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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 639

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

Norbert Klein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #338, 17.11.2009

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2100, 17.11.2009

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

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #676, 17.11.2009

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6807, 17.11.2009

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5049, 17.11.2009

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

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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The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law – Tuesday, 13.10.2009

Posted on 14 October 2009. Filed under: Week 634 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Tuesday, 13.10.2009

“According to the opinion of the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers [Mr. Chea Mony], workers demonstrate or strike because of corruption. Therefore an anti-corruption law should be created sooner than a demonstration law, because if corruption can be prevented, workers and citizens in general will not demonstrate or strike.

“Mr. Chea Mony said during an interview with the media yesterday, Monday [12 October 2009], ‘Civil society organizations are concerned about the freedom of the citizens, that is including the freedom of all workers, because demonstrations and strikes are held concerned with freedom by citizens whose benefit is lost, due to corruption and because the powerful always restrict the citizens to express their opinion to demand respect and the implementation of the law, but finally, their rights are restricted.’

“The president of the biggest trade union in Cambodia made this remark some days ahead of a meeting of the National Assembly of Cambodia which will discuss to adopt a new demonstration law.

“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the new law suggested by the Ministry of Interior and planned to be discussed soon is in clear contrast to the previous demonstration legislation from 1993.

“He went on to say, ‘The demonstration law of 1993 granted citizens full rights to attend demonstrations, but what is seen at present is that a new law is being drafted to allow only 200 people at the most to demonstrate, and even that will require that the names of the leaders of the demonstrations must be reported ahead of time.’

“Mr. Chea Mony explained this point, ‘If there are leaders of a demonstration, the authorities will ask who the leaders are. But if a demonstration is held in response to the will of the citizens, for example in a factory with 5,000 workers whose salaries have not been paid by the owner of the company, as the law limits the number to only 200 people as representatives, these cannot represent the interests of the 5,000 workers strongly. Thus, we think that the law being drafted by the Ministry of Interior to be sent to the National Assembly for adoption does not reflect the will of the workers or the people.’

“He also mentioned another point, as that law limits the number of demonstrators to only 200, saying, ‘if, for example, 5,000 families are evicted to grab their land for a high ranking and powerful person, according to that new law, only 200 people are allowed to demonstrate, but if those 200 people are bought over, these 200 people will no longer reflect the other 4,800 families. Therefore, the government should open the possibility giving citizens the right to demonstrate or to strike at any place, and the government should just prepare authorities to protect their safety. That is enough.’

“It should be remembered that according the Constitution of Cambodia of 1993, in an independent state practicing democracy, citizens from all classes were allowed to assemble, to express their opinion through demonstrations and strikes without any strict conditions. It was enough to just inform the authorities, so that they prepared police to protect the safety of the demonstrators.

“It is noticed that what was stated in the Constitution of 1993 was not implemented properly, as the authorities of the government used different pretexts, like security and public order, to reject requests for holding an assembly. Or armed forces were ordered to attack the demonstrators to disperse them.

“These interventions are seen as seriously violating the policy of democracy, which Cambodia had signed to accept and to practice.

“The freedom of expression which is strongly restricted in Cambodia, does not change; moreover, it will become even worse as the demonstration law sets a limits of 200 persons as representatives for demonstrations to be adopted by the National Assembly.

“Mr. Chea Mony thinks that the assembly of workers as well as of Khmer citizens in general, to express their opinion, emerges from one problem: that is corruption and social injustice. If this terrible problem can be solved, there will be no demonstrations.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1806, 13.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #309, 13.10.2009

  • The Minister of Information Did Not Accept to Meet Radio Free Asia Representatives
  • The Ministry of Health Prepares to Distribute 500,000 Leaflets to Educate the Public about A/H1N1 during the Water Festival

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2070, 13.10.2009

  • Cambodia Asked [Thailand] to Include the Cambodian-Thai [Preah Vihear] Dispute into the Agenda of the ASEAN Summit [planned to be held from 23 to 25 October 2009 in Thailand – after the Thai Foreign Minister was quoted by the Bangkok Post to have said he would seek ASEAN’s approval for a “neutral organization” that “may provide an avenue for Thailand and Cambodia to settle the dispute” over their shared border near the Preah Vihear temple complex. Later, the Thai Foreign Ministry denied the report by the Bangkok Post]
  • Nearly 500 Garment Workers Fainted after Having Eaten Lunch [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6777, 13.10.2009

  • A Siamese [Thai] Man Was Accused of Killing a Khmer Woman in a Guesthouse [by strangling her – Phnom Penh]
  • An A/H1N1 Scanner Was Set Up at the Poipet Border Crossing

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #24, 13.10.2009

  • Victimized Citizens at Oddar Meanchey Ask for Intervention [after their houses were burnt in a land dispute, where 14 citizens are being sought for arrest]
  • The US Parliamentarians [Edward Royce, Frank Wolf, James Moran and Joseph Cao] Mentioned Human Rights Issues [and corruption in Cambodia – and submitted it to the US congress]
  • Cambodia Plans to Export 1,000 Tonnes of Cotton to the Vietnamese Market Later This Year
  • Twenty Nine Cambodian Youth [15 boys, 14 girls] Attend the 36th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth [a Japanese initiative to strengthen cooperation and understanding among neighboring countries, in 2009 traveling 52 days visiting six countries – Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. In the send-off meeting, the Prime Minister advised them to “maintain their dignity” as they will be “representing Cambodia and its people.”

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1468, 12.10.2009

  • Police Seized a Car [illegally] Loaded with Animals at the Poipet Border Crossing

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5019, 13.10.2009

  • Three Young Girls Drowned on the Same Day [Pursat]
  • Eleven Monks Were Found Drinking Alcohol in a Pagoda and Nine of Them Were Defrocked [Siem Reap]
  • [More than 20] Chinese People Who Work at the Kamchay Hydro-Electric Dam Construction Site Hit the Traffic Police Officers when They Stopped Their Car for Checking [two traffic police were injured seriously; no information about arrests – Kampot]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1806, 13.10.2009

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Said that an Anti-Corruption Law Should Be Created before a Demonstration Law

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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