Vietnam Tightens Military Ties with the United States of America while It Has Border Tensions with China – Wednesday, 11.8.2010

Posted on 12 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“Vietnam shows new military relations with the United States of America this month amid more tensions with China, as both countries claim some territory in the South China sea as belonging to their respective countries.

“The USS John S. McCain warship [a guided-missile destroyer], that docked in the Danang city port, departed on Tuesday for a four days joint exercise with the Vietnamese navy.

“On Sunday, the USS Gorge Washington aircraft carrier, that had just attended an exercise with South Korea recently in South Korean sea territory, which had led to condemnations from the Beijing government, received a Vietnamese delegation.

“The visit by the US navy invites strong attention due to regional tensions lately.

“A Vietnam expert at the Australian Defense Force Academy, Mr. Carl Taylor, said, ‘The tensions between China and Vietnam grew worse since over a year ago. The USA is showing its military presence and Vietnam is taking the opportunity to show itself.’

“Normally, the Hanoi government has very careful relations with its ideological ally China, but the regional ambition of its bigger neighbor raised tensions in Vietnam to a certain level.

“The ties between Hanoi and Washington have come across a long way since the end of the Vietnam war in 1975; both countries’ diplomatic ties were normalized 20 years later.

“The USA became an important partner of Vietnam, not just in trade.

“According to a recent source from the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam, the Hanoi government grew more uneasy with the ambition of China. The presences of the US navy at a Vietnamese port is very important strategically for Vietnam to demonstrate regional balance in military issues.

“Mr. Taylor said, ‘I think that the USA can play a more important role in the region.’

“The South China Sea has been the reason for territorial disputes for a long time, especially regarding the Spratly and Paracel islands that Vietnam claims to be its territory. China also claims the Spratly islands like Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam do also.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Nga [Nguyễn Phương Nga], last week condemned China for sending a ship to conduct seismic surveys in the Paracel region, violating Vietnam’s territorial integrity.

“Senior US commanders said that they are keeping a close eye over the stepping up of Chinese military presence there, particularly the presence of the navy in the South China Sea.

“Last week, China conducted a navy and airforce exercise in the South China Sea, a week after the Secretary of State of the US Department of State, Ms. Hilary Clinton, said solutions of territorial disputes are the core for regional stability.

“During a Southeast Asian regional security forum Ms. Hilary Clinton said that the Washington government is ready to cooperate in multilateral discussions over the islands and added that this is in the national interest of the USA, considering the respect for international law in the region.

“The Beijing government immediately condemned this intention to internationalize the dispute, saying that such an action could worsen the situation.

“That US warships often dock at Vietnamese ports irritates China. Mr. Taylor said, ‘Vietnam becomes more sensitive to the Chinese reactions. The docking of the US navy in Danang shows that Vietnam is prepared to confront the displeasure of China.'” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5273, 11.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2324, 11.8.2010

  • Traders Are Transporting Wood into the Srae Noy Settlement Area Day and Night
  • Police Helped a Female Worker Returning from Malaysia [after she worked there for two years] Who Almost Lost Her Memory and Cannot Find the Way to Her Home [Siem Reap]
  • The Murderer Who Raped and Killed a Female Security Guard Was Sentenced to 20 Years Imprisonment [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7031, 11.8.2010

  • A Man Was Attacked with Acid, Poured on His Head around Midnight by Two Perpetrators [who escaped; the victim was seriously wounded – Phnom Penh]
  • There Will Be More Than 2,400,000 Foreign Tourists in 2010 [according to a prediction by the Ministry of Tourism; in the first six months of 2010, there were 1,221,156 tourist arrivals, an increase by 12.39% compared with the corresponding period in 2009]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3955, 11.8.2010

  • Lawyers of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Sary Stated Their Confidence in Their Ability in Defending Their Client [by strongly opposing the use of the Joint Criminal Enterprise principle at the trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #27, 11.8.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Put Blame on Journalists [for misquoting his words about the use of military means to solve border disputes with Cambodia]
  • A Medical Association from South Korea [with 50 staff members] Helps to Treat Khmer Patients in Kompong Speu

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #234, 11.8.2010

  • Hundreds of Families in the Russey Keo District [near the Cambodian Japanese Friendship or Chroy Chongva bridge] Will Be Asked to Remove Their Houses for the Claiming of Land to Create a Public Park [Phnom Penh]
  • The Deposit for the Production of [estimated] More Than 100 Million Tonnes of Titanium Discovered in Koh Kong – Its Exploitation Will Start Next Year [Titanium ore can be manufactured to 45% as Titanium slag, that can be sold for US$700 to US$2,500 per tonne based on market prices – other estimates for the price of slag is $400 per tonne]
  • Mr. Leonard Cohen [a famous singer throughout the world – “Hallelujah” became the fastest-selling digital single in European history] Will Organize a Humanitarian Concert for Cambodia [at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on 27 November 2010; the concert tickets are available in this website: http://www.themekongsessions.com%5D
Leonard Cohen’s most famous song

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5273, 11.8.2010

  • Hearing of [opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case over the [alleged] Faking of Public Documents and Disinformation Will Be Held on 8 September 2010
  • The Anniversary of the 2008 Registration of the Tuol Sleng [genocidal] Museum under the Memory of the World of UNESCO Was Organized [Phnom Penh]
  • Vietnam Tightens Military Ties with the United States of America while It Has Border Tension with China

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 April 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1437, 29.4.2010

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

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

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6942, 29.4.2010

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3866, 29.4.2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #460, 23.4.2010

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

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

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

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

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3861, 23.4.2010

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

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

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The Grenade Attack Anniversary on 30 March Was Commemorated with a Call for Justice – Wednesday, 31.3.2010

Posted on 1 April 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: To commemorate the 13th anniversary of the grenade attack on demonstrators who were led by Mr. Sam Rainsy on 30 March 1997, the Sam Rainsy Party organized a gathering in the morning of 30 March 2010 at the stupa [the monument built in the Buddhist tradition where relics of the dead are kept] in the park opposite the former National Assembly, south of the Royal Palace.

“The commemorating site, where about 200 Sam Rainsy Party activities assembled, was the site where the attack by grenades had happened on 30 March 1997, killing 16 people and injuring more than 100.

“A woman representing the families of those who were killed and injured by the grenade attack 13 years ago expressed the sadness during the event, ‘We all have been waiting for justice for 13 years, and the murderers have not been arrested. We appeal again to the Cambodian government to investigate this crime and to arrest the murderers and the people behind it, so that they can be prosecuted.’

“The president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, said from France via telephone during the event, that powerful people and those who are at the highest positions (in Cambodia) were involved in the coward grenade attack against innocent demonstrators on 30 March 1997. At that time, the demonstrators were demanding that the court systems should be independent when conducting hearings, avoiding corruption, and following legal procedures.

“Opposition leaders again encouraged the authorities to arrest the perpetrators to be punished according to the law for the grenade attack against demonstrators 13 years ago.

“Also, on 29 March 2010, [the US NGO] Human Rights Watch issued a statement, saying that Cambodia does not have justice for the victims of the grenade attack of 30 March 1997.

“Human Rights Watch said that the United State of America should review its previous investigation of the grenade attack on 30 March 1997 that killed 16 people and injured more than 150 others. The Cambodian government does not make any progress in the investigation to arrest the perpetrators, though there was enough concrete evidence.

“It should be remembered that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) immediately started an investigation after the grenade attack on demonstrators [including one US citizen who was injured] that had been led by Mr. Sam Rainsy on 30 March 1997. But the investigation did not lead to the arrest of the persons who threw the grenades, but ended just with some interviews of witnesses and of persons in the Cambodian police.

“Nevertheless, high ranking officials of the government said that since that event up to the present, the authorities are still conducting investigations and have not closed the case files of this grenade attack. The authorities are investigating to arrest the murderers and those involved to be prosecuted.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, General Khieu Sopheak, said that the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, has not declared the case to be closed for investigations.

“He added that though there was no formal appeal from the victims’ families and from the opposition party, the authorities still keep the investigations going towards the arrest of the murderers, because it is their duty.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5164, 31.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #448, 31.3.2010

  • The Japanese Government Grants Yen 524 Million [approx. US$5,650,000] to Construct Seven School Buildings in Phnom Penh
  • Two Chinese Nationals Were Prosecuted to Serve Eight Years in Prison and a Khmer to Six Years, for Drugs Smuggling

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2215, 31.3.2010

  • The Kompong Speu Military Police Sent the One-Star General Who Does What He Wants [not caring for any law – who shot a remorque-moto driver into the head, injuring him seriously] to the Court to Be Dealt with According to the Law
  • Fifty Citizens Protested in Front of the Court as Five People Were Summoned for Questioning [over a land dispute with a company – Sihanoukville]
  • The Opposition Party Asked the Government to Suspend Putting Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Marker Posts [saying that the positions of the temporary border posts 184, 185, 186 and 187 in Svay Rieng are not consistent with the border line set in the official 1:100,000 map of 1952 produced by Indochina, and the 1:50,000 map of 1966 produced by the US Army. This should allow to review the area again, to avoid territorial losses – but the government said that this request simply aims at hiding Mr. Sam Rainsy’s mistake in uprooting border markers]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #751, 31.3.2010

  • Thirteen Years after the Grenade Attack against Demonstrators in Front of the [former] National Assembly, Justice Has Not Been Achieved

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #640, 31.3.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Said that He Cannot Forget the [grenade attack] Event of 30 March 1997 if the Murderers and Those Who Were Behind It Have Not Been Convicted

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6922, 31.3.2010

  • A Man Disappeared for Three Days and Was Finally Found Dead – Murdered, His Head Cut Off and Thrown into a Forest [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Speu]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3846, 21.3.2010

  • The Government Has to Review the Provision of Concession Land to [Senator and Oknha] Ly Yong Phat while Citizens Are Victimized

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #142, 31.3.2010

  • Cambodia Plans to Start Allowing Foreigners to Adopt Cambodian Children Again [at the end of March 2011] amid Concern over Trafficking [according to the Minister of Social Affairs, Mr. Ith Samheng]
  • During the 1997 Grenade Attack Anniversary, Attendees Demanded Justice [for 16 people who were killed and more than 100 others who were injured during the demonstration in front of the former National Assembly]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5164, 31.3.2010

  • The Grenade Attack Anniversary on 30 March Was Commemorated with a Call for Justice
  • Cambodia Asked Thailand to Explain the Shooting and Killing of Two Khmer Citizens in March 2010
  • The United Nations Acknowledges that there is Progress for Human Rights in Cambodia [because of the adoption of many important laws, the strengthening of the health sector and of education, and of promoting women’s right, and reforms]

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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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There Are Nearly 500 Entertainment Places at Night, Most of Them Are Karaoke Parlors – Monday, 1.3.2010

Posted on 2 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

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

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

“The above report went on to say that in Phnom Penh there are 142 hotels, 353 guesthouses, 8 [mainly poor people’s building blocks, 54 massage shops, and 233 tourism agencies. 303 places were provided with tourism licenses, 91 new sites were opened, the validity of 266 sites was suspended, and 17 sites were closed because of armed clashes, sex trafficking, rape, and other disturbing offenses.

“It is worth to point out that in recent years, big and small entertainment places that run at night are growing like mushrooms. Some are operated in restaurants where the Phnom Penh police cannot easily control them. Sometimes it is only after problems have occurred that police could know about it. Entertainment places do not need any advertisements at present [to attract customers].” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6896, 1.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 01 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol. 4, #422, 28-1.2-3.2010

  • Mr. Tivear 06 [the nickname of a policeman] Is Detained in the PJ Prison Suspected of Intention to Murder [by poisoning his police colleagues, killing one person and affecting four others]
  • An Elderly Woman Died from Diarrhea [twenty more people were refereed to hospital – Kompong Chhnang – some claim, others deny that it is Cholera]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2189, 28-1.2-3.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned He Might Close the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Television Station [TV5, as it does not broadcast much about the activities of the Cambodian Armed Forces]
  • A Two Year Old Girl Cried on a Boat for nearly 20 Hours after Her Father Had Died while Trying to Fish Using Electric Shocks [she was found at around 12 at midnight – Pursat]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6896, 1.3.2010

  • There Are Nearly 500 Entertainment Places at Night, Most of Them Are Karaoke Parlors [there are 76 beer gardens, 83 karaoke parlors, 10 night clubs, and 9 discotheques in Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol. 17, #3820, 1.3.2010

  • [The opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: My Map and the Government’s Map Must Be Compared to See Which One Is Recognized Internationally [Editorial Note: No identification or access on the Internet are provided – this information – surprisingly – is not given for the maps of both sides – so how can they be compared?]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol. 4, #2614, 28-1.2-3.2010

  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian,] Ms. Mu Sochua Is Appointed as the Head of the Sam Rainsy Party Battambang Branch [to replace Mr. Eng Chhay Eang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol. 1, #120, 1.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Said that Cambodia Is Not Preparing to Start a War [but is prepared to stand firm agains invaders
  • The Government Plans to Destroy 170 [artificial] Reservoirs [in Battambang, Kompong Thom, and Siem Reap, as they were constructed in areas of flooded mangrove forest, fishery lots, or fishing community zones, in order to preserve natural resources and to ensure citizens’ health]
  • Thailand Strengthens Security, while Thaksin Shinawatra Will Appeal against the Judgment [that seized about 60% his assets, about US$1.4 billion, leaving him still with the rest of about 40%]

Ramsmei Kampuchea, Vol. 18, #5138, 28-1.2-3.2010

  • The Chinese Ambassador: The Cambodian-Chinese Relations Grew Like a Big Flourishing Tree [because of the the cooperation between institutions and ministries of both countries]
  • The Government Will Spend More Than Riel 1 Billion [approx. US$240,000] for the Promotion of Sanitation in Rural Areas [in 2010 by educating people to use toilets]
  • A Police Officer [the Deputy General Director of the National Police, General Yun Chhuny]: Do Not Use Speed Monitoring Devices to Extort Money from Citizens [such devices must be used properly according to the law by traffic police]

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There Will Be No Longer a Price of Riel 390 per Kilowatt/Hour – Tuesday, 26.1.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: The price of electricity supplied by Electricité du Cambodge in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Takeo, Sihanoukville, and Kompong Cham of Riel 390 [approx. US$0.09] per kilowatt-hour for households will no longer exist. The cost for household costumers, who consume less than 50 kilowatt-hours per month, is Riel 610 per kilowatt-hour [approx. US$0.15]. The change of electricity costs and prices was discussed during a roundtable meeting organized by the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, and by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, at the Hotel Cambodiana on 25 January 2010, and officials involved from the 6 cities and provinces attended the meeting.

“A secretary of state of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ith Prang, said during the meeting, organized to release a list of electricity prices for 2010 in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Takeo, Sihanoukville, and Kompong Cham, that the [old] list of electricity prices had been approved and used since 2006, because during that period, a barrel of oil was only US$50, whereas at present, it costs US$80; and the expense for electricity production is regularly higher than the income in the six cities and provinces. The increased expenses, which exceed the income collected, based on the set selling rates, made Electricité du Cambodge to lose as much as US$27 million in 2008 in Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Kompong Speu, requiring the government to review the list of electricity prices set in 2006 to be in line with the present situation.

“He added that according to the list of electricity costs in 2006 for household customers, if they consume less than 50 kilowatt-hours per month, they were charged only Riel 350 per kilowatt-hour which is half of the original production cost, making Electricité du Cambodge to face a continual loss, while the state does not pay for that loss. Now, the price of Riel 350 per kilowatt-hour was canceled for Phnom Penh and Kandal, but there is now a price of Riel 610 per kilowatt-hour if the citizens consume below 50 kilowatt-hours per month. A list of electricity prices for 2010 in Phnom Penh, and its selling rates for household customers will be adjusted.

“As for the supply of electricity by Electricité du Cambodge in Sihanoukville and Kompong Cham, Mr. Ith Prang said that the selling prices were also lower than the original production costs, but from 2010 on, the prices in the two provinces will be also be adjusted. The electricity prices for customers in the commercial and industrial sectors will be the same as those implemented in Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Kompong Speu. The electricity prices for commerce and industry are adjusted because the state stopped subsidizing valued-added tax payments (VAT) for Electricité du Cambodge.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5109, 26.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #397, 26.1.2010

  • The Border Situation Is Normal after a Clash [between Cambodian and Thai soldiers]
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Prepares to Form a Government-in-Exile if There Is Another Coup [in Thailand]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2160, 26.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Vowed to Combat Corruption [he said so during an audience with the King at the Royal Palace]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #725, 26.1.2010

  • The Government Warned that It Will Further Sue the [opposition party] Party President for Disinformation and Incitement, Creating Social Instability [as he said that the setting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers leads to the loss of Cambodian territory]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #589, 26.1.2010

  • The Pursat Authorities Close Their Eyes, Not Seeing the Strong Logging Activities for Luxury Wood in the Forest

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6867, 26.1.2010

  • A Sugar Factory Was Inaugurated by Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [in Koh Kong], and the Government Still Maintains the Position to Welcome Investment Projects
  • A Widow, a Mother of One Child, Was Raped and Killed in Order to Shut Her Mouth; Police Suspect that the Murderer Is an Acquaintance [Kampot]

Meatohoum, Vol.54, #758, 26.1.20010

  • The Daun Penh Authorities Do Not Take Action against Overloaded Trucks [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #97, 26.1.2010

  • Khmer Military Official [General Srey Dek] Said that Three Thai Soldiers Died in a Clash in the Choam Tae Area
  • The Number of Women Diagnosed Having Breast Cancer Increased in Cambodia [to 1,548 cases in 2009, while in 2008, there were only 1,280 cases; according to a report of the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital, more than 18,000 Cambodian women have breast cancer, and 40% of them died]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5109, 26.1.2010

  • There Will Be No Longer a Price of Riel 390 per Kilowatt/Hour
  • Bangkok [actually Thai Region 2 army commander] Apologized to Cambodia after an Armed Clash, Resulting in the Death of Three Thai Soldiers
  • Two Traffic Accidents in Stung Treng Killed Three People and Injured Five

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1863, 26.1.2010

  • The World Bank Said that the Recovery of [the Cambodian] Economy Depends on [international] Loans [this bank forecast that Cambodia will achieve 4.2% growth in 2010]

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During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements – Friday, 22.1.2010

Posted on 22 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

Note:

From Friday, 22 to Monday 25 January 2010 I plan to travel to attend the first BarCamp in Yangon/Myanmar. This may result in delays in the publication of The Mirror. Apologies.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: 22 January 2010 is the 6th anniversary since the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers was murdered in 2004 at a newsstand next to Wat Langka in Phnom Penh.

“To commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea, considered by workers as a hero for demanding rights and freedoms for them, trade union leaders, his family, and relatives, and his friends prepare to march with flowers on Friday 22 January 2010 at 8:30 a.m. from the trade union headquarters at House 16A, Street 360, Boeng Keng Kang III, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh. 300 officials and members of the trade union and will join the event.

“The head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, the younger brother of Mr. Chea Vichea, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the trade union, like in previous years, will go to place flowers at the newsstand next to Wat Langaka, where Mr. Chea Vichea was shot dead.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that to place flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010 is a message to convey to the Cambodian government that six years have passed, but the real murderers who shot dead this trade union leader, who supported the opposition party, have not been prosecuted.

“It should be noted that the Phnom Penh authorities do not oppose this march to present flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010. But according to a decision that the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, has just signed to give the permission, the authorities warned that the trade union must not take the opportunity of the commemoration day to do anythings else. That means the authorities forbid the trade union from raising banners or calling out slogans. Especially, the trade union should not use the forum to make political statements. The ceremony on 22 January 2010 is just to place flowers and to light incense sticks at the newsstand. In addition, those who will participate in the event will not be allowed to march in front of the residence of Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen near the Independence Monument, 200 to 300 meters from the newsstand next to Wat Langka.

“However, Mr. Chea Mony called on the authorities of the government again to take action to arrest the real murderers and punish them. His trade union sets one year from now on as a deadline for the authorities of the government to identify and arrest the real murderers to be convicted – otherwise the trade union will appeal to workers countrywide to strike, not going to work.

“Regarding the appeal for the arrest of the murderers to convict them, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, General Khieu Sopheak, said that the authorities do not stay still, but are seeking to arrest the murderers, and the police has not yet closed this sensitive case.

“General Khieu Sopheak added that those appealing for the arrest of the murderers can just say so, but they do not give any testimony or evidence to guide the authorities.

“It should be remembered that after Mr. Chea Vichea was murdered on 22 January 2004, one week later, on 28 January 2004, Cambodian police arrested two men: Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, and sent them to court for questioning. Later on, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced them to jail to serve 20 years in prison. However, both Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun denied that they killed Mr. Chea Vichea. Local and international human rights organizations and Mr. Chea Vichea’s family all considered Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun as set up to hide the real murderers.

“At last, on 31 December 2008, the Supreme Court issued a decision to release the accused Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun temporarily. Also, the Supreme Court sent the murder case of Mr. Chea Vichea back to the Appeals Court to re-open the investigations again.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 22 January 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2157, 22.1.2010

  • The Chinese Ambassador: China Never Supported Democratic Kampuchea [Khmer Rouge regime]
  • Suspecting That His Wife Had Committed Adultery, a Man Stabbed Her in the Neck and Killed Her, and Then Cut His Own Throat, but He Did Not Die, and the Court Sent Him for 15 Years to Prison [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #586, 22.1.2010

  • [The US based organization] Human Rights Watch Said that Human Rights in Cambodia Are Now Weaker Than 10 Years ago, pointing also to the Fact Murderers Who Killed Journalists Have Never Been Arrested

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6864, 22.1.2010

  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Demanded to Close the Legal Case to Expropriate His Property, while Red-Shirt Demonstrators Announced to Demonstrate on 26 February 2010

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #95, 22.1.2010

  • [About 300] Military Officials Received Praise and Certificates from Vietnam [for cooperating to seek the relics of Vietnamese soldiers who died in Cambodia]
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Has Left Cambodia while Bangkok Protested [because there was an attack by a M79 grenade at the office of the Thai army commander-in-chief]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

  • During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements
  • The European Union Adds a Grant of Euro 7 Million to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, to Relieve the Damage Caused by Typhoon Ketsana
  • [The American economist and Nobel Prize Winner for Economy in 2007] Professor Eric Maskin: The Downturn of the Cambodian Economy Is Not a Mistake of the Cambodian Leaders [but it happened because of the bad impact of the global economic and financial crisis]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1861, 22-24.1.2010

  • Nearly 1,000 Families of Disabled Veterans Face Food Shortage at New Land in Kompong Thom after They Had Been Evicted

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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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Var Kimhong Did Not Talk about the Khmer Farmers Who Lost Their Land because of the Setting of Border Markers – Friday, 25.12.2009

Posted on 26 December 2009. Filed under: Week 644 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644

“Mr. Var Kimhong, the chairperson of the Border Committee of Cambodia, led a delegation to clarify border issues at the National Assembly on 24 December 2009. During the clarification, which took more than three hours, Mr. Var Kimhong did not answer the questions of the parliamentarian Son Chhay, who represented the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.

“His questions, laid out on eight pages, with attached documents and photos, reports, and videos about the Khmer farmers who lost many rice fields because of the way in which border markers were set, were not clarified by Mr. Var Kimhong, and during more than three hours of his clarification in the National Assembly, he read also border reports from nearly 100 years ago, so that even some parliamentarians did not understand what was going on. What about the citizens?

“Mr. Son Chhay asked the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, to clarify issues regarding the border demarcation with Vietnam, which resulted in the fact that some Khmer farmers lost their rice fields, and he inquired about the experts in this work, and about materials used for the demarcation. There are still many other questions, like the case that even when there was no agreement yet between Yuon [Vietnam] and Cambodia, they came already to construct roads and unilaterally put border markers, like at the Dac Dang point.

“Mr. Var Kimhong said that Cambodia has qualified experts and proper materials, which had cost tens of thousands of dollars when it was bought, provided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the demarcation and setting of border markers does not just depend only on Yuon or Thai materials.

“Spending almost two hours from 8:40 a.m. to 10:25 a.m., Mr. Var Kimhong gave clarifications which did not touch the specific questions of Mr. Son Chhay that had been raised during the meeting, as those questions were rejected by the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin.

“Mr. Son Chhay reminded Mr. Var Kimhong to answer the questions which had been raised, ‘What His Excellency is talking is still a problem. We listen to you, but you do not answer the questions at all. Please answer the questions.’ Mr. Son Chhay’s reminder was interrupted by Mr. Heng Samrin, who rang the bell and turned the microphone of the speaker off.

“Mr. Var Kimhong could not control his feelings and angrily attacked Mr. Son Chhay, as Mr. Son Chhay had asked him not to waste time giving answers not related to the questions. However, Mr. Var Kimhong considered his descriptions as proper answers.

“At about 11:10 a.m., Mr. Var Kimhong finished his clarifications, and the National Assembly immediately closed the meeting and did not allow any parliamentarians to continue to ask any questions.

“After leaving the National Assembly, Mr. Son Chhay held a press conference at the Sam Rainsy Party headquarters in Phnom Penh. Mr. Son Chhay said that he cannot accept Mr. Var Kimhong’s clarifications, and he still has the plan to ask for government representatives to provide clarifications next time.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that Mr. Var Kimhong did not respond to many points, like the case that some Khmer farmers in Chantrea district lost their rice fields, because of the way border markers were set, such as the border markers number 152, 184, 185, 186, and 187.

“As for Mr. Var Kimhong, he claimed that Cambodia has qualified border experts who studied everything before setting those border markers. Mr. Son Chhay said that during the setting of some border markers, like numbers 184 and 185, villagers said they only saw Yuon [Vietnamese] soldiers and border officials, while the Cambodia side had only one police officer at some border markers, and only one representative of the authorities at some others.

“Yesterday morning, the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians took Video CDs and documents, together with many questions, to the National Assembly, to show slides to the parliamentarians and to the Khmer citizens. But Mr. Heng Samrin said that the National Assembly has little time, and the permanent committee could not approve the request of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.

“Because the questions were not answered, Mr. Son Chhay said that he cannot accept what was said as clarifications. He said, ‘The government representative came to give answers to details which we had not asked in our questions. We had sent an official request… what he answered was something different.

“Also, Mr. Son Chhay’s the questions about some border issues with Siam [Thailand] and about the report of Mr. Ke Kim Yan [the former Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief] were not clarified by Mr. Var Kimhong. Regarding this, Mr. Son Chhay asked him to answer directly to the questions. But he was interrupted by Mr. Heng Samrin.

“Mr. Var Kimhong said, before he made his clarifications, that border issues are sensitive. His clarifications seemed not to be clear relating to the point where border markers were set, or how the locations were copied from the map, based on documents that Cambodia deposited at the United Nations in 1964, and sometimes he said the places depend on a treaty of 1985, and an additional treaty of 2005. This additional treaty of 2005 was approved by the National Assembly, by the parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party and from Funcinpec, led by Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, but all Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians did not approve it.

“All in all, Mr. Var Kimhong did not give answers to the problem of Khmer farmers in Chantrea district in Svay Rieng, because of the border demarcation with Yuon, but he just claimed that Cambodia loses some territory at some places, and also Vietnam loses some territory at other places – as these issues are left from the time of French rule.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #563, 25.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 25 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #370, 25.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warned some Officials Who Want to Become Five-Star-Generals [Prime Minister Hun Sen said the 5-star-general appointments, some days ago reported in Rasmei Kampuchea, is a special case, for only him, Mr. Heng Samrin, and Mr. Chea Sim. He warned others not to try to find ways to also become 5-star-generals. The US military had, throughout its history, only 9 five-star-generals; at present, no US military person holds this high rank]
  • Environmental Experts [of the Wildlife Alliance] Asked the Government Not to Provide Too Much Economic Concession Land

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2133, 25.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: This Year Cambodia Has More Than Two Million Tonnes of Rice for Export
  • The Opposition Party Does Not Accept the Clarifications Provided over the Border Issues

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #563, 25.12.2009

  • Var Kimhong Did Not Talk about the Khmer Farmers Who Lost Their Land because of the Setting of Border Markers
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Asked Not to Discuss the Draft Law on Expropriations Yet [during forced evictions and frequent land disputes, the country is not ready for expropriations]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Asked the Khmer Authorities to Stop Intimidating Farmers Who Lost Their Rice Fields due to Yuon [Vietnamese] Border Violations

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6840, 25.12.2009

  • Thousands of Cubic Meters of Luxury Wood [worth millions of dollars] Were Found in the Khmer-Yuon Buffer Zone [between the provinces of Ratanakiri and Gia Lai]
  • The Murderer Who Used a Cleaver to Kill a [14-year-old] Girl to Rob Valuables Is a Woman [she was arrested – Battambang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #75, 25.12.2009

  • Prime Minister [Hun Sen] Accused the Thai Government of Planning a Coup in Cambodia [preparing to create war with Cambodia – Anything like that was strongly denied by the Thai government]
  • Six Khmer Kampuchea Krom People among 24 [sent to Cambodia by the Thai authorities] Arrived in Phnom Penh [to seek assistance from the government and the UNHCR to receive Khmer nationality]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5082, 25.12.2009

  • The Minister of Health Announced to Stop Allowing Clinics to Sell Medicines
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Rewards US$15,900 for Athletes Who Won Medals at the South East Asian Games [in Laos; Cambodia won 40 medals, in total there where 3 gold medal winners who received US$500 each; 10 silver medal winners received US$300 each; and 27 bronze medal winners received US$200 each; US$1,000 is given to coaches; and US$5,000 for the football team]

Note:

Accordiing to the Cambodia Daily of 25.12.2009, in addition to the rewards from the municipal governor, “the government will pay out some $200,000 in reward money for the 40 medals the country’s athletes and coaches brought home” – though the timing is not yet decided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. As one official explained: “Just one dossier must go through 61 desks before reaching the minister. It is a relay like a snail.”

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1841, 25-27.12.2009

  • [The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party and parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann Wants the Government to Expel Yuon [Vietnamese] Immigrants from Cambodia

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