The Third Bilateral Meeting between Cambodia and the United States of America – Monday, 24.5.2010

Posted on 25 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Phnom Penh: According to an announcement of the US Embassy on 21 May 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr. Scot Marciel, and a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Ouch Borith, chaired the third annual discussion between Cambodia and the United States of America. Both delegations discussed many topics, such as US aid to Cambodia, food security, climate change, security cooperation, and general issues in the region.

“US aid to Cambodia aims to assist the priority sectors of the Royal Government of Cambodia as stated in the Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government of the Cambodia to help develop Cambodia in the upcoming decades. Those sectors are poverty alleviation, agriculture, good governance, and capacity building. The US aid for those priority sectors is the same as that provided by the USA 60 years ago when the aid program of the United States of America began in 1955.

“Both sides discussed also different strategies where both countries can cooperate, like in military relations, when the US medical ship USS Mercy will arrival at the Sihanoukville sea port on 15 June 2010. Mr. Marciel also talked about the US aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and listened to the description of Secretary of State Ouch Borith about the achievements of the Royal Government of Cambodia in reducing poverty, promoting education and the health sector, strengthening basic infrastructure, and addressing some challenges from the global economic crisis. The Cambodian side informed Mr. Marciel also about the efforts of Cambodia to fight corruption and to reform the court system.

“This bilateral discussion provided also the opportunity for both sides to review the planning to organize the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Cambodian-US diplomatic ties. The anniversary will be celebrated by organizing some events in July. The bilateral ties between Cambodia and the United States of America have progressed much by now, especially during the last 10 years. Even though there had been some unavoidable disagreements, both sides believe that the depth and extent of the relations will continue to grow stronger in the future.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6963, 24.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 24 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #485, 23-24.5.2010

  • The King Returns from the Visit to Japan
  • 160 People Were Killed in a Plane Crash in India

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2256, 23-24.5.2010

  • Cambodia Dismissed the Information that Khmers Joined to Burn Down the Krung Thep Bank [Bangkok]
  • A Military Truck Loaded with 63 Pieces of Ebony Was Intercepted, Showing Some Irregularities [it is suspected that the material belongs to a powerful military official in Kompong Speu]
  • Seven Garment Workers Died and 32 Others Were Injured in a Traffic Accident [in Takeo]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #770, 24.5.2010

  • USAID Says that Cambodia Loses US$45 Million, but [Oknha] Mong Riththy Said Cambodia Loses US$146 Million over the Import of Pigs without Paying Tax

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6963, 24.5.2010

  • The Third Bilateral Meeting between Cambodia and the United States of America
  • A Reporter of Voice of America Reporting in Khmer [Mr. Sok Povkhemara] Received an Award [of Mr. David Burke for covering special information about Khmer Rouge leaders: he went directly to the northwest of Cambodia to interview five former Khmer Rouge leaders, questioning them a lot about their role in the genocidal regime]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3887, 24.5.2010

  • There Are No Discussions to Happen to Cancel the US$315 Million Dept [that Cambodia owes the United State of America] during the Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Cambodia-America Diplomatic Ties
  • The Number of Tourists Increased [by 10% compared with four months last year], so that the Siem Reap Authorities Force Sites Trading Recyclable Items [discarded bottles, carton, scrap metal, plastic] to Move Out from the City [these sites look messy, affecting the beauty of the city]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #177, 24.5.2010

  • The Authorities Prohibit Villagers [in the Amleang commune] to Cultivate Rice, but They Allow a [Phnom Penh Sugar] Company [of Oknha Ly Yong Phat] to Clear Disputed Land [Kompong Speu]
  • Cambodia Asked Thailand to Release a Khmer Worker Accused of Having Been Involved in Demonstrations

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5205, 23-24.5.2010

  • An American Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with [underage] Girls [in Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodia Will Host the 30th ASEANPOL [ASEAN Chiefs of Police] Conference [from 24 to 28 May 2010 in Phnom Penh]

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Voluntary and Charitable Donations – Sunday, 16.5.2010

Posted on 18 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

In many societies it is usual that corporations, and rich and not so rich individuals make donations for causes they consider important for the public good. During the past week it was reported that more than US$7 million was collected as donations during the celebration of the Cambodia Red Cross and Red Crescent Society’s anniversary on 8 May; it is the largest humanitarian organization in Cambodia, having also individual Members, and Volunteers. This is an impressive organization which has collected an impressive sum. To see whether or not this is the beginning of a spirit of voluntarism in society, it would be good to know how much the same charitable donors are making available to lift up the economic situation of orphanages, to create and maintain scholarships for needy students from the provinces, to support organizations engaged in the promotion of awareness of the endangered environment and its protection, and many similar endeavors.

In many countries, the Red Cross is one not-for-profit NGO like any other NGO – it receives private and corporate donations, like other NGOs receiving private and corporate donations; often these are encouraged by special tax reduction or tax exemption regulations for supporting such causes for the public good. Over the years I became aware that many persons in Cambodia, dealing with foreign NGOs working in the country, are not aware that these depend to a more or less strong degree on regular private donation, often from people in the middle and lower income brackets in their countries, and not only on public money. But it seems to be hardly a usual feature that Cambodian NGOs, working for the public good, receive similar donations from those who have money, in Cambodia. If there are worthwhile examples, it would be good to have them reported more prominently, and not only for the Cambodian Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.

But whatever the source of such funds – it is usual that that they are accounted for regularly and publicly. One argument of the government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, why a special NGO law is necessary, was always that the finances of NGOs – as agencies handling social funds – have to be monitored publicly. Though NGOs have responded that they are subject to regular public audit already, and these audit reports have been available anyway, the request to make their financial records public was always among the main arguments to create such legislation.

Now it is all the more surprising, that the financial volume and the operating procedures of the Social Fund of the government, even it’s existence, referred to sometimes over the years, are not similarly transparent, and there are additional allegations that government representatives have received substantial monies, supposedly for a social fund, which cannot be found in any verifiable public financial record.

The present round of discussions was triggered by reports that an Australian mining company, which had operated for a limited period in Mondolkiri, is under corruption investigation at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, because it is also listed on stock exchanges in the USA. There are allegations that this may relate to payments to Cambodia. While the government was asked for precise, detailed information supported by documents, to be presented to the National Assembly, additional questions were added relating to payments from the French company Total. Some of the related, but not clarified pieces of information:

  • The Indonesian company Medco Energi said they paid US$4.5 million into a government social fund.
  • The Australian company BHP Billiton paid US$ 2.5 million as “tea money” – according to a statement by the Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology in the National Assembly.
  • Payments of US$20 million by the French oil company Total, paid as a “signature bonus,” are not publicly traceable.
  • In addition, some of the monies are said to have be designated to pay for specific activities in Mondolkiri or in Pursat etc., but different, related information, cannot be reconciled.

Now the Prime Minister gave the task to explain the situation to the National Assembly to two Deputy Prime Ministers, the Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An, and the Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon. According to Mr. Phay Siphan, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister “said that all revenues must go to the national budget.” Obviously that is not what happened so far.

Interesting explanations and revelations relating to the past can be expected – combined with the hope that the order of the Prime Minister will be molded into clear administrative procedures for the future.

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Local Pig Raiser Association Demands Expert Officials to Take Action on Pigs Imported from Vietnam – Wednesday, 12.5.2010

Posted on 16 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

Note:

After having been knocked out late on Monday, 10.5.2010, by a bad, but not clearly identified intestinal infection, I am sorry that I could not earlier, and cannot more speedily, catch up again, but maybe it will be done by Monday, 17.5.2010, noon.

Because of the King’s Birthday National Holiday on 13.5.2010, which was extended into further days, it is now intended to have publications, during the current week, only for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Norbert Klein
Editor of the Mirror

“In recent months, the import of live pigs from Vietnam into Cambodia on motorbikes – small scale trading, where a motorbike can transport two to four pigs – seems to increase from day to day, while veterinarians do not care to check the pig’s health before they are allowed to be brought in.

“The deputy head of the Cambodian Pig Raiser Association that protects the local pig raisers, Mr. Srun Pov, complained that the collusion to import live pigs from Vietnam to Cambodia through various border crossings, avoiding tax payments and appropriate health checks, is increasing recently.

“Mr. Srun Pov said that obviously, on 10 May 2010, representatives of the association went to check some border crossings in the Ponhea Kraek district, Kompong Cham, and found that hundreds of pigs were imported on that day by traders without proper health checks from expert officials. Just on that morning, the representatives of the associations could see more than 40 motorbikes carrying 3 to 4 pigs each and they gathered those pigs to be delivered into trucks to send them to Phnom Penh.

“He added that to allow the trafficking of live pigs into Cambodia without proper health checks affects the health of citizens who eat pork and harms local pig raisers, as at present, the association is trying to encourage more local citizens to raise pigs.

“On behalf of the Cambodian Pig Raiser Association, Mr. Srun Pov called on the authorities, especially Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, to take measures to prevent and to eliminate such anarchic import of pigs, because just at the boarder crossings in Kompong Cham, more than 100 pigs were imported each day. What about at other border crossings in Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kandal, and Takeo? How many thousands of pigs are being imported illegally?

“Citizens living along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border ask veterinarians to carefully check the pig’s health before allowing their import. If the present situation continues, local pig raisers will be affected more seriously.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6953, 12.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #475, 12.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transport Encourages Railroad Construction Companies to Repair the Damaged Railroad [the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, recognized that some private companies repair the railroad with low quality or without proper technical standards, making it to become damaged again soon]
  • Diarrhea in Kratie Increases to 83 Cases [six cases are serious]
  • Within Two Months of 2010, There Were More Than 100,000 Cases of Pneumonia and Twenty Four People Died

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2246, 12.5.2010

  • Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh Denied the Information that He Enters Politics [recently, there had been rumors that he will return to lead FUNCINPEC]
  • Traffic Police Was Accused of Hitting a Man on His Head so that He Was Bleeding, as He Did Not Wear a Helmet [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #652, 12.5.2010

  • The Dredging of Millions of Tonnes of Sand to Be Exported to Singapore Seriously Affects the Environment of Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6953, 12.5.2010

  • Local Pig Raiser Association Demands Expert Officials to Take Action on Pigs Imported from Vietnam

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3877, 12.5.2010

  • [Oknhas] Mong Riththy and Ly Yong Phat Confidentially Received Licenses to Export Sand, Resulting in the Loss of National Income [according to Global Witness] and This Is a Bad Model of Corruption Committed by People in Leadership in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #169, 12.5.2010

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Will Visit Preah Vihear Today [to inaugurate a new school building and other achievements in this province – but he will not visit the temple area]
  • Sand War between Cambodia and Global Witness Continues, while Singapore Rejected the Report [saying that the sand dredging trade with Cambodia is operated without caring about the bad impacts on the society and the environment, as this has to be controlled by Cambodia]
  • Benigno Aquino Wins the Elections and Prepares to Become the New President of the Philippines

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5195, 12.5.2010

  • Officials of the Cambodian Government and Investors Reject a Report by Global Witness over the Dredging of Sand for Export Abroad
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister Is Grateful as the Investment in Cambodian Has Increased to US$1.8 Billion and He Promises to Encourage Investment in Rice Milling
  • France Plans to Provide Loans without Guarantee [by the Cambodian government] on Four Projects [for the rice milling associations to produce standard rice for export to Europe, for public lighting in Phnom Penh, for training for workers, and for the creation of a vocational training center on tourism and hotel services; but the amounts of the loans are not mentioned]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Malaysian Investors and Investments Are Coming to Cambodia while Cambodia Is Still Unable to Export Its Products – Monday, 10.5.2010

Posted on 11 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

“The Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak is paying a three-day official visit to Cambodia which started on Sunday; he will chair a meeting for the signing of six commercial agreements worth US$1 billion.

“Five commercial agreements will be signed by the private sectors of Cambodia and of Malaysia, and another agreement will be signed between a Malaysian company and the Cambodian government.

“Also Mr. Hun Sen will attend the signing ceremony. The agreements to be signed focus on the educational sector, the technical field, security, the Halal food industry (food containing no pork, prepared according to Muslim regulations), agriculture, training, and the exchange of products.

“This is the first official visit of Mr. Razak since he became prime minister last year. This visit is considered important for the strengthening of bilateral ties with Cambodia. According to officials of the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia, the entire commerce between both countries in 2009 amounted to just US$150 million. About 90% of the commerce was exports of textile products, palm oil, food, and drinks from Malaysia, while the other 10% was export of goods, rubber, textiles, and rice from Cambodia.

“The Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia said that there are a lot of opportunities for Malaysian investors to come to invest in various sectors in Cambodia, such as education, health care, construction, the Halal food industry, tourism, oil, and gas. At present, Malaysia is the fourth biggest foreign investor in Cambodia after China, South Korea, and Yuon [Vietnam].

“The investments from Malaysia include sports infrastructure, hotels, education, banking, and fast food. Trade and investments between Cambodia and Malaysia are expected to double while the region is moving towards the ASEAN Economic Association in 2015, which will allow the free flow of goods, capital, and people. The Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia stressed that Malaysian investors consider Cambodia as an important country for investments, as Cambodia is located in the Mekong River Basin, comprising of Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, with a total population of 100 million.

“During this visit, 117 Malaysian investors will participate in the private sector conversation, and Mr. Razak and Mr. Hun Sen will chair the Cambodian-Malaysian commercial forum and a lunch reception. Also the leaders of the two countries will chair a meeting to sign six commercial agreements.

“The Malaysian Prime Minister will meet with the Cambodia side to discuss bilateral affairs at the Council of Ministers, and he will visit the Esata Operations Center, a Cambodian-Malaysian telecommunications company, the construction site of a new building for the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia, and the Kunthak Bopha IV Hospital. On the last day, he will meet the Khmer King Norodom Sihamoni, the president of the Senate, Mr. Chea Sim, and the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #764, 10.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 10 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #473, 9-10.5.2010

  • The Cabinet of the Prime Minister Rejected a Request for Intervention [from citizens] over a Land Dispute in Kandal Stung District [with the Heng Development company, Kandal. The PM had looked into the case already in 2009 and came to the conclusion that the 842 families involved have no right to own the disputed land of 200 hectares]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2244, 1-10.5.2010

  • The Film Who Killed Chea Vichea Cannot Be Played at Any Place as Long as There Is No Permission [according to Sub-Decree 63 of the government, Article 20 says that before the operation, playing, leasing, and selling of all types of films, it is necessary to ask for permission from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. A secretary of state of this ministry said that this film cannot be played publicly, but it can be played privately, for example in a room with a small audience]

Note:

It is surprising to observe that thousands of pornographic CDs and DVDs are being sold publicly all over town, and many of them are shown in some restaurants or coffee shops. Were they all legally imported and did they all first receive the permission from the Ministry of Culture and Fina Arts? Probably yes? Because they are being operated, played, leased, and sold in public – so the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is aware of this. But there are no reports that the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is dealing with them with a similar intensity, comparable to the attention it is giving to Who Killed Chea Vichea.

  • The Number of People Suffering from Diarrhea in Kratie Increases to 51 [there is no recent report whether there is testing also for Cholera being performed – as some medical practitioners claim that there is also Cholera in Cambodia. The assertion by some medical authorities that the treatment for Diarrhea and for Cholera is the same is wrong]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #764, 10.5.2010

  • Malaysian Investors and Investments Are Coming to Cambodia while Cambodia Is Still Unable to Export Its Products

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6951, 10.5.2010

  • Robbers Continue to Commit Robberies in Battambang, Taking Away 100 Chi of Gold [approx. US$14,000] while the Authorities Have Not Identified the Robbers Who Took Away US$100,000

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3875, 10.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Education Should Eliminate Corrupt Nepotism in the Department of Education of Preah Vihear [it is claimed that some positions are controlled by leaders, their in-law, daughters, and their groups of friends]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #167, 10.5.2010

  • Cambodia and Malaysia Will Sign Commercial Agreements for US$1 Billion Today
  • [The Phnom Penh Sugar] Company Sends More Soldiers [more than 150] to Protect Its Land [provided by the government as concession land; Amleang commune, Thpong district, Kompong Speu. The company which is being protected by soldiers is one of the companies which “sponsors” military units]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5193, 9-10.5.2010

  • A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defense, a Member of FUNCINPEC [Mr. Hun Phoeung] Was Removed from His Position [Prime Minister Hun Sen accused him of working for an opposition party]
  • More Than US$7 Million Was Collected [as charitable donations] during the Celebration of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Anniversary on 8 May
  • Two Died and Twelve Others Were Injured in New Shootings in Bangkok

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1892, 9.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: Let’s See whether [the Phnom Penh municipal governor] Mr. Kep Chuktema Dares to Remove [Chamkar Mon district governor] Lo Yuy over Corruption, as He Had Said, or Not [recently he warned to revoke the Chamkar Mon district governor for being inactive, not suppressing illegal activities in his district]

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

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“High ranking officials of the Sam Rainsy Party had expressed their concerns before, that the non-transparent management of the rich natural resources of Cambodia, as well as corruption, make citizens – the owners of those important resources – become poor, so that they cannot receive the benefits from the present anarchic exploitations of natural resources.

“Officials from 16 countries met in Phnom Penh for two days, on 4 and 5 May 2010, to discuss about the control of forestry resources and the trade of forestry products. Cambodian high ranking officials welcomed and chaired the discussion meetings to step up effective controls on forest resources. Asian and European officials came from Burma, Cambodia, China, England, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Siam [Thailand], the United States of America, and Yuon [Vietnam], to discuss how to promote forestry exploitation that follows legal standards.

“Mr. Timo Mäkelä, the Director of Directorate G – Sustainable Development and Integration – in the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission, said that forestry trading is an important sector that boosts economic growth in Asian and European countries, and forestry products have significantly and enormously contributed to development of the economies of Asian and European countries. It is stressed that forestry products are essential for a national economy.

“Mr. Timo Mäkelä said that good management of forestry resource will help prevent forestry destructions in any country, though forests can provide substantial national income. Cambodia used to export forestry products to some countries such as the former Soviet Union. But since Cambodia introduced reforms in 2001, the export of [unprocessed] forestry products abroad was halted [but illegal export continued].

“The Minister of Agriculture of Cambodia, Mr. Chan Sarun, who was also present at the discussions, said that people from the countries that attend the meeting can jointly create plans to strengthen forestry management and legislation. ‘We can create joint planning to improve forestry control and to strength fundamental laws, as well as cut down illegal forestry productions.’

“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.

“Ebony, Thnong, and Beng are most wanted luxury grade woods to produce furniture in some countries, and most illegal exports from Cambodia are of these kinds of wood. Most luxury grade wood confiscated was found in Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Kompong Cham, Stung Treng, and Kratie. The destinations for its export are known to be China and Yuon, where millions of cubic meters are needed.

“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.

Global Witness said in a statement early April 2010, ‘The idea that Ty Sokhun has been removed from his post because of a failure to crack down on illegal logging is laughable.’ The organization thinks that to tolerate Mr. Ty Sokun after 15 years of forestry crimes originating from his office shows that the past spreading of forestry crimes seems to be forgotten.

Note – From the text of the Global Witness statement:

Sacking of Cambodia’s forest chief unconvincing as move against illegal logging

Press Release – 7.4.2010

Global Witness today welcomed the removal from his post of the Director General of Cambodia’s Forest Administration, Ty Sokhun, but warned that much more needed to be done to guarantee the survival of the country’s remaining forests and the fair and sustainable exploitation of the country’s other natural resources for the benefit of the many not the few.

Global Witness’s 2007 report, Cambodia’s Family Trees, documented how Ty Sokhun and the Ministry of Agriculture Director, Chan Sarun, sold off 500 or more jobs in the Forest Administration. The report also revealed that Ty Sokhun’s father-in-law was a key member of Cambodia’s biggest illegal logging syndicate.

“Ty Sokhun’s reign as Cambodia’s forest chief was a disaster for Cambodia’s forests”, said Simon Taylor, Global Witness Director. “On his watch we saw Cambodia’s forests shrink dramatically, largely due to illegal or ill-managed logging operations. It is a good thing he is gone, but he shouldn’t be let off the hook for what happened while he was in charge.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen says he sacked Ty Sokhun because he had no confidence in his ability to crack down on illegal logging but Global Witness questions why it has taken so long to act…

Taylor: “Ty Sokhun was not the only one responsible for the destruction of Cambodia’s forests. Our investigations have proven the complicity of officials and elites at the highest levels, including members of the Prime Minister’s own family. If Hun Sen genuinely wants closure on the destruction of Cambodia’s forests, he should commission a full independent enquiry into what has happened, publish the findings and punish the perpetrators.”

“At the occasion of the change of head of the Forestry Administration and the appointment of Mr. Chheng Kimson it was seen that some high ranking officials such as [Minister of Agriculture] Mr. Chan Sarun were spared to be called to account for their wrongdoings by the head of the Cambodian government, while in fact Mr. Chan Sarun and Mr. Ty Sokun are the most important persons responsible for forestry crimes for years. This way of suppressing illegal wood trading makes international donors to think that Cambodia does it just to satisfy them to get aid, while the Cambodian government is not really willing to intercept illegal wood trading. [[see also The Mirror of 7.4.2010]]

Note – from a historical Global Witness statement from December 2004

Resign or be sacked

Press Release – 3.12.2004

With the advent of Cambodia’s Consultative Group (CG) donor meeting on 6 and 7 December 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 honourable 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 characterised the crisis situation in Cambodia’s forest as “…total system failure; resulting from greed, corruption, incompetence and illegal acts…” However, according to the ADB so many people, companies, institutions and countries were responsible for the fiasco that no one should be made accountable. Since that time not one forest department official has been charged with corruption, let alone convicted. Yet as recently as April 2004 the Independent Forest Sector Review referred to “high levels of institutionalised corruption.” Still, no one is being held to account.

“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.”

Good governance is at the core of the new “Rectangular Strategy,” of the third legislature of the National Assembly, but the government has been talking tough on corruption and doing nothing for years, as has the donor community. At the 1996 CG meeting, then First Prime Minister H.R.H. Norodom Ranariddh stated that the Royal Government of Cambodia was committed to “implement appropriate measures,” to amongst other things “effectively combat corruption.” More recently at the 2001 CG the ADB’s Urooj Malik “respectfully urged” the Royal Government “to move forward with the finalization of legislation on Anti-corruption…”. The donors then pledged US$ 615 million, US$ 115 million more than the Cambodian government had actually asked for. In 2002 “the adoption of a new Anti-Corruption Law” was, according to the World Bank, by now “of particular and most urgent importance.” The donors pledged US$ 635 million.

“The Cambodian government must find the whole CG process absolutely hilarious. Each year they fail to meet their benchmarks and each year the donors give them more money.” said Buckrell.

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.” During Monday’s CG, the donors must hold the entire government to account for their failure to put anti-corruption rhetoric into practice. The donors should insist on rapid enactment of an effective Anti-Corruption law and a register of business interests for politicians, officers in the military, and senior officials.

“Dismissing the Director of the Forest Administration is an absolute minimum first step any donor really interested in Cambodia’s development should expect from a government committed to reform and addressing corruption,” said Global Witness Director, Simon Taylor. “Our recent report, Taking a Cut, provides a number of other key minimum steps we would expect the Cambodian Government to undertake to clean up its act. Some years ago, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that his Premiership depended on his success in delivering improvements in the forestry sector. By any standards, he has thus far failed. The challenge is now to the donors and the Prime Minister to deliver.”

“According to a report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the trade in forestry products with markets in Asian countries, North America, and the European Union in 2001 amounted to about US$140 billion, while in 1999, it had been less than that. A report about the fight against illegal forestry crimes of the World Bank, from 2006, showed that the forest destructions in the world siphoned off more than US$10 billion each year.

“A well known opposition party leader in Cambodia, Mr. Sam Rainsy, had said that corruption leads to the devastation of natural resources of Cambodia. He said that if there were a proper and transparent management of those resources, Cambodia were able to earn huge amounts of money for national construction and for some important infrastructure developments to serve the needs of the citizens.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy recalled that the exploitation of national resources does so far not contribute proper benefits for the nation and for poor citizens, due to corruption. If there were an accurate management, Cambodia could find sufficient income without depending on foreign aid or loans, as the government does at present.

“The Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that the improper management of the national budget, especially the collection of income from the exploitations of natural resources without transparency and without following the laws of control, make Cambodia lose its benefits. Mr. Yim Sovann suggests that the government should create effective laws to control the natural resources and to ensure that income from the exploitation of natural resources is not lost to corruption.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 6 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.17, #1438, 6.5.2010

  • Sweden Plans to Establish an Embassy in Cambodia [no exact date specified]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #470, 6.5.2010

  • A 30-Year-Old Woman Was Attacked with Acid over a Suspected Love Affair [the perpetrators are not yet arrested – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2241, 6.5.2010

  • The Prime Minister Met with the Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense [Mr. Shimba Kazuya [防衛副大臣 榛葉賀津也], discussing about bilateral and regional cooperation]
  • Jointly Stepping Up the Fight against Human Trafficking
  • A Workshop about the Results from a Consultation to Cooperate Implementing the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women Was Held [Ms. Chim Manavy, the director of the Open Institute: priorities and strategies to achieve the same goals together cooperating between civil society organizations and institutions of the government, to effectively implement the action plan, had been discussed and set up, including Information and Communication Technology as a means to promote gender equality and to empower women, as stated in the 2015 Millennium Development Goals]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #648, 6.5.2010

  • Journalists Publish a Declaration on Freedom of Information, Demanding that the Government Creates a Law about the Right to Know Soon [the government is drafting this law without open participation of journalists’ associations]
  • Samdech Euv [Father King] Norodom Sihanouk and Siamese [Thai] King Sent Each Other Good Wishes

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6948, 6.5.2010

  • Nearly 100,000 Hectares of Economic Concession Land in Kompong Thom Are Delivered to Twenty One Companies for Growing Agro-Industrial Crops
  • A Woman Was Raped and Killed and a Few Hours Later, the Perpetrator Was Arrested [Phnom Penh]
  • A Statement by Cambodian Journalists Published on the World Press Freedom Day Suggests that “The Right to Know Must Be Guaranteed for Cambodian Citizens by the Government”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

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

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #165, 6.5.2010

  • Cambodia Claimed Again that the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda Is on Khmer Territory [while Thailand claimed it is on Thai territory. – Actually, it is on territory declared by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in a Joint Communique on 18 June 2008, signed together with UNESCO and the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, as a “buffer zone” not claimed by Cambodia in the context of the World Heritage Site designation plans]
  • [More than 100] Boeng Kak Lake Residents Protested in Front of the Council for the Development of Cambodia [CDC – to oppose the submission of a Master Plan for the development of the area from the Municipality to the CDC, but officials said that the Master Plan has not yet been delivered to the CDC – but people have already been evicted before the plan was accepted]
  • The Minister of Finance of Indonesia [Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati] Receives the Top Position in the World Bank [as its Managing Director]
  • Cambodia Railway Station Is Starting with New Life because of Continuing Investment [it is now controlled by the Toll Royal Railways; the whole Cambodian railway system is being repaired under US$141,1 million aid and credits from the Asian Development Bank, AusAID, and OPEC]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5190, 6.5.2010

  • Cambodia Imports Fuel Amounting to US$450 Million Each Year [according to a report from the Ministry of Commerce]
  • 199 Pieces of Ebony [loaded on a boat] Prepared to Be Imported to Vietnam, Were Seized on the High Sea [Kampot]

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The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held – Thursday, 29.4.2010

Posted on 30 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum was held in the morning of 27 April 2010 at the seat of the Council of Ministers. The forum was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen; other leaders of the Royal Government, from the private sector, and many other development partners, and diplomats attended the forum.

“Like at the previous time, the aim of the meeting, considered to be a kind of open ministerial session, is to jointly monitor the practical progress and improvements achieved, to see how problems, which were raised during the 14th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum had been addressed, and to know what other problems investors face in Cambodia.

“The Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, said during his speech opening the Royal Government-Private Sector Forum that the Royal Government had led the Cambodian economy to get across a most difficult stage of the economic crisis, where the Royal Government managed to ensure financial stability as well as macro-economic and social stability, established a more favorable environment for economic and business activities, and strengthened social safety for the citizens.

“He added that encountering the global economic crisis, the Royal Government had continually intervened in the taxation system for garment and shoe factories as well as for other industries supporting these fields. Reduced tax payments on income of the garment and shoe factories was extended until the end of 2012, resulting in monthly losses for the state of about Riel 4,000,000,000 [approx. US$940,000]. To reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate to 0% during that time resulted in additional losses for the state of about Riel 4,300,000,000 [approx US$1 million] per month in 2008 and it increased to as much as approx. Riel 9,300,000,000 [approx. US$2.2 million] in 2010.

“The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, chaired the event and waited to address all problems after they had been raised by the eight private sector groups. Then he dealt with the problems of the working teams for agriculture and for industry, relating to the export of agricultural products, even though it is recognized that there has been improvement in the commercial sector. Before the private sectors can export anything, they have to ask for permissions from many places, wasting much money and time. To export more than 200 tonnes of rice is even more difficult and takes even longer time. The private sectors needs to gain permissions from the Green Trade structure, that has the exclusive right to export rice. Then they need to ask for permission from many other ministries and institutions. Also, the working teams mentioned that for the transportation of livestock from Preah Vihear to Phnom Penh this process required to cross up to 37 check points, and companies have to pay both official and unofficial money at all those posts. Therefore, they asked the government to eliminate these activities.

“Regarding these issues, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that such type of unimportant checkpoints should be abolished at all levels, especially when such activities are carried out by institutions which are not authorized for this, and he called to abolish such licenses required by unnecessary institutions, so that export business becomes more competitive exporting agricultural products of Cambodia.

“As for the tourism working team, Mr. Ho Vandy asked the government to reduce the price of plane tickets of Cambodia Angkor Air from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, to allow flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap, and to add another flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and to begin local flights between Siem Reap and to Sihanoukville.

“In response, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that Cambodia adheres to a free market economy. Thus, the government cannot set prices of flights as it is done in a planned economy. In relation to the request to begin flights between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, he said that the government does not provide exclusive rights to Cambodia Angkor Air, and other companies can operate direct flights. He encouraged Mr. Ho Vandy – if he could make any airline to start direct flights to Sihanoukville he will request that Mr. Vandy should get a medal for this incentive.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen also addressed issues in other sectors, mostly concentrating on the lowering of tax for the import of raw materials and for means of transport, and the lowering of VAT. At the same time, he addressed also problems relating to trade unions and workers. In addition, he clarified some cases, where the private sector had called to strengthen the competition of the garment sector by considering that the expensive prices of telecommunication, transportation, and electricity are a burden.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 April 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1437, 29.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Was Nominated as a Member of the Royal Academy of Cambodia

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #463-464, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Government Encourages the Private Sector to Export Agricultural Products
  • Two Murderers Were Arrested for Killing a Woman to Rob Her Lexus Car to Sell it in Vietnam [Phnom Penh]
  • The Prime Minister Reminded the Authorities to Crack Down on Illegal Check Points

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #22-342235, 28-29.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The BHP Billiton Mining Company Did Not Give Illegal Money to Cambodia [to get a mining exploration concession from the government]
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Warned Ambassadors in Cambodia Not to Interfere in the Internal Affairs of Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6942, 29.4.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Decide on Bail Requests of [former Khmer Rouge leaders] Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Khiev Samphan on 30 April 2010
  • Samdech Hun Sen: Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and To Demonstrate [on 1 May 2010, the International Labor Day] Is Their Right
  • The Australian Embassy Provides Scholarships to 40 Cambodian Students Every Year
  • The National Children’s Hospital Receives Medical Equipment Donated by the Korea International Cooperation Agency [KOICA, worth about US$200,000]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3866, 29.4.2010

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia [COMFREL]: The Power of the National Assembly Is in the Hands of Only One Party, and Complaints against Mr. Sam Rainsy [filed by the government] Are Dangerous for Democracy
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asked the Minister of Justice to Confirm the Conditions Under Which Courts Can Detain Citizens

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #159-160, 28-29.4.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: The Money from the [Australian] BHP Company Is Not Corrupt Money [he confirmed that the government was not involved in corruption with the BHP company in providing mining exploitation rights in Cambodia, but he said that this company did provide more than US$2 million for social development projects]
  • Tourists Arrivals Increased by Almost 10% in the First Quarter of 2010 [there were more than 680,000 tourists, mostly from Korea, China, and Japan]
  • Visakh Bochea Was Internationally Celebrated in the Angkor Area in Siem Reap [with an international “Trail of Civilization and Performance” with participation from Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam]
  • Cambodia Lifts the Ban on Marriages between Khmer Women and South Korean Men
  • The International Monetary Fund: Cambodia Should Improve Investment Atmosphere [in order to attract big investors: maintaining the macro-economic environment stable, improving the physical infrastructure such as roads, ports, and electricity supply, ensure a high level judicial system that is independent, and keep a well educated labor force]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5183-5184, 28-29.4.2010

  • The 15th Royal Government-Private Sector Forum Was Held
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Criticized Big Institutions of the World [the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different [independent] forecasts about the Cambodian economy]
  • 88% of Garment Factories Were Affected by the Economic Crisis while 12% Were Not [according to the International Labor Organization]

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The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap – Friday, 23.4.2010

Posted on 24 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Siem Reap: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen expressed concern about the loss of ground water in Siem Reap that could lead to earth quakes that can damage the Angkor Wat Temple, for which safety cannot be guaranteed.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so in the morning of 22 April 2010 in Svay Dangkum district, Siem Reap, during the inauguration of a Wastewater Management and Culvert System.

“He said that to further beautify Siem Reap City as the center of the province to attract a large number of tourists, the goal of Cambodia is not only to attract more than 2 million tourists, but our goal is to see as many as 5 million tourist arrivals. Therefore, we have to think about the creation of a larger airport. But our major problem now is to focus on the problem of the ground water used by big hotels. Now we are encouraging investment in bringing water from external water reservoirs to Siem Reap City. We cannot keep on using ever more ground water, because some big hotels consume too much of it, and this leads to the loss of balance between the earth layers and aquifers, which then may result in quakes that might seriously affect our rich cultural heritage. Thus, care has to be taken seriously.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked for a thorough check on big hotels that are drawing ground water, because the amount consumed per day cannot be just estimated, otherwise damage will occur in Siem Reap. Therefore, a good way out is to encourage companies to invest to develop water supply to be drawn from external reservoirs to replace the use of ground water in Siem Reap City.

“Regarding the beauty of the city, he spoke to the Siem Reap Governor, Mr. So Phearin, asking him to clean the Water Convolvulus [a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable, known also as Water Spinach, Water Morning Glory, Chinese Spinach, and Swamp Cabbage] along the road from the airport to the city. He added, ‘You officials, you travel back and forth every day. You see it, but you do not care about it and let the weeds – Water Convolvulus and Water Hyacinths – grow along the road. It is not that you could not do anything. But you do not care about it!’ Last year, he had mentioned this already once, but nothing has changed. Early in the new year, he had reminded them once again, but still it is the same. He went on to say that the flood in Siem Reap results from disorderly constructions which block the flow of water. He continued to say that to develop Siem Reap City is not as difficult as Phnom Penh, which is 500 times more difficult, but still it can be developed. But here, just along the road, it does not happen. ‘Just pave the pedestrian walkways and put concrete slabs on the channel to cover for flowing water will beautify the city, providing an attractive view for the tourists, which is better than letting weeds and Water Convolvulus grow in the channels.

“He added, ‘I would just like to remind you again in case you forget. When one becomes governor of Siem Reap, it is better to have fixed these things before leaving Siem Reap again, because it does not cost much to do it. Roads in front of the houses of citizens and of hotels were already paved according to a regulation introduced. Some roads may be impossible to construct according to that regulation, so a fifty-fifty formula should be introduced [where the state pays half and citizens pay the other half of the cost]. Where the state can construct the roads, do it, because there are supporting funds available from the province and from the Apsara Authority. The real problem is that you did not care to do it.’

“In the meantime, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen praised the governor of Poipet for encouraging and coopering with the citizens to work on improvements. The good leadership there makes Poipet City have nice roads, attracting tourists, while Siem Reap City attracts weeds, Water Convolvulus, and Water Hyacinths.

“Siem Reap residents criticize the Siem Reap governor for not producing any noticeable development in the city. For example, the Siem Reap River is much smaller than the Sankae River in Battambang, but the Battambang authorities were able to pave the river banks with concrete slabs, while the Siem Reap River is like a channel, but the Siem Reap governor was not able to do the same. The pedestrian walkways in Siem Reap are bumpy. Some are paved with concrete slabs. Some are just the plain soil and muddy. Some are full of weeds, making it difficult to walk for the traveling tourists; instead, they have to walk on the road. The Siem Reap city does not offer attractive views for tourists at night, because of public order and sanitation problems.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #460, 23.4.2010

  • A Car Hit Four People Including an Unborn Baby and Killed Them, but the Takeo Police Released the Car Driver [in exchange for US$2,000]
  • The Asian Development Bank Provides a Loan of US$10.93 Million to Cambodia to Strengthen Infrastructure in Siem Reap [to implement construction projects and to deploy a culvert system]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Asked Citizens to Be Careful to Protect Themselves from Lightnings [recently, six people were killed by lightnings in one day in Pursat. He suggested that citizens should not hold any metal objects, like knives or axes, and turn off their mobile phones, radios, and TV sets]

The Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6937, 23.4.2010

  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Announced to Close Guesthouses along National Road 6A [from Phnom Penh to the north, as it is obvious that they do not serve tourists, but are “Love Hotels” offering places for people to have sex – Phnom Penh]
  • Laos Has Collected More Than US$80 Million from Gold Ore while More Ore Is Being Extracted

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3861, 23.4.2010

  • The Debts of Some Countries Are Increasing, and the International Monetary Fund Is Worried that Another, More Serious Economic Crisis May Break Out [also Cambodia is mentioned – when the debt increases, loans for the private sector are cut, so that big and small private enterprises encounter difficulties when they seek loans for their operations; as a result, workers of those enterprises lose their employment]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Asked the United Nations to Deploy Peace Keeping Forces in Siam [Thailand] to Prevent Civil War and Violence

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #155, 23.4.2010

  • The Producer [Mr. Bradley Cox] of the Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” Wants to Present the Film in Cambodia [Mr. Chea Vichea was the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia who was shot dead in 2004 – The film is to share info that the producer has recovered about persons who are supposed to have been behind the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea]
  • BHB Investigates Corruption Allegations in Cambodia [BHP Billiton is conducting an internal investigation over a corruption accusations related to getting a concession for Bauxite exploration in Mondolkiri in 2007 – BHP Billiton withdrew from Cambodia 2009]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap
  • The East Timor President [Mr. José Ramos-Horta] Asked Cambodia to Support His Country’s Candidacy to Become a New Member of ASEAN

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Mr. Hang Chakra Vowed to Continue to Write According to His Conscience as He Did Previously – Monday, 19.4.2010

Posted on 20 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“The editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra, has just been released from Prey Sar prison on Tuesday last week, a day ahead of the Khmer New Year, and he vowed that he will continue to publish his paper according to his conscience, constructively also criticizing the government.

“Mr. Hang Chakra told the Phnom Penh Post on Sunday, ‘I could not believe that I would be released a day ahead of the Khmer New Year. I am so happy that I can meet my family.’ Mr. Hang Chakra added that he will try to publish his Khmer Machas Srok papers again next week, after a suspension early this month due to financial reason, and he will continue to criticize the government with the attempt to constructively contribute to the nation and to fight corruption. He said, ‘I will continue to publish the paper with my conscience, to criticize corrupt people among government officials, to serve the readers and the society. I hope that the readers will still support me.’

“It should also be known that, before Hang Chakra had been released, he wrote a letter of apology to Prime Minister Hun Sen one month after he was convicted, and he promised that he will not write to accuse anyone of corruption without evidence, if he would be released.

“Mr. Hang Chakra is the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, a newspaper that has a tendency towards the Sam Rainsy Party. He was convicted to serve 12 months in prison, and he was fined to pay Riel 9 million (at present approx. US$2,200) on 26 June 2009, for defaming Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, after he had released several texts accusing cabinet officials of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An of being involving in corruption without intervention.

“Mr. Hang Chakra denied he is related to the rumor that he is joining the Cambodian People’s Party and will stop criticizing the government. Mr. Hang Chakra clarified, ‘No institution can press me to change my conscience, as I spend my own money to publish my papers, and my paper is still alive because of our readers.’

“The head of the Criminal Department of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Pov Bunthouen told the Phnom Penh Post on Sunday that Mr. Hang Chakra was one of the 42 prisoners who were released earlier than expected who were on the list to be released, while the punishment of 119 others on the list will be reduced. He said, ‘We are preparing to organize a Visakh Bochea ceremony (on 28 April 2010). I have not yet checked all documents, and I expect that all those documents in the lists that will be checked after the ceremony.’” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #150-151, 12-14.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Monday, 19 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #486, 11-19.4.2010

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] Set Up New Plans to Boost the Economy [ASEAN leaders promised to cooperate to restore the economic and financial sectors by eliminating commercial protectionism and to open free markets]
  • Robbers Robbed a Jewelry Seller at the Canadia Market, Taking Away Nearly US$10,000 [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2225-2226, 11-19-.4.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Authorities Offer Two Options for 257 Families Whose Houses Were Burnt Down in Boeng Kak [they will be allowed to reconstruct houses on a plot of 3.9 by 5 meters at the burnt area, but the authorities will not provide them with land titles – or they can settle on a plot of 5 by 12 meter in Chaom Chau commune, Dangkao district where the authorities will provide them land title. So far, 165 agreed to take the 2nd option]
  • The Cambodian-Chinese Prek Kdam Bridge [across the Tonle Sap River in Kandal, constructed with a loan from China and US$28,783,644 from the Cambodian government] Was Opened for Traffic
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Sent a Letter of Condolence at the Occasion of the Death of the Polish President [who was killed in plane crash]
  • Cambodia Asked the Head of ASEAN to Immediately Convene a Meeting to Reduce the Tensions in Thailand [but Thailand rejected it as previously usual for all members: No interference into internal affairs!]
  • Nearly 60 Cubic Meters of Luxury Grade Wood Found in Dangkao District, belonging to a [Kompong Cham] Forestry Head [the authorities are seeking to arrest him – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6932-6932, 12-19.4.2010

  • 579 People Were Seriously and Slightly Injured or Killed in Traffic Accidents during the Khmer New Year [49 people were killed this year, compared to 2009, when 52 people were killed]
  • More Than US$87 Million Is Provided [by donors] to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for 2010 and 2011 [ announced by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Clashes Broke Out in Bangkok, Killing 20 People and Injuring 842; and 28 Police and Soldiers Had Been Held as Hostage [by red-shirt demonstrators]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3856, 12-18.4.2010

  • The Constitutional Council Rejected a Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians’ Request which Heng Samrin Had Rejected Before [for the government to temporarily suspend putting border posts]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #150-152, 12-19.4.2010

  • Cambodian and Thai Soldiers Clashed along the Border, when there Was an Invasion from Thailand [Thai soldiers demanded Khmer soldiers to remove a wooden house which has been constructed there over ten years, but Khmer soldiers disagreed; four Thai soldiers were injured while Khmer soldiers were not – Oddar Meanchey. In the meantime it was reported that the soldiers of both sides withdrew from the area, and also, that this information is not correct; we cannot just trust ONE information in such a situation, but be aware of frequent inconsistencies and changes – but we “mirror” them, not knowing if there will be coming more changes]
  • The United States of America Greeted Cambodia at the Khmer New Year, while the Cambodian Prime Minister Praised Troops [stationed along the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • [Five representatives of] Amleang Commune Residents Came [to Phnom Penh] to Ask for an Intervention from Mr. Hun Sen [over a land dispute with Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company in Kompong Speu]
  • The Ministry of Health Calls on Citizens to Stop Using [Kemlotlanhthomcaocap – Spelling/wording not sure] Cosmetic Foam Imported from Vietnam [after a woman in Banteay Meanchey died after she used it]
  • Prices of Petroleum at Big Fuel Stations in Cambodia Increased Also after Prices of Oil at the International Markets Rose [a liter of premium quality is US$1.12 and the normal quality is US$1.07]
  • Mr. Hang Chakra Vowed to Continue to Work According to His Conscience as He Did Previously

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5174-5175, 11-19.4.2010

  • The Top US Diplomat [Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Secretary of State of the USA] Vowed to Strengthen Cambodian-American Ties [recalling good cooperation between the USA and Cambodia]
  • Luxury Grade Wood [about 100 cubic meters] Was Found in the Sambara Resort and Spa Hotel [in Siem Reap]
  • The President of Poland Is among the 132 People Who Were Killed in a Plane Crash in Russia
  • Within the First Two Months of 2010 Cambodia Attracted Investment of US$116.5 Million [for 15 projects in agriculture and the garment sector, from China, Singapore, and Vietnam]
  • The Ministry of Tourism Expects that 2010 Will Be the Year That Tourism Recovers and Grows by 10% [or to 2.4 million tourist arrivals]
  • The Army Commander-In-Chief Anupong Paochinda and Opposition Party President Chavalit Support the Dissolution of the Parliament, after a Clash Which Cost 21 Lives [Thailand – This headline shows also the need to follow developments carefully to verify what is going on; in the meantime it is reported that the military, under General Anupong Paochinda, has taken over the responsibility to maintain security in Bangkok, after the police had not been able to do so]

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

Posted on 8 April 2010. Filed under: Week 659 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 659

“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.

A house, reportedly belonging to Mr. Ty Sokun

A house, reportedly belonging to Mr. Ty Sokun

“Mr. Hun Sen specified that Mr. Ty Sokun was reassigned from the position of Director General of the Forestry Administration to become an Under-Secretary of State of Agriculture, and he was replaced by Mr. Chheng Kim Son. Also, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on wood traders and on other high ranking officials who are involved in forestry crimes to show up and to deliver any illegal wood to the authorities.

“Many high ranking officials involved in forestry crimes, who escaped abroad, must return to confess. 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.’

“In the meantime, the Prime Minister warned that Ms. Khai Narin, called Che Muoy, might be arrested, who is said to be a powerful person close to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun. He warned also the Trapeang Prasat district governor in Oddar Meanchey, who used his power to authorize the transfer of state land to powerful military officials.

“Based on the words of the Prime Minister, what Ty Sokun did were mistakes that cannot be disregarded, and that made the Prime Minister lose trust in him. Also, he puts his trust in the newly appointed head of the forestry administration, Mr. Chheng Kim Son, and he hopes Mr. Chheng Kim Son will not disappoint his trust.

“It is reported that Mr. Chheng Kim Son had not been powerful, so he could not just move up to take the position and be appointed to replace Ty Sokun. But it is said that the deputy director of the Forestry Administration, Mr. Chea Sam Ath, is the most powerful person there, who would normally replace Mr. Ty Sokun. But because Mr. Chea Sam Ath is said also to be involved with corruption over forestry crimes, not much different from Mr. Ty Sokun, he was not promoted. The same source added that Mr. Chea Sam Ath has many problems, for which he might be removed or jailed, like other fellow forestry functionaries.

“Therefore, it is likely that Mr. Chea Sam Ath cannot avoid to face jail because the forestry crimes were of a large scale. If Mr. Chea Sam Ath did not have problems, he would have already been nominated head of the forestry administration. But because he has similar problems as Ty Sokun, he was ignored. Does taking responsibility for the forestry administration of the Ministry of Agriculture end with the removal of only the Director General of the Forestry Administration Ty Sokun?

“On Monday, a forestry chief from a region facing the Gulf of Thailand, Mr. Vann Sophanna was summoned by the Koh Kong Municipal Court, but was released later. The Judge of the Koh Kong Municipal Court questioned the head of the forestry administration station facing the Gulf of Thailand, Mr. Vann Sophanna, and the Deputy Forestry Administration Chief of Pursat, Mr. Ouk Kim San, at 9:45 of 5 April 2010. The questioning was made after the national military police, in collaboration with the military police of Kampot and of Sihanoukville, arrested them on Sunday morning in Kompong Trach district, Kampot, and sent them to be detained at the Koh Kong Military Police Station and then to the court for questioning over forestry crimes in the regions under their authority.

“According to military police officials, they will continue to arrest other suspects involved in forestry crimes. It is said that Vann Sophanna, who is a powerful figure in illegally trading wood, is vicious and very domineering. He often blamed his fellow officials over minor mistakes. The general public waits to see other senior officials, who are involved in forestry crimes, also arrested, as recently some other forestry administration officials had been arrested. The interception of forestry crimes and the arrest of perpetrators started after strict orders from Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“It should be noted that last week, many forestry administration officials, with positions from commune to district forestry administration heads, especially those in Kompong Cham, were removed. According to some reports, the Kompong Cham district forestry administration head, Mr. Hun Ieng, the Memut district forestry administration head, Mr. Thong Vannviravuth, the Memut commune forestry administration head, Mr. Yim La, and the Dambae commune forestry administration head, were removed from their positions, and they face imprisonment. Besides forestry administration officials in Kompong Cham, where the authorities found thousands of cubic meters of wood in Memut district, other forestry officials in Pursat and in some other provinces, where there is illegal wood trading, are also facing removal and arrest.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3852, 7.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #454, 7.4.2010

  • As a Result of the Hot Campaign to Combat Forestry Crimes, Ty Sokun Was Removed and Chheng Kim Song Was Appointed to Replace Him
  • After Mr. Ty Sokun Was Removed from His Position, Documents Relating to Irregular Measures Were Disclosed
  • A Military Brigadier General Is Detained at the Prey Sar Prison due to His Anarchic Gunfire [which injured an English woman – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2221, 7.4.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Removes Ty Sokun and Warned Other Officials
  • The National Assembly Adopted a Draft Allowing Cambodia to Become a Part of the ASEAN Anti-Terrorism Pact

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6928, 7.4.2010

  • A 45-Seater Bus Was Illegally Loaded with 68 Pieces of Ebony [the driver was arrested – Siem Reap]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3852, 7.4.2010

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

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #147, 7.4.2010

  • Ty Sokun Was Removed from His Position and the Newly Appointed Forestry Chief Was Warned [by Prime Minister Hun Sen] that He Would Be Jailed if He Cannot Intercept Forestry Crimes [Mr. Ty Sokun said that his ability was limited and most perpetrators have relations with high ranking officials and with the rich, and they often warned forestry officials]
  • Mr. Hun Sen Ordered the Authorities to Break Down All [illegally constructed] Reservoirs [in the flood plain] around the Tonle Sap Lake [this can cause flooding and disrupt the spawning of fish]
  • The Prime Minister Warned Chevron [he said that this oil company will lose its exploration rights if it cannot produce oil by the end of 2012]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5170, 7.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Openly Announced to Remove Mr. Ty Sokun from the Position of Director General of the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
  • The Wood Stored by the Owner of the [Siem Reap] Cultural Village Was Not 200 Cubic Meters, but More Than 600 Cubic Meters

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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The United States of America Announced to Provide US$5 Million to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for Two Years – Thursday, 1.4.2010

Posted on 2 April 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: The United States of America announced to grant US$5 million to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, for two years from 2010 to 2011 for the United Nations side of the budget.

“This provision of funds of US$5 million was announced by the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Mr. Stephen Rapp, in the afternoon of 31 March 2010 in a press conference at the US Embassy in Cambodia.

“During the conference, Mr. Stephen Rapp praised the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, though there had been reports of accusations locally and internationally.

“Mr. Stephen Rapp said that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal works hard and overcomes all critics to ensure its continuity.

“In recent months, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had been accused over corruption among Khmer officials and was alleged of being the object of interference by the Cambodian government. Regarding this problem, Mr. Stephen Rapp stressed that the United States of America is not concerned about these accusations. The USA consider that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is heading to achieve justice for Khmer citizens who were killed during Democratic Kampuchea, the Pol Pot Regime.

“The spokesperson of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Dim Sovannarom, expressed his satisfaction toward the United States of America for deciding to provide funds so that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal can continue its proceedings.

“Mr. Dim Sovannarom said that because of the funds from the United States, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal hopes that other countries that had announced to provide funds like the United States, will now also deliver them soon to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for the two years of 2010 and 2011.

“Within the total amount of more than US$85 million, it is seen that the United States of Americas is the only country that provide funds to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal only for the United Nations side of the budget.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #449, 1.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #449, 1.4.2010

  • The United States of America Announced to Provide US$5 Million to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for Two Years

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #100, 1.4.2010

  • The Ministry of Interior Released a Circular Prohibiting the Copying of Works of Author Who Have the Copyright for the Document to Be Copied [the license of places running such copy operations will be canceled and they will be dealt with according to the law]

Note:

A World Trade Organization study predicts grave negative social consequences:

Cambodia’s Accession to the WTO: ‘Fast Track’ Accession by a Least Developed Country

The implementation of copyright law will affect education and other fields relating to human resource development. In a poor country such as Cambodia, books, CDs and VCDs with copyright simply cannot be afforded because they would be too expensive for the average citizen. Pirated CDs, VCDs, and DVDs as well as copied books, unlicensed films and even imitations of circus performances and pantomimes may soon cease to exist in Cambodia. With the majority of the population earning less than one dollar per day, the enforcement of copyright law would take away the livelihood of thousands, and cut off many from educational and entertainment materials.

[Boldface added by The Mirror]

Source:
http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/casestudies_e/case8_e.htm

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2216, 1.4.2010

  • The Royal Government Stores Emergency Food Worth US$35 Million for Poor Vulnerable People [where US$17.5 million is from a grant and US$12.5 million from a loan from the Asian Development Bank]
  • The Japan Mine Action Service [JMAS] Grants More Than US$120,000 for Mine Clearance in Battambang

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6923, 1.4.2010

  • Kompong Cham and Koh Kong Forestry Officials Were Removed from Their Positions and Arrested [for working for their personal gain, trading and storing wood illegally]
  • A Truck Carrying More Than 100 Workers Overturned, and 21 Workers Were Killed or Injured [two workers were killed – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3847, 1.4.2010

  • [A Phnom Penh Municipal Deputy Governor from the Cambodian People’s Party] Using a Conference [about data systems and statistics] for Political Propaganda Made Sam Rainsy Party Councilors Walk Out of the Session

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #143, 1.4.2010

  • The [former] King, Samdech Euv [the King Father] and Samdech Mae [the King Mother] Return to Cambodia [from China]
  • More Than 400 Convicts Will Be Pardoned or Their Punishment Will Be Reduced by the King during the Khmer New Year [including for the editor-in-chief of the pro-Sam Rainsy Party newspaper Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra]
  • More Than 60 Families Do Not Agree to Leave the Burnt Area [of the Railway Community in Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh, to resettle at the Dangkao suburb – the authorities said that they will not evict them by force, but they will persuade them to agree to relocate to a new place where they can have better living conditions]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5165, 1.4.2010

  • The Construction of the Russey Chrum River Hydro-Electric Dam Will Be Started by a Chinese Company [China Huadian Corpoationhave a look by clicking on the name of the company – [中国华电集团公司, short 中国华电], one of China’s five largest power producers] with an Investment Capital of US$558 Million [taking three years to finish – Pursat]

Note:

It is interesting to see also in publications in the People’s Republic of China reporting about citizens concern, when the may have to leave their traditional villages to make room for the construction of a dam – in this case also by the same China Huadian company – and different officials make contradictory statements, leaving the people concerned.

http://www.nujiang.ngo.cn/Dynamics-en/rumours-of-dam-building-leave-villagers-fearing-for-their-future

“Rumors of dam-building leave villagers fearing for their future

“According to the latest rumor, headway has been made with the dam-building plan – which has been halted since 2004. Approval, it is said, has been given for the construction of at least one of the proposed 13 dams to start in the next few months.

“But a top local official firmly denied the rumored approval – reportedly announced by another local government official at a Communist Party meeting last month.”

Some organizations turn their concerns into a public campaign:

“Water and Life. We are holding this ‘Nujiang River Sentiment’ exhibition to invite you to join us and struggle to save the last natural river in the world.”

http://www.nujiang.ngo.cn/ <— A picture and questions.

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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