The Ministry of Commerce Announced It Earned Riel 129,949 Million – Friday, 26.3.2010

Posted on 27 March 2010. Filed under: Week 657 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657

“The Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, said that in 2009, the Ministry was able to earn Riel 129,949,000,000 [approx. US$31 million] for the nation.

“Mr. Cham Prasidh said during a meeting of the Ministry of Commerce on 24 March 2010 that the income came only from public services that the Ministry provides to private companies.

“The services operated by the Ministry to get income include the registration of commercial operations and of commercial trademarks, the provision of certificates to certify the origin of products, and the checking of product quality, especially for food products for export and import, and for products sold at local markets.

“According to a report on the work in 2009 and on setting goals for 2010, 3,116 trademarks were registered in 2009, where only 698 were trademarks of local companies. Also, in 2009, the Ministry registered commercial operations for 2,045 companies which declined by about 26.5%, compared to 2008. Among those companies, only 39 companies were new companies, a drop by 2.5%.

“The same report added that though the registration of commercial operations declined, foreign investors from Vietnam, Korean, China, Malaysia, and Singapore significantly continue to trust the economic conditions and the political stability in Cambodia.

“The same source continued to say that the registration of export permits, based on the conditions and the origin of the products, covered 243 factories and 26 shoes factories. Those factories employ 320,834 workers who earned about US$27 million as monthly salaries.

“The exports to the United States of America amounted to about US$1.518 billion, which dropped by approximately US$471 million. The exports to Canada were US$198 million, declining by US$4.9 million compared with 2008. The exports to the European Union amounted to US$655 million, a drop by about 18%.

“Exports to other countries also declined. The exports to the American continent, excluding the United States of America and Canada, were about US$34 million, a downturn by about US$11 million. The exports to Europe, excluding the European Union countries, were about US$33 million, a decline by around 23%.

“The report adds that most products that Cambodia exported were garments and other textile products, shoes, rice, handicrafts, beer, and agricultural products, such as pepper.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5160, 26.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 26 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #444, 26.3.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: The Temporary [Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers Cost Cambodian Territory [he bases this statement on a 1:100,000 French colonial map of 1952, deposited at the United Nations in 1964, and a 1:50,000 map printed by the US Army in 1966]
  • The Spokesperson of the Siamese [Thai] Army Rejected [the Cambodian information] that Many Siamese Soldiers Were Killed by Cambodian Soldiers [during armed clashes at the border region near the Preah Vihear Temple]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2211, 26.3.2010

  • The Foreign Trade of Cambodia Declined in 2009 [to US$10 billion, a drop by 10.4%]
  • Three Laotian Men Were Arrested in Daun Penh District [Phnom Penh] for Drug Smuggling

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #636, 26.3.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: After the Anti-Corruption Law Becomes Valid, the Sam Rainsy Party Will Propose a Law Which Sets Up Proper Salaries for Civil Servants

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6918, 26.3.2010

  • Three Suspected Robbers Were Sentenced by Citizens [they stole a motorcycle and were beaten by a mob to death, as police could not stop the beating – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3821, 26.3.2010

  • Sam Rainsy: What I Showed [the map and documents] Is Not for Defeating Any Individual [but for the sake of the country], and Prum Chea and Meas Srey Should Be Released as a Humanitarian Gesture [they are in jail for removing border markers in Svay Rieng]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #139, 25.3.2010

  • 700 Citizens of the Amleang Commune Continue Their Protest to Demand the Release of Their Representatives [detained for burning down the on-site office of Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company in Kompong Speu]
  • Human Rights Watch Asked Cambodia to Amend the Sub-Decree about Refugees [as the present one does not provide enough protection procedures to prevent deportation according to the international convention, which the Cambodian government signed so that Cambodia became a member]
  • The Government Plans to Create Public Housing for Poor Citizens for Long Range Rent Periods [of up to 50 years]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5160, 26.3.2010

  • The Ministry of Commerce Announced It Earned Riel 129,949 Million
  • The Law about Ownership by Foreigners of Upper Floor Houses Will Be Adopted by the National Assembly Next Week
  • The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted a Third Wood Storehouse, Seizing 523 Pieces of Wood [about 15 cubic meters] and 66 Round Poles

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Fifty Percent of All Vegetables Are Imported from Vietnam to Meet the Daily Demands – Friday, 11.12.2009

Posted on 12 December 2009. Filed under: Week 642 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 642

“Phnom Penh: About 50% of all vegetables eaten in Cambodia are imported from Vietnam. This is seen from the vegetables at the Deumkor Market in Phnom Penh, the biggest vegetable distribution market.

“The head of the Deumkor Market, Mr. Thong Heng, said that companies licensed by the Ministry of Agriculture mostly import vegetables from the Trapeang Phlong border crossing in Kompong Cham every day with three trucks, carrying 30 tonnes of vegetables each. Another border crossing for imports from Vietnam, that is near and easier, is the Koh Thom district crossing in Kandal. Also, there are special companies, importing vegetables both on land and on water ways.

“Kandal residents said that because too much vegetables are imported from Vietnam, the crops they grow themselves get blocked, and they cannot compete with the cheaper prices of vegetables imported from Vietnam. They stop expanding the land where they cultivate something, and some families abandon their land, because they cannot continue producing economically.

“The head of the Department of Agronomy, Mr. Nouv Ratana, acknowledged this and estimated that vegetables imported from Vietnam amount to 30% to 40% of the daily demands. Most imported vegetable types are those that our Khmer citizens cannot grow in all seasons, like carrots, onions, potatoes, and white cabbage, etc. Moreover, certain crops cannot be grown for different reasons, especially tomatoes, for which the Vietnamese have special techniques to grow them in all seasons. “Mr. Heng Sokhom said, ‘We frequently found that some vegetables have poisonous substances, but before we can identify them clearly at laboratories, the sellers have already sold and distributed them all.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5069-5070, 10-11.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 11 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #358-359, 10-11.12.2009

  • Eighteen Human Rights Organizations Celebrated the 61st Human Rights Day Successfully [while the Phnom Penh authorities provided security]
  • ADB Provides US$30 Million for the Tonle Sap Basin Development [a loan to find new measures to boost the incomes and the livelihood opportunities of thousands of poor households in the Tonle Sap Basin region]
  • Two Young Sisters [16 and 17 years old] Were Attacked with Acid All over Their Bodies by [two] Unknown Persons [on a motorcycle – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2120-2121, 10-11.12.2009

  • Cambodia Received the Agreement [by the member countries of the Ottawa Anti-Landmine Treaty] to Extend the Time to Clear Mines for Ten More Years [in 1991, there were 4,500 square kilometers infested by landmines, at present, there are still 650 square kilometers]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Must Leave His Office, Dissolve the Parliament, and Conduct New Elections Immediately [demanded thousands of red-shirt demonstrators, supporters of the ousted and convicted for corruption former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra]
  • The Number of People Infected with A/H1N1 Rose to 487 in Cambodia

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #551-552, 10-11.12.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Appeals to the Government to Be Brave to Recognize Human Rights Violations in Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6828, 11.12.2009

  • A Storehouse with Hidden Valuable Kronhoung Wood Worth Tens of Thousands of Dollars Was Intercepted in the Center of Siem Reap
  • The Bodies of two Khmer Citizen Shot Dead on Different Days for Entering to Cut Trees [in Thai territory] Illegally Were Sent Back through the Choam Sagam Border Crossing

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #64-65, 10-11.12.2009

  • [Convicted] Thai Spy Decided Not to Appeal while Chavalit Plans to Come to Cambodia
  • The Mother of the Spy Asked [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra and [Puea Thai Party president] Chavalit to Help Her Son [who was sentenced to serve 7 years in prison for spying, as he copied the flight plan documents of Mr. Thaksin]
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Warned Khmer Citizens Not to Enter Thai Territory Illegally
  • IMF: Downturn of Garment Sector and Banking in Cambodia Exist due to their Weak Structures
  • The Call Price Conflict [between different mobile phone service providers] Was Brought to an End [according to a notification signed by the Minister of Post and Telecommunication, Mr. So Khun, and the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon, on Monday: from now on all mobile phone companies are not allowed to charge less than US$04.5 per minute, both call-in and call-out]
  • Cambodia Plans to Create Public Transport Systems [within five more years, in order to reduce traffic jams: bus and sky rail services]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5069-5070, 10-11.12.2009

  • The International Human Rights Day of 10 December Was Celebrated with Marches and Statements about Human Rights Violations
  • The Senate Marked the 61st International Human Rights Day
  • In Cambodia, There Are More Than 300,000 Enterprises, Employing More Than 1.4 Million Workers [according to the National Institute of Statistics of Cambodia of the of Ministry of Planning]
  • 50% of all Vegetables Are Imported from Vietnam to Meet the Daily Demands

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1830-1831, 10-11.12.2009

  • Civil Society: The Fight against Corruption Starts with Independent Courts
  • The European Union Considers Civil Society as an Important Partner to Encourage Cambodia towards More Respect for Human Rights and Democratic Practices
  • Opposition Party, Civil Society, and the United Nations Expressed in Similar Ways that Human Rights Are Being Violated Seriously in Cambodia

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The Government Will Control the Financial System and Money Laundering at Banks – Thursday, 12.2.2009

Posted on 13 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 599

“Government officials said on Wednesday that the government will take measures to control all financial transactions which could, at present, be related to money laundering through banks, to prevent financial problems so that everything is up to international standards.

“A senior official of the Cambodian People’s Party and chairperson of the Commission on Finance, Banking, and Audits of the National Assembly said, ‘If there is money laundering and we do not have related legislation, it might create difficulties when international countries observe everything.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap added, ‘If there is money laundering, this might trouble us when everything that happens is internationally observed, because it is absolutely prohibited that such money is spent in any other country, and we also will prohibit it, when we have related legislation. Therefore, the Royal Government will control everything well to avoid any activities against international laws, and if there are clear laws, nothing will be allowed to happen in future.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap, a high ranking CPP official, made this statement as Cambodia plans to launch a stock exchange market this year, while Cambodia cannot avoid being affected by the global crisis.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap told Deum Ampil, ‘Money laundering has little effect, but corruption has strong effects. Therefore, after a criminal code will have been drafted, we will include all articles regarding corruption into the anti-corruption regulations of Cambodia.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap went on to say, ‘This is not new, and the government took it up to draft a law to clearly organize structures how to act, because investors will come to deposit their assets in Cambodia.’

“Regarding the opening of a stock exchange market during this year, Mr. Cheam Yeap said, ‘Before investors in Cambodia cooperate with foreign countries such as Korea and Japan, they do whatever is possible for those who have money, to buy stakes even if it is a risky investment, at a time when international countries face a downturn and there will be some losses.’ [Note: original is difficult to interpret].

“Cambodian officials still assure the plan to open a stock exchange market in the city this year, while the global economy is facing a crisis and economic meltdown, even though there was some plan late last year to delay the stock exchange market. [Note: it seems that the Korea based construction activities for a 42 stories Double Gold Tower building, at the intersection between Sihanouk and Monivong Boulevards in Phnom Penh, are at present suspended].

“In view of the global economic crisis, and the stability of the Cambodian economy, economists voiced the concern that a stock exchange market in Phnom Penh might become a source of money laundering, involving banks which at present lack clear control according to international standard. [Note: The Cambodia Daily reports on the same day: “IMF Criticizes Bank of Cambodia for Its Weak Supervision”]

“However, officials of the Royal Government said that the government will not let such bad problems happen. Previously, there were distorted reports about money laundering committed by dishonest groups, but they had been denied by senior officials of the government.

“According to a plan by the South Korean government [Note: actually, this seems to be a misunderstanding – this was not a ‘government’ plan], the stock exchange of Seoul will help [interested business groups in] Cambodia to prepare a stock exchange market in Phnom Penh, to become a place for gathering sources of capital for developing the country. According of figures from the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cambodia, the Cambodian economy grew in 2008 with a higher rate than during the year before [Note: Various sources mention 2007 10.2%, 2008 6.5%, 2009 4.8% or less predicted], which is a new strong boost to encourage the creation of a stock exchange market in Cambodia, assuming it will proceed smoothly. Due to the financial crisis, starting from America, banks in Korea are directly affected, and this causes the suspension of investment loans in foreign countries, and resulted in large-scale projects in Cambodia to be changed since mid and late 2008.”Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #115, 12.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 12 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #16, 12.2.2009

  • [The former Phnom Penh Police chief, now is detained in Prey Sar Prison] Heng Pov Begs for Intervention from Mr. Hun Sen [to allow him to take out money from his blocked bank account]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #115, 12.2.2009

  • The Government Will Control the Financial System and Money Laundering at Banks
  • [Spokesperson of the Council of Ministers] Phay Siphan: The Opening of the Border Crossing near the Preah Vihear Temple Will Wait until the Setting of Border Markers Has Been Finished
  • The United Nations Environment Program – UNEP – Encourages the Promotion of Environmental Protection in Phnom Penh
  • New US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Praises Development in Phnom Penh

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1871, 12.2.2009

  • Japan Plans to Create a National Level University in Cambodia
  • Paddy Rice and Rice at Border Regions Is Stuck, because Siam [Thailand] Blocks the Import [Battambang]
  • Olympic Market Vendors Protest and Ask the [Thai Boon Rong] Company to Reduce Stall Prices by 50% and Make 20-Year Contracts

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #340, 12.2.2009

  • [The Minister of Information] H.E. Khieu Kanharith Denied Closure of Any [Global Witness] Website

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #201, 12.2.2009

  • America Adopts US$800 Billion Package to Counter the Global Financial Crisis

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6576, 12.2.2009

  • More Than 200 Villagers at the Preah Vihear Temple Call for Food Aid while Some Families Are Facing Severe Difficulties
  • Australia Provides Distance Learning Program [through the Internet] about Skills to Treat Child Diseases in Cambodia
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality and the Ministry of Health Cooperate to Strengthen Transportation Services of Victims
  • Vietnam Ranks Second in Exporting Rice [after Thailand] while [6.7% of] Its People Lack Food [no comparative figures for Cambodia given]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3685, 12.2.2009

  • Official of the Untied Nations [Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen] Plans Clarifying Discussion about Corruption Problems at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Said that He Will Pay [Riel 10 million, approx US$2,500] to the National Election Committee, but Asked for the Right to Sue at the Supreme Court First

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4819, 12.2.2009

  • US$2.2 Billion Tonle Sap Projects Achieve Little Results [the Tonle Sap basin authorities showed that 339 projects being implemented or are to be implemented in the Tonle Sap basin region – aiming to help protect the environment, control the nature, and alleviate poverty – accomplished very little, because there is no cooperation in the project implementation]
  • A Boy Rescued from the Tuol Sleng Prison [in 1979 as seen in videos provided by Vietnam recently] Is Identified Before the Hearing of Duch [Mr. Nong Chanphal went to the Documentation Center of Cambodia to prepare a complaint, and he agreed to be a witness if the tribunal needs him]

Wat Phnom, Vol. 16, #8006, 13-15.2.2009

  • The Mobitel Company Gives a Simple Explanation about a Surprised Event in Phnom Penh [it released a statement explaining that on 6 February 2009, the company asked the municipal police to control security at its headquarters, while the company was investigating a possible hazard from outside of the technical system]
  • Australia and Denmark Continue Assisting the Reform of the Criminal and Justice Sector in Cambodia [according to a secretary of state of the Ministry of Interior and president of the National Board of Directors for Monitoring the Criminal and Justice Sector, Mr. Prum Sokha]

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Businesspeople Inside and Outside of the Country Gather Force to Promote the Real Estate Market in Cambodia – Wednesday, 11.2.2009

Posted on 12 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 599

“Phnom Penh: This week, real estate businesspeople from inside and outside of the country gathered to create a new association to promote and improve the declining real estate market in Cambodia. The Association of Cambodian Real Estate Developers aims to help restore the fast declining real estate market in Cambodian to grow up again.

“Real estates companies expressed their hope that the real estate market will become active again soon. Representatives of real estates companies had assembled to join forces and to make efforts to restore their situation, lively selling real estate in Cambodia again. Mr. Van So Ieng, who was selected to be the president of the Association of the Cambodian Real Estate Developers, said that this new association plays a role to help coordinate work with the government, in order to find ways to reactivate the land and the house markets in Cambodia.

“Mr. Van So Ieng added that the creation of this association is to establish another new force to encourage activities regarding real estate, to get moving ahead.

“It should be noted that the Association of the Cambodian Real Estate Developers was created, after the real estate market of Cambodia had collapsed, and while the government established a new policy, requiring real estate companies to deposit 2% of to the volume of each construction project as a security deposit.

“The director of the Bunna Realty Group, Mr. Sung Bunna, who was nominated secretary-general of the Association of the Cambodian Real Estate Developers, disagrees with the policy requiring to make a 2% security deposit per construction site. However, he agrees with the establishment of a mechanism to monitor all real estate companies, which is being drafted by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“It should be stressed that the policy to reserve a 2% security deposit for ongoing construction activities is to ensure confidence from companies contracting a construction company, so that the customers continue to commit their money to acquire flats.

“Mr. Sung Bunna requested the government to consider the disadvantages of this security depositing policy in a situation when Cambodia’s real estate market is going down like this.

“As for the director of the Udom Vathanak Company that buys and sells land, Mr. Men Ra, he presented the opinion that the 2% security deposit creates a disadvantage that can affect the newly growing real estate market in Cambodia.

“Ahead of the elections in 2008, activities on the real estate market in Cambodia started to slow down, and so far, the land and the house construction markets are still quiet, which is partly also the result of the international financial crisis.

“Mr. Men Ra said that the land market in Cambodia, with cooperating efforts by the government, will become activated again soon.

“Mr. Van So Ieng expressed his hope that the land market will grow again after the real estate companies in Cambodia assembled to form the new Association, especially if there is cooperation from the government.

“Also, Mr. Van So Ieng mentioned that solutions might also be found from the policy of providing loans to citizens to buy houses – this can help to reactivate the real estate market in Cambodia.

“It should be noted that the Cambodian government announced that government institutions are beginning to release loans in an effort to encourage the buying of land and of flats again.

“This announcement by the government was welcomed by different real estate companies in Cambodia.

“Mr. Men Ra called for supporting activities by the National Bank of Cambodia in order to restore the present weak situation of the land market.

“So far, real estate businesspeople still hope that sooner or later, there will be land selling activities again.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #200, 11.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #15, 11.2.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association]: Global Witness’s Website Is Closed Because It Touches Sensitive Spots of Corrupt Officials of the Cambodian People’s Party

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #339, 11.2.2009

  • The Government and the National Assembly Plan to Question the Person Who Ordered Armed Forces to the Mobitel Company [closing it for about 4 hours]
  • More Than 2,000 Olympic Market Vendors Protest in Front of the Residence of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [over the rising prices of market stalls]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1870, 11.2.2009

  • Director General of National Police [Net Savoeun] Orders to Cancel Illegal Police Number Plates, starting in May 2009
  • [The Russey Keo district governor] Kleang Huot Is Accused of Threatening a Man with a Weapon and Hitting and Injuring Him [Phnom Penh]
  • Getting Angry with the Run Away Owner, Some Workers Used the Opportunity to Take All Sewing-Machines of the Factory Away [Wan Sida / Siao Pao Factory – Phnom Penh]
  • Two Thai Men, Who Drove a Car and Crashed into a Truck Loaded with Wood from Behind, Died Immediately on Road 67 B in Srae Nouy Commune [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #341, 11.2.2009

  • Opposition Party [the Sam Rainsy Party] and Civil Society [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Criticize the Creation of a National Education Council [saying that it is useless because its tasks are already the responsibility of the Ministry of Education]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #200, 11.2.2009

  • Businesspeople Inside and Outside of the Country Gather Force to Promote the Real Estate Market in Cambodia
  • National Education Council Is Created to Monitor the Quality of Education of State and Private Universities
  • The Norodom Ranariddh Party Will Hold a Congress to Change Its Name on 15 February 2009 [as planned by one of its factions]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6575, 11.2.2009

  • There Is Logging, but There Is No Replanting; In the Middle of Botum Sakor National Park’s Buffer Zone, Trees Are Being Cut Down [Koh Kong]
  • More Than 13,000 Tourists Visited the National Museum in 2008
  • Poland Feels Hurt after Pakistani Taliban Beheaded a [Polish] Hostage

Mate Nak, Vol.2, #20, 11-17.2.2009

  • Cambodia Will Launch a Stock Exchange Market This Year

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3684, 11.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Is Disappointed with the Hun Sen Government That Delivers More Than 10,000 Hectares of Land to a Company from Kuwait [to establish an agro-business]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4818, 11.2.2009

  • The Cambodian Association of Travel Agents Wants the Government to Reduce Prices of Some Services [such as visa fees, airport taxes, tickets to visit different tourist sites] to attract tourists while the financial crisis is strongly threatening tourism from countries in the region]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Forbids that People in the Audience [allowed to participate in the hearing of former Tuol Sleng Prison chief Kaing Gek Eav on 17 February 2009] Wear Shirts with Slogans Supporting or Attacking the Khmer Rouge Case
  • The Cambodian Center for Human Rights Encourages the Government to Support Freedom of Expression
  • The Owner of the Viva Tinouy Factory [phonetic] Runs Away from [around 1,000] Workers with US$200,000!
  • Health Official: The Quality of Cancer Treatment in Cambodia Is Not Lower Than in Other Countries
  • Japan Grants Nearly US$3 Million to Two Projects [irrigation in Kompong Speu and infectious disease control]

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The Municipal Court Upholds the Decision that the Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Not Be Dealt with – Tuesday, 10.2.2009

Posted on 11 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 599

“Phnom Penh: The Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to uphold the decision that the complaint of the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea, the Brother Number 2 of the Khmer Rouge regime, will not be dealt with. This is based on a judgment by the deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Sok Kalyan, on 5 February 2009. This judgment was published on Sunday.

“Deputy Prosecutor Sok Kalyan, responsible for handling the case, told foreign defense lawyers of the former president of the Khmer Rouge National Assembly, that the complaint regarding corruption allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will not be taken up to be settled.

“Yesterday, on Monday evening, 9 February 2009, Mr. Sok Kalyan clearly explained the decision, that the corruption allegations case will not be taken up, because the evidence does not state that a crime is imminent, and the perpetrators are not known.

“Deputy prosecutor Sok Kalyan added that normally, when deciding to take up a case, a prosecutor decides to address a fact by pointing to individuals involved in a crime. But checking all evidence in the complaint of Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers, nothing indicates that a crime is imminent to happen in relation to the accusation about corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Mr. Sok Kalyan added that another point is that the complaint of Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers is a defamatioin complaint and does not point out why individuals are suspects in this corruption case. They say that it was just heard that there was corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, but there is no document to prove the nature of what is called corruption. And it does not point out clearly to the individuals suspected of receiving bribes.

“This refusal to take up a corruption case at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was made after the prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had summoned Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers to question them, to defend their case one or two times, and he had planned to summon many other witnesses for questioning.

“Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi said as a plaintiff that Mr. Nuon Chea’s foreign defense lawyers are surprised that the Municipal Court decided not to take up the case. He had met with the deputy prosecutor, Mr. Sok Kalyan, on Wednesday [4 February 2009] morning, and he had been told that there were plans to question many other witnesses. However, within just 24 hours, this decision was reversed.

“Mr. Nuon Chea’s foreign defense lawyers have not yet decided how to appeal this decision. Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi said that the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea must think carefully, before they appeal, as they have two more months to present a complaint to the Appeals Court, to take up the corruption complaint at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to be dealt with.

“However, finally Mr. Sok Kalyan concluded that the a decision not to work on this corruption complaint is possible because there is no imminent pressure. This is so, because the prosecutor checked the different procedures based on evidence, and there is no evidence proving an immediate danger of crimes being committed, as had been the original accusation.

“On 8 January 2009, the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea, Mr. Michael Pestman, Mr. Victor Koppe, and the assistant lawyer Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi, as plaintiffs, lodged a complaint at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. In the complaint the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea asked to clarify corruption allegations at the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. They claimed that corruption would affect the process of hearings of the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Talk about a corruption scandal at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal started in early 2007, when the Open Society Justice Initiative released a corruption report. But officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal at the Cambodian side, as well as government officials, denied it and considered this corruption scandal to be just a claim without a basis facts.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4816, 8-9.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #10, 10.2.2008

  • Mr. Hun Sen Curses Critics Distorting Facts to Fall into the 800th Level of Hell [cursing civil society, non-governmental organizations, and opposition parties that criticize the Cambodian government, saying that it lets some local companies backed by powerful officials to use armed forces to evict citizens from their houses to grab their land and throw them out into the suburbs, and criticize that foreign aid for Cambodia is wasted, and corruption makes citizens poorer and poor, resulting in a big gap between the rich and the poor]


Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #114, 10-11.2.2009

  • Some Casinos Let Khmers Enter Which Is against the Prime Minister’s Order
    National Real Estate Appraisal Association of Cambodia Is Inaugurated under the Presidency of [Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1868-#1879, 8-10.2.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen Denies that [ousted Thai prime minister] Thaksin Is in Koh Kong [as claimed by Bangkok Post]
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation Calls on Monks to Attend the 2nd Anniversary Demonstration Celebration this Morning [to remember a demonstration held by Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks in Kleang province [now Sóc Trăng province] in Vietnam
  • A Bad Forest Fire at Southern Australia Killed 128 People [present estimate may be up to 230]
  • Russia Allows the United States of America to Transport Military Supplies through Russia to Afghanistan


Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #338, 10.2.2009

  • [1,055] Staff of the Railway Station Demand 20% Increase of Their Salaries Following Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s Words [who had promised that their salaries would be increased]
  • The Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia – NICFEC – and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMREL – Will Not Deploy Observers for the [district and provincial/city council] Elections on 17 May 2009 [they said that their organizations are facing financial problems, and COMFREL added that these indirect elections are useless]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #340, 8-10.2.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Will Summon Three-Star General Heng Hong to Question Him about Taking another Man’s Wife [in view of the new monogamy law]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6573-#6573, 9-10.2.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Recommends that the Production of Films Related to Monks Must Pass through the Ministry of Cult and Religion, and Samdech Sanghareach [the head of one of the two Buddhist Orders, in order to avoid problems]
  • 20 Universities from Britain Start to Exhibit together Their Information to the Education Sector in Cambodia
  • Many Bullets Were Shot in the Air to Threaten Citizens Not to Construct Houses; the Provincial Governor Issues Order to Arrest Five Soldiers [Preah Vihear]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3682-#3683, 9-10.2.2009

  • Ethnic Minority People in Bu Sra Commune, Pechr Chenda District, Mondolkiri, Prepare to Protest against the Khov Chily Company Again [over a land dispute – according to human rights officials]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4816, 8-9.2.2009

  • The Municipal Court Upholds the Decision that the Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Not Be Dealt with
    Thailand Announces to Open the Border Crossing to the Preah Vihear Temple, while Cambodia Denies to Do the Same [the Cambodian government said what Thailand announced is just to reopen a Thai national park along the border near the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • Cambodian Embassy in Britain Reacts to the Global Witness Report [saying that it is stupid]
  • Japanese Investors Come to Study to Improve the Transportation Sector in Cambodia
  • A Thai Tourist Airline [Bangkok Airways] Offers Flights from Cambodia to Samui Island [in Thailand, starting from now until 30 June 2008]
  • Cambodia Confiscated Nearly One Kilogram of Heroin at the [Phnom Penh International] Airport [and a Taiwanese man was arrested]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3482, 8-9.2.2009

  • Around 200 Olympic Market Vendors Were Surprised when the [Thay Boonrong] Company Detained One of Their Representatives Yesterday [after vendors decided to send a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, to ask for his intervention regarding the rising prices of vendors’ stalls in the market]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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Censorship: Thousands of Crude Porn Sites Accessible on Internet – One Khmer Artist Blocked – Sunday, 1.2.2009

Posted on 2 February 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

When the Cambodian government held a three day consultation in September 2001, the Prime Minister opened it with a speech on Public Awareness about Information Technology. Charting the future, he said:

“The government’s top priority is to use Information Technology – IT – to serve and to meet the day-to-day needs of the people. IT should become as an efficient means for the public to exercise their rights to get information related to the decisions made by the government and the conduct of government business in accordance with the principles of transparency and good governance…

“IT will help strengthen democracy, ensure transparency, promote good governance in government and community businesses. With regard to the economic and social aspect, IT will improve major public service delivery to the local people and allow them to monitor and receive regularly and timely all kinds of information.”

In February last year, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of transparency again, more specifically in relation to economic development as a means of poverty reduction, in his keynote address 2008 Cambodia Outlook Conference: Mobilizing Cambodia’s Resources – Human, Natural, Financial – for Quality Development, Growth and Prosperity, when he said:

“A healthy private sector is the key to robust economic development and thus the government should ensure the legal framework for fair competition, transparency, accountability and productive relations with the public sector. The overall environment for enterprise will be strengthened through broadened good governance and human resources development. The public sector should also be strong in order to correct the market failures, essentially to reach the poor and disadvantaged.”

Recent days and weeks would have provided ample opportunity to demonstrate the promised open and transparent communication – using information technology, the telephone, and direct talk.

Unfortunately, in spite of repeated pledges to install official spokespersons in the different ministries and other government agencies, and even having trained 18 persons for this task and given them certificates, there is obviously a problem that the basic commitment to transparency – “for the public to exercise their rights to get information related to the decisions made by the government,” as the Prime Minister said – is disregarded.

Related to the Dey Krahom evictions, which continue to cause deep problems for the men, women, and children involved, we collected the following items from the Cambodia Daily in a single day – Friday, 30 January 2009:

  • “Shukaku representatives could not be reached for comment and CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin [the husband of the owner of the Shukaku company] turned off his phone when a reporter contacted him.”
  • At the office of the Boeng Kak Development committee, an employee declined to provide his name, but suggested, “I think you have to ask Phnom Penh Municipality.”
  • “Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema and his deputies Mann Chhoeun and Pa Socheatvong could not be reached for comment.”
  • After contacting the 7NG company, “a company representative said he would meet Thursday with the residents.” – However, when contacted Thursday, the meeting was canceled.
  • “Chhay Rithisen, director of the municipal land management department, could not be reached for comment. Deputy directors Sek Yorn and Sar Bamnang both directed questions… to Chhay Rithisen.”

Many people do not seem to care about the importance the Prime Minister has accorded to transparency and “to reach the poor and disadvantaged” when there are “market failures” which derail the ultimate goal of development.

Over the weekend there was another blow to transparency in Cambodia. It is widely acknowledged that, in addition to huge resources for knowledge, connectivity, and entertainment, the Internet provides access to pornography – according to experts, there are tens of thousands of pornographic websites. There is no technical Internet blocking of access to these sites in Cambodia, which, as Internet experts recommend that criminal violations of pornography abuse laws should be best handled through legal prosecution, not through arbitrary and ineffective blocking of Internet sites.

Now, however, though not blocking any real pornography sites, some Internet Service Providers in Cambodia have started to block access to the website of a Cambodian artist based in the USA:

When the web site of this Khmer artist became known through the press, he was strongly attacked, accused of destroying Khmer culture because he did not only paint pictures of Angkor Wat stone apsaras, but also of lifelike apsara dancers whose bodies were, like the stone carvings, not completely clothed.

He offers on his website professional hints in painting techniques, and he wrote also:

“I’m trying to build an online Khmer Arts community for novice artists, advance artists, graphic artists, tattoo artists, or anyone for that matter who is interested in Khmer Arts. We can share ideas, discuss about your designs, and network with other Khmer artists from across the United States and around the world.

“The meaning of life is an elusive concept that has been the subject of much philosophical, scientific and theological speculation. For thousands of years, men and women of every age, race, and culture have sought to understand the meaning of life. Throughout history, scientists and philosophers, theologians and artists, politicians and social activists, monks and sages, and men and women from all walks of life have discussed and debated many questions in the quest to discover the meaning of life.

“One of the central views in Buddhism is a non-dual worldview, in which subject and object are the same, and the sense of doer-ship is illusionary. On this account, the meaning of life is to become enlightened as to the nature and oneness of the universe. According to the scriptures, the Buddha taught that in life there exists Dukkha, which is in essence sorrow/suffering, that is caused by desire and it can be brought to cessation by following the Noble Eightfold Path.

“It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing oneself from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. From this, one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach Nirvana and that will be the meaning of my life.

“I believe in constructive criticisms! But lately, I’ve received many unwanted complaints regarding that some of my works disgraced the Khmer culture. Judging from the complaints, I wonder how we as Khmer will be able to make it in the 21st century.”

A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Information announced the intention to “publish services through electronic systems under the control of a law which is being drafted.” This announcement causes great alarm – not only because history has shown that the introduction of censorship of art has often been the entry point to suppress other freedoms, but because the Cambodian Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and publication, and the state has to uphold impartiality and protect the rights and freedoms of citizens (Articles 41 and 109).

The wide intent of the draft of this legislation became clear when it was stated:

“All Internet Service Providers which ask for licenses from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication must, in advance, also ask for a second license from the Ministry of Information if this law is adopted, because these companies allow Internet users to connect networks and to use data in different networks.”

Does this mean, for example, that the Ministry of Information might refuse to license the apsara pictures on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which all foreigners see when they apply there for a visa?

Official Visa Application Site

Who in the Ministry of Information will be the authority on expressions of art, or decide – to quote the same Secretary of State – if “pictures can evoke sexual feelings” and should be prohibited? Is the work of art of one person a greater assault on the cultural traditions and remnants of the country than the destruction of the historic Bassac Theater, and now the threatened destruction of the landmark Renakse Hotel, which is the former Ministry of Justice and part of the architectural environment of the Royal Palace?

In the early years of the Internet, when the present Minister of Information was a secretary of state at the same ministry, he wrote an e-mail in 1999 to Bill Herod, one of the Internet pioneers in Cambodia, which was published internationally in the UNDP supported Digital Review of Asia Pacific 2003/2004, when the South China Morning Post in Hongkong had written there would be Internet censorship in Cambodia:

“Dear Sir,

“I do not know where SCMP got this news (“Planned Net law ‘threat to democracy,’” May 31, 1999) , but I can assure you that I am the one who has been fighting and continues to fight for the freedom of Internet access and the free flow of information in general. Everyday I find in my e-mail all kinds of information including some mail insulting me.

“This is a fact of life. When we never attempt to control the import of books and magazines into Cambodia why would we want to block the Internet?…

“Please be assured that I am very supportive of this form of communication and I will spare no effort in defending it. I hope you can help communicate this assurance to all of your subscribers and, if you have any problem concerning this issue, please feel free to contact me.

“Your sincerely,

“Khieu Kanharith”

It is important to recognize that questions of “Cambodian culture” are raised regularly by many different kinds of news. For example, the almost weekly news about the brutal rape and murder of Cambodian children raises questions about how this destruction of human culture is being handled, and no efforts to block the Internet in Cambodia could ever prevent that.

Furthermore, the blocking of the Reahu site will be reported around the world and will attract much more attention than the site would ever have received without such action. That is what also had happened when the introduction of 3G mobile phones was delayed – for fear they could deliver pornography to those who can afford the high cost of this new 3G technology, while crude pornography continues to be cheaply available all over the country where CDs are being sold.

What a pity, that there will again be a flood of negative attention on Cambodia, just as it happened when the prohibition of the Global Witness book on deforestation problems Cambodia’s Family Trees stimulated worldwide attention, which it never could have gained without the prohibition.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

The wide international interest The Mirror finds is reflected in the fact that during the last two days only, people in 45 countries read The Mirror.

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Wednesday, 9.7.2008: CEDAC Expresses Optimism about the Sustainability of Farming

Posted on 9 July 2008. Filed under: Week 568 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 568

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture [CEDAC] has finished a project to help improve the living standards of the poor in five southern provinces of Cambodia in June 2008. This project was funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction [JFPR] though the Asian Development Bank for a period of five years, and US$1.3 million were spent.

“However, what CEDAC has to think about is, after the project has finished, to choose actions that can guarantee the continuity of what has been built up. In a discussion held late June, the governor of Batheay District, Kompong Cham, raised previous experiences that there used to be many organizations assisting this district, but when their project fund came to an end, there was no continuity at all. Villagers are afraid that CEDAC might repeat the same situation when it runs out of funds. But local authorities that observe CEDAC evaluate that the project implementation of CEDAC has achieved many good results. The improvement of the living standard of the poor at the targeted community led, to some extent, to a reduction of poverty.

“Eight outstanding representative farmers from Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Kompong Cham, Kompong Chhnang, and Takeo asserted that their families and the members of their communities are richer, because they have attended different training courses about practices of techniques by CEDAC. There they learned how the community can save money, how to breed animals and fish, or to conserve trees, to grow crops, to do rice farming based on natural methods etc., all of which is closely related to marketability of the products.

“Mr. Lang Seng Houn, a local coordinator, said that the participation by local authority representatives from villages, communes, and districts cooperating with farmers’ communities is an important factor that brings poverty alleviation at those target places. Wherever there is participation by local authorities, those places will develop more quickly.

“Mr. Lang Seng Houn showed figures that among 192 villages from five provinces, 14,300 families benefited from the project. the number of farmers who cooperated is 7,300, the living standard of 500 families changed greatly; 5,900 families experienced an average change, and 800 families got poorer. The number of women who have changed their attitudes and abandoned their old habits is 3,500, and the number of youth under the same category is 900. And 1,500 of the poorest families who sold their labor to have some income have changed their living standard and have become independent farmers; the livelihood of farmers in general is better. Generally, they can earn 80% more from the increase of the agricultural production and from the reduction of other expenses. They have stepped up the basis for this to retain the continuity of their production teams, and 718 teams have saved money – they have 6,000 families as members so that they are able to link their products to markets. Each family earns from Riel 1.4 million to Riel 2.6 million [approx. US$340 to US$635 per farming season] from their agricultural products; those are 427 families in Kompong Chhnang, Svay Rieng, and Kompong Cham. Their income is from paddy rice, from the breeding of chickens and pigs, and from the planting of vegetables and other crops.

“Dr. Yang Saing Komar [dean, Faculty of Agriculture and Rural Development, International University, Phnom Penh] pointed to key measures contributing to the sustainability when there are no more external funds. What can replace funds for farmers’ communities to guarantee the continuity of their activities are human resources who have been trained with all skills since five years, always with a link to market mechanisms. All agricultural products created by the community must be taken to markets by the farmers, and they have to sell their own products. Money saved in the community is capital to replace the external funding and can guarantee the sustainability of their community. Production and the link to markets are key methods to develop the rural economy to become active. Trained persons, 995 human resources of the community, will be the main and strong activists who can continue to develop the community without depending on external funds.

“Mr. Komar added that for economic activities money is needed, ‘and we have money which was saved in our community.’ By 2011, this organization has the ambition to increase the money-saving community up to 4,000 villages countrywide, without borrowing loans or depending on foreign donor countries.

“This fund will become a basic experience which can lead to a successfully functioning market that carries great responsibility for the society, especially for the living standard of farmers, and for food security for customers, which can guarantee sustainable development at the basis.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4636, 9.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1688, 9.7.2008

  • The Thai Constitutional Court Ruled that a Joint Communique Signed between Cambodia and Thailand Violates the Thai Constitution [as the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs acted without parliamentary endorsement]
  • The Ministry of Health Distributed More than 80 Tonnes of Abate [chemical substance that is put into stagnant water to kill mosquito eggs and larvae] to Prevent Dengue Fever
    Thousands of Thai Demonstrators Shouted at the Police to Take Action in [deposed former prime minister] Thaksin’s Case Soon [corruption and misuse of power]
  • South Korean Police Warn They Will Use Hot Actions to Suppress Demonstrators against US Beef Imports
  • Thai Rebels [in a Muslim southern Thai province] Attacked a Car Carrying Students; Two [Thai] Soldiers Were Killed and Three Students Were Injured [7 July 2008]
  • [Helicopter of] America Attacked a Wedding Ceremony in Afghanistan [killing at least 22 people]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #602, 9.7.2008

  • Cambodian People’s Party Does Not Dare to Create Ministry of Immigration [related to illegal Vietnamese]
  • Ou Chrov District Police Chief [Mr. Ing Song You] Runs a Big Casino in Balat Guesthouse [Poipet]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #44, 9.7.2008

  • The Preah Vihear Temple Was Listed as a World Heritage Site [8 July 2008]
  • [Traffic] Accidents Increase because of [traffic] Law Violations


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4636, 9.7.2008

  • CEDAC Expresses Optimism about the Sustainability of Farming
  • Situation at the [Preah Vihear Temple] Border Crossing Was Quiet while Cambodia Was Beating Drums and Firing Fireworks to Express Satisfaction about the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Social Network against Child Labor Was Inaugurated in Siem Reap
  • European Commission Plans to spend 1,000 Million Euro against Food Crisis


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3354, 9.7.2008

  • Cambodian People’s Party Did Not Participate in Political Parties’ Forum about Anti-Corruption Law [8 July 2008]

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

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