More Than 30% of the Size of Ratanakiri Is Contracted to Foreign Companies for Mineral Exploration, Affecting the Environment and the Living Conditions of the Poor Citizens – Thursday, 19.8.2010

Posted on 20 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“The rich natural resources in Cambodia, especially gold, gems, and diamonds, attract the attention from foreign investors to invest in mining in Cambodia, and the leading companies are the OZ Company and Southern Gold company of Australia. Also, some Yuon [Vietnamese] companies that do not make their identity known, operating illegally on gold exploitation, siphoning national resources out from Cambodia.

“The Yuon press quoted the director of the Saigon Jewelry Company, the biggest gold company in Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long [Nguyễn Thành Long], as having said that the company had shown its plan to the Yuon government to ask for permission to invest in factories in Cambodia and Laos. If this company earns the approval from the Yuon government or from the governments where it plans to invest, this company will establish gold manufacturing factories abroad not later than in late 2010.

“Yuon officials said that this company will start its production with the trademark SJC in Laos this year, investing in Laos first, before seeking to create factories and branches in Cambodia. Some other Yuon companies investing in gold trade, such as the Sacom Bank, the Agri-Bank, and the Hun Huang [? – phonetic], and have opened representative offices in Cambodia and are strengthening and expanding their business operations.

“Yuon investors see huge benefits from investments in Cambodia and in gold exploration in the northeast of Cambodia; they have sent skilled workers to come to conduct illegal exploitation with the backing from military officials or civil authorities. Gold deposits in the northeast of Cambodia are being exploited illegally by traders, not leading to national income.

“Recently, Yuon traders had sent a barge on the Sekong river to Siem Pang district in Stung Treng, loaded with gold filtering machines, in an attempt to conduct illegal gold exploitation. The local authorities blocked the barge for some time to clarify questions about legal documents, but they will likely let it go after an intervention from the provincial level.

“Also, citizens in the Veun Sai district in Ratanakiri are worrying about the impact on water quality in the Sesan river, as Chinese gold miners are drilling to explore gold ore on Pang Island. They said that the Chinese company has been operating for two months, employing more than 10 Khmer workers, using two machines for drilling, and disposing waste water into the Sesan river, from which citizens consume water for their daily living.

“Citizens complained that at present, the water in the Sesan river was dirty and can no longer be used, but the local authorities do not intervene. Pang Island in the Sesan river has an area of 200 meter in length and 100 meter in width, and there live Krueng ethnic minority tribespeople, who have settled there since long. Now they are seriously affected by the gold exploitation by the Chinese company Indochine Resources [a holding company for the Indochine Group, ‘the largest mineral concession holder in The Royal Kingdom of Cambodia’ – including Indochine Mining].

“Officials of the Ministry of Industry. Ratanakiri Department, said that the Ministry of Industry provided a license to Indochine Resources in November 2009, to explore metal ore on an area of 200 square kilometers. So far, no companies have been registered also to exploit resources. All are just conducting explorations, and any exploitation in the past was illegal.

“The exploitation means that a company can gain benefits from the ore, whereas exploration means just to drill to find ore samples for experiments, but some companies colluded with expert officials and the authorities in charge to conduct exploitation while they only have exploration rights, so they gain benefits without paying tax to the state on their profits. Such anarchy occurs at the northeast of Cambodia, and some officials and members of the authorities are happy to collect personal benefits from it.

“According to expert officials, in Ratanakiri more than 3,000 square kilometers, or 30% of the size of the province, have been contracted to 19 companies to conduct explorations. Those companies deal with quarries, or they are construction companies, sand companies, gems companies, granite companies, and metal companies etc., and 10 companies have not received exploitation license. Citizens complained that some activities of those companies violate the land they own, and there is also deforestation.

“Civil society officials often voiced concern relating to the issues that some mineral exploration companies do not obey the laws, and that the requirements from relevant ministries and the exploitation by some companies affect the environment and the living condition of citizens. Expert officials never take restrictive actions against these companies doing exploitation, though citizens from the region had reported about improper activities of those companies.

“Since private companies started anarchic mine exploration in Cambodia without any interception by expert officials, they have extracted almost everywhere underground mineral deposits, but so far, no money has been paid into the national budget. Officials of civil and international organizations frequently warned that the improper management of mineral resources might seriously damage Cambodia. Therefore, the government must create laws to carefully control mineral resources and income.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3962, 19.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 August 2010

Areyathor, Vol.15, #1452, 19-20.8.2010

  • Two Persons Were Killed by Lightning while They Were Transplanting Rice Seedlings [Sihanoukville]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.1, #2331, 19.8.2010

  • Four Workers Were Attacked with Acid – They Sustained Serious Burn over Their Bodies [it is suspected this attack was related to rancor or a triangle love story; the two perpetrators have not yet been found – Phnom Penh]
  • Turtles and Many Other Types of Wild Animals Were Intercepted by Wild Aid [cooperating with the military police of Siem Reap to raid two sites selling animals – pangolins, soft shell turtles, and snakes]
  • A Plane Crash in Thailand Killed Five High Ranking Officials of the Ministry of Environment

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7038, 19.8.2010

  • Mobile Custom Officials Intercepted Two Trucks Loaded with Ebony [about 40 cubic meters illegally cut; the owner of the wood is known, but officials asked not to provide names [officials asked for understanding from journalists that they cannot provide the names while the investigations go on – Prey Veng]
  • The Gold Mining Area in Ratanakiri Cracked Down On Last Month Starts Operating [illegally] Again

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3962, 19.8.2010

  • More Than 30% of the Size of Ratanakiri Is Contracted to Foreign Companies for Mineral Exploration, Affecting the Environment and the Living Conditions of the Poor Citizens
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Criticized Corruption [over mining proceedings] of the Ministry of Industry, Which Led to the Canceling of the Kravanh Mountain Eco-Tourism Investment Project
  • At Least 145 Citizens Have Been Arrested [since 2008] over Land Disputes due to the Weak Court System [according to the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #34, 19.8.2010

  • An Armed Clash Broke Out at the Choam Sa Ngam Border Crossing Point while Troops [of Cambodia and of Thailand] Were Patrolling [there is no report of casualties – Oddar Meanchey]
  • Japan Grants Technical Aid worth More Than US$4 Million for Agricultural Development [to improve agricultural productivity and to promote markets for agricultural products at the west of the Tonle Sap lake through the technical support to the Departments of Agriculture of Battambang, Pursat, and Kompong Chhnang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.9, #240, 19.8.2010

  • ASEAN Begins Discussing about the Cambodian Request for an Intervention over the Khmer-Thai Border Disputes
  • Vietnam Strengthens Military Cooperation with Cambodia [Prime Minister Hun Sen had asked Vietnam during a visit by the Vietnamese Senior General Le Van Dong to help consolidate the defense sector of Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5280, 19.8.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Plans to Provide US$558 Million [cooperation financing] from 2011 and 2013 [to support poverty reduction, to promote rural development, to improve the economy and agriculture, to strengthen the capacity of human resources, and to develop the financial sector and the private sectors]
  • The DK Fund [established 1998 by a Korean who was orphaned and later received a scholarship to study in the USA] Chose Cambodia to Provide Scholarships for Poor Students for Ten Years [the DK Fund plans to create a vocational training center in Sihanoukville, and a health science university in Cambodia]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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“Forestry Crimes Are Activities of National Betrayal” – Sunday, 11.4.2010

Posted on 12 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 659 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 659

When Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke out against forestry crimes with extremely strong words – though forestry crimes used to go on regularly and since a long time, as the frequent descriptions in the Khmer press showed – it was understood by sectors of the police and of the military that he really expected change. Illegally cut wood used to be transported illegally – and some journalists who had tried to denounce some of these activities had been hindered or even harassed. And when the UK based organization Global Witness had published a documentation about illegal deforestation going on in Cambodia, the former head of the Forestry Department, Mr. Ty Sokun, had said that this documentation writes lies on every page.

We repeat here from The Mirror of 27.3.2010:

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

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

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

As a result, there was a constant stream of related articles during the past week in the Khmer press which show that the Prime Minister’s words had initiated many activities and reactions. The Mirror carried some of them as examples; especially the situation of Mr. Ty Sokun received many comments:

  • A Wood Storehouse of the Canadia Bank in the Cultural Village [of Siem Reap] Was Raided, and Hundreds of Cubic Meters of Wood Were Found
  • 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
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Removes Ty Sokun and Warned Other Officials
  • A 45-Seater Bus Was Illegally Loaded with 68 Pieces of Ebony [the driver was arrested – Siem Reap]
  • Considering Forestry Crimes, Ty Sokun Should Not Be Allowed to Hold a Position, but Should Be Punished according to the Law
  • 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]
  • 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
  • The Dangkao District Authorities Found a Wood Processing Workshop [run illegally] in the Piphup Thmey Block of Buildings in Dangkao district of Oknha Hong Piv [and discovered hundreds of cubic meters of luxury grade wood – Phnom Penh]
  • A Truck Overturned and More Than 40 Cubic Meters of Ebony Fell on the Street, but the Head of the Forestry Department and Representatives of Other Authorities Did Not Dare to Touch It [an official who asked not to be named said that the wood belongs by an Oknha who has a license to transport it; the wood was to be transported from Pursat to Phnom Penh – Kompong Chhnang]
  • Civil Society Supports the Crackdown on Forestry Crimes by the Prime Minister [“and some associations suggested that former Director General of the Forestry Administration Ty Sokun must be bought to a court to be convicted according to the law”]

The last two headlines point to some concerns, which start to be raised again more, as time passes.

Obviously, some lower level servants of the state are not so sure if the words of the Prime Minister will really protect them, if the do what he said they should do. We remember his words: “All authorities have to investigate this at every place to find the offenses and to arrest the offenders, the principal leaders, and other relevant persons, to be prosecuted without any exception regardless of how powerful those persons are, and whatever their relationships.”

But there is not only the fear of some people who actively implement the new directives. There is also starting some questioning how seriously the Prime Minsters words can be taken for what they say – on the one hand. But on the other, he is also quoted to have said to Mr. Ty Sokun and to his successor Mr. Chheng Kim Son, that Mr. Ty Sokun failed in his duties, so he is removed, but he is now appointed as an under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture; but, he is quoted to have added to Mr. Chheng Kim Son, if he too would fail: “Jail.”

So the question in The Mirror of 28.3.2020 cannot yet be put to rest: “Another Thunderstorm – or the Start of a Climate Change?”

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“Copyright Enforcement Will Cost Jobs and Prevent Access to Education and Entertainment” – Sunday, 4.4.2010

Posted on 5 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

The past week brought quite a number of reports on the follow-up to the Prime Minister’s order to crack down on rampant illegal activities – especially deforestation – and on the sudden results of activities by the authorities, who before did not seem to know much about the warehouses of stored luxury grade wood, probably cut illegally. But now, in a couple of days, thousands of cubic meters of such wood is found. And there are questions considering the Prime Minister’s speech: “Are Oknhas Who Own and Operate Wood Storehouses in Siem Reap [also] Considered Betraying the Nation?” And: “Why Do the Authorities Not Arrest the Owner of the Tiger Beer Company Like They Arrested Yeay Mab for Illegal Wood Trading?” The next days and weeks and months will show more clearly if the present campaign is only a short-lived campaign, or if it is the beginning of some real change, that laws will be applied clearly, publicly, and strongly in future.

The Mirror carried a small headline on 1 April 2010 which also threatened stern legal action: “The Ministry of Information Released a Circular Prohibiting the Copying of Works of Authors Who Have the Copyright for Documents Being Copied” – the license of copy-shops which do this will be canceled, the Circular said, and they will be dealt with according to the law.

When this regulation is implemented, it will affect many hundreds of businesses which are operating publicly all over town in Phnom Penh, and surely also in many other provincial centers. But not only these businesses and their employees will be affected – it will have a very deep, and negative, impact on many sectors of society: first of all on education.

We repeat here a part of a study which has been published on the website of the World Trade Organization – WTO – which predicts grave negative social consequences.

“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

When Cambodia was accepted into the membership of the WTO in 2004, the enforcement of copyrights – after a period of transition – was part of the deal. Cambodia had applied for membership mainly to get easier access to the markets of other WTO member countries; there had been not so much public debate about what other changes would come. Now, many documents related to Cambodia are on the WTO website – with many points to be considered and to be arranged and applied.

A visit to any of the many copy-shops shows that a large section of their business probably falls under the newly announced prohibition. They will either have to stop producing a lot of educational and study materials – or see their business licenses being revoked and their shops closed. But, as the WTO study says: not only thousands of employees of copy-shops will lose their employment – the whole population will be affected, as the study says: it will cut off many from educational and entertainment materials, as the originals of what is being copied are all much more expensive than the copies available until now.

The protection of intellectual property is nowadays a very high priority of the USA and of other economically strong countries. Any new trade agreement – bilateral or multilateral – has to accommodate these interests. And this does not only relate to books, but – as pointed out in the study above – also to information on CDs and DVDs, for entertainment and for education, and for production by computers: computer software.

Many people and the media have been moved to accept the term “piracy” for copying books or computer programs without the agreement of the original authors. But this term is wrong: “Pirates” take something away, so that the original owner does not have it any more, and they do it violently – if there is resistance, they often kill. By accusing people who share copies to be “pirates,” the argument becomes an ethical one between legal owners – mostly strong – and underpaid teachers in a poor educational system who copy educational material for students who do not have the money to buy original books.

What is hardly known is an aspect of US history: in the 19th century, the USA copied British books and argued that the USA, as a developing country at that time, could not accept the British reservations against copying of material which the USA needed for its development.

With the consent of the author, Roberto Verzola, a researcher in the Philippines, a section of his study is shared here:

Towards a Political Economy of Information – Studies on the Information Economy

Part I. Information and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Chapter 3: U.S. Piracy in the 19th Century

Nineteenth century America was a major center of piracy. The principal target of U.S. pirates was the rich variety of British books and periodicals. The U.S. was a perennial headache among British authors and publishers, because foreign authors had no rights in America. American publishers and printers, led by Harpers of New York and Careys of Philadelphia, routinely violated British copyright and ‘reprinted a very wide range of British publications.’

James Barnes, who wrote an excellent book on this subject, said that the Americans were ‘suspicious about international copyright,’ and were afraid that recognizing international copyright meant ‘exploitation and domination of their book trade.’ Barnes noted that ‘as a young nation, the United States wanted the freedom to borrow literature as well as technology from any quarter of the globe, and it was not until 1891 that Congress finally recognized America’s literary independence by authorizing reciprocal copyright agreements with foreign powers.’

Barnes continued: ‘In 1831, an Act to Amend the Several Acts Respecting Copyrights was signed. It extended the copyright term from fourteen to twenty-eight years, with the option of renewal for an additional fourteen. If an author died, his widow or children could apply for the extension. For the first time, the law allowed musical compositions to be copyrighted. But not a word on international copyright. In fact, foreign authors were explicitly barred from protection, which in essence safeguarded reprints.’

Even the U.S. president at that time, John Quincy Adams, was himself ‘strongly opposed to international copyright.’em>

In 1837, Senator Henry Clay introduced a copyright bill before the U.S. Senate. Within days, ‘a flood of negative memorials reached Washington,’ and objections deluged both houses of Congress. The U.S. Senate’s Patent Committee rejected ‘the intention of the measure,’ its reasons sounding very much like the justification today of Third World countries for their liberal attitude towards intellectual property. The Committee’s reasons were:

  • A copyright agreement would promote higher book prices and smaller editions. The point was driven home by comparing the retail prices of new books in England and America, for it was universally acknowledged that English books were disproportionately more expensive.
  • A large portion of the U.S. publishers’ business ‘would be reduced perhaps as much as nine-tenths, certainly as much as three-fourths, if copyright be granted to foreign books.’
  • Copyright has never been regarded among nations as ‘property standing on the footing of wares or merchandise, or as a proper subject for national protection against foreign spoliation.’ Every government has always been left to make such regulations as it thinks proper, ‘with no right of complaint or interference by any other government.’
  • The U.S. reprinters advanced their own arguments for reprinting British publications without regard for international copyrights
  • They were making available to the American people cheap books which would otherwise be very costly if they had to compensate foreign authors. It was generally acknowledged that the low prices of American books would inevitably rise after the passage of a copyright treaty.
  • Access by the American printing industry to British works provided Americans with thousands of jobs.
  • Books are ‘unlike other commodities’; whereas it took the same amount of labor to create each new hat or boot, ‘the multiplication of copies of a book meant a saving on each additional facsimile.’

Several bills were introduced in 1870, 1871 and again in 1872, but they were all opposed by American publishers and the printing unions. And so it went. In the early 1880’s, the copyrights movement gained more strength, but not quite enough to overcome the more powerful forces that benefited from free and unrestricted access to foreign publications.

In July 1891, the U.S. Congress adopted the Chace International Copyright Act of 1891, establishing a framework for bilateral copyright agreements based on reciprocity. While the act granted copyright to resident and nonresident authors for a period of 28 years, renewable for another 14.

In 1952, the U.S. joined the Universal Copyright Convention [and also, for reference: Universal Copyright Convention, as revised in 1971], but not the Berne Convention, which was considered the ‘premier instrument of international copyright.’ Under the Universal Copyright Convention, the U.S. retained such protectionist measures as the requirement of manufacture in the United States.

In the meantime, the U.S. had been exerting tremendous pressures against Third World governments to adopt strict intellectual property laws and to strengthen their enforcement. By the late 1980’s, a number of governments, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea in Asia, had finally succumbed to U.S. pressure.

And so in 1989, the U.S. finally and belatedly acceded to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

All the former arguments of the USA and the actions of their government and parliamentary bodies sounds very familiar: these are the arguments from many developing countries today. It took the USA decades, until 1952 and 1989, to accept the conditions, which they now declare to be essential for international trade relations. Some social action groups, and some parliaments and governments try to stand up in the same way as the USA did in the 19th century.

But, as the study published on the WTO website says, there is ample fear that the results of copyright enforcement for Cambodian society at large may be very negative. Who is to blame, and who will have to bear the consequences? There are, of course, also efforts under way to have the whole concept and structures of copyright legislation fundamentally reconsidered, as it was developed under very different international conditions and mostly before modern information technology radically changed the possibilities of access to and sharing of information. It is up to society, and up to the governments caring for their societies, to get this process moving ahead.

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

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

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

But the past week brought changes.

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

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

In one paper we read, “All authorities have to investigate this at every place to find the offenses and to arrest the offenders, the principal leaders, and other relevant persons, to be prosecuted without any exception regardless of how powerful those persons are, and whatever their relationships, because the suppression of forestry crimes is the suppression of criminal groups – their activities have to be considered as activities of national betrayal.”

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

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

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

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

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

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The King Sends a Letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen – Saturday, 28.2.2009

Posted on 1 March 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, sent a letter with some documents to Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, asking him to check the cutting down of trees and of the forest clearance to claim land ownership, as the report of the president of a Natural Resource Observation and Protection Organization of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Hean, said, in order that Samdech Dekchor takes action according to the law.

“The letter signed by Preah Karuna Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni dated 26 February 2009 to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the head of the government, says that he received a letter dated 24 February 2009, as well as some documents from a Natural Resource Observation and Protection Organization of Cambodia, signed by Mr. Chea Hean, asking the King to intervene with Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, regarding collusion of the authorities and of certain officials of the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge, and the authorities in Kiri Sakor district in Koh Kong to cut down trees and to clear forest, to take state land in national natural reserves which are protected by Royal Decree.

“Relating to the letter of the Khmer King, asking Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to intervene, we could not contact the cabinet of the Prime Minister to know whether this letter has arrived there or not, and whether the King’s letter to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor was sent while Samdech Dekchor had already left Cambodia to Thailand to attend the 14th ASEAN summit in Hua Hin, and if so, it is expected that Samdech will become aware of this problem only after returning to the country.

“The writer of the letter, Mr. Chea Hean, said on 27 February 2009 that he and his officials are pleased that the letter was sent to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen. This provides confidence from His Majesty for the report and for some documents which this organization had sent to him, signed on 26 February 2009 and send to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, to report to him about the cutting down of trees, and the clearing of forest, to claim land for private ownership, conducted by officials who are directors of the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge in Kompong Speu, and of the Botum Sakor National Park in Kiri Sakor district in Koh Kong.

“It should be recalled that the cutting down of trees in the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge had occurred repeatedly since 2002, with collusion between the director of the Animal Refuge, Mr. Chhun Chhea Heng, and the Oral district police chief, Mr. Dos Sim, as well as district governors and village and commune chiefs. The cutting down of trees in the Botum Sakor National Park, which is protected by Royal Decree, is conducted by the Botum Sakor district police chief, Mr. Touch Sovannarith, who hires citizens to clear forest – and even though the director of the Botum Sakor National Park prohibits it, the activities of the police chief Touch Sovannarith cannot be stopped.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #352, 28-2.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #127, 28.2.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Agrees to Pay Riel 10 Million [approx. US$2,500] to the National Election Committee
  • The Government Is Not Afraid of a Withdrawal of the United Nations from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • The European Community Promises to Provide Approximately US$50 Million per Year from 2009 to 2012
  • Civil Society Organizations: Closing Gambling Sites Makes Some People Unemployed, but the Whole Society Is Better
  • [The Minister of Economy and Finance] Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon Met with the Deputy President of the National Assembly of France [Mr. Jean-Marie Le Guen, to strengthen cooperation between both countries]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1885, 28.2.2009

  • Rohingya Boat People Will Be Sent Back from Thailand to Burma [said Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #352, 28-2.2.2009

  • The King Sends a Letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen
  • Government Official [Mr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information and government spokesperson] Denies that There Were Serious Human Rights Violations as Claimed in the Report of the US Department of State
  • World Federation of Free Trade Unions Invites the Presidents of the Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia to Visit Greece to Exchange Experiences

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6590, 28-1.2.2009

  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan’s Hearing Was Suspended when There Was No Foreign Co-Lawyer Was Present [Mr. Jacques Vergès was absent, because a relative had had a traffic accident in Paris]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3699, 28-1.2.2009

  • The Open Justice Initiative Criticizes the United Nations for Not Taking Action against Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4833, 28.2.2009

  • Between 8,000 and 9,000 People Became Unemployed after the Operation of Slot Machines and of Football Betting [at Cambosix] Was Terminated
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Goes to Attend the 14th ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin in Thailand
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency Begins a Study for the Construction of a Section of National Road 1 and of the Neak Loeang Bridge
  • The IMF Tells Cambodia to Strengthen Commercial Banks [so that they are able to provide loans to other sectors]
    Vietnam and China Reject the Human Rights Reports of the United States

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A Teacher Who Dares to Tell the Truth Is Threatened to Be Dismissed from a School – Thursday, 15.1.2009

Posted on 16 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“Civil society officials in Cambodia and abroad expressed concern about the freedom of expression in Cambodia. The authorities of the government threaten activists of trade unions, teachers, civil servants, human rights officials, and democrats.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association in Kompong Thom, who is a teacher of the high school in Triel, Mr. Sun Thun, was investigated by an inspection team of the Provincial Department of Education, and they plan to dismiss him. He is accused of causing anarchy and insulting leaders of the government while teaching students.

“Civil society people abroad noticed that Mr. Sun Thun is a model teacher who dares to express his opinion actively according to the Constitution, and who dares to criticize corruption and injustice in the society, illegal logging, and human rights abuses committed by some leaders in the government and by other relevant officials.

“Civil society officials who are members of a group monitoring the situation from outside of the country absolutely condemned the activities of officials of the Department of Education of Kompong Thom and of the director of this high school for threatening and trying to make the consciousness of other teachers insensitive, so that they do not to criticize leaders of the school and government leaders, even though they live under pressure and suffer human rights abuses and earn small salaries.

“Members of a monitoring group abroad voiced concerns that Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly and the right to education suffered serious setbacks in 2009, because the government uses a scenario acting through the ministry, provincial departments, school leaders, or other institutions, to put pressure on teachers and other civil servants. A group observing Cambodia based in Kristiansand [Norway – there is an office of the NGO Save the Children, Norway] would like to ask national and international organizations to help intervene in this case at the Triel High School, and to urge the Cambodian government to respect the Freedom of Expression, the right to education, and the Freedom of Assembly for meetings by Khmer citizens.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, asked the Minister of Education, Youth, and Sport, Mr. Im Sethy, to keep Mr. Sun Thun as a teacher at the Triel High School in the commune of Triel, Baray district, Kompong Thom.
 
“Mr. Rong Chhun wrote an official letter on 14 January 2009, saying that the argument of the director of the Triel High School and of the Department of Education of Kompong Thom, to request the Ministry of Education to reassign Mr. Sun Thun away from the Triel High School, was not right, and that Mr. Sun Thun had not committed any wrongdoing.

“Mr. Rong Chhun emphasized that according to the questions Mr. Sun Thun was asked, according to a report about the administration and financial inspection team regarding Mr. Sun Thun’s words which were broadcast by Radio Free Asia about wells, prices of birth certificates of Grade 9 students, iron for constructing small schools, and about Mr. Sun Thun’s disagreement to remove a stall selling small things from the school compound – all these points cannot be considered to be wrongdoings of Mr. Sun Thun and are not applicable as reasons to reassign him away by force.

“Mr. Sun Thun told a news agency that he did criticize corruption, about the cutting of wages for hours worked by teachers, and he had criticize bad leadership of the present leaders.

“The deputy director of the Triel High School, Mr. Ouch Phally, said that Mr. Sun Thun criticized the leaders of the government while teaching students.

“It should be noted that Mr. Sun Thun, a teacher and president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association in Kompong Thom, has enough rights to express his opinion through the press, he has the right to negotiate with leaders from all levels in the educational institution according to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia in Chapter 3, Article 41 and 42, the Common Statute of Civil Servants [?] of the Kingdom of Cambodia in Chapter 55, Article 36, the Law on Education in Chapter 7, Article 37, and the treaties of the International Labor Organization which guarantee to citizens of both sexes the right to express opinions, the rights of association, and the right of negotiations.

“Mr. Rong Chhun believes that Mr. Sun Thun will receive justice after an investigation by the administration and financial inspection team. Activities of the director of the Triel High School and of leaders of the departments, related to rancor and about discriminating related to the freedom of association, and to revoke any teacher can be made as long as they have committed serious wrongdoings about which the school director or the leaders of the department had advised them two or three times, following administrative regulations, but if they still not change, then their supervisors can suggest to the Ministry of Education to help to advise them. Mr. Sun Thun has no wrongdoings, and his supervisors never summoned him before to advise him, but there was immediately the request to remove him by force; this goes against the administrative procedures.

“Therefore Mr. Rong Chhun believes that Mr. Sun Thun will receive justice by keeping him to teach the students at the Triel High School.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #326, 15.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 15 January 2009

Kampuchea Thngai Nis, Vol.5, #396, 15-22.1.2009

  • Sok Sam Oeun Is Ordained as a Monk after the Supreme Court Released Him on Bail [after five years in] Jail [convicted for murdering the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Vichea in January 2004]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1847, 15.1.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Opens a Pretrial Conference for the Hearing of Kaing Gek Eav [also known as Duch, former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] This Morning

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #324, 15.1.2009

  • New Video Document with the Title “Who Are the Khmers in Kampuchea Krom” Is Produced by the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association [based in the USA]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #326, 15.1.2009

  • A Teacher Who Dares to Tell the Truth Is Threatened to Be Dismissed from a School

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #183, 15.1.2009

  • People Who Pull Carts with Merchandise [many of them children] Kneel Down to Beg Customs Officers Extorting Their Money [they earn around Baht 50 [approx. US$1.45] from one trip [over the border to Thailand and back in Poipet], but they have to pay between Baht 20 and Baht 30 to each post – they are very poor, but officials seem to have no mercy for them, extorting even the little money they earn with hard work]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6552, 15.1.2009

  • The Ministry of Information Reacts to the Allegation that the Royal Government Will Attempt to Limit Publishing through the Internet [made by the Association for Protection of Journalists in response to press reports]
  • Two Young Men Took Turn Raping a [16-year-old] Girl until She Fainted; when Brought to Be Investigate, They Were Released [even though they confessed to the police that they did it, but they were released because one of them promised to marry the victim, and the other promised to help to pay for the victim’s family for her wedding – Svay Rieng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3666, 15.1.2009

  • The United States of America Encourages the Cambodian Government to Adopt an Anti-Corruption Law Soon [according to a speech by the Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Ms. Piper Campbell]
  • Co-Prosecutors of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Send a Witnesses’ Name List to the Judges for the Trial of Duch
  • Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister [Abhisit Vejjajiva] Asks the Cambodian Government Not to Raise the Border Disputes for Discussion by the ASEAN Summit [while the spokesperson of the Cambodian government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, responded that Prime Minister Hun Sen will raise the border disputes for discussion with Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva at the ASEAN Summit]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4795, 15.1.2009

  • [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An: It Is Not Necessary to Define when an Anti-Corruption Law Will Be Adopted [because the government is not apathetic about corruption and has taken action to crack down on both large and small scale, and all kinds of corruption – he said during a meeting to greet the new director of the World Bank for the Asia Pacific region, Ms. Annette Dixon]
  • The “DM Group” Prevented a Human Rights Group [of 20 people, including German legal people working at the Senate] to Check Forest Sites Cleared for Planting Rubber Trees in Ratanakiri
  • A UNDP Expert [Ms. Jaye Sitton]: Members of the National Elections Committee Have to Resign from Political Parties [so that the National Election Committee becomes neutral and independent]
  • The Asian Development Bank and Development Partners Provide US$80 Million Grant Aid to Cambodia [to improve good governance, commerce, and health services]
  • The US Government Grants Nearly US$2 Million for Conserving and Maintaining Temples and Ancient Artifacts in Cambodia

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3473, 15.1.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee] Asks the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to Investigate More [former Khmer Rouge] Suspects

Samleng Yuweakwey, Vol.2, #5, 14-17.1.2009

  • A Journalist [of Meatophum] Was Stabbed to Death to Rob His Motorbike, One Robber Managed to Escape, the Other One Was Arrested and Almost Beaten Dead [by a crowd of people – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

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2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work – Saturday, 10.1.2009

Posted on 11 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

“In Cambodia 73 factories were closed in 2008, making nearly 25,000 workers unemployed. But 64 new factories opened, absorbing 10,000 new workers. The export of garments to international markets declined by 2%, which has created general concern. Difficulties will last 3 to 6 months further, but officials said that there will be no serious effects on the garment sector.

“The president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia [GMAC – the web link has, under “Members” a detailed database with information about all GMAC members], Mr. Van Sou Ieng, said in a press conference in the evening of 7 January 2008 at the Hotel Le Royal, that more than 60 garment factories closed in 2008, causing around 25,000 workers to loose their employment. The export of garments to international markets dropped by 2%, while before, he expected that it would drop by between 5% and 7%. Therefore, the global financial crisis affected this sector very little. He added that Cambodia might face difficulties from 3 to 6 months, and in 2010, we can hope again. In every of the previous years, this sector grew by 15% to 20%.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training, Mr. Oum Mean, reported to Kampuchea Thmey on 9 January 2009 that 73 factories closed and 24,397 workers had lost their work. However, in the same year, 64 new factories had opened, absorbing 13,000 workers by now. The number of workers might further increase, because newly opened companies are in the suburbs. Thus, recently unemployed workers will continue to work at new factories, and most of them have skills because of several years of experience. Some workers go to work for factories in special zones located near their home villages or towns, like in Svay Rieng and in other areas.

“There are different number given, because some of the closed factories were not among the members of the GMAC.

“Mr. Oum Mean went on to say that more than 20,000 workers will find jobs in new factories. While the world faces a financial crisis which affects big countries, such as the Untied State of America and Europe, Cambodia is also affected, because those big countries are garment importing countries from Cambodia. While citizens of those countries meet difficulties, they will cut down their expenses, and this affects the buying orders, ‘but we are not strongly affected, because the Cambodian economy depends on agriculture as the basis – even though before, the prices of fuel had increased and the prices of goods followed the market prices and general needs.’

“Coming from the ministry in charge of observing working condition, Mr. Oum Mean said, as the world faces a financial crisis causing common effects, that Cambodia, which exports garments to international markets, is also concerned, including the Royal Government, workers, and employers. ‘We have to join efforts and be patient, so that our factories remain stable and develop, because many countries recognize that the working conditions in Cambodia are acceptable according to international standards. When we export our goods with the labeled “Made in Cambodia,” both Europe and the United States of America always agree to buy them, since they know that these goods have quality, and our workers get enough benefits. We have to continue maintaining this reputation well.’

“He did not prohibit to have protests or demands by workers, but before doing something, they must be wise to avoid to act inappropriately affecting the fate of all, because when factories close, also employers loose, though they are owners, since the factory is a rice pot for all.

“Regarding the above problems, the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Mony, mentioned some numbers in the morning of 9 January 2009, that in 2008, there were 27,000 workers who lost their work, and 26 factories closed.

“However, in 2008, all together 37 factories closed, but it was not because they were bankrupt – but it was because they relocate their factories to new locations in the suburbs, and they just changed their factory names. Another reason was that some factories lost their money in speculation. Also, because of the global financial crisis, some factories that were affected were run by Korean owners, such as the Woosu CNS Factory, the Chantechay Factory [phonetic] which suspended their work, also the Cambohenshare Factory [phonetic – ‘Cambo Hansae’?] suspended its work, and also the Tay Factory [phonetic]. Some factories suspend their work for 2 or 3 months; so workers will not wait and go to work at other factories.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that while workers face unemployment, ‘we will help them according to the law. When factories close, they have to settle final payments for their workers according to the law. … The government is also responsible to solve problems of unemployment of workers. Some workers turn to find jobs in Thailand, but we help workers, according to the law, in order to help them to stay in Cambodia.’

“Mr. Van Sou Ieng said after the end of the 26th council plenary session of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries on 7 January 2009, that buyer orders will be finished by February and March 2009, and there is no buying order for May and June 2009. Buyers offer only US$3 for 1 shirt while before, they offered US$4. Big companies agreed to loose US$2 or US$3, but from May to June buyers must offer US$4 again. As for small factories, they might close, because they cannot stand the loss.

“Mr. Chea Mony agreed with Mr. Van Sou Ieng, who said that big companies are less affected while small factories are more seriously affected, because they produce their garments for big factories. But he did not agreed with what Mr. Van Sou Ieng said, that the buyers from international markets are lowering their price offers; this would be impossible, because each buying contract contains clear agreements. Mr. Chea Mony asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to kindly take action with officials of relevant ministries regarding corruption which affects the garment sector. He asked also the head of the Royal Government to reduce the prices of goods at the markets, which affect the living standard of workers who earn small salaries.

“The president of the Cambodia Workers Labor Federation of Trade Union Mr. Vong Sovann, expressed his concern in the morning of 9 January, that some factories were closed for good, and buying orders dropped in 2008. Bur only small factories having 200 or 300 workers were closed. Some factories closed in the city but opened in the suburbs, and some new factories do not have enough workers.

“Mr. Vong Sovann added that his union will provide more broad educational information about the economy for workers, so that they understand the present economic situation, and what causes demonstrations and strikes. ‘We will try to explain to workers to be patient and to solve problems through negotiations. As a result, in late 2008, demonstrations and strikes declined, which showed that workers became more knowledgeable.’

“The president of the Cambodia Labor Union Federation, Mr. Som Oun, said in the morning of 9 January 2009 that 64 new factories had opened and 73 factories had closed, including factories sub-contracted by bigger factories, and some of the factories do handicraft work. There were only around 20 factories [of those closed?] exporting garments by themselves. The number from GMAC and the numbers from the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training are not in line with each other, and GMAC did not give a number of new factories. The number of factories closed was comparable to 2007. Workers loosing their employment go to work for other factories; therefore, the number of unemployed workers was not so high. Some unemployed workers of some factories returned to their homes to help harvest paddy rice.

“Mr. Som Oun said that some factories do not have enough workers. Obviously, a shoe factory in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district asked him to help recruit up to 2,000 workers, because this factory added another big building, and now the workers have to eat their meals in the factory. Therefore, he did not worry that workers are unemployed, ‘We still have buying orders from the United States of America and from Europe, because, according to the International Labor Organization, Cambodia is the country in the region which best respects working conditions. Buyers from the United States of America wait until the new president takes his position in the middle of this month, then they will continue buying.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 January 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #105, 9-13.1.2009

  • Aid for the Neak Loeang Bridge and Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Are the Major Agenda Items for the Visit by the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Three [Vireakchey] National Park Rangers Are Missing in the Jungle in Ratanakiri and Are Not Yet Found [they are missing since 28 December 2008 when they went on a mission against illegal logging]
  • The Ministry of Planning Starts to Identify Poor Families [to ease the provision of services and aid for poor families – Note: The articled does not give any information how this enormous task, similar to a census, is to be implemented]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1843, 10.1.2009

  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [in Cambodia and in Vietnam] Plan to Hold Demonstrations to Demand Rights, although They Do Not Have Permissions [by the authorities]
  • The United Nations Said that 257 Palestinian Children Died in the War in Gaza

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #323, 10.1.2009

  • [The member of the Constitutional Council] Son Soubert: The Renakse Hotel Is a Monument of the Architecture during the French Colonial Time That Should Be Kept

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #179, 10.1.2009

  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Expressed Regret over the Corruption Complaint Filed by Co-Defense Lawyers of Nuon Chea at the Municipal Court [Note: Actually, the statement was not released in the name of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, but in the name of the national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6548, 10-11.1.2009

    Police Confiscated More Than 20,000 Drug Tablets Imported from Laos [and arrested a man – Stung Treng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3662, 10-11.1.2009

  • [Former prime minister of the State of Cambodia and now the vice-president of the Human Rights Party] Pen Sovann Accused Hun Sen of Violating the Right of Parliamentarians to Distribute Donations to Troops at the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Forest Clearings [to create agricultural] Land in Ratanakiri Spreads More Seriously [according to a forest administration official in Ratanakiri]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

  • 2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Accepted Complaint of Nuon Chea’s Foreign Co-Defense Lawyers
  • Cambodia Assigned to the Position of the Next Chairperson of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries [meeting held at the Hotel Le Royal on 7 January 2009]!

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Monday, 1.9.2008: Cambodia and South Africa Start to Improve Cooperation in Economy and Commerce

Posted on 2 September 2008. Filed under: Week 576 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 576

“Phnom Penh: A discussion between Mr. Ouch Borith, secretary of state of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Douglas Harvey Monroe Gibson, the ambassador of the Republic of South Africa [to Thailand], showed that the governments of both countries, Cambodia and South Africa, want to improve bilateral cooperation in the field of economy and commerce.

“Mr. Ouch Borith said that considering the planned bilateral cooperation in economy and commerce between both countries, the South African ambassador said that the government of South Africa wants to ask the government of Cambodia to open an honorary consulate in Cambodia as the first step to strengthen and to expand the economic and commercial cooperation.

“The Ambassador said that on 14 and 15 December 2008, he will lead a delegation to attend a trade exhibition in Phnom Penh. South Africa will show red wine and white wine produced in South Africa for sale in Cambodia.

“In the meantime, Mr. Ouch Borith reported to the South African ambassador about economic growth, political stability, and especially, the results of the recent fourth term parliamentary elections in Cambodia.

“The Ambassador said that South Africa has only sightly over 5% economic growth, and he highly assessed that Cambodia has strong economic growth, particularly in 2005 with more than 13%.

“The South African Ambassador went on to comment on the recent fourth term parliamentary elections, although he was in Bangkok, but he observed the election in Cambodia, that the elections were well organized and were free, fair and non-violent, which was a very important step towards implementing democracy in Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4682, 31-1.8-9.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 1 September 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1734, 31.8-1.9.2008

  • Illegal Transportation of Wood by Water Increases; Protectors Even Dare to Threaten Officials [Kompong Cham]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Samak Plans to Put Siam [Thailand] on Emergency Alert


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #234, 31.8-2.9.2008

  • If the International Community Does Not Help to Find a Solution, It Is Like to Let Democracy in Cambodia Die Miserably


Meatophum, Vol.52, #703, 1-6.9.2008

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh Gives Up Parliamentary Seat [according to National Election Committee Secretary-General Tep Nitha], but He Still Enters Politics [according to Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesperson Suth Dina]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3553, 1.8.2008

  • Sam Rainsy: I Don’t Believe that a Thief Can Catch a Thief [about an anti-corruption law, which has failed to be created for more than ten years since 1994]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4682, 31.8-1.9.2008

  • Cambodia and South Africa Start to Improve Cooperation in Economy and Commerce
  • Oknha Hun To [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew] and Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian Sue Each Other [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kompong Cham Nuon Vuthy sues Hun To on accusation of injuring him, and Hun To sues the parliamentarian on accusation of defamation]
  • H.E. Bun Rany Hun Sen Allowed the Author of the Book “Samdech Hun Sen Told Me” to Interview Her [30 August – Kandal]
  • Man Cut Off the Head of Another Man with a Knife Who Had Attempted to Rape His Wife [29 August – he is arrested – Kien Svay, Kandal]
  • Partners in Thai Coalition Government and Army Ask Samak to Resign [in order to reduce political tension]

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Monday, 28.7.2008: Military Police Protecting Illegally Cut Wood Calls a Journalist into Their Fortress and Hit Him as a Warning

Posted on 29 July 2008. Filed under: Week 571 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 571

“Sihanoukville: A journalist was slapped in Stung Hav, Sihanoukville, by a military police officer who protects illegally cut wood in their fortress, and he warned the journalist not to use his camera, because he had already published a report clearly mentioning their names, together with their previous and current scandals, relating to colluding to protect illegally cut wood.

“The military police hit the journalist at 1:30 p.m. on 25 July 2008 at the Stung Hav administration post of Sihanoukville.

“It was reported that the victim, the journalist who was caught and hit by a military military police officer in their fortress, is Mr. Ruos Phina, aged 39; the offender is Mr. Nget Vutha, called Kim, a military police officer with the rank of captain of Stung Hav, Sihanoukville, and he is a former soldier who had just been included into the military police some months ago.

“Mr. Ruos Phina, the victim, reported to Kampuchea Thmey that on that day, he and another person, Vin Suon, also a reporter in Sihanoukville, were called by the military police official Nget Vutha into the Stung Hav administration post, to tell them to write a more positive report about their scandal, regarding the protection of illegally cut wood, because he had written already in a newspaper before. Mr. Ruos Phina agreed to meet them, and he went with another person, Vin Suon.

“Mr. Ruos Phina continued that after he arrived in the Stung Hav military police administration office, Nget Vutha immediately, without saying a word, hit him strongly in the face, knocking him down to the ground, where he was with serious pain. He hit him in front of many other military police, but they did not help to intervene, and let the offender Nget Vutha hit and insult him strongly in front of all of them.

“This shows clearly that violence was used to intimidate him, which seriously abuses his rights as a journalist, so he cannot stay still; he has to lodge a complaint to the law enforcement institutions so that they help to find justice for him. Especially, he will lodge a complaint to the commander of the Sihanoukville military police, Mr. Heang Rin, in order that he takes actions to solve the problem according to the law; and he hopes that Mr. Heang Rin will deal with this case fairly and not by being partisan, and if he does not solve it fairly for him, the journalist will not end it at this time.

“Regarding the bad activities mentioned above, citizens in Sihanoukville, who knew what had happened, criticized also that normally military police, who should enforce and uphold the law, collude with each other to protect illegally cut wood. Moreover, they even dared to distort the truth by calling the journalist in, to hit him at their fortress. Committing such evil activities, how can they uphold and implement the law and be respected by the people?

“The criticism continues to say that journalists are neutral publishers of information and are not partisan; if they see good activities, they write good things, and if they see evil activities, they write openly about these bad things, in order to contribute to develop society, to eliminate corruption and crimes which destroy society. Journalists are those who publicly criticize what is wrong to correct it, and to change from wrong to right. If members of the military police, like Mr. Nget Vutha, thinks that what a journalist had published is not true, he should clarify it, but he must not use violence by hitting and insulting the journalist, because this is against the law, and it is being hated by society very much.

“Mr. Heang Rin, the commander of the Sihanoukville military police, should check everything again, so that it does not disgrace other members of the military police.

“It should be remembered that previously, Mr. Ruos Phina had written about some scandals committed by Nget Vutha, like protecting illegally cut wood for a merchant who is a boss of a wood processing house behind the Phsar Leu market’s car station.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1704, 27-28.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 28 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1704, 27-28.7.2008

  • Military Police Protecting Illegally Cut Wood Calls a Journalist into Their Fortress and Hit Him as a Warning
  • Forest in Conservation Region in Aural Mountain Starts to Disappear and Leads to Taking of Land Illegally [Kompong Speu]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #208, 27-28.7.2008

  • Siamese [Thais] Are Training to Use Weapons in Order to Be Prepared in Case Bilateral Talk in Siem Reap [on Monday] Fail


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6408, 28.7.2008

  • Along Cambodian-Thai Border at Oddar Meanchey, [five to six] Thai Black-Clad Soldiers [of the special border protection forces] Create Border Problems at Banteay Ampil District [entering about 100 meters from the Border Marker 22B in Kok Mon village and commune, Banteay Ampil, claiming they are in Thai territory]
  • 16 Terrorist Bombs Attack at the Same Time in Western India, Killing 29 People [26 July 2008]
  • According to a Report from Singapore, during a period of 51 Months, the Number of Tourists Declined [the decline results from problems of the world economy, from the rising price of traveling by plane, from the increasing price of fuel, as well as from problems of the international currency market]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3523, 28.7.2008

  • [Opposition Party Leader] Asked to Re-Vote in Offices That Made Too Many Forms 1018 Leading to Unfair Results [identity documents required to vote were: national identification card, or passport, or civil servant, police, or army identification card, family booklet with identification pictures, or documents identifying monks; if Cambodian eligible voters do not have any of these documents, they could ask their Commune Council to establish an identification form know as Form 1018]
  • Order to Close Radio FM 93.5 [on 26 July 2008, from which the Sam Rainsy Party had bought air time to broadcast its campaign program for nearly one month] Strongly Affected Election Atmosphere in Phnom Penh
  • Siamese [Thai] Troops Continue to Dig Trenches at Keo Sekha Kirisvarak Pagoda although there Is a Foreign Affairs Ministerial Meeting of Both Countries Planned for Today
  • The Appeals Hearing of Khiev Samphan to Be Temporarily Out of Detention Might Be Conducted Soon [according to an official of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Crimes of Cutting Trees in Kuleaen National Park Still Continue


Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #3523, 28.7.2008

  • Temporary Results of the Fourth Term Election: Cambodian People’s Party Might Win 88 to 91 Seats [of a total of 123], Sam Rainsy Party Ranks Second [with 26 seats], Human Rights Ranks Third [with 3 seats], Norodom Ranariddh Party Ranks Forth [with 2 seats] and Funcinpec Ranks Firth [with 1 seat]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4652, 27-28.7.2008

  • There Was a Clash between Sam Rainsy Party and Cambodian People’s Party, Injuring a Deputy Police Chief of Battambang District [at the end of the day of the election campaign on 25 July 2008]
  • Venezuela Sells Fuel at US$100 per Barrel to Spain [in total 10,000 barrels]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3370, 27-28.7.2008

  • Supreme Court Will Open Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh’s Hearing on 30 July 2008 [regarding Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhek Bun Chhay’s lawsuit, accusing the Prince of violating trust in the sale of the Funcinpec Chroy Chongva headquarters]

Click here to have a look at the last editorial of the Mirror – where we provided detailed information about the 2003 election results, to compare them with the election results of 2008, as they become available.

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Thursday, 10.7.2008: Korea Began to Be Interested in Investing in the Silk Sector in Cambodia Which Has Potential

Posted on 11 July 2008. Filed under: Week 568 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 568

“Phnom Penh: Some days ago, Mr. Son Kunthor, advisor to the Royal Government on employment and small scale enterprises, and secretary-general of the One-Village One-Product Movement, met with Mr. Lee Wan-Taek, general director and Mr. Kim Won-Don, director of the Kwangsung International Foundation of the Republic of Korea [all names phonetic].

They have expressed interest to develop the silk sector in Cambodia, because this country has favorable conditions for mulberry tree planting and for silkworm raising, and has enough labor, especially Cambodia can have also markets for silk products. Also, this aims to strengthen cooperation between Cambodia and the Republican of Korea. He added that this project will help to cover the needs for the production of silk products, as now there were between 300 and 400 tonnes imported every year into Cambodia.

“He continued that as the first step to develop the silk sector, about 1,200 hectares of land to plant mulberry trees is needed to encourage people to join to plant mulberry trees as family planting, and the company will ask the Korea International Cooperation Agency – KOICA – to train Cambodian farmers in related techniques. He went on to say that seeds of mulberry trees will be imported from Korea and will be handed to farmers after Korean experts have checked the techniques.

“Mr. Kim Won-Don mentioned the future goal, that as the last step, special buildings to feed the silkworms will be constructed, and to study the silk; it is planned to spend US$4,927,000. He added that according to their estimation, this project will produce 86 tonnes of silk in the first year, 180 tonnes in the second year, and the production will increase continually.

“Mr. Son Kunthor welcomed this important initiative on which the government is focusing, and it is strongly supported, considering that it contributes to reduce poverty among Cambodian people. He added that to implement this project, firstly, it is necessary to find locations or areas that have favorable conditions for mulberry tree planting and for silkworms feeding. A major issue is the shortage of capital of approximately US$1,500 for farmers to plant mulberry tree on one hectare, as well as the construction of special buildings to feed the silkworms, and materials to separate the silk from the silkworm cocoons.

“He continued that he will discuss this project in detail with relevant ministries, because recently, representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] in Rome and of the One-Village One-Product Movement conducted research to evaluate its potentiality, and Cambodia had mentioned the project to ask for technical assistance from FAO to develop the silk sector in Cambodia in four provinces, including Takeo, Kampot, Siem Reap, and Banteay Meanchey.

“Mr. Son Kunthor also mentioned to the Korean side that a Chinese company, Chongqing (New Star) Enterprise Group, promotes the development of mulberry tree planting to feed silkworms in Chumkiri District, Kampot, which is now being organized to be a community of mulberry tree planting to feed silkworms, under the leadership of Mr. Nim Chandara, an undersecretary of state of the Ministry Foreign Affairs and International Relations.

“He went on to say that an employment and small-scale enterprise organization, and the committee to encourage the One-Village One-Product Movement, together with the Kwangsung International Foundation [?] will further study this project carefully.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4637, 10.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 10 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1689, 10.7.2008

  • UNESCO Listed Twenty Seven New Places as World Heritage Sites
  • The King Called Compatriots [on 9 July 2008] to Continue to Preserve Forests and to Plant Trees as Much as Possible
  • Forestry Chief Does Not Dare to Explain Forest Crimes at Prasat Sambour [Kompong Thom] on the Pretext that There Is No Order for It
  • G8 Leaders Agree to Reduce Emissions that Lead to Global Warming to Half by 2050


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #195, 10.7.2008

  • [Cambodian People’s Party official and Minister of Rural Development] Ly Thuch Acknowledged His Wrongdoing [of using money to buy citizens’ mind to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party] and Agreed to Compensate Riel 5,000,000 [approx. US$1,200] to the Plaintiff [Mr. Heng Chanthuon, Sam Rainsy Party President in Pursat]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #45, 10.7.2008

  • [Opposition Party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Went to Give Explanations to the Municipal Court over Mr. Hor Namhong’s Lawsuit [without being summoned]
  • Some Investors Wait to See the Political Situation after the Election


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6393, 10.7.2008

  • Price of Oil Dropped to Around US$136 per Barrel [on 8 July 2008]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3508, 10.7.2008

  • Corrupt Officials and IMF Have Different Evaluations about the Economic Growth in 2008 [according to Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, he expects that the Cambodian economy will increase from 8% to 9%, while the IMF predicts that it would decline to 7%]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4637, 10.7.2008

  • Korea Began to Be Interested in Investing in the Silk Sector in Cambodia Which Has Potential
  • UNESCO: The Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple Is a Historical Success and It Is a Symbol of the Cambodian Government
  • Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Keep Ms. Ieng Thirith in Detention [former Khmer Rouge leader]
  • Cuba Is Still a Target Country for Cambodian Students to Seek Education [eight Cambodian students won scholarship to study there]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Samak’s Party Might Be Dissolved after the Supreme Court Has Sentenced Former House of Parliament Speaker Yongyuth Tiyapairat [for vote buying – Thailand]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3355, 10.7.2008

  • Asian Human Rights Watch is Concerned about the Whereabouts of Tim Sakhan [who had been defrocked on accusation of having perpetrated an offense against the Buddhist law, because he was accused to have destroyed the harmony between Vietnam and Cambodia] after He Had Been Released from Yuon [Vietnamese] Prison

Have a look at the last editorial – Without freedom of information AND an active use of this freedom, emotions can easily lead to dangerous misunderstandings.

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