Pawn Shops are Becoming Legal – Wednesday, 3.2.2010

Posted on 4 February 2010. Filed under: Week 650 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 650

“Phnom Penh: Recently, the Ministry of Economy and Finance announced through newspapers to inform vendors who want to run pawn shop operations to apply for a license very soon, because such operations can now be legalized. This information shows that pawn shop operations become legal.

“An official of the Ministry of Economy and Finance said on 12 January 2010 that the ministry had issued an announcement about the provision of licenses for the operation of pawn shops to accept, buy, and sell pawn property, and for the operations to accept collateral via transfer. Based on this notification, those who intend to run or are already running pawn shop operations can apply for licenses so as to make their operations legal.

“According to the law, quoted for the announcement about the operation of pawn shops that Rasmei Kampuchea received on 1 February 2010, a license for such operations to accept, buy, and sell pawn property costs Riel 2,000,000 [approx. US$470] per year, and a license to open a branch costs Riel 1,000,000 [approx.US$235]. And a license for the operation to accept collateral via transfer costs Riel 1,000,000 per year and only Riel 500,000 [approx. US$120] to open a branch. The operation to accept collateral via transfer, according to the official’s explanation, is also a kind of pawn shop operation, but documents for the sales and for the buying are issued.

“Based on this notification, to run an operation to accept, buy, and sell pawn property, an owner needs to have a minimum capital of Riel 80,000,000 [approx. US$19,000], and needs to deposit 10% into an account of the ministry. As for the operation to accept collateral via transfer, a minimum capital is Riel 40,000,000 [US$9,500] is needed, and a deposit of 10% into the account of the ministry. That deposit can be taken out only when the ministry permits it.

“But the announcement does not define interest rates. They will be based on mutual agreement, but should not be against the law [but it is not said here what the law says].

“It is questioned how a license can protect the sound operation. An official of the Ministry of Economy and Finance said, ‘If you have a license, your operation is legal. When the authorities go to check the operation, it is already legal. But if you operate illegally, to only then apply for a license cannot help.’

“It should be noted that previously, there was no need to have a licenses to run a pawn shop. Last year, immediately after the head of the government had issued an order, police strongly suppressed pawn shops, seizing pawn property at pawnshop unreasonably though there was no law, making some people to fear also when running such a shop now. Now, there is a law – but will there be major trouble again?” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5116, 3.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #404, 3.2.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Black Clad Soldiers [of the Thai special border protection unit] Surrounded and Shot at [a group of] Khmer Citizens [who were hired to illegally enter Thailand and cut trees to be brought back to Cambodia], Injuring One [seriously] and Eleven Others Managed to Escape from the Shooting [at the Cambodian-Thai border]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2167, 3.2.2010

  • A Survey of the [US based] International Republican Institute (IRI): 79% Said that the [Cambodian] Government Is on the Right Track [it was conducted in 2009 with 1,600 Khmer citizens countrywide]
  • A Man Was Arrested for Raping a 5 Year Old Girl [Kompong Thom]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #596, 3.2.2010

  • Survey Findings of IRI [for 2009] Show that 52% of Khmer Citizens Are Still Poor and Become Poorer

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6874, 3.2.2010

  • 4,400 Victims Lodged Complaints in Case 002 [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal where five former Khmer Rouge leaders are accused]; and [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Judgment Is Being Drafted by the Judges
  • The National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia Asked the Government for an Increase of the [minimal] Salary of Workers to US$93 per Month in 2010 [from 2006, the minimal salary is US$45]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #103, 3.2.2010

  • Cambodia Builds the Biggest Irrigation System in Battambang [planning to spend US$61 million, cooperating with the Chinese government in order to increase rice production for export]
  • Cambodia Conducted an Emergency Rescue Exercise at the Airport [assuming a plane were on fire – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5116, 3.2.2010

  • Pawn Shops Are Becoming Legal
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Best Way to Equally Distribute Benefits from the Economic Growth Is to Build Irrigation Systems for the People

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

Back to top

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )

Looking Back and Looking Ahead – Sunday, 4.1.2009

Posted on 5 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 593

The beginning of a new year always challenges us – to look back, and to look ahead. In both cases we may gain some orientation. We know, more or less, what happened – but do we understand why? Are we satisfied with what we know? What do we like to continue, and what to change?

Or do we try to look more into the future than into the past? Looking forward to 2009 – but is it with fear, or with hope? May be we have our own clear plans what to do – but will we be ale to make things work out, because many others have the same hopes – or not?

Obviously, we cannot get all the lifetime prosperity, harmony, and affection which people wished for us so that the New Year would be a Happy New Year. But could we, maybe, foresee and say more – not for us as individuals, but for the society were we live?

The last couple of days provided two strong indications about that – but of a contradicting nature.

A paper reported that the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had said – though without using these words – that we do live in a society which is not governed by the law.

Quite a strong statement – because the Phnom Penh Municipal Court court “lacked judges for hearing 6,500 cases in 2008. Being unable to solve many cases like that, makes that hundreds of accused persons are detained beyond the legal limit, which states that the detention of an accused or of a suspect can be up to a maximum of six months. Then they have to be brought to court for a hearing, and if the court cannot find them to be guilty, they must be released immediately. However, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and Khmer courts in different provinces do not abide by this legal procedure, and continue to detain thousands of people for many years without conviction, which is against legal procedure and seriously violates the rights of the accused.” By the end of 2007, there had even been 9,200 such unsolved cases.

Not some uninformed and ill-intended observers said this, but the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal court.

And the future?

The president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court “acknowledged that Khmer courts are not yet quite in good order; therefore all Khmer courts need many more years to improve.”

The Court Watch Bulletins of the Center for Social Development describe what the accused – guilty or not – will have to endure for years to come (according to the time line given by the president of the Municipal Court): “The municipal court conducted hearings for three criminal cases every day, and half of those hearings lasted only not more than 20 minutes. So the period for hearing each case was very short, just enough to read the verdicts by which the court defined punishments, or defined who were the losers and the winners in a conflict. The result is that each case is not clearly analyzed according to the procedures of the law, and according to the facts. Therefore it is seen that frequently the rich and high ranking officials won cases against poor people, and against people who are not powerful in society.”

The president of the Municipal Court states now that one of the reasons for these regular violations of the law is a lack of staff at the courts: there are not enough judges and not enough prosecutors! There is no reason to doubt this. But we do not remember to have seen, in the press over the years, that the leadership of the courts, the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, the leadership of the government as a whole – responsible in different ways to upheld a state of law – has decried this situation, leading to regular gross violations of basic rights of citizens according to Cambodian laws, and initiated urgent efforts to rectify this situation.

The situation has an even worse aspect, when one considers that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng was quoted to have acknowledges that there is corruption among high ranking police officers.

But is all his going to be rectified – not immediately, but consistently, and step by step, without unnecessary delay?



The Supreme Court Released Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun on 31 December 2008 on bail – they had been arrested on 28 January 2004 and were convicted to serve 20 years in prison by the Phnom Penh court, for killing the labor union leader Mr. Chea Vichea on 22 January 2004.

But the president of the Supreme Court explained now that the present decision – to release them on bail – was made because the murder of the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia needs further investigation, as there were gaps in the procedures, and there is insufficient evidence.

This decision was widely welcomed – as it initiates a reconsideration not only of what really happened five years ago, but it will also be necessary to clarify:

  • What went wrong with the investigation of the police, and why?
  • What went wrong at the initial court procedures, when evidence offered by the defense was disregarded, and why?
  • What went wrong when the Appeals Court on 12 April 2007 upheld the convictions of Born Samnang and of Sok Samoeun, in spite of many indications raised in the international and national public – including by the former King – that the initial process was flawed, and why was there no new investigation ordered by the Appeals Court?

There is hope that the present decision of the Supreme Court will lead to justice for the two persons who spent already five years in prison.

But tis is only one side of the problem. The Supreme Court created an opportunity like never before, to go into detail, to clarify what went wrong and why, and who may have to take responsibility for what went wrong, and bear the consequences according to the law.

Not a revision of old, or the promulgation of new legal procedure will make Cambodia a state under the law – only the strict application of the law will help to bring change.

There was never a better chance for this than since the recent decision by the Supreme Court.


Please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.


Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...