test by the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh, water of the Sesan river contains e-coli a bacteria that causes diarrhea and itchy skin diseases.

“About 200 families in the Svay Rieng village, which is 200 kilometer from Stung Treng along the Sesan River, said that in that area, there is one health center, but it does not have doctors.

“The villagers said that doctors come to provide medicine drops for children, and birth spacing drugs every month, but there is no treatments provided for the diseases caused by the water of the river.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #396, 24-25.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 25 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #396, 24-25.1.2010

  • Khmer Citizens along the Sesan River Suffer from Infectious Diseases Coming from the Yali Dam in Vietnam

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2159, 24-25.1.2010

  • Opposition [Sam Rainsy] Party Parliamentarians Met [UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur] Surya Subedi and Mentioned the Court cases and Sam Rainsy’s Case [over the removal of border markers]
  • Veterans of Division 12 from 268 Families Expressed Gratitude towards Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen for Offering Them Land [Banteay Meanchey]
  • The Ministry of Education Needs to Construct 1,000 Additional Buildings [to meet the increasing number of students, and it needs to recruit about 5,000 teachers each year – according to the Minister of Education, Mr. Im Sethy]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #724, 25.1.2010

  • The United Nations Development Program [UNDP] Completely Terminated Aid for the National Elections of Cambodia because Reforms Were Not Conducted [to ensure justice and fairness in the previous elections; every year UNDP grants US$80 million to US$120 million for the development of Cambodia]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #588, 24-25.1.2010

  • [The Director of Human Rights Watch for Asia Pacific] Brad Adam: Human Rights Conditions [in Cambodia] Can Change if the Powerful Countries and Donors Press the Cambodian Government

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6866, 25.1.2010

  • Cambodia Is Ready to Bilaterally Solve Border Disputes with Thailand through Negotiations, through Military, or Again through Legal Methods [the International Court in The Hague – said Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong]
  • A Truck Loaded with Bricks Crashed into a 12-Seater Car, Killing Four People and Injuring Twenty [Sihanoukville]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #96, 25.1.2010

  • There Were Armed Clashes between the Khmer and the Thai Military at the Choam Tae Area [near the Preah Vihear Temple]; Cambodia Did Not Suffer Any Casualty, whereas Thailand Might Have Some Dead and Injured Soldiers [the deputy army commander stationed in Preah Vihear, Mr. Meas Yoeun, said that Thai soldiers came 200 meters into Khmer territory and started shooting at Cambodian soldiers first]
  • Local Authorities in Ratanakiri Were Threatened to Be Killed by Soldiers Trading Wood [when they tried to block those soldiers transporting wood to Vietnam; finally the authorities could not seize the wood and could just report the case to higher levels]
  • Rain Destroyed 3,000 Tones of Salt in Kampot

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #51, 24-25.1.2010

  • The Number of Casinos in Cambodia Increased Up to 32 along the Vietnamese and Thai Borders [according to a Deputy Director General of National Police, Mr. Sok Phal]
  • [A Thai military official and supporter of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Khattiya Sawasdipol Is Training Fighters to Oppose the Thai Military

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1862, 25.1.2010

  • Former Residents of the Dey Krahom Community Lighted Incense Sticks [at the eviction site] to Curse the 7NG Company [that evicted them last year – Phnom Penh]

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Justice in the Midst of Conflicts – Sunday, 24.1.2010

Posted on 26 January 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

The report on the increasing number of rapes, especially also of young girls less then 10 year old, in some cases ending with the killing of the victim, carried a terrifying comment: “Law enforcement by the relevant authorities, especially the courts, remained limited, as giving impunity to perpetrators continued,” continuing: “The number of cases brought to be heard at the courts was not so high, simply because of out of court arrangements.” Money is used instead of justice.

In another context, the Ratanakiri authorities are reported to have seized a truck with illegally logged wood after a Cambodian NGO and local citizens informed the authorities – but this is worse: Citizens who tried to report and to prevent forestry crimes were threatened by armed personnel, and the authorities do not dare to disclose the names of the powerful wood traders who hire citizens to commit these crimes. Power is used instead of justice.

In view of these and many other, specifically identified cases, there is not much value in discussing, in the abstract, whether Cambodia is a country to be described as under a state of law – because the Constitution says so – or not; the call to strengthen and to ensure effective law enforcement is also not very useful, unless it is accompanied by analyzing why law enforcement is so weak, and therefore: how this might change.

When I am traveling in Phnom Penh – that is normally on the back seat of a motorcycle-taxi – and I question the drivers why they breaks traffic rules, there is almost always a similar answer, with references that “everybody does it, especially the big cars: some without license plates, speeding on the middle of the road or on the wrong side, driving on, even if the traffic light is red, etc. etc.” If the law is not seen to be enforced equally on all, irrespective of money or power, it is very difficult to see how a state of law can be achieved. It can be achieved only when the very same authorities enforcing it are also following the law themselves.

Scanning regularly through news media from other countries, there is one item which is mentioned more and more: How do the Cambodian authorities consider the role of law in their relations with the neighboring country of Thailand? The armed clash yesterday at the border invited again regional concerns. And one concern discussed in other ASEAN countries, which have a tradition of not interfering into internal affairs of other members, is the fact that this seems to be happening now with the appointment of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, convicted for corruption but fugitive from Thailand, with an Interpol warrant, as an official adviser to the Cambodian government – disregarding the legal system of Thailand, and declaring a verdict for substantial financial corruption to be political. And by doing so importing – in spite of denials that this is not the intention – the political tensions of Thailand into Cambodia.

Several news items followed each other:

  • 14 January 2010: International media reported that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia again, even “Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Mr. Thaksin will visit Cambodia later this month.”
  • 15 January 2010: Mr. Noppadon Pattama, a legal adviser to Mr. Thaksin, said the plan for a visit had been canceled, but Mr. Thaksin would instead visit another country in Asia.
  • 17 January 2010: The Puea Thai Party chairperson Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyuth meets Mr. Thaksin in Brunei, it is said that Mr. Thaksin would return to Cambodia late in January, staying several days.
  • 19 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin canceled his visit to Cambodia – according to a Khmer newspaper.
  • 21 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin arrived in Cambodia for a brief visit – no press conference, no lecture as economic advisor – only a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen is reported.
  • 22 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin demanded to close the legal case to expropriate his property.
  • 25 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin is reported to have declared already on 18 January 2010 he may set up a government in exile depending on political developments.

Of course the main stage for all this is in Thailand themselves, where extremely difficult problems are being faced: a mix of politics and the law, and the question is still open what will be the outcome of the conflicting dynamics between the two.

After Mr. Thaksin was ousted by a bloodless military coup in 2006, his in-country assets were frozen; the Thai supreme court is scheduled to decide on 26 February 2010, whether these US$2.3 billion – 2,300,000,000 US dollar! – were gained by the misuse of power and corruption as prime minister and will go to the state, or whether they were gained from his salary as a police officer and later businessman and will be returned to him. In addition, Mr. Thaksin said that he still has about US$100 million available abroad.

The attorney-general of Thailand, Mr. Julasing Wasantasing, shared the dilemma and his approach in an interview yesterday, Saturday, in The Nation, where he said that it is increasingly difficult for Thailand’s justice system to function, as there are two powerful pressure groups – the Yellow Shirts and the Red Shirts – trying to enforce their will: “I have been told I have to listen to the people. But when the people are divided into two camps, which side should I listen to?” When the course of the law is not followed, but instead the actions of the police or of prosecutors and judges are defined not by the law, he said: “We should stop and start anew. If every case is influenced by the yellow or red colors, Thailand’s problem is never going to end.”

The attorney-general has also been criticized, from both camps, when they were not happy with decisions based on the law, and he expressed his concern that “legal cases here are being judged by the public not on their legal merit, but on perceived political significance.” He summed up his own position in these conflicts by quoting John Quincy Adams, a US lawyer, diplomat, and politician, and finally the 6th president of the USA from 1825 to 1829. This was at a time when the USA were still a weak country – a “developing country” as we might say today.

“I can never join with my voice in the toast which I see in the papers attributed to one of our gallant naval heroes. I cannot ask of heaven success, even for my country, in a cause where our country might be in the wrong: ‘Let justice be done even if heaven should fall.’ My toast would be, may our country always be successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.”

If this position would be taken also in view of the tensions between Cambodia and Thailand – not success for oneself is the goal, but justice even if it is for the other side – what a good future could be developed soon together!

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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