When the Law is Not Being Followed – Sunday, 21.3.2010

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, will this finally change?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actually, a very small step.

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

There were other confusing reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #436, 17.3.2010

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2203, 17.3.2010

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

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #745, 17.3.2010

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6910, 17.3.2010

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3834, 17.3.2010

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5152, 17.3.2010

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

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

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...