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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Amnesty International: Cases of Rape in Cambodia Increasing – Tuesday, 9.3.2010

Posted on 10 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

“Amnesty International said that cases of rape in Cambodia increased, and what is worse is that rape victims do not have sufficient access to receive justice, medical care and treatment, and consulting services. Amnesty International released a report on 8 March on the occasion of the International Women’s Rights Day.

“In the 60-pages report, 30 victims between the ages of 10 and 40 years old recounted their experience of corruption and the discrimination suffered from the police and the courts, which prevent them from getting necessary services; and on the other hand, most perpetrators are not arrested and convicted by the courts.

“Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, Ms. Donna Guest, stated that there is a lack of support for the victims, and the government must publicly take action against sexual violence, to show that there is no tolerance for such crimes, and to recognize the victims’ suffering. Amnesty International encouraged the government to promote education and to offer materials to police officials and especially policewomen, and to provide the necessary resources for them to professionally conduct timely investigations whenever there is an accusations.

“The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi, could not comment on the report of Amnesty International, saying that she had not yet seen the report. But she stressed that the government is also focusing on the prevention of violence against women. Regarding legal assistance for rape victims, Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi said that the government granted Riel 100 million [approx. US$24,000] for such legal services. She acknowledged that the number of rape cases increased. But the figure may not correctly reflect the reality of what happened. It can be said that the police works more effectively than before, and that the increasing number of reported rape cases reflects alsothat the police is more active than before.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5144-5145, 7-9.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #428-429, 7-9.3.2010

  • The Prime Minister Requests the Promotion of Four Generals to Become Four Star Generals [requesting the King to enact the promotions; they are the generals Sao Sokha, Chea Dara, Hing Bun Heang, and Nhek Huon]
  • A Woman Died from the Use of Skin Cream [Banteay Meanchey; recently, the Prime Minister had just warned about dangerous cosmetic products]
  • A/H1N1 Increased to 562 Cases by March 2010 [in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2196, 9.3.2010

  • A Fire Destroyed Hundreds of Houses in the Railway Block Region [Phnom Penh]
  • A One Star [navy] General Was Accused by the Family of a [10-year-old] Boy, Denouncing Him to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [for beating the boy cruelly – Sihanoukville – the reason for the beating is not mentioned, he just went to the boy’s school, called him out by his name, and beat him up]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #741, 8.3.2010

  • Global Witness Criticized that the Government Sells Some Military Units to Private Companies [Prime Minister Hun Sen had announced that 42 private commercial companies in Cambodia tied the knot with some Cambodian military units]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #620-621, 7-9.3.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Lawyer Asked for a Delay for Him Not to Appear at the Court on 9 March 2010 [over a new complaint of the government relating to the allegation to have faked maps; as his client is not in the country]
  • [The president of the National Assembly of Vietnam] Nguyễn Minh Triết [Nguyen Minh Triet] Invited Samdech Euv [the former King] and Samdech Mae [the former Queen] to Visit Yuon [Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6902-6903, 8-9.3.2010

  • [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s] Reaction in Response to the ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, Saying that It Is the Interference into Cambodian Internal Affairs [the ASEAN Secretary General had said the the military exercise test-firing some 200 Russian-made Katyusha rockets 100 kilometers from the disputed border area of Preah Vihear; he said that this might cause instability in the region. But Prime Minister Hun Sen responded that the Secretary General’s comment is an interference into Cambodian internal affairs]
  • Anti-Corruption Draft Law: An Asset Declaration Is Obligatory for Officials Starting and Up from Those Nominated by a Sub-Decrees
  • An Old, Fatal Well, 10 Meters Deep, Took the Lives of Six Villagers [in one day, because they worked in it and did not have sufficient oxygen – Kompong Cham]

Note:

TodayOnline reports about the same affair as Koh Santepheap:

Hun Sen slams Asean Sec-Gen

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday hit out at the Asean Secretary-General, accusing him of “crazy work” for questioning a recent rocket drill.

“I think that his excellency Surin Pitsuwan is not suitable as ASEAN Secretary-General,” Mr Hun Sen said during a speech, adding: “If you are stupid, don’t do it.”

He pointed out that other ASEAN leaders, including Thailand – with whom Cambodia has an ongoing border dispute – showed no concerns about the test.

Calling on Mr Surin, who is a Thai citizen, to retract his statement or face a confrontation when Asean leaders meet next month in Hanoi, he said: “You must make a correction … The rockets did not hit your head.”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3826-3827, 8-9.3.2010

  • More Than 50,000 Tonnes of Remains of Bombs Dropped by B52s Are a New Instrument to Put Pressure on the United States of America to Consider Canceling the Debt of US$315 Million [that Cambodia owes the USA]
  • The Opposition [Sam Rainsy] Party Demands a Delay for the Discussion of the Anti-Corruption Draft Law, but Will Not Walk Out of the Parliament Meeting

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #125, 8.3.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected the Concern Expressed by the ASEAN Secretary General Regarding the Launching of BM21 Rockets
  • Income from Tourism in 2009 Dropped by 2%, from an Amount of US$1.5 Billion [though tourist arrivals increased by 1.7% – according to the Ministry of Tourism]
  • Cambodia Will Send More Than 200 Troops of a Construction Unit to Chad [in April 2010]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5144-5145, 7-9.3.2010

  • Amnesty International: Cases of Rape in Cambodia Increasing
  • The Human Rights Party Announced to Boycott a Meeting [of the National Assembly] to Approve an Anti-Corruption Draft Law [saying that parliamentarians do not have enough time to review the draft documents distributed on 5 March 2010, while the meeting will be held on 10 March 2010]

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International Women’s Day 2010 – a Lot to Think About – Monday, 8.3.2010

Posted on 9 March 2010. Filed under: Week 655 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655

In former years, The Mirror carried references and reflections about the International Women’s Day – its early history as a day of public celebration in 1911, but also its prehistory in 1834; which surprisingly enough relates to a strike of women working in the textile industry in Lowell – the city of Lowell in Massachusetts in the USA, which is now a center of Cambodian immigrants in the USA, while female textile workers play an important role for the national economy of Cambodia; but also considerations in 2008 and 2009 about the important role of this day in Cambodia at present.

For this year, we just collected from the last three weeks pieces of text which have already been published in The Mirror, related to the life of women – a lot to think about.

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Cambodia Will Have a Law to Control Battery Acid in the Future

The Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Cambodia is discussing to find ways to establish a law to control battery acid, as many victims are suffering from having been attacked by acid, using acid as a weapon.

It should be noted that there had been big cases of acid attacks, like those against Ms. Tat Marina, Ms. Ya Sok Nim, Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, and a CTN presenter, Mr. Tet Polen. Besides these major cases, there are many others. Generally, the lives of the victims of acid attacks were completely ruined, as they cannot work or come out to live in public like other common people.

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An American Man Was Sentenced to Serve Two Years in Prison for Child Molestation [Phnom Penh]

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The firm position of the Phnom Penh Municipality in 2010 is not like that in 2009; it will not allow dishonest officials to keep on committing bad activities towards the people. This was declared by an official during the convention in the morning of 15 February 2010 to reflect on the work during 2009, and to determine the targets for 2010; the meeting was chaired by the Phnom Penh governor, Mr. Kep Chuktema.

The governor went on to say that only by obeying discipline and with heightened responsibility can the efficiency of the work and its results increase. He added, ‘Considering 2009, Phnom Penh can be proud for having cooperated well with each other, effectively deploying our forces to prevent and intercept crime, the activities of gangs, the illegal use of weapons, gambling, human and sex trafficking, and drug related crimes.’

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106 Garment and Shoes Factories Closed [making more than 45,000 female workers unemployed in 2009 due to the global economic crisis]

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The First Meeting about the Implementation of the National Strategic Plan to Stop Violence against Women

The Open Institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, held the first consultative meeting on the topic ‘Participating in the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women, and the Importance of Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Combat Violence against Women.’

Opening the meeting in the morning of 17 February 2010, a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Sy Define, said that the meeting was the first one held by a government institution with a civil society organizations on this issue, and it was organized after the government had published the ‘National Action Plan about the Prevention of Violence against Women’ last year. She stressed that even without reference to specific figures, rape and violence against women appear in new ways, and all forms appear more frequently and more cruelly.

She added that a major challenge for the prevention of violence against women, which needs to be addressed immediately, is the victims’ fear and shame. She emphasized that the victims often try to hide what happened, and even as there are more rapes happening, there is also the increased tendency to hide them. This is because women feel ashamed and they are afraid of being treated with contempt by the society, and also the knowledge of citizens in many communities is limited, including the knowledge about the legal procedures to appeal to the courts which require the victims, mostly the poor, to pay money.

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A Casino of Oknha Ket Theang Worth US$100 Million Will Open Next Week [in Bavet, Svay Rieng, at the border to Vietnam – he said that his casino can offer jobs to about 6,000 Khmer citizens – the majority of them women]

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The Asian Development Bank: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is in Danger

Placing Cambodia together with Nepal and Laos, this report says that these countries are very much in danger due to a slow development process, which does not contribute to preventing poverty and child malnutrition.

Among the 21 development indicators in this report, Cambodia is making slow progress in 9 indicators, including registration at primary schools, completing school education, child mortality, malnutrition, and maternal health care during pregnancy.

Anyway, this report says that Cambodia had achieved some specific Millennium Development Goals, such as combating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and supplying clean water. Also, gender equity goals at most schools will be accomplished.

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After a Woman Was Gang-Raped, Her Hands and Legs Were Tied and She Was Then Drowned in a Sewage Ditch in the CAMKO City Construction Area [the perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

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Civil Society: Public Leisure Time Activity Space for Youth Becomes Smaller but Commercial Entertainment Space Increases

Experts in youth problems said that according to their observation, public leisure time activity space for youth in the country is becoming smaller, but commercial entertainment space, such as night clubs and beer gardens, is increasing significantly.

A civil society organization official, who asked not to be named, said early this week that youth at present lacks public space for leisure time, but they are enjoying the increasing number of night clubs, bars, Karaoke parlors, and beer gardens, where they can drink alcohol, use drugs, and find many other services.

He emphasized, ‘When young people nowadays open their eyes, they see nothing but beer gardens and night clubs.’
According to him, present day youth problems, such as drug addiction, crimes, and sex trafficking, result from two factors: modernization and the surrounding environment. The environment for youth is formed, at present, by beer gardens, bars, and night clubs.

‘There is not much public space for youth, but we see there are more beer gardens and night clubs. I do not see that cinemas were changed into libraries, but several were changed into night clubs.’

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A Teacher Who Tortured Her Adopted Daughter [working as a domestic servant] Was Sentenced to Serve 20 Years in Prison and Her Husband to Serve 10 Years [Phnom Penh]

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A 13 Year-Old Pitiable Girl Was Raped by Two Men, Two Brothers [not relatives of the girl – who escaped – Kompong Chhnang]

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The Export [of garments] Dropped by More Than 40%, and More Than 50,000 Workers Lost Their Jobs

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A Man Raped and Killed Two Nieces [they are four and twelve years old – Kampot]

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According to an announcement by the US Embassy on 23 February 2010, the United States of America officially started a program with a contribution of US$13.4 million to improve the heath and the quality of life of Cambodian citizens, reducing the impact from HIV and AIDS, especially among vulnerable groups.

The HIV/AIDS program will also strengthen the national health system, fight maternal mortality, and address also other present priority health issues

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A Man Raped His Daughter for Three Years – When She Could No Bear It Any More, She Informed the Police to Arrest Him [Svay Rieng]

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A French Electricity Engineer Was Convicted to Serve Seven Years in Prison and Then to Be Deported from Cambodia [for buying child prostitution – Phnom Penh]

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There Are Nearly 500 Entertainment Places at Night, Most of Them Are Karaoke Parlor

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 [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.

It is worth to point out that in recent years, big and small entertainment places that run at night are growing like mushrooms.

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It Is Estimated that in 2010 in Cambodia, There Will be 56,200 People Having AIDS [29,500 women and 16,700 men – according to the Ministry of Health]

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Cambodia and America Cooperate to Fight Cross-Border Crimes and Sex Tourism [so far, 14 American tourists were arrested by the Cambodian authorities and sent to America to be convicted for child sex tourism; at present, Cambodia and the United States of America are cooperating on 30 cases of sex tourism]

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The Prime Minister Ordered to Check Shops Selling Cosmetic Products and Performing Cosmetic Surgery, and Using Chemicals for Cosmetic Purposes

The head of the Royal Government ordered leaders of the Ministry of Health on 2 March 2010 to cooperate with other related ministries and institutions to check all shops selling cosmetic products and performing cosmetic surgery, and using products containing chemicals that affect the health of clients, especially the health of women.

During the closing ceremony of the 31st convention of the Ministry of Health at the Intercontinental Hotel, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said, ‘The Ministry of Health must focus and closely cooperate with related ministries and other institutions to carefully check institutions that produce and sell cosmetic products and perform cosmetic surgery.’

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A Woman Was Attacked with Acid, Burning Her Body while She Was Riding on a Motorbike with Her Boyfriend from a Restaurant [the two perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

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The Prime Minister Warned that 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 [from higher levels; officials who intervene against such activities will be demoted – he said so during a celebration on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, held in advance, on 4 March 2010]

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The International Women’s Day is a National Holiday in Cambodia. It provides an occasion for public awareness raising. As this recollection of random texts from three weeks of The Mirror shows, there is ample reason that such awareness has to continue throughout the year.

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The Case That a Military Police Officer Drove a Lexus Over a Young Girl’s Head Killing Her in Ang Snuol Was Not Solved According to the Law – Monday, 26.10.2009

Posted on 27 October 2009. Filed under: Week 636 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 636

“Kandal: A military police officer who drove a Lexus and killed a girl in Baek Chan commune in Ang Snuol District was detained for a short period and was then released, after there had been a request from his unit.

“The perpetrating car was confiscated and kept at the Kandal Police station to solve it as a civil case with a compensation for the victim’s family according to the law.

“It should be noted that at 8:30 on 22 October 2009, there was a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Trapaeng Sang village, Baek Chan commune, Ang Snuol district, Kandal, where a Lexus car hit a girl driving a motorcycle from the opposite direction, killing her immediately.

“The driver of the car, Thong Sienglong, 35, a National Military Police officer, was arrested, after he had tried to escape, driving more than 7 km. Both the driver and the car were sent immediately to the Kandal Police station for further action.

“The victim, a girl, Theng Socheata, 17, was a student living in Proh Tala village, Kravan commune, Chbar Mon district, Kompong Speu. The car run over her head, breaking her skull so that her brain was spilled, killing her immediately at the site of the accident. The victim drove a 2008 C125 Honda, from west to east. The car drove from east to west at high speed, and at that moment, another motorbike crossed the road from south to north, hitting her motorbike so that she fell down, and the Lexus car run immediately over the girl, killing her.

“The Kandal police chief, Mr. Eav Chamroen, said on 24 October 2009 that the driver was released in the evening of the day of the accident, on 22 October, after he and his car had been sent to the police station. He added that the reason, why the driver was not sent to the court, was because he is a National Military Police officer and his unit had come to request to release him. The car is still kept, until a compensation is arranged for the victim’s family. He said, ‘If an agreement cannot be reached, we will send this case to the court.’

“He added, ‘This case has not yet been sent to the court, because we still conduct further investigations. After checking the site of the accident, we found that the motorbike fell into the car’s lane, and therefore this accident was the unintentional result.’

“Mr. Eav Chamroen went on to say, ‘By law, if a person hits someone to death, the car owner must compensate the victim. But if the car owner does not provide compensation, we will send the case to the court to be solved according to the law.’

“He continued to say that the police is investigating, to find the driver of the motorbike that hit the girl’s motorbike so that she fell down, where then the car run over her and killed her. ‘This is an unintentional case.’

“According to court official, this traffic accident has not yet been reported to the court. But the court knows about the release of the driver.

“The same official added that in case of a traffic accident happening, if the driver is arrested, the police must send both the driver and the car as evidence to the court to take action, but not to release them quickly at a police station’.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5030, 25-26.10.2009

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Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #320, 25-26.10.2009

  • The Exchange of Questions between the Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Leaders about Thaksin Shinawatra Was the Most Interesting Issue during the ASEAN Summit [considered in the Thai press as a war of words]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2081, 25-26.10.2009

  • Monks and a Gang of Teens Bought Wine for Drinking at a Pagoda, Leading to Quarrel and Fighting, Killing One and Wounding Five [Phnom Penh]
  • The Prampi Makara District Police Does Not Allow Journalists to Enter to Collect Information like Before [police seem to be afraid that journalists know too much, like in the case of illegal interventions to release offenders secretly, claiming higher orders – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #517, 25-27.10.2009

  • The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples’ Organizations Are Trying to Help Khmer Kampuchea Krom People to Have a Human Rights Representative in Yuon [Vietnam]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Reacts against Mr. Hun Sen’s Accusation [that he used his recent presence at Thailand at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club to attack the Cambodian government – Mr. Sam Rainsy said that he has spoken about the situation of Cambodia also in other countries]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6788, 26.10.2009

  • The Cambodian Senior Delegation Returned from the ASEAN Summit, but Cambodian-Thai Issues Were Not Covered during the Press Briefing
  • A Truck Loaded with a Container Struck a Tourist Car on National Road 33, Killing Two People and Seriously Injuring Four [Kampot]
  • ASEAN Asked Burma to Conduct Free Elections

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5030, 25-26.10.2009

  • The Case That a Military Police Officer Drove a Lexus Over a Young Girl’s Head Killing Her in Ang Snuol Was Not Solved According to the Law
  • The Thai King Appeared in Public Again after He Had Entered a Hospital
  • A Scandal Exploded at the Tep Nimeth Pagoda where a Thai [62-year-old] Monk Was Arrested for Child Debauchery [he had sexual relationships with many Cambodian children – Koh Kong]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1815, 26.10.2009

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong: Cambodia Is Not Afraid of [Thai] Yellow Shirt Demonstrators’ Threats [demanding the Cambodian government to withdraw troops and villagers from the disputed area near the Preah Vihear Temple within seven days, otherwise they will demonstrate to surround the Khmer Embassy in Thailand]

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The Minister of Public Works and Transport Talks about Ports and Ships Using Cambodian Flags – Monday, 16.2.2009

Posted on 17 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“The Minister of Public Work and Transport presented some results related to important ports in Cambodia, and to problems of ships registered by Cambodia. Below is a recent interview between the Minister of Public Work and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, with National Television:

Question: How many ports are there in total in Cambodia? Where are they? What are their functions?

The Minister: Nowadays, Cambodia has two international ports, the Phnom Penh Port and the Sihanoukville Port, which are our contact point to foreign countries and to the world. These ports are controlled by public enterprises of the state under the administration of boards of directors, with members from relevant institutions, such as the Ministry of Public Work and Transport, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Council of Ministers etc… Besides, there are 29 different local ports (among which there are around 10 oil ports and around 19 retail-goods ports) being administered by different private companies.

“The general function of ports is to serve as docking stations, and to gather, transfer, and distribute goods and to transport travelers. Furthermore, the international ports are the points of access to the international high sea and to the world. The importance of ports, especially the international ports, is like the breath of the national economy, which contributes to develop international commerce, tourism etc…

“The Phnom Penh Port is located next to the south of the Chroy Chongva Bridge and is 3 to 4 km from the confluence between the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap River. This international port serves international ships traveling along the Mekong River to the sea through Vietnam, and is 110 km from the Cambodian-Vietnamese border at K’am Samnar. This port can load and unload ships up to 2,000 tonnes for the whole year, and during the rainy season this can be increased up to 5,000 tonnes (the depth of the water is 4.5 meter).

“According to results of work (in 2008), there were around 60,000 travelers, 47,000 TEU containers [TEU = the Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, a measure used in intermodal transport], 700,000 tonnes of oil, and goods of about 1.20 million tonnes.

“As for the Sihanoukville Port, it is the biggest port in Cambodia; it was constructed during the years 1956 to 1960, and it was put to use in 1961. At present, the concrete port is old, and it is only used to receive light things but will be changed to be the port for passenger ships. These days, a 400-meter container port, assisted in its construction by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation [JBIC], at a depth of 9 meter, can receive 1,000 ships per month. The quantity of handled goods was 2,057,967 tonnes (in 2008) and there were approximately 258,000 containers.

“A development project being processed (with assistance by the JBIC) comprises the construction of infrastructure to develop a special region (70 hectares). The construction of a multi-purpose port is to serve: oil exploration at the sea, and as a port for loose goods like grains (rice, corn, beans), asphalt, potatoes etc…

“As for private ports, they are general ports to transport goods from neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, etc… There are four ports active: at Keo Phos, Srae Ambel, Kamrak, and Tumnup Rolork And there are two ports being developed; they are the Stung Hav, and the Kambang Port of the Vinh Huong Company.

Question: It is obvious that land transportation is popular in Cambodia, then why it is necessary to build new ports?

The Minister: Actually, at present, Cambodian people prefer to use transport by land roads, because they think that it is quick, takes less time, and one reaches the goals one wants to go. But in generally, transport on water roads or by ships or water vehicles has very good qualities:

“1. Huge transport capacity, 2. Capital requirements are lower (spending less money than for transportation by cars/trucks), 3. It is safe and affects the environment not so much, 4. No traffic congestion, 5. It is an international route, since it can connect to far-away countries, 6. It reduces the use of land roads from being overloaded, 7. It affects the general environment less, because the quantity of carbon dioxide and the carbon dioxide released is around 42 gram per tonne/km, less than that released by land vehicles, which is around 407 gram per tonne/km.

“The advances of the economy and the growth in the number of people cause traffic jams. Trucks loaded with goods cannot move and land road traffic accidents increase. Ports cannot avoid all disturbances related to other forms of transportations including the different supporting services, such as delivering agencies of goods, fields to distribute goods and provisioning etc… This is a crucial incentive, which provides investors different good choices for investments, and Cambodia needs to develop also these sectors, including the development of ports and its own cargo ships, and particularly the establishment of special economic zones in port regions. Cambodia and Vietnam are considering the joint development of the river transportation sector, and to coordinate the border-crossing procedures for the transportations of goods, for travelers, tourists etc…

Question: If the constructions of new ports can affect maritime resources and the life of the people living at the seashore, how does the Ministry solve these problems?

The Minister: The constructions of new ports can have some effects on maritime resources and on the life of the people living at the sea. Generally, a construction project always affects the environment more or less. But in general, port constructions do not have the same big effects like that of hydro-electric dams. It can affect the natural environment somewhat, such as maritime diversity (fish refuges) and the ecological systems (bird refuges), there can be changes of currents or of the quality of water, dirt in the water, or oil spillings, or different waste, garbage gathering at the sea bottom etc… Projects are studied to find any additional impacts, through Environmental Impact Assessments, before their construction is licensed. Therefore, the impact on the life of people depends also on finding the required large sizes of land for the constructions of each port. Besides land for the docking port, land is also needed to build infrastructure, roads, warehouses, storage areas, service areas for the ports such as fuel stations, electricity power stations, different buildings etc… Therefore, problems may relate also to find solutions for existing houses. This is also a problem. Like other problems happening with investment projects, we cannot let citizens suffer from them, so that we would loose the benefit of their work on these jobs, so there must be solutions found.

Question: Some foreign ships use the Cambodian flag. Do they have the permission to use the Cambodian flag? If foreign ships that use the Cambodian flags commit any illegal activities, what does the Ministry do against those ships?

The Minister: The Royal Government of Cambodia permits registration of foreign ships since 1994. The number of ships registered to fly the Cambodian flag increased in 2001, and so far, there are around 800 ships registered under he Cambodian flag.

“Since February 2003, the management of the registration of Cambodian registered ships is administered by the committee of the Council of Ministers for controlling the registration of ships flying the Cambodian flag. The provision of a registry of ships with the permissions to fly the Cambodian flag means that foreign ships are allowed to travel legally under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, administered by the International Maritime Organization. There are two types of violations or wrongdoings: technical and commercial. Technical violations are violations committed by ships against different laws or regulations of countries, recognized in international law, such as environmental sea pollution (depositing of waste from ships, beyond set standards), incompetence of ship masters or officers (not holding proper, or even fake skill certificates, or invalid certificates), lack of security and safety (not meeting defined standards), or different illegal activities. As for commercial violations, some ships violate the rules by the transportation of banned goods or weapons, explosives, addictive drugs, weapons, weapons of mass destruction, slaves etc…), human trafficking or transportations of illegal refugees etc… Owners of ships or ship operators are held responsible for such activities themselves. In addition, Cambodia, as a country which operates an international ship registry, can take different actions necessary against the following crimes: 1. Impose fines through any administration and 2. Withdraw the right to fly the Cambodian flag and registration, or of other valid documents provided.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4822, 15-16.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 February 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #41, 16-22.2.2009

  • 421 Families [from Banteay Meanchey] Protest at the Residence of Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] over the Setting Houses of Citizens on Fire to Grab their Land

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #18, 16.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Ask Mr. Hun Sen to Clarify the [rumored] Presence of [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin in Cambodia

Deum Tnot.3, #57, 16.2.2009

  • The Former Director of the Appeals Court, H.E. Ly Vouch Leng, Is Appointed Advisor to the Cambodian Government and Deputy Director of a Council of Legal Professionals, with Equal Position to Minister, without Investigating Her Wrongdoings [regarding a bribery case, where Te Porly, the owner of the former Chhay Hua II Hotel, accused of human trafficking, was declared free from the accusations]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1874, 15-16.2.2009

  • Sihanoukville Residents Plan to Protest to Take the Prampi Chon Hotel [“7 stories hotel”] as Public Property of the State
  • Ou Chrov and Serey Sophoan Districts Are Declared Cities [Banteay Meanchey]

Koh Santepheap, Vol. 42, #6579, 16.2.2009

  • The Council of Ministers Announces a Denial [that there was a decision to open an investigation against former commander-in-chief Ke Kim Yan about the legality of land ownership of some companies having relations with him] and Announces to Investigate to Find th People Who Released Internal Minutes of the Royal Government [Note: Other media say that the content of the leaked document was not denied]
  • Data from 2008: Every Day US$100,000 Were Spent to Have Sex Outside the Home [according to the National AIDS Authority of Cambodia, 10% of the people between the age of 15 and 49 had sex outside the home, and 36% of the people between the age of 15 and 24 were men and only 1% were women. 14% of women working at Karaoke Parlors were students]
  • Armed Robbery along Roads Reoccurs [a high school student was hit on his back to rob his motorbike by two robbers who are not yet identified – Sen Sok, Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodian Public Bank [an allied bank of the Public Bank Berhad of Malaysia] Receives Award as Bank of the Year for 2008, for the Sixth Time, from the Chartered Institute of Bankers in London

Meatophum, Vol.53, #722, 16-21.2.2009

  • Gay Foreign Parents, Low-Income Parents, and Parents Having Two Children Already Cannot Ask to Adopt Children from Cambodia

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1412, 16.2.2009

  • On 14 February 2009 [the Valentine’s Day], [more than 100] Guesthouses Were Full of Youth Going to Stay and Have Sex to Show Their Love

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4822, 15-16.2.2009

  • The Minister of Public Works and Transport Talks about Ports and Ships Using Cambodian Flags
  • [The Minister of Defense] Tea Banh: Payments System to Military Officers According to Position Is Promised to Be Released in February 2009!

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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Valentine’s Day Troubles – Sunday, 15.2.2009

Posted on 16 February 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 599

The Phnom Penh Post reported on Friday, 13 February 2009, the results of a study by the Cambodian sociologist Tong Soprach, including that:

“The study questioned youths on two occasions… and found that 61.2 percent of respondents considered Valentine’s Day special, but that most knew little about the origins of the day itself. Most youths recognized the day as foreign, with several respondents renaming the occasion ‘loving day.’”

For these students, the fact that Valentine’s Day is foreign is not negative. Not so for some others; one newspaper reported: “Citizens Ask TV Stations Not to Publish ‘Valentine’s Day’ on Televisions, because it might encourage youth to take up a foreign culture.” And it is not reported whether they know – or care to know – the origins of this day and its name. But even if TV did not report on it, many people know anyway and are prepared – there are many stands at the roadside, especially near universities and high-schools, selling roses, because the student want to buy them.

Obviously, Valentine’s Day has also become an institution in other countries in Asia: the Chinese News Agency XinhuaNet has a nice picture with the heading: “A couple of lovers walk with a bouquet of roses in Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, Feb. 14, 2009. Lots of lovers bought roses to celebrate the Valentine’s Day.”

“A couple of lovers walk with a bouquet of roses in Harbin

“A couple of lovers walk with a bouquet of roses in Harbin

Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-02/14/xin_372020614194431210571.jpg

There is no expression of concern that this is “foreign cultural influence.” And it is even more surprising that the same publication also has a picture from North Korea with the caption: “A couple pose for photos at an exhibition on ‘Kim Jong Il flowers’ held in Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Feb. 14, 2009. The exhibition was held to celebrate the upcoming 67th birthday of DPRK top leader Kim Jong Il.” There was no mention of Valentine’s Day – but a young man and a young women have their picture taken together in front of red roses on 14 February – there seems to be some special meaning intended.

A couple pose for photos at an exhibition on Kim Jong Il flowers

A couple pose for photos at an exhibition on 'Kim Jong Il flowers

Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-02/14/xin_35202061420347811815914.jpg

However, Cambodia is one country where the question of a clash between traditional culture and Valentine’s Day became an issue. India is another, especially since there has recently been violence against women – with claims that it is in order to protect Indian culture.

Male activists of the conservative Hindu Sri Rama Sena organization entered the “Amnesia Bar and Restaurant” in the Indian city of Mangalore on Saturday evening, 24 January 2009, and threatened the women sitting inside. They objected to women drinking alcohol and dragged them outside, where many fell or were pushed to the ground. They also told the women that they would face dire consequences if they were seen in a bar again. The group left the bar after threatening its owner.

Many people, including public figures in India and some in Cambodia, condemned this violence, and there was a lot of public discussion. Some voices suggested that maybe the victims had provoked the attack by their behavior, which was not – in the opinion of critics of the women – in accordance with Indian culture. They suggested that the Sri Rama Sena organization should also be praised – it celebrates all traditional Hindu festivals elaborately and does a lot to propagate cultural traditions which, they said, are not sufficiently protected, and that the organization had to act as a “moral police.”

Then, on 10 February, a group of self appointed “moral police” stopped a bus in Mangalore, knowing that a 16 year old Hindu high-school student was on the bus with her Muslim boyfriend. They dragged her out and brought her to the police, who called her parents to hand her over to them. She could not bear the public shame and killed herself the next day.

Violence continued: near the famous white marble monument of Taj Mahal, radical traditionalists attacked three young couples of lovers and cut their hair to shame them. Others attacked and burnt a shop selling Valentine’s Day greeting cards, and some entered restaurants looking for lovers having special Valentine’s Day meals together. In some cases, they threatened that they would force any lovers to immediately get married to “legalize” their behavior of showing that they liked each other – there were raids on shopping centers where young people hang out and walk around, holding hands.

In the meantime, some people who had committed violence were arrested – but often the authorities were slow to act, as the victims were considered to have violated traditional culture.

Madhu Chandra, a well-known human rights activist, strongly defended the civil liberties of couples. “It is the right of every Indian citizen to express our love in the different manners acceptable, in the Indian way, or in the English way, or in the Islamic way.”

Wide attention was created, however, only when a group of young women, many of them students, started to publicly claim their rights and fight back in an unusual way. Some of these voices were on the Internet:

“All of us bloggers are protesting, holding hands against this infringement of our right to hold hands, and walk in and out of pubs or anywhere else without being beaten up or molested for it.”

“In Indian culture, a girl could be a Master of Business Administration, or a Doctor, a teacher, a mother, or she could be just another adult citizen. A girl’s wishes don’t count. It just doesn’t make sense …. and you see semi-literate neighbors and elders and now even the local criminals, are deciding how she is allowed to dress, with whom she socializes, and what she eats or drinks?

“Why do we make excuses for our culture? Let’s be honest. It needs to see major reforms.”

As they had been accused of being “pub-going, loose, and forward [modern] women,” a group quickly set up an organization of “Pub-Going, Loose and Forward Women,” which in a couple of days had more than 30,000 members, to campaign for their rights. As a sign of protest against the Sri Rama Sena organization, they called on women and girls across the country to send parcels of pink panties by courier to the Sri Rama Sena office in the city of Hubli. It is reported that a huge number of such parcels were delivered from many different regions of India before and on Valentine’s Day.

Has all this anything to do with the origin of Valentine’s Day? Maybe yes – there are different traditions, but they are all related to an act of defiance against a forceful power interfering with personal choices to accept and to give love. One Indian blogger told the story this way:

“Of the varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine’s Day, the widely accepted one is that associated with the Roman Empire during the third century. To be precise, a priest named Valentinus was beheaded by Emperor Claudius the Cruel on 14 February of the year 269. Valentinus performed secret weddings, after the Emperor Claudius banned marriages in order to prevent soldiers from deserting his army. The good saint refused to deny Christ and so was thrown into prison, where he healed the jailer’s blind daughter. He fell in love with her and left a note in the cracks of his cell the night before his execution: ‘From Your Valentine.’

“Gradually, 14 February became the date for exchanging love messages. The date is marked by sending poems and simple gifts such as flowers.”

One young woman in India wrote about the attacks of those who claim to protect Indian culture, giving her impression that these men – old and also young – have mostly been living without any experience of relating to women in a situation of mutual respect. The traditional culture had assigned a secondary role to women. Most of the young men involved came from schools for boys only, so they have not had the experience to relate to girls in a daily school situation among equals. Once they meet girls, they either claim a social and cultural power superiority – or they can only think of sexual relations.

The report in the Phnom Penh Post shows a similar narrow-mindedness:

“New research on young Cambodian attitudes towards Valentine’s Day and sexual relationships has found that more than half the interviewees questioned were happy to engage in sexual intercourse. In fact, the research shows that many middle-class Cambodians are using Valentine’s Day not to celebrate their love, but as a catalyst for sex.

“Disturbingly, however, 66 percent of males planned to have sex with their partners regardless of consent, with 39.5 percent of those males losing their virginity.”

Should Valentine’s Day be suppressed? That would only be an expression of not respecting gender equality. Maybe Valentine’s Day could be an occasion to learn and to reflect that it is not about sex, but about growing into a renewed culture of women and men, in mutual respect and cooperation, and in love.

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