Justice in the Midst of Conflicts – Sunday, 24.1.2010

Posted on 26 January 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

The report on the increasing number of rapes, especially also of young girls less then 10 year old, in some cases ending with the killing of the victim, carried a terrifying comment: “Law enforcement by the relevant authorities, especially the courts, remained limited, as giving impunity to perpetrators continued,” continuing: “The number of cases brought to be heard at the courts was not so high, simply because of out of court arrangements.” Money is used instead of justice.

In another context, the Ratanakiri authorities are reported to have seized a truck with illegally logged wood after a Cambodian NGO and local citizens informed the authorities – but this is worse: Citizens who tried to report and to prevent forestry crimes were threatened by armed personnel, and the authorities do not dare to disclose the names of the powerful wood traders who hire citizens to commit these crimes. Power is used instead of justice.

In view of these and many other, specifically identified cases, there is not much value in discussing, in the abstract, whether Cambodia is a country to be described as under a state of law – because the Constitution says so – or not; the call to strengthen and to ensure effective law enforcement is also not very useful, unless it is accompanied by analyzing why law enforcement is so weak, and therefore: how this might change.

When I am traveling in Phnom Penh – that is normally on the back seat of a motorcycle-taxi – and I question the drivers why they breaks traffic rules, there is almost always a similar answer, with references that “everybody does it, especially the big cars: some without license plates, speeding on the middle of the road or on the wrong side, driving on, even if the traffic light is red, etc. etc.” If the law is not seen to be enforced equally on all, irrespective of money or power, it is very difficult to see how a state of law can be achieved. It can be achieved only when the very same authorities enforcing it are also following the law themselves.

Scanning regularly through news media from other countries, there is one item which is mentioned more and more: How do the Cambodian authorities consider the role of law in their relations with the neighboring country of Thailand? The armed clash yesterday at the border invited again regional concerns. And one concern discussed in other ASEAN countries, which have a tradition of not interfering into internal affairs of other members, is the fact that this seems to be happening now with the appointment of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, convicted for corruption but fugitive from Thailand, with an Interpol warrant, as an official adviser to the Cambodian government – disregarding the legal system of Thailand, and declaring a verdict for substantial financial corruption to be political. And by doing so importing – in spite of denials that this is not the intention – the political tensions of Thailand into Cambodia.

Several news items followed each other:

  • 14 January 2010: International media reported that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia again, even “Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Mr. Thaksin will visit Cambodia later this month.”
  • 15 January 2010: Mr. Noppadon Pattama, a legal adviser to Mr. Thaksin, said the plan for a visit had been canceled, but Mr. Thaksin would instead visit another country in Asia.
  • 17 January 2010: The Puea Thai Party chairperson Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyuth meets Mr. Thaksin in Brunei, it is said that Mr. Thaksin would return to Cambodia late in January, staying several days.
  • 19 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin canceled his visit to Cambodia – according to a Khmer newspaper.
  • 21 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin arrived in Cambodia for a brief visit – no press conference, no lecture as economic advisor – only a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen is reported.
  • 22 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin demanded to close the legal case to expropriate his property.
  • 25 January 2010: Mr. Thaksin is reported to have declared already on 18 January 2010 he may set up a government in exile depending on political developments.

Of course the main stage for all this is in Thailand themselves, where extremely difficult problems are being faced: a mix of politics and the law, and the question is still open what will be the outcome of the conflicting dynamics between the two.

After Mr. Thaksin was ousted by a bloodless military coup in 2006, his in-country assets were frozen; the Thai supreme court is scheduled to decide on 26 February 2010, whether these US$2.3 billion – 2,300,000,000 US dollar! – were gained by the misuse of power and corruption as prime minister and will go to the state, or whether they were gained from his salary as a police officer and later businessman and will be returned to him. In addition, Mr. Thaksin said that he still has about US$100 million available abroad.

The attorney-general of Thailand, Mr. Julasing Wasantasing, shared the dilemma and his approach in an interview yesterday, Saturday, in The Nation, where he said that it is increasingly difficult for Thailand’s justice system to function, as there are two powerful pressure groups – the Yellow Shirts and the Red Shirts – trying to enforce their will: “I have been told I have to listen to the people. But when the people are divided into two camps, which side should I listen to?” When the course of the law is not followed, but instead the actions of the police or of prosecutors and judges are defined not by the law, he said: “We should stop and start anew. If every case is influenced by the yellow or red colors, Thailand’s problem is never going to end.”

The attorney-general has also been criticized, from both camps, when they were not happy with decisions based on the law, and he expressed his concern that “legal cases here are being judged by the public not on their legal merit, but on perceived political significance.” He summed up his own position in these conflicts by quoting John Quincy Adams, a US lawyer, diplomat, and politician, and finally the 6th president of the USA from 1825 to 1829. This was at a time when the USA were still a weak country – a “developing country” as we might say today.

“I can never join with my voice in the toast which I see in the papers attributed to one of our gallant naval heroes. I cannot ask of heaven success, even for my country, in a cause where our country might be in the wrong: ‘Let justice be done even if heaven should fall.’ My toast would be, may our country always be successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.”

If this position would be taken also in view of the tensions between Cambodia and Thailand – not success for oneself is the goal, but justice even if it is for the other side – what a good future could be developed soon together!

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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 European Union and Cambodia Launched the First Wind Power Electricity Generator in Cambodia – Thursday, 21.1.2010

Posted on 21 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: The Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv; the Belgian Ambassador, Mr. Rudi Veestraelen; and the Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno, together inaugurated the first Wind Power Electricity Generator in Cambodia on 20 January 2010.

“The Wind Power Generator was constructed under a project of Euro 1.2 million (US$1.74 million), and jointly funded by the Sihanoukville Port Authority (48%), by the government of Belgium (28%), and by the European Commission (24% through the Asia Pro Eco program). This pilot project intends to show that renewable energy, especially that from wind power, is an effective energy source for Cambodia and for Southeast Asia.

“Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno said, ‘I believe that this project makes an important contribution to create sustainable solutions to reduce environmental pollution and other challenges in energy, relating to the development of the Sihanoukville port. Actually, energy is necessary for the development of the area to become an economic hub in order to increase employment.’

“Mr. Jacques Dezeure, Flanders Technical Representative for Environment and Infrastructure in Asia of the Ministry of the Flemish Community, Department of Environment and Infrastructure Flanders, said, ‘The electricity generated by wind power at the Sihanoukville port is vital not only for the port, but also for Cambodia as a whole.’

“The production of electricity through a Wind Power Electricity Generator will be carefully monitored, financed by the government of Belgium, and the real amount of energy produced will be carefully checked. It is expected that the electricity automatically generated by wind power, for the first time in Cambodia [on this scale], will serve as an energy source and a leading model also for other ports in the region to consider using renewable energy.

“It should be noted that in September 2001, the Minister of Mobility, Public Works and Energy in Flanders, Belgium, led a delegation to Cambodia, signed a friendship agreement with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport of Cambodia, and visited the Sihanoukville port. After the visit, both countries’ delegations established a plan to supply electricity at the Sihanoukville port aiming at totally depending on renewable energy.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5105, 21.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 21 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #393, 21.1.2010

  • [Thai ousted and figurative prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Arrived in Cambodia Quietly while the Situation in Bangkok Becomes More Tense [between red-shirt demonstrators, supporters of Mr. Thaksin, and the Thai government; no detailed plans for this third visit was specified, no press briefing will be held]
  • A [16-year-old] Teenage Boy Was Arrested for Raping and Killing a 9-Year-Old Girl in Srae Treng Village [he confessed he raped and killed her because he was angry as “she was looking down on him” – Kratie]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2156, 21.1.2010

  • The World Health Organization Will Provide One Million Doses of A/H1N1 Vaccine to Cambodia [first, 300,000 doses will be delivered in February; so far, there have been 553 confirmed cases of A/H1N1 in Cambodia]
  • A Car Crashed into a Motorbike, Separating the Motorbike Driver’s Body into Two Pieces [Svay Rieng]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #722, 21.1.2010

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #505, 21.1.2010

  • [Vice-President of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Kong Korm: Mr. Sam Rainsy Is Accused over Politics and Therefore [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Should Address It, but Not Use the Courts

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6863, 21.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: I Belong to the Cambodian People; I Got the Power through Elections [he said during the 6th Asian Economic Forum on 20 January 2010: if he loses the election in 2013, he will leave the position of power]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #94, 21.1.2010

  • Former Minister of Economy of Australia [Mr. Peter Costello] Comes to Cambodia with a Plan for a Foundation [with US$600 million – still to be raised] for Agriculture in Cambodia
  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)] Asked for the Creation of a Law to Halt Using Acid as a Substance for Attacks in Personal Conflicts leading to Anger [by controlling the sale of acid]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5105, 21.1.2010

  • By 2020 100% of Cambodians Must Have Access to Electricity [says the Ministry of Industry – using hydroelectric power and electricity imports from Vietnam]
  • The European Union and Cambodia Launched the First Wind Power Electricity Generator in Cambodia [Sihanoukville]
  • The Government Destroyed More Than 1,000 Motor Saws [in Kratie]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1860, 21.1.2010

  • Human Rights Officials [of LICADHO, of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, and of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)] Demand that There Should Be Many Representatives [10 to 20] for Talking with the Government [the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia had discussed civil society representation with the prime minister]

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Rice Export Is Still Difficult – Saturday, 16.1.2010

Posted on 17 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“Phnom Penh: According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2009 there was a surplus of more than 3 million tonnes of paddy rice or more than 2 million tonnes of rice. In 2010, just the Philippines alone need to buy in 2 million tonnes of rice, and other African countries need to buy rice also. Is Cambodia ready for exporting rice abroad?

“Regarding this problem, an expert, who was involved in marketing to help export rice, said that Cambodia still cannot export rice on a large scale. Family-scale export is possible, as our country is not yet ready to do big rice businesses.

“The general secretary of a Cambodian association for small and medium scale business, Mr. Ut Ren, spoke to journalists in an interview on Wednesday [13 January 2010], saying that Cambodia is not yet able to export rice on a large scale, because Cambodia does not yet have an adequate rice export structure. He added that the country does not yet have large scale storehouses for paddy rice. A rice milling house can normally store 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes, but these too hardly exist in Phnom Penh. There has not yet been an effort to gather all forces together. Most small rice export associations operate to serve only their own interest and they do not cooperate and trust each other, and there is no coordination between the state and the private sector. Also the costs of transportation is still high, compared to neighboring countries. In Vietnam, it costs only US$7 to US$12 to transport one tonne of rice to the ports, but in our country, it costs up to US$40 to US$50. Transport is possible only in the dry season, but not in the rainy season. There is much more investment needed before smooth export procedures are possible. In addition, to get a container loaded with rice to be exported, one needs to pay unofficial expenses of at least US$55 to customs, US$55 to CamControl, and US$30 for one document to the Ministry of Agriculture. Besides, it is necessary to pay US$50 to the Ministry of Commerce for a license.

“Mr. Ren added that in addition, our country does not have marketing experts at international markets. Vietnam has rice market advertising offices in the Philippines and in Africa. Thailand has more than 40 market advertising offices worldwide.

“He went on to say that therefore, to become a rice exporting country, first, Cambodia needs to have a rice export support structure. Rice export has its special criteria, unlike the export of other products. The government should create a separate high level authority to guide the export of rice. The government should implement a integrated structure policy, that means that customs, CamControl, the agriculture and the commerce related authorities have to work jointly. At present, when a rice exporter has received a license from the Ministry of Commerce, they need to go next to customs, then to CamControl, and then to those in the agricultural areas having rice to sell – this takes much time.

“He said that because of existing difficulties, high costs, and much time needed to run from place to place [to satisfy the related bureaucratic necessities], owners of rice mills still prefer their traditional family-scale businesses.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5101, 16.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 16 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #389, 16.1.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister [Mr. Hun Sen] Sent Condolences for the Large Number of [ earthquake] Deaths in Haiti

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2152, 16.1.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep’s Accusation that [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Takes Cambodia as a Basis for Activities against Thailand
  • Cambodian Citizens Can Have Visas-on-Arrival to Enter Kuwait Directly at Kuwait Airports [according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation]

Link:

On 14 January 2010, many international media reported that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia again. “Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Thaksin will visit Cambodia later this month,” reported Radio Australia News.

On 15 January 2010, the Bangkok Post quoted Mr. Noppadon Pattama, a former Thai minister of foreign affairs and at present a legal adviser to the Shinawatra family, saying that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra has dropped his plan to visit Cambodia.

“Previously, Thaksin had planned to visit Cambodia from Jan 15 to 17, but he has scrapped the plan. He will visit another country in Asia instead,” Mr Noppadon said.

Asked about the Cambodian foreign minister’s statement that Thaksin would visit Phnom Penh this month, Mr Noppadon said he had no idea.

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #581, 16.1.2010

  • [High ranking official of the Cambodian People’s Party] Cheam Yeap Admitted that Cambodia Is in Trouble with Its Debt to Russia [Cambodia owes about US$1 billion; and Russia has not responded to Cambodia’s request to cancel it]

Link:

In addition to the US$1 billion debt to Russia there is a smaller debt of US$300 million which Cambodia owes to the USA.

It should be noted that reports about new financial assistance from China often do not state clearly what is aid, and what is repayable loans. We do not know of any comprehensive listing of the total amount of money at present owed by Cambodia to China, and when how much will have to be repaid.

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6859, 16-17.1.2010

  • A Nine-Year-Old Girl Was Raped and Killed in a Forest [the perpetrator is not known – Kratie]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5001, 16.1.2010

  • Rice Export Is Still Difficult
  • In 2010 Cambodia Will Have Three More Labor Export Markets [accepting Khmer workers: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates]

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In 2009 Tax Income Amounted to US$595 Million – Tuesday, 12.1.2010

Posted on 13 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“The tax department announced that in 2009, the tax income amounted to about US$595 million, approx. US$49 million per month, and in 2010 the incoming tax is expected to be about US$52 million per month.

“On 11 January 2010, the tax department held a meeting to give a comprehensive report on its work in December 2009, chaired by Dr. Pen Simon, the Director-General of Cambodian Customs, appointed by the Royal Government, with participation by other customs officers from all provinces. Dr. Pen Simon said that in December 2009, the tax income was Riel 219,000,000,000 or US$52 million, which increased by about Riel 23,000,000,000 [approx. US$5.75 million], compared to December 2008. He said that in 2009, customs officers collected about Riel 2,491,000,000,000 or approx. US$595 million in total. On average, that is about Riel 208,000,000,000 [approx. US$52 million] per month, exceeding the plan by more than 3%.

“He stressed that in 2009, customs officers suppressed illegal trafficking and imposed fines of more than Riel 23,000,000,000 (approx. US$5.5 million) which was 50% higher than 2009. Dr. Pen Simon said that in 2010, the tax administration is challenged by a plan to aim at a higher collected amount of about Riel 217,000,000,000 per month [approx. US$54 million], while the global economic and the financial crisis is strongly influencing the growth of the GDP, reducing exports leading to reduced taxes. He added that this requires the tax administration to accelerate reforms both in management, monitoring, and implementation, and in establishing more effective taxation policies and measures to suppress tax evasion.

“He requested that in 2010 customs officers in mobile tax monitoring units in all provinces have to investigate and to suppress products being trafficked effectively. Information about a basic law and other regulations recently approved have to be shared with all tax officials. Departments for tax crime prevention and suppression have to be strengthened to work efficiently. No illegal checkpoints should be established to collect money illegally. Officials have to check suspicious activities, for example of vendors who produce fake tax stamps and and fake vehicle licenses, including cases where officials are faking them. Services for the specification of vehicle identification papers have to be established quickly, in order to avoid delays because of improper reasons.

“He went on to say that in 2009, goods being moved across some special crossing point were about 20%, but there were not many crimes, and further assessment is necessary. In addition, Mr. Pen Simon told customs officers that they have to control the export and import of vegetables and fruits by vendors in general, and prepare procedures to collect taxes from already identified motorbikes on certain lists.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5097, 12.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #385, 12.1.2010

  • An Official of the Ministry of Labor Rejected the Claim of [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers], Chea Mony, about Working Condition [Mr. Chea Mony claimed that there are still bad working conditions for garment workers, and there were less demonstrations and strikes because of restriction imposed by the authorities; however, the deputy director of the Department of Labor Disputes of the Ministry of Labor said that this is because most strikes did not follow the procedures of the labor law, according to which demonstrations and strikes have to be informed to the authorities in advance]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2148, 12.1.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Shot Dead Three Khmer Citizens at the Border [accusing them of illegally cutting down trees in Thai territory]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #715, 12.1.2010

  • Four Uighurs Deported from Cambodia Received the Death Penalty from the Chinese Authorities [12 others were imprisoned from 5 years to for the rest of their lives, and only a woman and her small child were released]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #577, 12.1.2010

  • War of Words between [the Cambodian Prime Minister] Hun Sen and [the Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva  Calmed Down while Siam [Thailand] Does Not Care about Restoring Diplomatic Ties

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6855, 12.1.2010

  • A Sugar Factory in Koh Kong Will Be Organized under the Guidance of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [the launching date is not yet known]
  • In 2009 Violent Crimes Decreased by 55 Cases Compared to 2008 [there were 440 cases in Phnom Penh in 2009]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #87, 12.1.2010

  • Cambodia Returned the Cambodian Air Traffic Service (CATS) Back to Control of [the Thai] Samart Company [which had been suspended because control by foreigners of the company had been declared a security risk
  • [Thousands of] Red Shirt Group [supporters of the Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Demonstrated against a King’s Advisor [Mr. Surayud Chulanont]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5097, 12.1.2010

  • In 2009 Tax Income Amounted to US$595 Million
  • Phnom Penh Health Officials Are Seeking Funds for Spraying Insecticide against Mosquitoes [after citizens complained there are lots of mosquitoes in the city]

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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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Within 10 Months Cambodian-Vietnamese Trade Amounted to US$1.04 Billion – Friday, 18.12.2009

Posted on 18 December 2009. Filed under: Week 643 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 643

“A high ranking official of the Vietnamese government said that within 10 months of 2009, the Cambodian-Vietnamese trade rose to US$1.04 billion, and the most import from Vietnam to Cambodia is petroleum, and the most export to Vietnam is rubber.

“The deputy director of the Asia – Pacific Market Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, Mr. Dao Ngoc Chuong [phonetic], said on 16 December 2009 while he attended a business and an investment forum in Cambodia that within 10 months of 2009, the Cambodian-Vietnamese trade increased to US$1.04 billion.

“According to Mr. Chuong, much of the trade is export from Vietnam to Cambodia, while imports of goods from Cambodia to Vietnam did not amount to much.

“He added that goods exported from Vietnam to Cambodia include petroleum, US$362 million; iron, US$104 million; machines and motor vehicle spare parts, US$32 million; plastic, US$31 million; food, US$30 million; textiles, US$25 million; sea food, US$14 million; paper, US$10 million; screws, US$8 million; ceramic, US$6.7 million; electric cables, US$6.2 million, and other products.

“The products that Cambodia exports to Vietnam are rubber, US$52 million; wood and wood products, US$31 million; tobacco, US$7.2 million; and scrap metal and products, US$1.5 million.

“The amount of the trade exchange between Cambodia and Vietnam increases every year. Practically, the figures show that it amounted to as much as US$1.64 billion in 2008, US$1.2 billion in 2007, and only US$935 million in 2006.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5076, 18.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 18 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #365, 18.12.2009

  • The Confirmed Cases of A/H1N1 Increased to 513, and the Number of Deaths Rose to Six [in Cambodia]
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Signed Two Agreements [during the visit of the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Vietnam – one agreement about cooperation in energy, industry, and mineral resources, and another about water way transport]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2127, 18.12.2009

  • [Svay Rieng] The Court Summoned [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy over the Removal of Temporary [Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers [on 28 December 2009]
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister: Relations with the Thai Government Cannot Be Normalized [unless Bangkok’s current government is voted out of office]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #699, 18.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Dared Not Ask [the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Vietnam] Nông Đức Mạnh [Nong Duc Manh] to Solve the Human Rights Violations against the Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [in Vietnam]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #558, 18.12.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Asked the Khmer and the Siamese [Thai] Kings to Pardon Journalists [jailed in Cambodia] and Workers [imprisoned in Thailand]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6834, 18.12.2009

  • The First Secretary of the Thai Embassy Will Appear to Clarify Notes about Thaksin’s Plane [two or three days later – according to the spokesperson of the Thai government, Mr. Panitan Wattanayakon]
  • Twenty New Chain Saws Were Hidden in Second Hand Clothes [but were intercepted – Banteay Meanchey]
  • A Hundred and Six Cambodian Students Will Continue Their Studies in the Kingdom of Thailand in 2010 [Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the scholarships are granted by the Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, a generous person, not from the Thai government]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #70, 18.12.2009

  • A Khmer Citizen Shot by Thai Soldiers [when he went to cut trees illegally in Thai territory] Is Waiting for His Death [in his home because he has no money for hospitalization – Oddar Meanchey]
  • The Ministry of Land Management Is Building 118 Offices Countrywide [spending $20,000 to $30,000 each to promote and ease the construction and real estate sectors]
  • Rich Countries Promised to Grant US$22 Billion in Copenhagen

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5076, 18.12.2009

  • Within 10 Months Cambodian-Vietnamese Trade Amounted to US$1.04 Billion
  • Cambodia and Vietnam Announced to Open Trade Crossings Facilities at the Mekong River
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Promised to Attract Foreign Investors to Develop Tourism in Cambodia
  • Two Motorbikes Collided with Each Other while Overtaking a Car, Resulting in Three Deaths and Two Injured People [Kompong Cham]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1836, 18-20.12.2009

  • More Than 100 Countries [at UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva] Appealed to Cambodia to Implement Global Human Rights Policies

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How can the law be set aside? – Sunday, 13.12.2009

Posted on 15 December 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 642 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 642

The Mirror is, in principle, an instrument that tries to do what it’s name says: to mirror what is in the news – and a mirror sees everything. It is not selecting what to show and what not to show. This is a high goal for a press review – it cannot be realized in our publication in quantity; but in quality it has to try to reflect major trends, even if some of them contradict each other.

Since some weeks, and with increasing clarity, two different ways to refer to the former Thai prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, can be observed:

  • The ousted former Thai prime minister, ousted by a military coup – compared to Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar – his conviction for corruption is considered to be only a politically motivated move, he is considered as having created an economic model that assured him electoral victory, and therefore he is an appropriate adviser on economic affairs for the Cambodian political leadership and for Cambodia – and he is, after all, also an “eternal friend” of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
  • The fugitive former Thai prime minister was found guilty by the Thai Supreme Court and convicted to a two years prison sentence for corruption, helping his wife to buy an expensive piece of land in Bangkok, from public property into personal ownership, and way under the current market price. He had built up his telecommunications network to the strongest economic power outdoing other during his time in office. He therefore could afford to not only deposit a big fund for temporarily staying our of prison on bail, he could also afford to break his promise and lose this money – but he still is rich enough to travel around the world in a private jet aircraft, having achieved a (semi)permanent residence in exile in the financial center of Dubai.

He wielded power in 2003, during the anti-Thai riots which resulted in the ransacking of the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh and the destruction of other Thai property; later it was estimated that US$ 56 million went up in smoke during on night. But it was he who threatened the Cambodian Prime Minister to dispatch Thai paratroopers to Phnom Penh immediately, if the Cambodian government would not start to take action against the rioters within one hour. – Now again he wields power from exile, by successfully appealing to Prime Minister Hun Sen to pardon a Thai citizen accused to have been acting as a spy and convicted to 7 years in prison – most media describe that he did not appeal to the King who has the power to pardon, though the King finally granted the pardon. And this within three days – violating past practice that pardons for persons convicted to prison will only be granted after the prisoner has served at least two thirds of the time in prison – but in this case, only about 1% of the time had been served. No explanation has been given to the public why the Cambodian government is violating the history of it’s own practice.

The Thai government is, of course, obliged to try to implement verdicts of the Thai Constitutional Court, and therefore said it would request again for his extradition, but the Cambodian foreign ministry spokesperson Mr. Koy Kuong said such a demand would be “just a waste of time.” After all, Prime Minister Hun Sen had also said to consider the preset Thai government illegitimate, as it was formed on the basis of coalition agreements and not as a result of a direct popular vote. No wonder that the Thai government and other international observers ask how this can be reconciled with the traditional ASEAN practice of not interfering in the internal political structure of a member country.

A Cambodian Anti-Corruption Draft Law – still kept secret from the public, but already forwarded to the Assembly – has already passed the Cabinet in the morning of 11 December 2009. What will it’s provisions be? It was argued, since October 1993, when a draft first had reached the National Assembly, that an Anti-Corruption law cannot be operated without a new Penal Code. Now, there is a Penal Code.

One may try to imagine what the Cambodian governments reaction would be if another member state of ASEAN, like for example Malaysia, would entertain intensive communication with a major Cambodian opposition party in Cambodia, trying to change Cambodian court decisions

Nobody can hope for a solution by simply combining some arguments from both sides, like saying: “Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, the criminal convicted by the Thai high court for personal embezzlement, the adviser of the Cambodian government, is now commenting on what a new Anti-Corruption Law should contain. And which kind of violations of laws for personal gain, which kinds of misuse of high level power should be excluded from corruption investigation, when they have been committed by highly placed persons…”

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 642

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 11 December 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6828, 11.12.2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An Opposition Party: The Government Should Control the Cambodia Air Traffic Service Itself – Monday, 23.11.2009

Posted on 24 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“There had been several reports that information about confidential flight plans by the Cambodia Air Traffic Service (CATS) controlled by Thai people were leaked. The opposition party has demanded that the government should take control of the air traffic control itself, but there is no response. And now everything seems somewhat too late.

“The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, spoke to the media late last week, saying that the government should take the CATS company under its control to ensure that there is no economic loss, and it would be easier for the government to control national secrets. Mr. Yim Sovann said, ‘The Sam Rainsy Party had mentioned this case many times before, suggesting that all these important tasks should not be given to foreigners, and the government should control it by itself. But the state does not care.’

“In January 2001, the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation of the Cambodian government signed an agreement with the [Thai] Samart Corporation, providing an exclusive license for 22 years to this company, to organize, operate, and maintain a system for air traffic routing for civil aviation companies in Cambodia, and this company is also required to conform to the technical standards of BCT [an aviation maintenace company]. After receiving the license from the Cambodian government, Samart very quickly prepared the bidding procedure for the radar system and set up the necessary tools needed for its effective air traffic control operations.

“A parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Cheam Yeap, agreed that it would be very good if the government would reconsider the air traffic control agreement with the Thai side. He added that Cambodia should have the ability to control this company, rather than allow foreigners to continue to control it. He said, ‘We should recheck that investment agreement, and we should check whether our human resources can take the place of the foreigners.’ He explained that Cambodia jointly created the company CATS with Thailand, because, at that time, Cambodia did not have sufficient experts, and air traffic was not so busy [like it is at present]. Mr. Cheam Yeap went on to say that to continue to let foreigners do the air traffic control affects the security of our nation through the secret release of confidential information to their government, adding that foreigners are not honest to us. He said, ‘Do not trust foreigners but only those having the same blood as Khmers. If we let them be at that place, they might release confidential information about national security, as one Thai person did already. They are not 100% honest towards us.’

“Mr. Cheam Yeap continued to say that according to new Article 90 of the Constitution of Cambodia, the Royal Government can make a request to the National Assembly [“The National Assembly shall approve the national budget, State planning, loans, financial contracts, and the creation, modification and annulment of tax.”]. Then the National Assembly will exercise its right to cancel any contract that can affect the national interest. The Thai spy can be considered as proof to cancel that contract. Another Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, said that the opposition party had expressed concerns since the beginning about problems of national security. Now, it happened as the Sam Rainsy Party had been concerned. He said he will write a letter to the government, because it is related to national security.

“He said, ‘I also saw information about the arrest of the Thai spy. I think it is an opportunity to respond to the Ministry of Defense and the Council of Ministers which had claimed that there would be no problems, but the problem exists now, and I want to know what measures they take.’ He emphasized that he will write a letter this week to the government to request it to check the control over the CATS company.

“Because of the secret copy of the flight plan of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, the Cambodia government ordered all Thai [CATS] personnel to stop working, after Mr. Siwarak Chutiphong, 31, had been arrested for spying, while the eternal friend of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Thaksin Shinawatra, visited Cambodia, to give a lecture about the Cambodian economy, as he is now an economic advisor of Cambodia.” Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1817, 23.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 23 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #343, 23.11.2009

  • Forty Eight [not well-known] Civil Society Organizations Support the Suspension of Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [according to their joint statement]
  • The Ministry of Information Asks All Television Stations to Accept to Broadcast Advertisements for Khmer Sports and to Stop Broadcasting Foreign Sports
  • Forty Two People Died, Sixty Six Are Missing, and More Than 100 Were Injured through an Explosion in a Coal Mine [in China]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2105, 22-23.11.2009

  • A Lawyer Will Request Bail for Siwarak Chutiphong on Monday [this Thai engineer was arrested for copying the flight plans of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra to send them to Thailand]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #436, 22-23.11.2009

  • The Government Recognized that there Is Waste of National Resources and there are Wrongly Allocated Expenses

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6812, 23.11.2009

  • The Three Samdechs [Samdech Hun Sen, the Prime Minister; Samdech Heng Samrin, the President of the National Assembly, and Samdech Chea Sim, the President of the Senate] Responded to Samdech Euv [the former King] that the Setting of Border Markers and of the Border Line Is Done Based on the Map Deposited at the United Nations in 1964
  • 40,000 Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of Thai ousted and fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Prepare to Demonstrate against [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva in Chiang Mai, while 1,000 Yellow-Shirt Demonstrators Rallied to Demand the 4.6 Square Kilometer Land [near the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • A Man like an Animal Raped His 10-Year-Old Daughter Three Times, and then He Was Arrested [Kandal]
  • A French Man Took an Underage Girl to Have Sexual Relations into a Guesthouse and Was Arrested [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #51, 23.11.2009

  • A Thai Engineer Acknowledged that He Provided Information [about the fight plans of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra] to the [Thai] Embassy [in Phnom Penh]
  • Vietnam Has Invested US$600 Million in Rubber Plantations in Cambodia [it plans to plant rubber trees on 100,000 hectares of land in Mondolkiri, Kompong Thom, Kratie, and Ratanakiri by 2012]
  • Supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra Warned to Kill [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva [by blowing up his car during his visit to Chiang Mai]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #50, 22-23.11.2009

  • Former US President [Jimmy Carter] Helped to Build 21 New Houses for Poor Cambodians [Kompong Speu]
  • [Two] Robbers Shot at a Student to Rob His Motorbike, but the Bullets Ricocheted and Hit and Injured Two Children [who were playing in front of their house during the robbery; the robbers escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • The Number of Deaths from Swine Flu [A/H1N1] Has Increased to 6,660 [worldwide, according to the World Health Organization]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1817, 23.11.2009

  • An Opposition Party: The Government Should Control the Cambodia Air Traffic Service Itself

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3,500, 22.11.2009

  • Cambodian Expands Diplomatic Ties in New York [the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is responsible to organize documentation to establish diplomatic ties with some countries that have not established contacts with Cambodia]

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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