The Prime Minister Ordered the Authorities to Collect and Report the Numbers of Disabled People – Tuesday, 22.6.2010

Posted on 24 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.

Norbert Klein
At present in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

“Phnom Penh: In the morning of 21 June 2010, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia called on the authorities countrywide of all levels to collect and report the accurate numbers of disabled people, in order to facilitate the creation of policies as well as of procedures to assist the disabled people.

“The speech of the head of the Royal Government was welcomed by officials from the opposition parties and from civil society organizations in Cambodia, but they appealed on the Prime Minister to monitor the implementation by himself – otherwise the implementation by local authorities may not be effective.

“Presiding over the closing convention at the National Institute of Education, and the third anniversary of the creation of the Cambodian Veterans Association, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said, ‘I call on the municipal and district authorities and other related authorities to check how many veterans live in their localities, and among them, how many are poor so as to set up programs to assist them.’

“An opposition party parliamentarian, Mr. Chea Poch, spoke to Deum Ampil on Monday evening, saying that he strongly supports what the Prime Minister said, adding that Samdech Hun Sen really thinks about the benefits of Cambodia’s disabled people. But he asked Samdech Hun Sen to monitor the situation himself, as some officials do not take up his recommendations.

“Mr. Chea Poch added, ‘Since 1992, and later in 1998 when the war ended, the Prime Minister mentioned this issue, but local authorities do not listen. Therefore, I suggest that Samdech Hun Sen takes practical steps.’

“As an example for a similar situation Mr. Chea Poch pointed to the case of illegal logging, which had led to the removal of the Director of the Forestry Administration in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ty Sokun, but he was not arrested and jailed. On the contrary, he has been promoted.

“A senior investigation official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Chan Soveth, praised the concern of the Royal Government of Cambodia and of the Cambodian Veteran Association, so that there should be only few disabled people found begging or causing trouble in the society.

“However, Mr. Chan Soveth regretted that the government just creates awareness, but does not initiate programs to support the daily lives of disabled people – now they feel disappointed, though they had sacrificed themselves for the country, but assistance should not be provided based on nepotism.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen clearly said that the help for disabled people should be provided without nepotism; that means that all will get help without considering their political orientation.

“Regarding this point, the head of the Royal Government asked to check certain salary lists to prevent the selling or buying and the mortgaging of materials provided to disabled people.

“He said, ‘I ask that those who bought Provisions booklets [to administer the salaries and and material donations] for disabled people to return the booklets to them, either free of charge or by selling them back at appropriate prices.’

“The Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Ith Samheng, said during the convention that all veterans receiving support from the state in 2010 are 90,605 families or 268,082 persons, and the monthly funds spent on them amount to Riel 6,419,834,848 [approx. US$1,503,000].

“Mr. Ith Samheng added that during the convention, additional members of the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association were nominated, where there are 66 members, among them additional 10 permanent members, two additional deputy heads, and three more deputy general secretaries. In total, there are 161 members and 17 permanent members in the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association.

“It should be noted that Prime Minister Hun Sen is the head of the Cambodian Veterans Association, together with three deputy heads: Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam On, and Minister Ith Samheng.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #510, 22.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #510, 22.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Ordered the Authorities to Collect and Report the Numbers of Disabled People
  • The Prime Minister: The Use of the Word “Disappointed” by [the UN Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia] Surya [because he could not meet the Prime Minister who was not well] Is a Big Insult [for the leader of Cambodia; he suggested Mr. Surya should have said instead he “regretted” this; Mr. Hun Sen personally regards this as a serious insult against him as a patient, so that he could not offer to meet with Mr. Surya]
  • Three Siblings Were Attacked by Acid by [two] Unknown Persons [they suffered minor injuries – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2281, 22.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodia Was a Peaceful Island [country with peace and no war] before the Coup on of 18 March 1970 [by Field Marshal Lon Nol] [Though there was internal war with the Khmer Rouge movement, and part of the country was used by North Vietnamese troops which led to the bombing in these areas by the US air force]
  • A Man Who Trafficked [twelve] People to Be Sold in Siam [Thailand] Was Sent for Seven Years to Prison

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #687, 22.6.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Continues to Ask Samdech Euv [the former King] to Discuss Border Issues with Yuon [Vietnamese] Leaders [during his present visit to Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6988, 22.6.2010

  • A Woman Was Killed and Her Body Was Cut to Pieces and Thrown Away at the Pich Nel Valley [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Speu]
  • The Internet Service Provider EZECOM Provides Free Internet Access to Universities

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #198, 22.6.2010

  • The State Has Provided More Than 20,000 Hectares of Land to Veterans [countrywide so far]
  • Internet Game Centers Are Opened Again after They Were Considered to Be Legal [before the authorities had closed places operating computer games regarding it as gambling. After the Minister of Information explained the difference between games and gambling, game centers are now allowed to open gain]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5230, 22.6.2010]

  • 3rd July 2010 Is the Deadline for [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay Her Fine to the Treasury [for losing a defamation court case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A Mother and Her Son Were Killed in a Store by Fire [allegedly from burning incense sticks]

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 27 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #445, 27.3.2010

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2212, 27.3.2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5161, 27.3.2010

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

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When the Law is Not Being Followed – Sunday, 21.3.2010

Posted on 22 March 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

It was early in March, when Prime Minister Hun Sen was quoted having said that the year 2010 is the year in which brothels and illegal gambling sites shall be eliminated. And there were additional warnings, saying that such campaigns are for real: “Police and military chiefs had better leave their positions if they do not dare to crack down on brothels and gambling sites, being afraid of interventions.” That there would be resistance from people who benefit from the related trade is obviously expected. Even that such resistance can come from persons ‘higher up’ who scare lower level officials so that they do not do their duty.

This is serious. Even the head of the government foresees that there will be resistance – resistance within the structures of law enforcement – to implement the law.

What is even more serious is that it is assumed that some sections of the authorities commit large scale violations regularly and in front of the public. Though this is known – “everyone knows this problem” one paper writes – the same activities continue: the illegal selling of military material at the Tuek Thla market: military uniforms, but also many kinds of handguns and ammunition.

But now, The Mirror reported, that there was a large scale raid:

“This was not the first raid at the Tuek Thla market to stop the selling of bullets and of police and military uniforms. There had been several raids before, but these activities could not be eliminated, as many heads of police units and military commanders do not distribute the materials to the fellow police and soldiers under their command, but keep them and sell them to traders… some heads of police units and military police commanders benefit personally by taking their troops’ belongings, and transport them by car to sell them to traders…

“Therefore, the suppression at the Tuek Thla market is just an action that looks good, as sooner or later, such operations will start again..”

The newspaper report said that “the authorities confiscated hundreds of military uniforms and other materials from ten stalls, and arrested some sellers of those materials to educate them… the sellers are not the ones to be blamed.” Was anybody also punished for these illegal actions? The traders were educated – but what about those who supplied the illegal merchandise?

Now, will this finally change?

There was one special case which had been highlighted a something that hardly ever had happened before: a misbehaving general was arrested and brought to court! The case started to be public through a report, saying that the family of a ten year old boy had complained to the Prime Minister, that a one-star navy general went to a school, called out their son by name, and beat him up.

Later some more explanations appeared: the boy had bullied the little daughter of the general, and the teacher had not protected the daughter adequately – so the general had actually also physically attacked the teacher.
The fact that this incident was not hushed up, but lead to a court case, motivated the former Co-Defense Minister Sisowath Sirirath to say in a letter to the editor of The Cambodia Daily:

“This is the sort of justice the Cambodian people need to see more of as we slowly move toward a more responsible society, a society that respects the rule of law and individual rights.

“People who wear uniforms are supposed to serve and protect us from harm, and not frighten us…

“I highly commend Defense Minister Tea Banh for his strong initiative in bringing this general to justice and allowing the Military Police to arrest him and to send him to trial, even in absentia, in Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court.

“The justice-loving people in Cambodia welcome with satisfaction the court’s decision. It is at least a step in the right direction.”

Actually, a very small step.

The accused did not show up in court, because he was now hospitalized – according to some report – for high blood pressure. But he was convicted to one year in jail. However, this sentence was immediately commuted to 10 days only. And as he is under Military Police surveillance in hospital, his days in hospital are calculated towards the 10 days verdict, so that he will be free after spending ten days in hospital.

There were other confusing reports:

  • Perpetrators Who Shot and Injured [three] Disabled People [guarding land in Kompong Thom] Are Out of the Net of the Law, while Some Victims Do Not Dare to Return to Their Own Homes [as the authorities are seeking to arrest them because of their protests against their eviction from the land]
  • Forestry Officials Intercepted a Car Loaded with Wood, but Let It Go Immediately after Negotiations [Stung Treng]
  • A Man That Produced Fake Johnnie Walker Whiskey Was Released by the Police because of His Strong Influence Relations [Phnom Penh]

What steps in the right direction are to be expected in these cases?

One long and detailed story was also published in full in The Mirror on Wednesday: The Order of Hun Sen to Prohibit Khmer Citizens from Gambling in Casinos Is Not Applied by the Owner of the Naga Casino, with detailed descriptions by a journalist who wanted to know.

“Based on Mr. Hun Sen’s order, Khmer citizens are not allowed to enter to gamble in casinos, but the Naga Casino allows Khmers to gamble freely. Some Khmers said that as long as you have money, you can enter the Naga Casino anytime and there are no problems.

“This casino is very lucrative, as it attracts addicted gamblers from small casinos that were closed by the government and it amasses all the profits alone here.

““Recently, Mr. Hun Sen reminded the Khmer authorities to close gambling sites and to restrict Khmer citizens from entering to gamble in casinos that operate with licenses, such as the Naga Casino and other casinos along the Thai and Vietnamese borders. Mr. Hun Sen warned that if any casinos, or the authorities monitoring them, permit Khmer citizens to enter, those casinos will be shut down and the police officials involved will be punished.”

The Mirror is looking forward to related information and we will publish it, when we find it.

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An Opposition Party Parliamentarian Accused the Minister of Agriculture of Being Inactive – Saturday, 20.3.2010

Posted on 21 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“Phnom Penh: In a letter from the opposition party parliamentarian Mr. Son Chhay, delivered through the office of the president of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, Mr. Son Chhay accused the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, of being inactive.

“Mr. Son Chhay, as a parliamentarian, sent the letter to Minister Chan Sarun through an arrangement from the National Assembly, asking the Minister to clarify the lack of activities in the ministry.

“Mr. Son Chhay wrote that there are complaints from citizens living along the Tonle Sap and the Mekong rivers, appealing to the Minister and to related authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture to assist farmers, to monitor the selling of pesticides, and to intercept fishery crimes more effectively.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that citizens often complain that institutions and departments of the Ministry of Agriculture are not active. They do very little to serve farmers. Thus, citizens requested the Minister of Agriculture to provide them training in agricultural techniques or to timely save their crops from being damaged by insects and to offer treatment for their livestock when it suffers from diseases. Some farmers said that at their place, some non-government organizations are working in agriculture, but it is not enough. Therefore they require agricultural officials at the province and district levels to do more. Mr. Son Chhay also asked the Minister of Agriculture to encourage his fellow officials to assist farmers regularly, and he asked for a detailed nationwide report from the Ministry of Agriculture. Doing so would allow to see whether agricultural officials work or not.

“Mr. Son Chhay implied that agricultural officials act irresponsibly, and the Minister has to take timely action against them.

“Regarding the selling of pesticides and fertilizer, the Ministry of Agriculture does not seem to care about it. At some border crossings, pesticides and fertilizer are imported without proper checking to be sold at the markets. Many types of pesticides were not carefully checked by the Ministry of Agriculture, and there is nothing in Khmer written on those products to show farmers how to use them. This is dangerous. Some farmers applied pesticides in a wrong way, which led to poisoning.

“To allow such problems to happen without taking action related to the selling of pesticides shows that the ministry is irresponsible.

“Relating to the destruction of fish by illegal fishing, the Minister Chan Sarun does not supervise fishery officials who collude with traders to do fishing during the season when it is prohibited to fish. Fishery crimes that lead to the destruction of fish are, for example, the use of fine-meshed nets during all seasons, so that both big and small fish are being caught. Other serious activities which lead to the destruction of fish resources is fishing during the season when the fish lay eggs, and the destruction of flooded mangrove forests.

“Therefore, the fishery crimes mentioned above lead to the destruction of all fish resources in Cambodia. In the evening of 19 March 2010, Minister Chan Sarun told Kampuchea Thmey that he had not yet received Mr. Son Chhay’s letter, but he is glad to clarify the case any time.

“Mr. Chan Sarun said, ‘We organize the work as a team, according to the administrative procedures in our institutions. Moreover, we assign teams to mentor and to observe the actual situation where the people live, and we regularly supervise our fellow officials.’ He welcomes Mr. Son Chhay and he is prepared to provide clarifications.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2206, 20.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 20 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #439, 20.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Warned [the relevant authorities] Again that Brothels and Illegal Gambling Sites Must Be Closed
  • The European Parliament Delegates Asked Questions about the Political Situation in Cambodia and the Role of the Opposition Parties in the National Assembly
  • A Man That Produced Fake Johnnie Walker Whiskey Was Released by the Police because of His Strong Influence Relations [no clarifying details given – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2206, 20.3.2010

  • An Opposition Party Parliamentarian Accused the Minister of Agriculture of Being Inactive
  • [Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that] High Ranking Officials Who Go to Karaoke Parlors Can Be Arrested and Videos Could Be Taken of Them to Be Broadcast on Television
  • An Agreement Was Signed for Grant Aid of More Than US$31 Million from the Japanese Government [for the Neak Loeung bridge construction on National Road One from Phnom Penh to Vietnam; for clean energy production by using solar energy; and for a forest conservation project]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #631, 20.3.2010

  • Delegates from the European Union Asked Leaders of the National Assembly about Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case [about the suspension of his immunity and his conviction to be imprisoned]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #69, 20-21.3.2010

  • The Senate Fully Agreed with the Content of the Anti-Corruption Law by 52 Votes in Favor, out of a Total of 53 Votes
  • Two Persons Transporting Drugs from Stung Treng to Battambang Were Arrested, ad the Authorities Seized 20,000 Tablets of Yama Drugs [‘extasy’] and a Car [Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3837, 20-21.3.2010

  • A Warrant Was Issued to Arrest Sixteen Poor Citizens in Kompong Speu Who Are Having a Land Dispute with [Senator] Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s Company [Kompong Speu]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5155, 20.3.2010

  • A Force of More Than 100 Persons Was Sent to Guard Machinery of the Phnom Penh Sugar Company [of Senator Ly Yong Phat, after citizens had burnt down the temporary on-site office of the company over a land dispute – Kompong Speu]
  • The Minister of Information Asked [the Phnom Penh Municipality] for a Place to Construct a Memorial Monument for the Journalists Who Had Died and Who Disappeared during the Five-Year War [between 1970 and 1975, during the Lon Nol regime]

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The Order of Hun Sen to Prohibit Khmer Citizens from Gambling in Casinos Is Not Applied by the Owner of the Naga Casino – Wednesday, 17.3.2010

Posted on 17 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“The Naga Casino, located in Phnom Penh, is operating to extract money from people addicted to gambling in Cambodia, earning colossal profits, while small casinos had been shut down by the Cambodian government, and those addicted to gambling include some officials, and even parliamentarians who frequently appear there.

“An official who used to go to the Naga Casino, said that all kinds of gambling devices, such as slot machines and electronic games, exist in the Naga Casino. For common people, they can gamble on the ground floor hall of the Naga Casino. But for big clients such as some oknhas, senior officials, and parliamentarians who are addicted to gambling, they gamble in special rooms on the upper floors.

“According to general observations, among 100 gamblers who enter to gamble, most of them lose. The Naga Casino might benefit from its clients up to 90% of the money they spend. This is completely different from other countries where casinos are allowed to retain just about 3% of the money from their clients [and pay back the rest as winning money to their clients].

“Some gamblers are informed by the casino about the many rewards, and there are advertisements to attract gamblers, making them more obsessed from day to day. Moreover, on the compound of the casino, clients can order food, drinks, and cigarettes for free.

“In the casino, there is music played for the addicted gamblers with singers wearing short skirts, showing their thighs to please the gamblers, after they have lost everything.

“Those addicted to gambling said that after 7:00 in the evening, many people rush into the large gambling hall that provides the impression as if they were attending a party, and most gamblers are Khmers, 95%. The rest of 5% are Asian nationals, such as Yuon [Vietnamese], Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese.

“Based on Mr. Hun Sen’s order, Khmer citizens are not allowed to enter to gamble in casinos, but the Naga Casino allows Khmers to gamble freely. Some Khmers said that as long as you have money, you can enter the Naga Casino anytime and there are no problems.

“Special cameras are set up in the casino for security reasons, and an internal security department of Mr. Sok Phal [a deputy commissioner of the National Police] is also present there. That means that the police can monitor all activities of Khmer citizens, including those of government officials, oknhas, and parliamentarians, who are addicted to gambling whenever they enter the Naga Casino, but still, there is no action taken by the government to close the casino. According to some unofficial sources, it is estimated that addicted gamblers, who enter the casino, bring with them each day at least US$3 to US$4 million to be lost there. This casino is very lucrative, as it attracts addicted gamblers from small casinos that were closed by the government and it amasses all the profits alone there.

“It should be remembered that before small casinos were closed countrywide, it was seen that a Malaysian investor and owner of the Naga Casino, Mr. Chen Lip Keong, donated to Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen [head of the Cambodian Red Cross] US$1 million, thousands of garments, and an ambulance. After [the Director General of the National Police] Mr. Hok Lundy died in a helicopter crash in Svay Rieng, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced to revoke the licenses and to close slot machine casinos nationwide. This resulted in the transfer of clients of small casinos automatically to the Naga Casino.

“Recently, Mr. Hun Sen reminded the Khmer authorities to close gambling sites and to restrict Khmer citizens from entering to gamble in casinos that operate with licenses, such as the Naga Casino and other casinos along the Siamese [Thai] and Yuon [Vietnamese] borders. Mr. Hun Sen warned that if any casinos, or the authorities monitoring them, permit Khmer citizens to enter, those casinos will be shut down and the police officials involved will be punished.

“However, it is really regrettable that some casinos owned by oknhas, who are investors and who are from the Cambodian People’s Party, especially also the Naga Casino, do not follow Mr. Hun Sen’s order. The Naga Casino has more clients of Khmer nationality entering to gamble, after Mr. Hun Sen ordered to close gambling sites and to ban Khmer citizens from going into the casinos to gamble, simply because the Naga Casino is not afraid of Mr. Hun Sen’s order since it had donated money and materials to the Cambodian Red Cross. At present, the Naga Casino seems open for Khmer citizens and offers a lot of incentives for gambling there.

“An agent of Khmer Amatak could get into the casino very easily, because guards did not ask him for his identification card. The agent wonders why the guards, especially the police of the Department of Information and Investigation of the Ministry of Interior posted there, do not care about Mr. Hun Sen’s order not to allow Khmers to enter the casino to gamble. The agent reached the ground floor and the upper floors and found that Khmer citizens, especially officials and businessmen of medium range, were openly gambling happily, as they did not need to hide themselves, as they would have to do at prohibited gambling sites, and they do not need to travel to casinos along the borders, which takes much time and money.

“Because of the growing number of Khmer citizens who enter the Naga Casino to gamble, this casino announced to recruit more staff to add to the current number of 2,000. According to information from the Naga Casino, more than 2,000 new staff are going to be recruited into the casino.

“Observers said that Mr. Hun Sen’s order is applied only to Khmer citizens who are poor and powerless, but it is not applied to all of the powerful, investors, oknhas, and especially not in big casinos with close relations to the Cambodian People’s Party, as they provide much financial support to officials of the Cambodian People’s Party and some humanitarian organizations. Typically, the owner of the Naga Casino consolidates his position by contributing millions of dollars and materials to the Cambodian Red Cross, and he seems to consider Mr. Hun Sen’s order as supporting his casino business, making him earn more profit than before, as there is no more competition from small gambling sites.

“Regarding the case of the Naga Casino, it is said that it is not afraid of anyone except of Mr. Hun Sen. Thus, to open the casino for Khmer citizens to enter is not something new, but it is just to attract Khmer citizens, to take their money, and to use it to bribe powerful officials. If Mr. Hun Sen really has the intention to suppress all gambling, he should dare to remove the ‘social worms’ that are making Khmer citizens to become poorer, and that are using casinos and other incentives to attract Khmer citizens. Also, it results from the weakness of the law enforcement authorities of the Cambodian government.

“The Naga Casino seriously violates the law about the suppression of gambling and it particularly violates Mr. Hun Sen’s order.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #745, 17.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #436, 17.3.2010

  • Sex Workers Call for the Permission to Continue Their Work to Sustain Their Lives
  • Forestry Crimes in Mondolkiri Continue Strongly

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2203, 17.3.2010

  • The Chinese Government Invites Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to Visit China in Late April [2010]
  • The New Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia [Mr. Pan Guangxue – 潘广学] Promised to Support Cambodia [to further strengthen ties, solidarity, and cooperation between both countries]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #745, 17.3.2010

  • The Order of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Prohibit Khmer Citizens from Gambling in Casinos Is Not Applied by the Owner of the Naga Casino/li>

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #628, 17.3.2010

  • Forestry Officials Intercepted a Car Loaded with Wood, but Let It Go Immediately after Negotiations [Stung Treng]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6910, 17.3.2010

  • A One-Star Navy General Was Convicted to Serve One Year in Prison [for beating a boy and two teachers], but He Will Be Jailed Only 10 Ten Days and Then He Will Be Released [his position was suspended, but he will need to ask for permission from the prosecutors if he wants to go anywhere; at present he is hospitalized in Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3834, 17.3.2010

  • The Anti-Corruption Law, Which Is a Tool to Protect and Hide Corruption, Might Become Valid only at the End of 2011

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #132, 17.3.2010

  • About 1,000 Villagers of Amleang Commune Protested in Front of the Phnom Penh Sugar Company [as it used machinery to clear their farmland – Kompong Speu]
  • First Agricultural Prison Is Opened [in Kravanh district, Pursat, on an area of 100 hectares, to train prisoners to do farming]
  • A Vietnamese Company [Vietnam Urban and Industrial Zone Development Investment Corporation] Studies a Project to Construct a Hydro-Electricity Dam in Stung Treng

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5152, 17.3.2010

  • The Government Plans to Publish the Commercial Law on the Website of the Ministry of Commerce [soon]
  • Blood Was Splashed [from bottles by red-shirt demonstrators, supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] in Front of the Government’s House, while [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Is Hiding in an Unknown Place

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Samdech Dekchor: If They Want to Amend the Anti-Corruption Law, They Have to Wait until Their Election Victory – Thursday, 11.3.2010

Posted on 13 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

“A session was held as planned on Wednesday morning of 10 March 2010 at the National Assembly to discuss and to approve an anti-corruption draft law, though the opposition parties and some civil society organizations had asked for a delay. There were 106 parliamentarians in the meeting [before the parliamentarians of the Sam Rainsy party walked out], but the Human Rights Party parliamentarians did not participate. Only parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party and from the Sam Rainsy Party were present. The anti-corruption draft law, presented for approval to the National Assembly, was approved through a show of hands, with 87 votes in favor out of 106.

“Regarding the approval of this anti-corruption law, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said during the opening of a national conference at the occasion to publish the penal code, at the Intercontinental Hotel on Wednesday morning of 10 March 2010, that some people had asked for a delay for the approval [actually the request had been for an extended period of consideration and discussion] of the anti-corruption draft law, while previously, they had wanted it to be approved soon. But now, they do not want it soon. Anyway, this is impossible, because of the majority of votes in the National Assembly. Samdech Hun Sen added that when this law will have been approved, not only government officials, but also civil society organization officials will have to declare their asset, and they will get the same punishments if they violate the regulations. He continued to say that if somebody wants this law to be amended, they have to wait until they win the elections.

“It should be noted that an anti-corruption law was being drafted since 1994, but only in December 2009, this draft was approved by the Council of Ministers and made public in the National Assembly on 24 February 2010 [actually the draft reached the National Assembly already before 29.12.2009, according to a statement by a secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as quoted in The Mirror on 29.12.2009].

“The anti-corruption draft law, which had not been published publicly before last week, consists of 9 chapters and 57 articles that describe the punishment for persons who give bribes or take bribes, to serve between 7 days and 15 years in prison. Also, the law describes the creation of two anti-corruption institutions: a National Anti-Corruption Council with members from 11 institutions, and an Anti-Corruption Unit. They will be created by the Royal Government, and the duty of both institutions is to offer counseling, education, and publication, and to create plans to prevent and to suppress corruption. In addition, it establishes the procedure for the declaration of assets and debts, and describes who is required to make such declarations: senators, parliamentarians, and members of the Royal Government appointed by Royal Decrees or Sub-Decrees, and leaders of civil society organizations. Once this law is adopted, there will be an Anti-Corruption Unit under the administration of the Council of Ministers, and 11 members of a National Anti-Corruption Council will be selected by the King, the Senate, the National Assembly, and the Royal Government, with a term of five years.” Areyathor, Vol.16, #1433, 11-12.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 11 March 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1433, 11-12.3.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor: If They Want to Amend the Anti-Corruption Law, They Have to Wait until Their Election Victory

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #431, 11.3.2010

  • Germany Signs an Agreement to Grant Euro 19 Million [for the alleviation of the consequences of the global economic crisis which are particularly affecting the poor segments of the population]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2198, 11.3.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Get More Than US$80 Million for Two Additional Years of the Process [donors, countries not yet known, promised to provide this aid]
  • The Municipal Governor Announced to Stop Providing Licenses for Entertainment Clubs and for Karaoke Parlors Temporarily [because of a campaign against drugs and gambling, to promote security]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #623, 11.3.2010

  • There Were Strong Argument during the Discussions of the Anti-Corruption Draft Law [between parliamentarians of the ruling party and of an opposition party]
  • [The head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Chea Mony Said That It Is a Shame for Cambodia as [80 tonnes of garments from China] Finished Products Were Imported to Be Labeled ‘Made in Cambodia’ for Re-Export

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6905, 11.3.2010

  • A Japanese International Trade Organization Office Was Opened in Cambodia [to boost bilateral trade]
  • [Two] Nigerian Men and Their Khmer Girlfriends Were Arrested for Cocaine Smuggling [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3829, 11.3.2010

  • Hun Sen Announced to Use the New Penal Code and to Cancel the Validity of All Articles of the Penal Code of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia [UNTAC – 1992/93]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5147, 11.3.2010

  • The National Assembly Discussed the Anti-Corruption Draft Law and Rejected an Opposition Party’s Request [to amend some articles]
  • The National Radio FM 96 Does Not Have Time Available for Broadcasting the Voice of Khmer Kampuchea Krom [Radio FM 96 does not have time to offer to Khmer Kampuchea Krom people to create their own programs to broadcast their voice, because all airtime is used for other programs]
  • Police Raided [two] Houses Copying VCDs [to protect copyrights, seizing many computers, thousands of VCDs, and other tools used for copying VCDs – Phnom Penh]

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International Women’s Day 2010 – a Lot to Think About – Monday, 8.3.2010

Posted on 9 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

In former years, The Mirror carried references and reflections about the International Women’s Day – its early history as a day of public celebration in 1911, but also its prehistory in 1834; which surprisingly enough relates to a strike of women working in the textile industry in Lowell – the city of Lowell in Massachusetts in the USA, which is now a center of Cambodian immigrants in the USA, while female textile workers play an important role for the national economy of Cambodia; but also considerations in 2008 and 2009 about the important role of this day in Cambodia at present.

For this year, we just collected from the last three weeks pieces of text which have already been published in The Mirror, related to the life of women – a lot to think about.

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Cambodia Will Have a Law to Control Battery Acid in the Future

The Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Cambodia is discussing to find ways to establish a law to control battery acid, as many victims are suffering from having been attacked by acid, using acid as a weapon.

It should be noted that there had been big cases of acid attacks, like those against Ms. Tat Marina, Ms. Ya Sok Nim, Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, and a CTN presenter, Mr. Tet Polen. Besides these major cases, there are many others. Generally, the lives of the victims of acid attacks were completely ruined, as they cannot work or come out to live in public like other common people.

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An American Man Was Sentenced to Serve Two Years in Prison for Child Molestation [Phnom Penh]

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The firm position of the Phnom Penh Municipality in 2010 is not like that in 2009; it will not allow dishonest officials to keep on committing bad activities towards the people. This was declared by an official during the convention in the morning of 15 February 2010 to reflect on the work during 2009, and to determine the targets for 2010; the meeting was chaired by the Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Kep Chuktema.

The governor went on to say that only by obeying discipline and with heightened responsibility can the efficiency of the work and its results increase. He added, ‘Considering 2009, Phnom Penh can be proud for having cooperated well with each other, effectively deploying our forces to prevent and intercept crime, the activities of gangs, the illegal use of weapons, gambling, human and sex trafficking, and drug related crimes.’

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106 Garment and Shoes Factories Closed [making more than 45,000 female workers unemployed in 2009 due to the global economic crisis]

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The First Meeting about the Implementation of the National Strategic Plan to Stop Violence against Women

The Open Institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, held the first consultative meeting on the topic ‘Participating in the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women, and the Importance of Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Combat Violence against Women.’

Opening the meeting in the morning of 17 February 2010, a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Sy Define, said that the meeting was the first one held by a government institution with a civil society organizations on this issue, and it was organized after the government had published the ‘National Action Plan about the Prevention of Violence against Women’ last year. She stressed that even without reference to specific figures, rape and violence against women appear in new ways, and all forms appear more frequently and more cruelly.

She added that a major challenge for the prevention of violence against women, which needs to be addressed immediately, is the victims’ fear and shame. She emphasized that the victims often try to hide what happened, and even as there are more rapes happening, there is also the increased tendency to hide them. This is because women feel ashamed and they are afraid of being treated with contempt by the society, and also the knowledge of citizens in many communities is limited, including the knowledge about the legal procedures to appeal to the courts which require the victims, mostly the poor, to pay money.

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A Casino of Oknha Ket Theang Worth US$100 Million Will Open Next Week [in Bavet, Svay Rieng, at the border to Vietnam – he said that his casino can offer jobs to about 6,000 Khmer citizens – the majority of them women]

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The Asian Development Bank: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is in Danger

Placing Cambodia together with Nepal and Laos, this report says that these countries are very much in danger due to a slow development process, which does not contribute to preventing poverty and child malnutrition.

Among the 21 development indicators in this report, Cambodia is making slow progress in 9 indicators, including registration at primary schools, completing school education, child mortality, malnutrition, and maternal health care during pregnancy.

Anyway, this report says that Cambodia had achieved some specific Millennium Development Goals, such as combating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and supplying clean water. Also, gender equity goals at most schools will be accomplished.

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After a Woman Was Gang-Raped, Her Hands and Legs Were Tied and She Was Then Drowned in a Sewage Ditch in the CAMKO City Construction Area [the perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

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Civil Society: Public Leisure Time Activity Space for Youth Becomes Smaller but Commercial Entertainment Space Increases

Experts in youth problems said that according to their observation, public leisure time activity space for youth in the country is becoming smaller, but commercial entertainment space, such as night clubs and beer gardens, is increasing significantly.

A civil society organization official, who asked not to be named, said early this week that youth at present lacks public space for leisure time, but they are enjoying the increasing number of night clubs, bars, Karaoke parlors, and beer gardens, where they can drink alcohol, use drugs, and find many other services.

He emphasized, ‘When young people nowadays open their eyes, they see nothing but beer gardens and night clubs.’
According to him, present day youth problems, such as drug addiction, crimes, and sex trafficking, result from two factors: modernization and the surrounding environment. The environment for youth is formed, at present, by beer gardens, bars, and night clubs.

‘There is not much public space for youth, but we see there are more beer gardens and night clubs. I do not see that cinemas were changed into libraries, but several were changed into night clubs.’

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A Teacher Who Tortured Her Adopted Daughter [working as a domestic servant] Was Sentenced to Serve 20 Years in Prison and Her Husband to Serve 10 Years [Phnom Penh]

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A 13 Year-Old Pitiable Girl Was Raped by Two Men, Two Brothers [not relatives of the girl – who escaped – Kompong Chhnang]

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The Export [of garments] Dropped by More Than 40%, and More Than 50,000 Workers Lost Their Jobs

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A Man Raped and Killed Two Nieces [they are four and twelve years old – Kampot]

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According to an announcement by the US Embassy on 23 February 2010, the United States of America officially started a program with a contribution of US$13.4 million to improve the heath and the quality of life of Cambodian citizens, reducing the impact from HIV and AIDS, especially among vulnerable groups.

The HIV/AIDS program will also strengthen the national health system, fight maternal mortality, and address also other present priority health issues

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A Man Raped His Daughter for Three Years – When She Could No Bear It Any More, She Informed the Police to Arrest Him [Svay Rieng]

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A French Electricity Engineer Was Convicted to Serve Seven Years in Prison and Then to Be Deported from Cambodia [for buying child prostitution – Phnom Penh]

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There Are Nearly 500 Entertainment Places at Night, Most of Them Are Karaoke Parlor

At present, there are nearly 500 entertainment places in Phnom Penh, such as beer gardens, karaoke parlors, night clubs, discotheques, restaurants or other places where alcohol and some meals are served, accompanied with music, and female beer seller [called “Beer Girls”].

According to reports from the Phnom Penh Municipality, distributed during a recent convention to sum up the work in 2009 and to set the direction for 2010, big entertainment places include 76 beer gardens, 83 karaoke parlors, 10 night clubs, and 9 discotheques. Based on unofficial estimations by expert officials, there are around 300 other places such as clubs, restaurants, small restaurants, or places where soup is served like in beer gardens, where there are women to entertain the male guests.

It is worth to point out that in recent years, big and small entertainment places that run at night are growing like mushrooms.

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It Is Estimated that in 2010 in Cambodia, There Will be 56,200 People Having AIDS [29,500 women and 16,700 men – according to the Ministry of Health]

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Cambodia and America Cooperate to Fight Cross-Border Crimes and Sex Tourism [so far, 14 American tourists were arrested by the Cambodian authorities and sent to America to be convicted for child sex tourism; at present, Cambodia and the United States of America are cooperating on 30 cases of sex tourism]

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The Prime Minister Ordered to Check Shops Selling Cosmetic Products and Performing Cosmetic Surgery, and Using Chemicals for Cosmetic Purposes

The head of the Royal Government ordered leaders of the Ministry of Health on 2 March 2010 to cooperate with other related ministries and institutions to check all shops selling cosmetic products and performing cosmetic surgery, and using products containing chemicals that affect the health of clients, especially the health of women.

During the closing ceremony of the 31st convention of the Ministry of Health at the Intercontinental Hotel, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said, ‘The Ministry of Health must focus and closely cooperate with related ministries and other institutions to carefully check institutions that produce and sell cosmetic products and perform cosmetic surgery.’

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A Woman Was Attacked with Acid, Burning Her Body while She Was Riding on a Motorbike with Her Boyfriend from a Restaurant [the two perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

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The Prime Minister Warned that Police and Military Chiefs Had Better Leave Their Positions if They Do Not Dare to Crack Down on Brothels and Gambling Sites, Being Afraid of Interventions [from higher levels; officials who intervene against such activities will be demoted – he said so during a celebration on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, held in advance, on 4 March 2010]

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The International Women’s Day is a National Holiday in Cambodia. It provides an occasion for public awareness raising. As this recollection of random texts from three weeks of The Mirror shows, there is ample reason that such awareness has to continue throughout the year.

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 6 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #427, 6.3.2010

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2194, 6.3.2010

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

Note:

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

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

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5143, 6.3.2010

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

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

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

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

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

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

“This was not the first raid at the Tuek Thla market to stop the selling of bullets and of police and military uniforms. There had been several raids before, but these activities could not be eliminated, as many heads of police units and military commanders do not distribute the materials to the fellow police and soldiers under their command, but keep them and sell them to traders. Therefore, the fellow personnel under their command lack uniforms and have to seek and buy these things by themselves. Thus, the sellers are not the ones to be blamed, because some heads of police units and military police commanders benefit personally by taking their troops’ belongings, and transport them by car to sell them to traders – everyone knows this problem.

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

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

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

Note:

It is not clear whether one expected part of the whole affair is only missing from the report, or whether it did not happen. The report says: “the authorities confiscated hundreds of military uniforms and other materials from ten stalls, and arrested some sellers of those materials to educate them… the sellers are not the ones to be blamed.” Was anybody also punished for these illegal actions? The traders were educated – but what about those who supplied the illegal merchandise? – “…everyone knows this problem.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 5 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #426, 5.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Warned that Police and Military Chiefs Had Better Leave Their Positions if They Do Not Dare to Crack Down on Brothels and Gambling Sites, Being Afraid of Interventions [from higher levels; officials who intervene against such activities will be demoted – he said so during a celebration on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, held in advance, on 4 March 2010]
  • Acid Attack Will Increase, as the Perpetrators Consider It to Be Only a Misdemeanor [the Ministry of Interior is drafting stricter regulations against acid attacks – it is a general concern: misdemeanors are minor offense where perpetrators will not be punished seriously]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2193, 5.3.2010

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

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11#740, 5.3.2010

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6900, 5.3.2010

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3824, 5.3.2010

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5142, 5.3.2010

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

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

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