It Is Time to Value the Riel and Stop Trading with Foreign Currencies at the Markets in Cambodia – Saturday, 22.5.2010

Posted on 23 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Earlier on, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians had frequently demanded that the National Assembly should promote the use of the Riel, and now there is a plan by the government for the de-dollarization of the economy towards the use of the Riel in general, which is welcomed immediately by the opposition party.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Yim Sovann, welcomed this plan on Friday, 21 May 2010, saying, ‘This is what we have demanded for a long time, to value our national currency and to prevent inflation by using the Riel.’ Mr. Yim Sovann told Moneaksekar Khmer, ‘During sessions of the parliament, I had often raised this issues of using the Riel in our Cambodian economy, to both enhance our national prestige and to promote the Riel in order to effectively maintain macro-economic stability.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann said so after a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance had mentioned, during a meeting on 20 May 2010, a plan of the government to de-dollarize the economy by using the Riel, considering also economic and social observations of the UNDP in Asia and the Pacific. Mr. Hang Chuonarong said that Cambodia wants to de-dollarize towards the use of the Riel. However, the Secretary of State said, ‘We want to change, but we are not sure from which step to start.’

“There is the same insight like what the opposition party had said, that only the use of the Cambodian currency can help Cambodia to maintain economic stability and its prestige. A millionaire and senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Kong Triv, stated in support of the initiative that Cambodia should use the Riel to show its integrity at the international arena.

“Anyway, this initiative was intensively debated on Thursday, 20 May 2010. Most participants wanted Cambodia to take effective actions to ensure the use of its currency. For years, Cambodia had been criticized for allowing the free use of foreign currencies, including the US Dollar, which is being lively traded in the markets of Cambodia – and that devalues the Riel.

“Mr. Yim Sovann said that dollar notes are used for buying and selling, including even such simple daily vegetable products like water convolvulus, and this partly devalues its own currency – something no other countries do as Cambodia does. Neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam established their central banks for exchanging foreign currencies into their countries’ currencies. Everywhere in Yuon [Vietnam], the Dong is used. He added that tourists as well as investors exchange Dollar notes or their countries’ currencies when they leave Cambodia [for Thailand of Vietnam].

“As for foreign currencies used in Cambodia, it is not only the US Dollar. In some provinces of Cambodia bordering Siam [Thailand] and Yuon, their currencies are also invading . For example, if one want to go to Bavet in Svay Rieng or to Phnom Din district in Takeo, one needs to exchange Riels and Dollars for Dongs in advance. And if one wants to go to Oddar Meanchey or to Koh Kong, one needs to exchange money to have Thai Baht, because at those places, Riel notes are not used in general, and some common vendors do not even know Khmer Riel notes well.

“The most important problem is that earlier on as well as recently, it had been reported that the Koh Kong Water Supply and Electricity Authority – exclusively controlled by a local millionaire and senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, Ly Yong Phat, known to hold a Siamese identification card – officially decided to order the citizens in the town to settle their electricity bills with Thai Baht. This seems to show to have indirectly cut-off the province of Koh Kong from Cambodia and attached it to Siam.

“This bad decision, that leads to the devaluation of one’s own currency, seems to be a part of the devaluation of the national identity, and it is seen to originate from the Cambodian government itself, as most bidding and expense-income projects of the state are settled by using US Dollars rather than Riels. Therefore, the Cambodian People’s Party government has to be awake and stop devaluing its own currency. If it prints Riel notes, but does not use them broadly in the country, it is useless to print them and to waste national resources on it. In fact, it is not a good practice when a nation does not support its own country, but values the currencies of other nations.

“At present, the Riel of Cambodia is not used broadly to settle the account of important products – which is very dangerous for Cambodia. Thus, the government should reconsider the demands mentioned above by the opposition party and in a timely way introduce new strategies to guarantee the potential of the Riel in the markets.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3886, 22-23.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 22 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #484, 22.5.2010

  • Cambodia Supports a Statement of Vietnam That Expresses Concern about the Situation in Siam [Thailand]
  • Cambodia Is among the Twenty Countries around the World to Receive [direct agricultural] Aid from the United States of America
  • [Oknha] Mong Riththy: Collecting Taxes for Pigs Imported from Neighboring Countries Will Help Farmers [each year Cambodia loses US$146 million on imported pigs]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2255, 22.5.2010

  • Wood Trading Still Continues Strongly in Oddar Meanchey
  • According to Latest Information, 85 Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai Government] Died and 1,898 Were Injured
  • Agricultural Officials Encourage Citizens to Grow Foreign Grass [it contains higher nutrition than local grass]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6962, 22-23.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Asked for a Reduction of Wood Consumption, but Suggested the Use of Iron and Cement Instead in Order to Reduce Logging
  • The Koh Kong Town Runs Out of Clean Water as the Water Reservoir Dries Up Due to the Too Hot Weather
  • Mr. Philippe Gréciano [professor at the university of Grenoble in France, who has also worked at the international genocide court it Rwanda] Is Appointed as Defense Lawyer of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3886, 22-23.5.2010

  • It Is Time to Value the Riel and Stop Trading with Foreign Currencies at the Markets in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5204, 22.5.2010

  • Five People Trafficking Humans across the Border Were Arrested and Seventeen Victims Were Freed [Sampov Loun district, Battambang]
  • The Destructions in Bangkok Amounts to US$1.5 Billion

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 659

“Prime Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday morning, in a conference at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, to remove the director of the forestry administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Such a removal of the holder of the same position, of a former head of the forestry administration – Mr. Ly Kim Han – happened also some years ago, making him feel heart-broken, and he died. But in Ty Sokun’s case, according to opinions expressed among the general public, he should face the law and receive punishment. To remove Ty Sokun, but to appoint him at the same time as Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, shows the great tolerance of the Prime Minister.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly announced the decision to take out Mr. Ty Sokun from the position of Director General of the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, because he was involved in illegal wood trading. But Mr. Hun Sen did not specify any measures to be taken against Mr. Ty Sokun, and he reassigned him to the position of Under-Secretary of State of Agriculture. Prime Minister Hun Sen said on 6 April 2010 at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, that the head of the forestry administration, Mr. Ty Sokun, was involved in corruption related to forestry crimes, and that the authorities had recently started investigations to intercept them.

A house, reportedly belonging to Mr. Ty Sokun

A house, reportedly belonging to Mr. Ty Sokun

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

“Many high ranking officials involved in forestry crimes, who escaped abroad, must return to confess. Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed that at this time, there will be no tolerance for any official who got involved in forestry crimes. ‘We take hot measures to hit the heads of the main leaders. Therefore, the Prime Minister has to decide to do things, even if they hurt, in order to create models of law enforcement in the campaign to intercept forestry crimes.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #454, 7.4.2010

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2221, 7.4.2010

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6928, 7.4.2010

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3852, 7.4.2010

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5170, 7.4.2010

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

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The Government Provides 950,000 Hectares of Concession Land to Companies – Friday, 2.4.2010

Posted on 3 April 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Senior Minister Im Chhun Lim, announced that economic concession land of about 950,000 hectares countrywide has been provided to 85 companies.

“He said so during a parliament session in the morning of 1 April 2010 to respond to the questions and claims of an opposition party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, regarding the economic concession land that the government has provided to companies for investment.

“Senior Minister Im Chhun Lim said that the size of economic concession land that the government has provided to companies is not more than 2 million hectares, as had been claimed by Mr. Son Chhay. Recently, because some companies did not operate appropriately according to contracts, the government had decided to cancel the contracts of 41 companies, and the land involved was more than 300,000 hectares.

“This clarification was made after a parliamentarian from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Son Chhay, had encouraged the government to immediately review the provision of concession land of more than 2 million hectares to check if they violate the land law.

“Mr. Son Chhay said in front of Senior Minister Im Chhun Lim during the parliament session that the powerful and the rich fence their concession land and keep it unused, but they cut the trees at those regions. Therefore, the government should force those companies to do farming soon, to create jobs for farmers who had lost their land, and to grow agro-industrial crops.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that if those companies do not grow anything, land taxes must be imposed on them in order to force these people who just keep their land to sell it later to foreigners [for profit] to do farming, or the land should be taken back from them to be distributed to our farmers among whom not less than 25% lost their land and have no land to do cultivation.

“The annual report from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] indicates that in 2009 there was no official report from the government showing the figures of land that the government had provided as economic concession land to private companies.

“But according to figures from partner organizations gathered by ADHOC, the government provided economic concession land of 1,208,185 hectares to private companies in 2009.

“The government can get income from the provision of economic concession land to private companies for national economic development through investment in agro-industry, and this helps to improve the living conditions of people who are employed for their labor.

“Nevertheless, ADHOC found that by 2009, no private companies that had received economic concession land operated justly, and they were involved in violent activities against citizens.

“Many negative impacts result from the licensing of economic concession land to private companies which heavily affect property, houses, cultivation land, and living conditions of the citizens at most of these economic concession areas countrywide.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5166, 2.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 2 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #450, 2.4.2010

  • Four Ebony Traders in Kompong Cham Were Arrested and Two Wood Storehouses in Meanchey District [Phnom Penh] Were Raided
  • International Telecommunication and Information Technology Exhibition Is Held at Koh Pich [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Amatak, Vol.11, #752, 2.4.2010

  • The Siem Reap Court Decided to Confiscate Mr. Son Chhay’s Land [about three hectares] and Deliver It to the Apsara Authority [Mr. Son Chhay said that he does not oppose the plan of the Apsara Authority to take the land for development, but he suggested that the government must give him a proper compensation – the offer is only US$0.50 per square meter]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2217, 2.4.2010

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #642, 2.4.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Official and Civil Society [the Union Federation, which consists of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Asked Car and Bus Owners Not to Increase Fares during the Khmer New Year

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6924, 2.4.2010

  • The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Grants US$2.5 Million to the Ministry of Rural Development for an Integration Project for Rural Development in Krouch Chhmar District [Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3848, 2.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Government Should Not Disregard the 91 Recommendations of the United Nations [Human Rights Council]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #144, 2.4.2010

  • The Government Provides Land [of 1,650 hectares] of the Ream National Park to a Company to Invest [to create an eco-tourism site – Sihanoukville]
  • China Said That It Should Not Be Blamed over Mekong River Problems [where the waterway becomes shallower because of Chinese hydro-electric dams – but there is a severe drought in South and Southwest China]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5166, 2.4.2010

  • The Government Provides 950,000 Hectares of Concession Land to Companies
  • [The Minister of Information] Mr. Khieu Kanharith: [Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An Is the Person Who Asked for an Amnesty for Mr. Hang Chakra [the editor-in-chief of the pro-opposition party newspaper Khmer Machas Srok; he will be released from prison before the Khmer New Year in April 2010]
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted Two More Sites Storing Luxury Wood and Found More Than 100 Cubic Meters of Wood [no information about any accusation or arrest of the owners of the illegal wood – the owners, one owns an hotel, the other a restaurant, are known]

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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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The Preah Vihear Authorities Sold More Than 70 Cubic Meters of Luxury Wood Seized from Illegal Wood Traders – Saturday, 13.2.2010

Posted on 14 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“Preah Vihear: The Preah Vihear authorities decided to sell 76 cubic meters of luxury wood, including wood of the second quality type, on 10 February 2010, without putting it up for pubic bidding. The wood had been seized by combined provincial forces [where forestry administration forces, military police, and police may cooperate] from illegal wood traders in 2009.

“In the afternoon of 10 February 2010, it was seen that more than 20 wood traders and forestry administration officials were collecting Beng, Kronhoung, Neang Nuon, and Thnung wood and 8 cubic meters of second quality wood onto nine trucks.

At 15:36, civil servants of the Preah Vihear Municipality said that they saw three trucks coming into the Preah Vihear Municipality compound to take the wood. Those trucks [made by the Korean company] Hyundai, were each loaded with 30 cubic meters of wood. At that time, journalists came to ask about compliance with the law regarding the permission for the transport of such wood, but the Tbaeng Meanchey district forestry administration chief, Mr Mom Sophal, said that journalists should not publish anything about it, and he would not provide a legal document from the forestry administration showing that it is allowed to sell the wood.

“Journalists continued to ask where the wood was being transported to. A wood trader appeared to claim that journalists did not need to ask such a question. He seemed to have appeared just to protect the wood by saying a few words, and then he became silent.

“After that, the head of the Tbaeng Meanchey district forestry administration strongly warned the journalists, saying that if they wanted to know whether the sale of the wood had been legalized or not, they should ask the Preah Vihear forestry administration chief, and he then stopped saying anything more.

“At the same day at 16:33, journalists contacted the Preah Vihear forestry administration chief, Mr. Pol Khamnara by phone, to clarify the case that wood traders had come into the Preah Vihear Municipality compound to take the wood away, but he said he was in Phnom Penh to attend a court hearing related to the case of the deputy governor Mr. Meas Saroeun, and as far as he knew, the Municipality allowed the wood to be transported to Prey Veng, and he suggested that if the journalist wanted to know more, they should ask the district forestry administration chief Mr. Nong Khemarin. When journalists approached Mr. Nong Khemarin, he said that those wood traders had received a legal permission to take the wood away. But when journalists asked him about the related legal document, he said that he had not yet seen it, so he had nothing to show. As for the Preah Vihear governor, Mr. Oum Mara, he could not be reached for comment as phone calls could not get through.

“It should be noted that during the last four years, there have been more truck transports by nearly 10 trucks loaded with Beng, Kronhoung, Neang Nuon, and Thnung wood. Whenever journalists asked for legal documents, the forestry administration chiefs claimed that the wood transports had been permitted by the law, but they never allowed journalists to see the documents.

“They frequently used the names of ministers [claiming that the ministers supported them] to warn the journalists.

“At 17:00., the journalists received a phone call from an official of the Preah Vihear court who said that he had not seen any legal documents. That official explained that the seized wood can be sold only after the court issues a permit allowing the forestry administration to put it up for bidding first.

“In Preah Vihear, luxury wood is being transported by wood traders all the time, and every time when they transport luxury wood out of the province, the phones of the relevant officials are all switched off, or nobody answers the phone calls. Kronhoung wood is being transported on various routes. Some goes through Nation Road 62 [towards Phnom Penh], and more than half of the remaining wood is transported by the wood traders from Sra Em village to Trapeang Prasat district and on to Oddar Meanchey, crossing Siem Reap, Kompong Thom, and Kompong Cham, to be sold at the Vietnamese border.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5125, 13.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 13 February 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2176, 13.2.2010

  • A Siamese [Thai] Black Clad Soldier [in the uniform of the Thai special border protection unit] Who Came to Lay Land Mines in Cambodia, Was Sentenced to Serve 20 Years in Prison
  • An Anti-Maritime-Mine Naval Ship [of the US Navy] Arrived in Cambodia for Joint Exercises [with the Cambodian navy]
  • One Million Red Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Prepare to Demonstrate in Thailand on 20 February 2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6883, 13-14.2.2010

  • The Shukaku Company Is Actively Developing the Boeng Kak Lake Area and So Far, 50% of the Lake Has Been Filled with Dredged Sand [only the sand filling is described as its “actively developing” activities – a construction and management plan – what is to happen on the adjacent land from which the residents are evicted – has not been made public]
  • At 9:00 A.M. of 11 February 2010, a Cambodian Flag Was Erected on Wat Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak, also called Wat Prasat [at the border with Thailand, in a contested buffer zone]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5125, 13.2.2010

  • The Preah Vihear Authorities Sold More Than 70 Cubic Meters of Luxury Wood Seized from Illegal Wood Traders
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan Said He Was a Powerless Head of State of the Khmer Rouge Regime
  • The International Fund for Agricultural Development Granted US$13,3 Million [for poverty reduction projects, and for the development of small-scale agriculture in the Tonle Sap area]
  • The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization Announced that there are Serious Diarrhea Cases [but denied it is cholera [[as claimed by others on the basis of bacteriological proof]] and therefore declared there is no need to declare a cholera emergency]
  • A Truck Drove over a Female Garment Worker and Killed Her [Phnom Penh]

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 25 January 2010

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

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

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

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

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #724, 25.1.2010

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6866, 25.1.2010

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

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

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

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

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

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1862, 25.1.2010

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

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The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom – Monday, 4.1.2010

Posted on 5 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“A son of a high ranking military officer of the Cambodian government told a foreign newspaper that corruption in Cambodia occurs at present at every section of the society from top to bottom. An Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, interviewed a youth whose name is Meas Sophearith, a son of Four-Star-General Meas Sophea, a deputy Commander-In-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and the Commander of the Army of Cambodia, regarding his view about corruption in the Cambodian society.

“According to an article in this newspaper, written by Mr. Andrew Marshall, the young Meas Sophearith, who is studying political science at the University in Alabama in the United States, who has also a place for military studies at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, the French military academy, a son of Mr. Meas Sophea, was quoted as criticizing the present corruption in Cambodian society, saying that corruption exists from top to bottom.

“According to the same source, Meas Sophearith described the situation of corruption in the Cambodian society nowadays, saying that most leaders are corrupt.

“Also, a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia was quoted, to have said for publication in the paper, that a nephew of a most powerful person in Cambodia owns a most expensive car priced at US$500,000 a Mercedes McLaren SLR.

“Besides the publication about the description of corruption by the young Meas Sophearith, another young man, Ouch Vichet, called Richard, 28, who used to study in New Zealand, spoke in the Australian newspaper about the present show-off culture among the children of the powerful and of the rich in Cambodia.

“The young Vichet was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that if anybody want that the others pay respect, they have to own luxuries and expensive cars, big diamonds, and expensive mobile phones. This young man added that his parents provided him with a residence of US$500,000 and a rubber plantation of 400 hectares as his inheritance, while his parents-in-law gave him US$100,000 and another residence of US$200,000.

“The abundant wealth of high ranking officials, noticed by foreign observers as well as international journalists, where they compete with each other, showing off their luxury cars worth tens of thousands of dollars, helps to form the stereotypes of rich and high ranking officials of present day Cambodia.

“Mr. Andrew Marshall wrote in that Australian newspaper about Ouch Vichet, who said that people of his parents’ generation always kept money under their mattresses, but the children of the next generation keep money in safes in their houses.

“He said they usually keep a lot of money in safes at home, because they do not trust the banks, believing that if they keep their money in the banks, it will be known how much money their families have.

[…]

“The Tuol Kork area of Phnom Penh is compared to the Beverly Hills area of Hollywood in the United States, where there are, in Phnom Penh, many modern residences of high ranking officials, including of children of the prime minister, surrounded by high and sharp razor wire fencing.

“The same paper wrote that the residence of young Meas Sophearith, a son of General Meas Sophea, is carefully guarded by special forces soldiers.

“The young Meas Sophearith as well as Ouch Vichet, a businessman, who haves relations with the powerful and the rich of the country, are among the three sources that Mr. Andrew Marshall relied on for the article ‘Khmer Riche.’ The third person, Sophy, a child of a Deputy Prime Minister of the government of Mr. Hun Sen, is another source that Mr. Andrew Marshall depended upon to write about the showing off of luxury livelihood of children of high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia, while millions of Khmer common citizens live under the poverty line, though hundreds of millions of dollars of aid have been provided each year.

“The young Meas Sophearith told the Australian newspaper that he has a plan to create a foundation to help children of the poor to have a chance to study abroad, like the children of the powerful and of the rich. However, he stressed that they have to wait until their parents grow old.

[…]

“The young Meas Sophearith is not the only person who wants to see changes from what happens at present, but needs to wait until their parents grow old, or people from the old generation retire. Whether he can fulfill his intention to create a foundation to help the poor or not is another problem. [The original source is quoted here.]

[…]

“The account by a son of a high ranking official about corruption, which occurs from top to bottom, and by Mr. Ouch Vichet about how money is normally kept by high ranking officials and by the rich, is another source of information related to the question why the government is very late in adopting an anti-corruption law.

“Corruption is recognized, and the wealth of the high ranking officials and of the rich in Cambodia are kept in the safes at their houses, rather than at local and foreign banks. Therefore, can an anti-corruption law be adopted and can it be efficient to uncover the faces of corrupt officials, or expropriate wealth stolen from the nation, to become money to benefits the nation?”
[…]Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 4 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #376-278, 1-4.1.2010

  • [The Cambodian] Ambassador in Thailand Called the Editor of the The Nation Stupid [after the newspaper’s editor criticized the Cambodian Prime Minister in an article Hun Sen’s Vanity is a Danger to Regional Solidarity published on 29 December 2009, which said, “Hun Sen should know for a fact that the person who is really capable of toppling him is his recently appointed economic adviser – Thaksin Shinawatra. In the early 1990s, everybody knew that Thaksin, as a business tycoon, was involved in a short-lived plot to dislodge Hun Sen because of a conflict of interest over mobile telephone contracts.”]
  • During the Whole Year [of 2009] Cambodia Implemented 1,191 Projects to Develop the Country [reference is to cooperation with development partners like the UN, the EU, Japan, etc.]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2139-2141, 1-4.1.2010

  • The National Election Committee Published the Results of the Election Name List Checking in 2009 [there were 8,331,906 voters listed]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Vowed to Vigorously Protect the Throne [after the King promoted him to the rank of a five-star-general]
  • A Thai Army Commander Confirmed in Front of the Cambodian Army Commander to Let the Border Issues Be Solved by Both Countries’ Governments

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #569-571, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Son of a Four-Star-General Said Corruption Occurs at Present from Top to Bottom
  • [The Opposition Party parliamentarian] Mr. Sam Rainsy: Those Who Were Behind the Grenade Attack on 30 March 1999 Are Those Who Are at Present Controlling the Power

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6846-6848, 1-4.1.2010

  • The Welcome for the Universal New Year 2010 in Cambodia This Year Was Different from the Previous Year as It Was Celebrated by More People in More Places [in Cambodia]
  • The [Svay Rieng] Municipal Court Dropped Questioning Three Suspects over the Removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers [they are no longer under arrest]
  • In 2009 There Were 44 Fires in Phnom Penh Which Killed 2 People
  • Seventy Six Journalists Were Murdered in 2009 [compared to 2008, when 60 were murdered worldwide, according to the Reporters without Borders]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #80-81, 1-4.1.2010

  • A Military Chief Who Was Involved in Illegal Wood Transport Was Released [by just paying a fine of US$1,500; he had been arrested for blocking the way of the authorities who went to crack down on illegal wood transports – Battambang]
  • The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Starts Operations Today [1 January 2010] – What Will Cambodia Get?
  • The Court Ordered the Arrest of Three More Citizens over the Removal of Temporary Border Markers in Svay Rieng
  • Tourist Arrivals in Cambodia Increased by 2% in 2009 [to 2.18 million, while in 2008, there were 2.12 million]

Note:

The China-ASEAN FTA covers a population of 1 billion and involves about $450 million of trade volume.

“The average tariff on goods from the ASEAN countries is cut down to 0.1 percent from 9.8 percent. The six original ASEAN members, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will slash the average tariff on Chinese goods from 12.8 percent to 0.6 percent.

“By 2015, the policy of zero-tariff rate for 90 percent of traded goods is expected to extend between China and four new ASEAN members, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.” [Source]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5088-5090, 1-4.1.2010

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Rejected to Enter Politics but Wants to Serve the Nation More [he said he could serve as a diplomat, as an adviser to the prime minister, as a lecturer on law, or related to cultural affairs]
  • An Old Man [69 years old] Raped Three Girls [10, 11, and 14 years old sisters] – He Was Arrested by Military Police to Be Sent to Court [Battambang]
  • Forty Two Packages of Heroin Worth Half a Million Dollar Were Seized [in Phnom Penh, but the ring leader of the smugglers is not yet found; Cambodia was removed from a drug black list of the international community]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1846, 1.2.1.2010

  • Mr. Rong Chhun Was Elected [again] as President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association

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The Sereypheap Market Is Totally Demolished to Take the Land to Construct Flats for Sale; Market Vendors Can Just Cry – Thursday, 31.12.2009

Posted on 31 December 2009. Filed under: Week 645 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 645

“Phnom Penh: There was a protest by the Sereypheap Market vendors in the Veal Vong commune, Prampi Makara district, Phnom Penh, after they received a notification from the local authorities on 29 December 2009. In the morning of 30 December 2009, the authorities, armed forces, and prosecutors of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to remove the market, based on a warrant of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“In the morning of 30 December 2009, some armed forces were found deployed since 3:00 a.m. until 12:00 o’clock in the compound of the Sereypheap Market, when the enforcement of warrant began, while all vendors were shouting to protest, raising banners and photos of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and of Her Excellency [his wife]. Finally, the protest could just make them cry, as the authorities implemented the warrant by deploying security forces around the area of the market, locked the gates of the market, and totally demolished the market.

“In the morning of 30 December 2009, all the market vendors did not agree with the warrant and marched to the residence of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen near the Independent Monument, but their march was blocked by security forces who dispersed the march into different groups. Anyway, in the morning, about 10 vendors arrived at the Independence Monument. Then, some police and other representatives of the authorities came to coordinate the actions and suggested all the vendors should go to gather under the Boddhi tree in front of the Botum Vatei pagoda, or to gather in front of the National Assembly. The vendors agreed with the coordination by the authorities, but while another group of other vendors reached the Monivong Boulevard at the corner of the Ou Russey twin roads, the Sereypheap Market was already totally destroyed and demolished by the authorities.

“By the evening of 30 December 2009, there were no interventions from any institutions for the protesting vendors, when the stalls in the market had been totally removed.

“It should be noted that on 29 December 2009, 200 vendors wrote a letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, counting that the Sereypheap Market vendors make contracts every three years. But on 1 December 2009, the director of the market issued a notification to order the vendors to stop selling anything from 31 December 2009, as he will take the land to build flats. The notification to the vendors to stop their operations in the Sereypheap Market is a violation of the contract with the director of the market, Mr. Lim Kimpheng, and this affects the poor livelihood of the vendors who earn an income by selling things to raise their families, which does not enable them to find new places, as they have no land for cultivation to support their living.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2138, 31.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 31 December 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1425, 31.12.2009

  • The World Bank Prepares to Help Cambodia [to improve livelihood of citizens whose houses were demolished and who are encountering evictions, taking away their land for “development”]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #375, 31.12.2009

  • A Cambodian Official [the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong]: Cambodia Will Not Be Affected, though the Siamese [Thai] Court Canceled the Preah Vihear Temple Support Agreement
  • The Battambang Authorities Arrested a Wood Trader for Burning a Bridge in Samlot District [to block the way of the authorities who went to crack down on illegal wood transports]
  • Cambodia Expects to Receive Up to 3 Million Tourist Arrivals in 2010 [because there are plans to create more tourism sites at the northeast and the southwest – according to the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2138, 31.12.2009

  • [The Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon: The Cambodian Economy Will Recover in 2010 [by achieving 3% growth in 2010, while in 2009 it was 2%]
  • The Sereypheap Market Is Totally Demolished to Take the Land to Construct Flats for Sale; Market Vendors Can Just Cry

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6845, 31.12.2009

  • A Siamese [Thai] Court Canceled the Joint Statements of Cambodia and Thailand during the Administration of [the former Thai prime minister] Mr. Samak’s Government [to support Cambodia to list the Preah Vihear Temple as a world heritage site]
  • The Former [Thai] Convicted Spy Sivarak [who shared the Flight Plan of Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Will Come Back to Cambodia to Continue Working in the Cambodia Air Traffic Services [CATS, as an engineer]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #79, 31.12.2009

  • Seventy Four Communities in the City Face Evictions [among 410 poor communities in Phnom Penh, 74 have received letters to inform them to leave their communities; Mr. Ny Chakriya of ADHOC said that the government always uses the pretext of development to evict citizens from the city, not offering proper compensation. However, the Phnom Penh deputy governor, Mr. Man Chhoeun, said, ‘Development is for all of us, but not only for a certain group. We clean the city which is part of developing the city’]
  • The Government Will Deliver the CATS Company Back to Thailand [to be controlled by the Samart Corps]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5087, 31.12.2009

  • Cambodia Will Not Make any Change to the Environment at the Border Regions with Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • [The Thai Foreign Minister] Kasit Piromya Asked Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to Stop Supporting Thaksin Shinawatra [in order to restore diplomatic ties]
  • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An: Only 5% of Youth between the Age of 18 and 23 Can Enter College [lower than Laos 12%, Indonesia 17%, the Philippines 28%, and Thailand 40%]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1845, 31.12.2009

  • Civil Society Expressed the Concern over [future] Evictions of Citizens from Their Communities after the Expropriation Law Has Been Adopted
  • The Authorities Armed with Electric Batons and Shields Blocked [nearly 100] Sereypheap Market Vendors to Protest in Front of the Residence of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen [Phnom Penh]

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Officials and Evil Merchants Collude to Open a Border Crossing to Transport Wood to Vietnam – Tuesday, 17.11.2009

Posted on 19 November 2009. Filed under: Week 639 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

Apologies for the delays, which may continue for some days, as I am attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone, and then traveling back to Phnom Penh. I try to be timely as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“According to a broadcast of a radio station based in Washington D.C. in the United States yesterday, about strong illegal logging of luxury wood in protected forested areas in a national park in Ratanakiri, bordering on Yuon [Vietnam], carried out by merchants colluding with some persons in the local authorities, an official, who asked not to be named, claimed there is collusion to open a Khmer-Yuon [Cambodian-Vietnamese] border crossing illegally to export luxury wood from Cambodia to be sold to Yuon merchants.

“According to this source, a Ratanakiri official, anonymly spoke about collusion to open an international crossing between the Ou Ya Dav district in Cambodia and a province’s district on the Yuon [Vietnamese] side of the border, during the first six months of 2009, leading to estimation that over 400 trucks transported trees, cut the Khmer natural forest, were transported by merchants and illegal business networks, to be sold to Yuon merchants who wait at the border.

“As an example of continuing loggings of luxury wood, a case was mentioned where merchants hired villagers to cut trees in Taveng district in Ratanakiri.

“The Phav village chief in Taveng Krom commune, Taveng district, Mr. Pel Hin, was quoted as saying that he noticed that merchants came to villages and hired poor villagers to cut valuable trees in the forest, and they then bought them from villagers. The village chief expressed concern about forest destruction, forests being resources of the state, and that the destruction might spread to the Vireakchey National Park, established by Royal Decree at the Kantuy Neak [dragon tail] region, bordering on Laos and on Yuon.

“The village chief said, ‘I am really concerned. When I attended some meetings, I told the meetings that there are companies buying and selling wood in my village.’

“The secretary of thhe Taveng Krom commune, Mr. Boeung, recognized that there are illegal loggings and then the transport of luxury wood, but he claimed that this had happened only during the last few months. He said, ‘I saw much luxury wood at Taveng Krom commune brought from Taveng Leu commune. Merchants brought it here to sell it.’

“The Taveng district’s military police chief, Mr. Keo Vichet, expressed regrets, as he has very few forces, and therefore he does not know such cases.

“However, according to direct monitoring by Radio Free Asia late last week in Phav village about illegal wood transactions, workers were seen transporting luxury wood; some had 10 cm by 15 cm width bars, 1 meter long, being transported from the village to the river, to be loaded in motor boats of merchants for exports.

“A worker said that he was hired by a local Chinese merchant in Vern Sai district, Nhok Thong, an illegal luxury wood merchant who hires poor villagers to enter to cut trees in the forest.

“The Taveng district governor, Mr. Kim Toeu, recognized that there are illegal wood businesses.

“Regarding this issue, Taveng Forestry Administration official in Ratanakiri recognized that there are such activities, involving merchants and some evil officials. He said about the loss of trees, ‘As for the activities and crimes in any specific district, those districts have to be responsible respectively.’

“Poor villagers from different villages, like Sieng Soy, Taveng Leu, Dambouk villages… have been contacted by merchants who have relations with some evil officials, using money to hire them to cut valuable trees in the forest and sell them to those merchants who go to buy trees in villages, such illegal activities happened repeatedly during recent months, as they are not afraid of the law.

“Those sources said also that many cubic meters of luxury wood were found, piled up at many places in areas near the Yuon border, in order to facilitate the transport in order to sell the wood to Yuon merchants who wait near the border crossing.

“The official of the province, who asked not to be named, was quoted as saying that the illegal transport of wood is most actively done during the night. According to his estimation since June 2009, the luxury wood cut by hired poor villagers was loaded onto more than 400 trucks, to be transported for sale to Yuon merchants.

“They cannot understand why forest crimes destroying state resources still exist, even though Prime Minister Hun Sen had promised in 2001, with words like swearing an oath, that he would give up leading the government, if his government was not able to crack down on illegal logging and illegal transport starting from 1 January 2002.

“This seems difficult to understand, and observers notice that even Oknha Try Pheap, an advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen, had been frequently accused by people in communities at different provinces, such as Pursat, of hiring poor people to cut valuable trees to be transported and sold to merchants from outside of the country.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #531, 17.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #338, 17.11.2009

  • The Head of the Government Shook Hands for the First Time with President Obama in Singapore [both leaders agreed to intensify relations in order to promote economic and social development in Cambodia]
  • China Has Invested More Than US$6 Billion in Cambodia within 15 Years

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2100, 17.11.2009

  • Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Troops at the Border Move towards Friendship [Thai army commanders had told the Khmer army commanders that they will be seek confrontation with the Cambodian troops]
  • Cambodia Has Received Investments Amounting to More Than US$1.5 Billion from Vietnam [in aviation, banking, oil, gas, agriculture, and tourism – according to the Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Tram Bac Ha]
  • UN Commissioner [Dr. Nafis Sadis]: Other Countries Should Learn from Cambodia about the Fight against AIDS [Cambodia reduced the occurence of AIDS from 2% in 1998 to 0.9% in 2006]
  • ASEAN-US Ties Become Closer with the Historic Summit [the USA promised to step up its cooperation with ASEAN, described as one of its important partners, to promote peace and security in the region]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #676, 17.11.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra Warned to Fly from India to Cambodia on 19 October 2009 Crossing Siamese [Thai] Airspace, while Bangkok Prepared to Arrest Him

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #531, 17.11.2009

  • Officials and Evil Merchants Collude to Open a Border Crossing to Transport Wood to Vietnam
  • Protesters against the Suspension of Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [by 24 Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians and supporters] Marched in Front of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Residence [in Phnom Penh]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Considers Dissolving the Parliament to Hold New Elections while Yellow Shirt Demonstrators Are Accusing Thaksin Shinawatra as a Traitor, Selling National Territory

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6807, 17.11.2009

  • The National Assembly Suspended Mr. Sam Rainsy Immunity over the Removal of Border Markers at Chantrea District [in Svay Rieng]
  • A M79 Shell Exploded among Yellow Shirt Demonstrators [government supporters], Injuring Twelve People [Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #47, 17.11.2009

  • Cambodia Allowed a Thai Official to Meet the [Thai] Man Accused of Spying [by copying documents about the flight schedules of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be sent to Thailand] while There Is Still No Solution for the Diplomatic Disputes
  • Mr. Obama Stated that the United State and China Do Not Need to Be Adversaries [during their political history, they had been, but then got on with each other. They got on in some sectors, but not in all]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5049, 17.11.2009

  • Thailand Rejected Indonesia’s Role to Solve the Dispute with Cambodia
  • Cambodia Is Worried about Khmer Workers in Thailand, but the Thai Ambassador Said that There Is No Problem
  • Mr. Obama Encouraged Myanmar to Release Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]

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The Head of the Royal Government Warned Donor Countries – Friday, 9.10.2009

Posted on 10 October 2009. Filed under: Week 633 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 633

“Phnom Penh: Ahead of a meeting about the provision of development aid for Cambodia, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, warned donor countries not to link conditions with development aid for Cambodia.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen considers the linking of conditions with aid as being under more pressure than during the presence of Vietnamese experts in Cambodia after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.

“During the 30th anniversary celebration of the creation of the National Bank of Cambodia on Thursday, 8 October 2009, at the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia warned that the government will not accept, or even stop receiving foreign aid, if aid is linked with conditions. Recently, the government has canceled the assistance of the World Bank for a land registration program.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen told donors that the government welcomes the involvement to develop Cambodia, but donors should not interfere and link conditions with aid.

“Getting tired of conditions set by donors at present, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen added that, after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, though Vietnamese troops and experts came to Cambodia, Vietnam respected the independence of Cambodia. Decisions in politics and economy were under the authority of Cambodia, different from nowadays.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen stressed that at present, the development aid from the World Bank, from the International Monetary Fund, and from other donors forces the government to listen to their orders.

“In the meantime, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen appealed to donors and friends that assist Cambodia, to understand and respect the independence of Cambodia.

“Donors will meet the Cambodian government later in this year to announce development aid for Cambodia in 2010. After the international meeting in 2009, international development partners decided to provide about US$1 billion to Cambodia, linking it with conditions about the respect of human rights, the solution of land disputes, resettlement of the poor, and especially the creation of an anti-corruption law, an old intention of Cambodia.

“Human rights activists of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) pointed out that some conditions of donors aim, for example, at encouraging the Cambodian government to respect human rights or to address corruption, but not to apply pressure on the government. In this way conditions direct the implementation of laws and fill gaps of the government, so that the aid can reach the poor, and Cambodia becomes a state of law.

“ADHOC activists asked the government to soften their position and to accept aid to assist Cambodia’s poor people, rather than to reject international support, as the country needs aid.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5016, 9.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 9 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #306, 9.10.2009

  • Health Agents Seized 327 Types of Expired Medicines [Phnom Penh]
  • German Government Provides Aid for Ketsana Victims [the assistance of US$37,000 through the World Food Program, supporting to secure the survival of more than 30,000 people affected in Cambodia]
  • Natural Disaster Impacts Tourism in Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2067, 9.10.2009

  • Capital of International Reserves of Cambodia Increased to US$2,522 Million [by 21% by August 2009 despite the global economic crisis; said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • 733 Families in Khvav Commune Eat Manioc Instead of Rice and Call for Aid [Siem Reap]
  • A Notorious Robber and His Son Were Gunned Down by Police when They Shot Back

Khmer Amatak, Vol.3, #658, 9.10.2009

  • Phnom Penh Becomes More Flooded after the Shukaku Development Company Fills the Boeng Kak Lake [with sand]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #505, 9.10.2009

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6774, 9.10.2009

  • Japan Grants More Than US$1.4 Million for Mine Clearance [in Cambodia]
  • The 30th Anniversary of the Creation of the National Bank of Cambodia Was Celebrated
  • A 11-Year-Old Girl Was Lost for a Night and Was Found Dead with Both Eyes Gouged Out [Kampot]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #22, 9.10.2009

  • Mr. Hun Sen Said that if High Ranking Officials of Cambodia Go to Testify [at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal], It Is Like Killing the Suspects [since they are the ones who overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime; he said so after the foreign co-investigating judge summoned six high ranking officials of the government to testify]
  • [Twenty one] Civil Society Organizations [that work on human rights and provide legal assistance] Asked the National Assembly to Exclude Defamation from the Penal Code
  • More Than 2,000 Workers of the Tac Fat Factory Protested after the Factory Closed [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5016, 9.10.2009

  • The Head of the Royal Government Warned Donor Countries
  • There Is Much Aid from Japan [US$1.7 billion since 1993], but There Is Very Little [Japanese] Private Investment [only US$129.9 million or 0.6% of the total foreign investment to Cambodia]
  • Vietnam Announced to Support the Candidacy of Cambodia as a Member of the World Heritage Committee

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1804, 9-11.10.2009

  • The World Bank Said that More Than 60,000 Workers Lost Their Jobs Creating Hazard for the Cambodian Economy

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