Local Pig Raiser Association Demands Expert Officials to Take Action on Pigs Imported from Vietnam – Wednesday, 12.5.2010

Posted on 16 May 2010. Filed under: Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

Note:

After having been knocked out late on Monday, 10.5.2010, by a bad, but not clearly identified intestinal infection, I am sorry that I could not earlier, and cannot more speedily, catch up again, but maybe it will be done by Monday, 17.5.2010, noon.

Because of the King’s Birthday National Holiday on 13.5.2010, which was extended into further days, it is now intended to have publications, during the current week, only for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Norbert Klein
Editor of the Mirror

“In recent months, the import of live pigs from Vietnam into Cambodia on motorbikes – small scale trading, where a motorbike can transport two to four pigs – seems to increase from day to day, while veterinarians do not care to check the pig’s health before they are allowed to be brought in.

“The deputy head of the Cambodian Pig Raiser Association that protects the local pig raisers, Mr. Srun Pov, complained that the collusion to import live pigs from Vietnam to Cambodia through various border crossings, avoiding tax payments and appropriate health checks, is increasing recently.

“Mr. Srun Pov said that obviously, on 10 May 2010, representatives of the association went to check some border crossings in the Ponhea Kraek district, Kompong Cham, and found that hundreds of pigs were imported on that day by traders without proper health checks from expert officials. Just on that morning, the representatives of the associations could see more than 40 motorbikes carrying 3 to 4 pigs each and they gathered those pigs to be delivered into trucks to send them to Phnom Penh.

“He added that to allow the trafficking of live pigs into Cambodia without proper health checks affects the health of citizens who eat pork and harms local pig raisers, as at present, the association is trying to encourage more local citizens to raise pigs.

“On behalf of the Cambodian Pig Raiser Association, Mr. Srun Pov called on the authorities, especially Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, to take measures to prevent and to eliminate such anarchic import of pigs, because just at the boarder crossings in Kompong Cham, more than 100 pigs were imported each day. What about at other border crossings in Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kandal, and Takeo? How many thousands of pigs are being imported illegally?

“Citizens living along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border ask veterinarians to carefully check the pig’s health before allowing their import. If the present situation continues, local pig raisers will be affected more seriously.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6953, 12.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #475, 12.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transport Encourages Railroad Construction Companies to Repair the Damaged Railroad [the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, recognized that some private companies repair the railroad with low quality or without proper technical standards, making it to become damaged again soon]
  • Diarrhea in Kratie Increases to 83 Cases [six cases are serious]
  • Within Two Months of 2010, There Were More Than 100,000 Cases of Pneumonia and Twenty Four People Died

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2246, 12.5.2010

  • Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh Denied the Information that He Enters Politics [recently, there had been rumors that he will return to lead FUNCINPEC]
  • Traffic Police Was Accused of Hitting a Man on His Head so that He Was Bleeding, as He Did Not Wear a Helmet [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #652, 12.5.2010

  • The Dredging of Millions of Tonnes of Sand to Be Exported to Singapore Seriously Affects the Environment of Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6953, 12.5.2010

  • Local Pig Raiser Association Demands Expert Officials to Take Action on Pigs Imported from Vietnam

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3877, 12.5.2010

  • [Oknhas] Mong Riththy and Ly Yong Phat Confidentially Received Licenses to Export Sand, Resulting in the Loss of National Income [according to Global Witness] and This Is a Bad Model of Corruption Committed by People in Leadership in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #169, 12.5.2010

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Will Visit Preah Vihear Today [to inaugurate a new school building and other achievements in this province – but he will not visit the temple area]
  • Sand War between Cambodia and Global Witness Continues, while Singapore Rejected the Report [saying that the sand dredging trade with Cambodia is operated without caring about the bad impacts on the society and the environment, as this has to be controlled by Cambodia]
  • Benigno Aquino Wins the Elections and Prepares to Become the New President of the Philippines

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5195, 12.5.2010

  • Officials of the Cambodian Government and Investors Reject a Report by Global Witness over the Dredging of Sand for Export Abroad
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister Is Grateful as the Investment in Cambodian Has Increased to US$1.8 Billion and He Promises to Encourage Investment in Rice Milling
  • France Plans to Provide Loans without Guarantee [by the Cambodian government] on Four Projects [for the rice milling associations to produce standard rice for export to Europe, for public lighting in Phnom Penh, for training for workers, and for the creation of a vocational training center on tourism and hotel services; but the amounts of the loans are not mentioned]

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

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #448, 31.3.2010

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2215, 31.3.2010

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

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #751, 31.3.2010

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6922, 31.3.2010

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3846, 21.3.2010

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5164, 31.3.2010

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

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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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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Mondolkiri: The Creation of Tourism Communities Is Slow Due to Some Problems – Monday, 8.2.2010

Posted on 9 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“Phnom Penh: Mondolkiri is a province with potential for eco-tourism everywhere. Its natural environment is better than in other northeastern provinces. But a tourism official of this province said in a recent meeting that this province has not yet created tourism communities following legislation related to tourism to comply with proper tourism community standards like those in Koh Kong or in other provinces.

“The head of the Department of Tourism of Mondolkiri, Mr. Ngin Sovimean, said, ‘We cannot establish tourism communities, because the provincial forestry administration opposes it, and thus, we need to wait until forestry communities have been created.’ The Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, commented, ‘If we wait until the forestry administration has formed its communities first so that tourism communities can be created, that will be very slow.’

“An official of the Ministry of Tourism in charge of tourism communities, Mr. Thok Sokhom, said that previously, the creation of forestry and fishery communities did not work. But tourism communities could operate at other provinces as the provincial authorities cooperate and especially, local people voluntarily and willingly participate.

“Mr. Thong Khon said that the creation of tourism communities cannot be made successful by the tourism sector alone, but it needs cooperation from private partners. If there are no transportation agencies to carry tourists to various sites, tourism communities cannot get active.

“In the meantime, if transportation agencies do not help to advertise tourism communities, those communities will not function.

“Relating to the Bu Sra waterfall resort, the best tourism site of the province, Mr. Ngin Sovimean said that by 2010, after it had been handed over to a private company for investment already more than one year ago, the company did nothing, but just improved only the road from the provincial capital to the site and collects money from tourists every day [but does not do anything for the community].

“Mr. Thong Khon said that the report about Bu Sra resort sent to the Ministry seems accurate. Now, he assigned a secretary of state to take charge of this case, because the related investment plan is among Samdech Hun Sen’s recommendations.

“By now, there are 29 eco-tourism communities countrywide.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5120, 7-8.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 8 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #408, 8.2.2010

  • The Prime Minister Advised Troops and Police to Use the 097 Mobile Phone System [of the Vietnamese Metfone company to ease communication]
  • Cambodia Can Import Garments to the European Union without Paying Taxes [according to the Chargé d’Affaires of the European Commission, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2171, 7-8.2.2010

  • Three People Were Arrested for Being Involved in Weapons Trafficking [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #600, 7-8.2.2010

  • Opposition Party and Civil Society [the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Support the Prime Minister’s Commitment to Protect the Territorial Integrity

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6878, 8.2.2010

  • National Military Police Cooperated to Seize Nearly 10 Cubic Meters of Wood Suspected to Belong to a Military Police Official [Kratie]
  • Diarrhea Spreads in Samraong Tong and Basedth Districts [in Kompong Speu, killing three people and infecting many others]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3806, 8.2.2010

  • The Chargé d’Affaires of the European Union to Cambodia Wants Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Case [over the removal of border markers] to Be Solved outside the Court System [as a political issue]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #106, 8.2.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: Tanks, Rifles, and Artillery Are to Be Used to Withstand Those Who Invade Khmer Territory
  • The Prime Minister Warned Soldiers at the Border Not to Use Their Positions to Cut Trees
  • Cambodia to Establish Flight Connections with Indonesia and Brunei [to facilitate and attract tourists from these countries – according of an official of the Ministry of Tourism]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5120, 7-8.2.2010

  • Mondolkiri: The Creation of Tourism Communities Is Slow Due to Some Problems
  • Representatives of Fishermen [of 102 families] Protested at the Fishery Administration Office as the Complaint They Lodged Is Not Solved [requesting for suppression on fishery crimes – Siem Reap]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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It Is Time to Stop; Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces – Friday, 29.1.2010

Posted on 30 January 2010. Filed under: Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: The top Five-Star General, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, announced that from now on, military officials who are involved in illegal activities are not fit to work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, because they destroy the reputation of the armed forces, the reputation of the soldiers.

“He announced this in the evening of 28 January 2010 when he presided over a workshop at the Ministry of Defense to reflect on the reform of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces during the last five years (2005-2009) and to set the direction for the activities for the next five years (2010-2014).

“Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen went on to say that the Royal Government is reforming in all sectors, including reforms in the armed forces. The armed forces must serve as a strong basis for the authorities, to support the authorities to crack down on illegal activities, trafficking of products, illegal logging, illegal land grabbing… He said that now, in order to have the ability to support this, first, the military should not commit wrongdoings, and second, it should not support wrongdoers. ‘It is time to end that some work in the military in order to use this as a shield to run their own businesses. If you wear ranking stars and cut trees, fellow soldiers will point at your face.’

“He continued to say, ‘If you wear ranking stars and you yourself grab hundreds of hectares of land, can you prohibit others? No! Therefore, all involved in the military must distance themselves from all illegal activities. The authorities need to suppress illegalities, including with the armed forces, soldiers, police, and military police… if armed forces do illegal activities, who can suppress illegalities?’

“He emphasized that some perpetrators are not real soldiers, but some are real soldiers and do illegal logging or violate forest land. Some generals really do illicit activities. It is time to find land for veterans who cannot perform military duties any longer, and for families of soldiers who sacrificed their lives. It is the time to find land for those people, not to find land for high level military persons.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen warned, ‘Do not be commanders that are only good at wood trading, illegal logging, land grabbing, and illegal fishery. But we must support the authorities who go to arrest the perpetrators. We [the military] cannot arrest ourselves [military cannot arrest the military perpetrators], only the military police has the right to act as police in such cases to establish justice, but sometimes, forestry administration officials, custom officials, and tax officials need immediate intervention involving soldiers.’

“He added, ‘Reforms are essential for the government. Why can’t we suppress illegal logging while we can suppress drug smuggling? Why?’ Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen stressed, ‘If anyone uses the name of the Hun family to influence others, both their children and their children-in-law must be the first persons to be arrested, as it happened previously, when there were persons who run sand dredging operations and were illegally using the name of the Hun family to protect themselves. They must be dealt with seriously. Anyone who uses my influence and my wife’s influence, serious action must be taken against them. Previously, there were also many cases where my cabinet’s letterhead paper was faked. The military personnel that do illicit activities are about 1% or 2% of the whole military, others are honorable persons. All military commanders, please remember that you have no authority to order soldiers to guard your mangroves. I tell you this for the future, because previously this happened.’

“The role of the military is to fulfill obligations for the nation, not to guard your mangroves, please check this again! Please do not use soldiers and the military’s machinery to serve individual interests. If it still continues, do not say that I have not told you; how many stars showing your military rank you wear, though I wear only five stars, I will dismiss you even if you are wearing the big moon as the sign of your rank, I will dismiss you!'” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 29 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #400, 29.1.2010

  • During an Anti-Drug Smuggling Operation, One Policeman Died and Two Perpetrators Were Injured [and arrested – at the Cambodian-Laotian border, Stung Treng]
  • The US Ambassador [Ms. Carol Rodley]: Cambodian Textile Export Challenges Strong Competition

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2163, 29.1.2010

  • [Opposition politician] Sam Rainsy Plans to Appeal to the International Community [after he was sentenced to serve a two-year prison term for removing temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]
  • A Taiwanese Man Who Smuggled Drugs to Repay His Debt Was Convicted to Serve 26 Years in Prison and Ordered to Pay a Fine of Riel 80 Million [approx. US$20,000 – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #728, 29.1.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Agrees to Let Himself Be Arrested by the Government but only if Two Villagers now in Prison Are Released

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #592, 29.1.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy spokesperson and parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann: Cambodia Does Not Have [own] Planes to Transport Tourists while a Vietnamese Company Controls More Than Half of the Domestic Tourist Travel

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

  • It Is Time to Stop; Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
  • 700 Cubic Meter of Logs Are to Be Loaded onto Trucks to Vietnam [Ratanakiri]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #100, 29.1.2010

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Ordered the Military to Distance Themselves from All Illegal Activities or They Will Be Dismissed
  • The Opposition Party President [Mr. Sam Rainsy]: The Vietnamese Prime Minister Is behind the Case Related to the Temporary Border Markers Removal
  • Many Chinese Companies Are Involved in the Boeng Kak Lake Filling [according to the NGO Forum]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5112, 29.1.2010

  • Three Military Generals [Mr. Sum Samnang, Mr. Chao Phirun, and Mr. Chhoeun Chanthan] Were [publicly named and] Blamed and Warned by the Prime Minister [over corruption, the waste of weapons, and the unacceptable use of soldiers for private business]
  • Japan Granted US$356,923 for the Improvement of Water Resources, Irrigation Systems, and Health Services

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1866, 29-31.1.2010

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia Ordered the Khmer Consulate in Siam [Thailand] to Find Defense Lawyers for Six Khmer Citizens [who were recently arrested by Thai soldiers, accusing them of illegally entering Thai territory]

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Cambodia and Vietnam Step Up Their Cooperation in the Fields of Economy and Development – Monday, 7.12.2009

Posted on 8 December 2009. Filed under: Week 642 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 642

“Sihanoukville: The Kingdom of Cambodia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam signed several agreements, especially about the economy and about investments towards the development of the country.

“High ranking officials of Cambodia and of Vietnam again expressed a common position during the 11th Cambodian-Vietnamese bilateral committee meeting about cooperation in economy, culture, science, and technology, on 4 December 2009, at the Independence Hotel in Sihanoukville. There, an Aide Memoire of the meeting was also signed. It was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, and by the Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem [Phạm Gia Khiêm].

“The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ung Sean, spoke to journalists after the meeting, saying that the Aide Memoire signed is a new success in strengthening the close and the longer term relations, as well as the cooperation between both countries. He added that the results achieved are a response to intentions of the leaders of both countries, as well as of the people.

“Mr. Ung Sean added, ‘I noticed that the Cambodian-Vietnamese committee meetings are getting to a deeper level from year to year, because of the stability and the speedy growth in both countries. The Cambodian economy has also achieves progress, though it is less than that of Vietnam. Thus, what we have achieved at present reflects the economic growth and the social progress in both countries. I hope that all relevant ministries and institutions with their representatives here will use the Aide Memoire as a guide for the cooperation between both sides – Cambodia-Vietnam and Vietnam-Cambodia – in order to accomplish what we have noted down in this document.’

“Mr. Ung Sean added, ‘During the meeting, there were some issues for which we have not yet achieved solutions, and they will require further discussion. In the meantime, he asked all relevant ministries and institutions to continue to discuss them to achieve in next year’s meeting what we have not yet achieved. Some tasks need further research and decisions from top political leaders, without which other institutions of both countries cannot make decisions directly.’

“The Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem, said in the meeting, ‘During this discussions, high ranking leaders of the both countries worked very hard, and we can conclude that success can be achieved through mutual trust, which includes solidarity and cooperation between both countries.’

“He expressed his appreciation for the increasingly effective and transparent cooperation from day to day, which is in line with the progress of the country, and this brings also new changes for the administration.

“Mr. Ung Sean said that during the meeting, 26 points for cooperation were discussed:

  1. In the education sector: Vietnam continues to grant 100 long-term scholarships and 450 short-term scholarships to Cambodia.
  2. In the field of agriculture: Cambodia continues to cooperate with Vietnam in the plantation of rubber. For this, 100,000 hectares of land have to be found, according to the request by Vietnam.

Besides this, both sides discussed also pest control, as insects destroy crops, and also the protection of some rare animals was on the agenda, so that they do not become extinct, to be achieved by the suppression illegal trafficking in these endangered species. The most important thing are good border relations, and both countries continue to demarcate the border, to be finalize in 2012.

“Also, there was discussion about cooperation in the construction of hydro-electricity dams along the Sesan II river, and both sides will try to avoid impacts on the environment. As for consulates and immigration offices, both sides decided to offer visas for Vietnamese tourists to visit Cambodia up to 30 days, while before visas were given only for 14 days.

“Relating to visas for Cambodian and Vietnamese workers, both sides agreed as a policy to allow workers with sufficient documents to stay for one year.

“In the land transport sector, Cambodia encourages Vietnam to finish the construction of National Road 78 from Ou Ya Dav to Ban Lung in Ratanakiri soon. Vietnam promised to finish it by 31 January 2010. Meanwhile, both sides promised to seek funds to build the Chrey Thom bridge soon. As for border demarcations, both sides gave orders that border markers put already must be maintained in place, but it must be ensured that there is no negative impact on the interests of both sides.

“Regarding investments, Cambodia noted Vietnam’s request to talk about the signing of a agreement to abolish overlapping double taxes.

“According to news from the Vietnam News Agency, published on 5 December 2009, Vietnam plans to invest US$2 billion in 2010.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2117, 6-7.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 7 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #355, 6-7.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Claimed that There Will Be No War, while the Cambodian-Siamese [Thai] Diplomatic Dispute Is Still Tense
  • Puea Thai Party President [General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh] Believes that the Alleged Spy Siwarak Will Be Released

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2117, 6-7.12.2009

  • Cambodia and Vietnam Step Up Their Cooperation in the Fields of Economy and Development
  • Samdech Hun Sen: Fighting and Intimidating Each Other Is Outdated
  • Fire Burnt Down 27 Houses in Poipet

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #690, 7.12.2009

  • [The President of the Cambodian People’s Party and of the Senate] Chea Sim Was Sent for Emergency Medical Attention to Singapore because of Hypertension

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #548, 6-7.12.2009

  • Different Opinions Were Voiced over the Permission of the Cambodian Government for Yuon [Vietnamese] Workers to Work in Cambodia [officials from the Sam Rainsy Party and from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) said that this will affect the labor market of Khmer citizens]
  • Amnesty International and Khmer Historians Explain that a New War Cannot Happen because of some more Summons for More Former Khmer Rouge Leaders [to appear at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6824, 7.12.2009

  • A Man Killed His Wife because of Jealousy, and then Escaped [Sihanoukville]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #61, 7.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warned Citizens Not to Enter Thai Territory Illegally [to cut trees or to do something illegal, in order to avoid arrest and being shot dead by Thai authorities]
  • In 2009, the Number of Deaths in Traffic Accidents Is Rising, but the Number of Injuries Declines [there were 5,543 traffic accidents countrywide within eight months of 2009, where 1,209 people died, while during the corresponding period in 2008, there were 1,100 deaths caused by 6,827 accidents]
  • Thai Fishing Merchants Seek New Licenses in Koh Kong [to enter Cambodian maritime territory to do fishing; the licenses are valid for 6 months]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5066, 6-7.12.2009

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Launched the Construction of a Road [from Oddar Meanchey to Siem Reap], Rejecting a Thai Loan Offer
  • Four Female Teachers Were Dismissed, Accused of Taking Money from the Students; then All Teachers Started to Strike, Halting all Teaching [demanding the Department of Education to allow the four dismissed teachers to resume their work – at the Bak Touk primary school in Phnom Penh]

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China Provides Colossal Aid to Develop Cambodian Infrastructure – Monday, 19.10.2009

Posted on 20 October 2009. Filed under: Week 635 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 635

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, said that the government of the People’s Republic of China decided to provide more aid and loans for infrastructure development in Cambodia during the visit of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen to Sichuan to attend the inauguration of the 10th Western China International Economy and Trade Fair – 中国西部国际博览会.

“The Deputy Prime Minister said so during a press conference in the morning of 17 October 2009 at the Phnom Penh International Airport after the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, had returned from China.

“The Deputy Prime Minister stated that during the visit, the secretary of the communist party of China in the Province of Sichuan provided the Prime Minister 50 motor pumps, 30 tractors, and 30 agricultural trucks. Also, the Province of Sichuan offers scholarships for students and for civil servants to receive training there. Besides this, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen officially negotiated with the Chinese Prime Minister, and he has achieved many results for the country including US$260 million in loans in response to a Cambodian requests to China from 2008, for 5 projects:

  1. Construction of 2 roads – National Road 62 from Kompong Thom to Tbaeng Meanchey in Preah Vihear and National Road 8 from Anlong Chrey to Meun Chey in Prey Veng;
  2. Construction of a irrigation system in Battambang;
  3. Construction of National Road 76 from Sen Monorum to Dac Dam in Mondolkiri;
  4. Creation of a flood controlling system in Kompong Trabaek district in Prey Veng; and
  5. Construction of electricity supply nets around Phnom Penh for poor people.

“Among the US$260 million in loans for 5 projects, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen asked China to use the remaining US$30 million to build the second Chroy Chongva bridge [in Phnom Penh] to help reduce traffic congestion.

“Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong added that in 2009, Cambodia requested China in two phases for support of 11 projects worth US$593 million in total. In the fist phase, there are US$297 million for 5 projects:

  1. Construction of a road of 179 km from Thma Koul district in Battambang to the Thai border worth US$95 million,
  2. Construction of roads along the Cambodian-Thai border from Pailin to Koun Damrei worth US$73 million;
  3. Improvement of National Road 6 by creating 4 roads of 40 km worth US$57 million;
  4. Enlargement of the Phnom Penh Port worth US$30 million; and
  5. Water resources development at the Steung Keo river in Kampot worth US$42 million.

“The second phase worth US$296 million consists of 6 projects:

  1. Construction of the Takhmao Bridge and 21 km railroad worth US$42 million;
  2. Construction of Road 42 of 91 km from the Thnol Toteung to Chum Kiri district in Kampot worth US$48 million;
  3. Improvement of National Road 5 from Phnom Penh to Prek Kdam to have two lanes for going and two lanes for returning worth US$36 million;
  4. Construction of a dam at the Pursat river worth US$60 million;
  5. Construction of electricity networks in rural areas wroth US$50 million; and
  6. Construction of a hydro-electric dam in the north worth US$55 million.

“Mr. Hor Namhong stressed that both in 2008 and 2009, Cambodia receives nearly US$1 billion in loans from China for infrastructure development, such as roads, bridges, and dams, which is the second sector supporting economic development and promoting livelihood of citizens [the first being agriculture]. Besides these loans, Chinese Prime Minister granted Yuan 100 million [approx. US$15 million] to Cambodia, where Yuan 50 million is grant aid, and another Yuan 50 million is loans with no interest, and Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen will use this money to help citizens suffering from floods and to restore infrastructure.

“During his visit at China, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen met also the Sri Lankan and Vietnamese prime ministers.”
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2075, 18-19.10.2009

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Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 19 October 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #314, 18-19.10.2009

  • High Ranking Cambodian Army Officers Visited the Border [to boost morale and check the military situation]
  • A Court Jailed [an official of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport,] Nhem Vandoeun at the PJ Prison [which is said to have better living conditions compared to other prisons], but Did Not Send Him to Prey Sar Prison [for – corruption related to the issuing of number plates for vehicles]
  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Mr. Hor Namhong: I Have No Fear, though [the president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Sam Rainsy Is Collecting More Evidence [over the defamation appeal of Mr. Sam Rainsy]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2075, 18-19.10.2009

  • China Provides Colossal Aid to Develop Cambodian Infrastructure
  • One Institution Has Two Offices in Poipet [there are two Cambodia-Thai Border Coordination Offices controlled by two different generals]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #662, 19.10.2009

  • The Court Singled Out Two Accusations against [the head of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police anti-drug-trafficking office ] Touch Muysor [for bribing and for illegally possessing about 8,000 methamphetamine pills at about US$100,000] and Detained Him Temporarily at the Prey Sar Prison [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #512, 18-20.10.2009

  • The World Bank and Japan Want to Help Restore Infrastructure Damaged by Typhoon Ketsana, but Need that Cambodia Deliver an Accurate Report

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6782, 19.10.2009

  • The United Arab Emirates Promised to Offer Tourism Scholarships, to Create an Agreement Encouraging Direct Flights to Cambodia, and to Help Develop Human Resources [in tourism]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #28, 19.10.2009

  • The European Union Said that Cambodia [through Cambodia Angkor Air, created by a joint investment by Cambodia and Vietnam] Has Only the Right to Book Tickets [to Vietnam, to its partner airline, as Cambodia Angkor Air is at present not yet recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization – ICAO]
  • [Nearly 2,000] Workers of the Tac Fat Factory Who Had Been Protesting, Knelt Down at the Prime Minister’s Car Procession [when he returned from China, to ask for his intervention related to the factory closing]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1470, 19.10.2009

  • A Saleswoman Was Stabbed to Death by a Robber in Her House [the perpetrator escaped – Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5024, 18-19.10.2009

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Mr. Hor Namhong: The Cambodian Prime Minister Might Raise the Border Dispute [around Preah Vihear] at the ASEAN Meeting
  • The Maldives Held a Cabinet Meeting under Water [calling for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions ahead of a UN climate change conference in December 2009, because the country is only 2 m above the sea level and will be under water in 60 or 70 years if global warming continues like now]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1810, 19.10.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Expects to Receive New Evidence to Present to the [French] Court to Question [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Mr. Hor Namhong [relating to his role in the Boeung Trabaek Camp for returning intellectuals during the Khmer Rouge time]

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Denials, Insults, and Rational Arguments – Sunday, 15.3.2009

Posted on 17 March 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 603 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 603

Apologies for the delays in publishing – due to my international travel. I try to catch up as soon as possible.

Norbert Klein

It seems that some issues, which need to be clarified, do not find any solution – not only because they are controversial, but because it seem to happen frequently that issues raised are not discussed – the detailed facts and concerns they raised are disregarded, they are put aside by flat denial, not touching at the presented facts at all. Or instead of dealing with controversial facts, the “other party” is served with an insult – and it is up to the reader to consider whether the insult carries enough conviction to override the arguments, or whether an insult, instead of an argument, backfires on the party which refuses to engage in a rational discussion.

We will bring here some reminders, where it seems that facts and opinions had been presented, and the public received responses. Some seem to have intended to close further discussion – though the discussion continues anyway. In some cases we hope to lead to further open discussion – inviting to consider some aspects which are not widely shared, but may merit more attention. We let “both parties” speak.

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On 5 February 2009, the UK based organization Global Witness published a report entitled Country for Sale. The organization describes its general, global outreach, in the following way:

“Global Witness exposes the corrupt exploitation of natural resources and international trade systems to drive campaigns that end impunity, resource-linked conflict, and human rights and environmental abuses. Global Witness was co-nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for its leading work on ‘conflict diamonds’ and awarded the 2007 Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award, sponsored jointly by Washington DC based Center for Global Development and Foreign Policy magazine.”

The content of the study, presented on 72 pages with detailed references, is described by Global Witness as follows:

“Cambodia – one of the world’s poorest countries – could eventually earn enough from its oil, gas and minerals to become independent of foreign development aid. The report, Country for Sale, exposes for the first time how this future is being jeopardized by high-level corruption, nepotism and patronage in the allocation and management of these critical public assets.

Country for Sale details how rights to exploit oil and mineral resources have been allocated behind closed doors by a small number of powerbrokers surrounding the prime minister and other senior officials. The beneficiaries of many of these deals are members of the ruling elite or their family members. Meanwhile, the findings suggest that millions of dollars paid by oil and mining companies to secure access to these resources may be missing from the national accounts.”

Among the details, Global witness says:

“Global Witness wrote to both Chevron and BHP Billiton in October 2008 to ask them to reveal any payments made to the Cambodian government or government officials. At the time of publication, Chevron had not responded. BHP Billiton however, did reply to say that BHP Billiton, Mitsubishi and the Cambodian Government have established a joint social development fund. The total contribution of BHP and Mitsubishi is to be US$2.5 million. BHP’s response stated: ‘BHP Billiton has never made a payment to a Cambodian Government official or representative and we reject any assertion that the payment under the minerals exploration agreement is, or the amounts contributed to the Social Development Projects Fund are, “tea money”.’ BHP also shared how much had been paid to the Cambodian government, adding: ‘In accordance with the terms of a minerals exploration agreement with the Cambodian government which granted BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi the right to explore for bauxite an amount of US$1 million was formally paid to the Cambodian government in September 2006.’”

The Cambodian Embassy in London responded to the publication of Country for Sale with a press release with a color graphic page, saying global witness – A Collection of Rubbish

“Reacting angrily to the report, the Ambassador of Cambodia in the UK, H.E. Nambora Hor, accused Global Witness of being poorly-managed and indulging in hugely-damaging smear campaigns. He called on the wide variety of international bodies which help fund Global Witness to demand an urgent review of its policies and activities. ‘It is naïve for Global Witness to imagine that Cambodia’s international donors are not fully aware of the way the Royal Cambodian Government’s conducts its affairs and its commitment to demonstrating the highest possible standards.’”

Details about this Social Development Projects Fund – who administers these huge amounts of money paid by some foreign companies, and for which purposes, and under whose public monitoring – are not known to the public.

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On 25 February 2009, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the US Department of State published a 2008 Human Rights Report: Cambodia, part of the 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The 16,000 words report on Cambodia states initially:

“The government’s human rights record remained poor. Security forces committed extrajudicial killings and acted with impunity. Detainees were abused, often to extract confessions, and prison conditions were harsh. Human rights monitors reported arbitrary arrests and prolonged pretrial detention, underscoring a weak judiciary and denial of the right to a fair trial. Land disputes and forced evictions were a continuing problem. The government restricted freedom of speech and the press and at times interfered with freedom of assembly. Corruption was endemic. Domestic violence and child abuse occurred, education of children was inadequate, and trafficking in women and children persisted. The government offered little assistance to persons with disabilities. Anti-union activity by employers and weak enforcement of labor laws continued, and child labor in the informal sector remained a problem.

On February 15, the government passed and promulgated a comprehensive Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation containing provisions criminalizing all forms of human trafficking. By year’s end the Cambodian National Police had arrested perpetrators in 48 trafficking-in-persons and related cases, and the courts had convicted at least 12 persons on trafficking-related charges.”

The Mirror had carried a related report from a Khmer language newspaper on 27 February 2009. On 14 March 2009, we carried a report from another Khmer newspaper, saying:

“The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dismisses the US Department of State’s Report [on the human rights situation in Cambodia] on behalf the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia.”

But later, another Khmer newspaper reported in its 15/16 March 2009 edition: “The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC – said that tens of thousands of families of Khmer citizens suffer human rights violations.” And reports in the Phnom Penh Post of 16 March 2009 show a 9 year old boy standing in the wreckage of his house – sixteen houses in the Rik Reay Community – “Happy Community” – were torn down, and the area is being fenced in. A teacher, living there, said he had received a death threat. “This mistreatment is to force us to agree to their compensation package,” he said. “I am now worried for my personal security because I heard a company staffer on the walkie-talkie saying they would kill me because I am a community leader. I want to tell you that if I die, it was not at the hands of anyone else but because I was murdered by the staff of Bassac Garden City.”

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On 12 March 2009, we carried the headline from a Khmer newspaper, reporting Dalai Lama: Tibet under Chinese Control Is Like Hell on the Earth. And in order to elaborate, we added a link to the original text of the March 10th Statement of H.H. the Dalai Lama, where he says:

“Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the Tibetan people’s peaceful uprising against Communist China’s repression in Tibet. Since last March widespread peaceful protests have erupted across the whole of Tibet. Most of the participants were youths born and brought up after 1959, who have not seen or experienced a free Tibet. However, the fact that they were driven by a firm conviction to serve the cause of Tibet that has continued from generation to generation is indeed a matter of pride… We pay tribute and offer our prayers for all those who died, were tortured and suffered tremendous hardships, including during the crisis last year, for the cause of Tibet since our struggle began.

“Around 1949, Communist forces began to enter north-eastern and eastern Tibet (Kham and Amdo) and by 1950, more than 5000 Tibetan soldiers had been killed…

“Since the re-establishment of contacts in 2002, we have followed a policy of one official channel and one agenda and have held eight rounds of talks with the Chinese authorities. As a consequence, we presented a Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People, explaining how the conditions for national regional autonomy as set forth in the Chinese constitution would be met by the full implementation of its laws on autonomy…

“We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. Fulfilling the aspirations of the Tibetan people will enable China to achieve stability and unity. From our side, we are not making any demands based on history. Looking back at history, there is no country in the world today, including China, whose territorial status has remained forever unchanged, nor can it remain unchanged.”

But while the voice of the Dalai Lama receives wide attention in the international press, there is also another aspect of the history of Tibet, which is not addressed, but to which the People’s Daily Online refers: Dalai Lama’s utter distortion of Tibet history:

“The Dalai Lama also alleged at a gathering in India’s Dharamsala to mark his 50 years in exile that “these 50 years have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet.

“Unfortunately, the Dalai Lama has not only been on the wrong side of history, but also has got the history upside down. Miseries of ‘hell on earth’ and ‘untold suffering’ occurred nowhere but in the slavery Tibet symbolized by the Dalai Lama.

“Even from historical books written by Western scholars, people can draw the conclusion that Tibet under the rule of the Dalai Lama clique was a society of feudal serfdom that trampled human rights and easily reminded visitors of the dark age of medieval Europe.

“The feudal serfdom had truly brought ‘untold suffering and destruction’ to the serfs and slaves who accounted for 90 percent of the then population.

“The slavery in Tibet was just ‘hell on earth’ as Charles Bell, who lived in Lhasa as a British trade representative in the 1920s, observed that the Dalai Lama’s theocratic position enabled him to administer rewards and punishments as he wished. That was because he held absolute sway over both this life and the next of the serfs and coerced them with that power.

“In 1959, after the failed rebellion by the Dalai Lama and his followers, the central government of China carried out the long-delayed emancipation of millions of serfs and slaves in Tibet…

“But just as the rebellion by the Dalai Lama clique failed disgracefully 50 years ago, its fantasy of ‘Tibetan Independence’ is also doomed to failure, because of the firm opposition from the Chinese people, including the Tibetans in Tibet.”

But the Dalai Lama does not speak of Tibet’s independence, but of national regional autonomy as set forth in the Chinese constitution, and this within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. Both sides do not hear each other in detail to reach mutual understanding. It is easier to maintain an old antagonism than to find ways to a common understanding – a much more difficult task.

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On 13 March 2009, the Mirror carried an article “IMF: Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Consequences of the Global Economic Crisis!” (with reference back to similar IMF statements which we had mirrored on 13 February 2009):

“The Cambodian economy is in a negative status… We are talking about a period of dramatic decline in economic activities. So far, what we have seen is that the depth of the downturn is worse than expected.”

Since many weeks, there were many voices echoing the IMF concerns, even more so, since the Prime Minister had publicly questioned that the international economic downturn – in the so called economically rich countries – has the same social effects in a country like Cambodia. His comparison of rich and poorer countries with elephants and sheep may turn out to be a clue not only to understand the differences, but also to find ways to mitigate the economic problems in Cambodia, in a way industrialized countries cannot do:

“Growth in agriculture can surely prevent Cambodia from falling into an economic crisis, even though some major sectors of the Cambodian economy encounter a downturn.”

A foreign businessman, living in Cambodia, shared his appraisal on 12 March 2009, Putting It in Perspective:

“Now that the U. S. has shed 4.5 million jobs in the past 18 months alone and unemployment stands at 8.1 %, the conventional wisdom is that garment exports will go down substantially as the U. S. is the main market for Cambodia. The current figures appear to prove it, with a 27% decrease in exports for the month of February alone. Last December it was 30%…

“Likewise, tourist arrivals show a 2.9% reduction over the same month last year…

“According to the latest statistics the construction sector is holding sort of firm, although it was reported that some 3,000 to 5,000 jobs were lost there too.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen finds fault with all those predictions, saying that all those number are altogether not that important. What’s important is that people won’t go hungry in Cambodia. All those factory workers that lost their job can go back to their native village where they will find a rice paddy to cultivate, and a family that will take care of them…

“So the garment factory girls come back and find their wooden houses, a functioning family structure, and food to eat. They don’t have problems with heating or air conditioning… They wear simple clothes. There is one communal cell-phone which provides contact to the outside world. Yes, this is a simple life, and Westerners can only look on with widened eyes wondering how people can live like this. But let’s face it – this is reality, not only in Cambodia, but in most of South East Asia. And rural areas are exactly where the majority of the factory workers come from.

“So the fact that people can go back to their village is actually a boon for them. Yes, they are poor but they have to eat. And in this context let’s not look at the social problems, e.g. lack of health care and fundamental education. This is for another, hopefully not too far off, time.

“The Western alternative is no laughing matter. People losing their jobs, lose their homes, their savings along the line, their health care, practically their freedom. In my view it’s much more dire in the West. Recession hits people in the industrialized world much harder.”

Not all readers shared his appreciation of the Prime Minister’s perspective. He responded, “I like a good discussion with contrarian viewpoints, but they need to make sense.”

It is in this same spirit that this issue of the Mirror presents contrary and controversial views. We hope also for a good discussion – but the points put forward need to make sense. And this requires to research complex facts, and to engage in open, rational thinking.

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The Waiting to Receive Justice in Cambodia – Wednesday, 28.1.2009

Posted on 29 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“Banteay Meanchey: Aunty Im Savoeun [now a member of the National Assembly, elected as a member of the Cambodian People’s Party] remembers what hurt her the most – it was when she lost her husband after he was tortured by the Khmer Rouge. Her husband had stolen a potato because he had been starving, and then he was beaten to death.

“She was quoted by Mr. Denis D. Gray, writing for the of Associated Press, as saying, ‘I could not help my husband, because there was no medicine. What could be done was only sympathy, and to shed my tears.’

“This 64-year-old woman, like many other women in Cambodia, who suffered half of their lives, is waiting to receive justice. This waiting continued since after the end of the Khmer Rouge politics [in 1979], which had destroyed the law and the judicial system.

“The United Nations supported court, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, had recently announced to bring the first of five Khmer Rouge leaders for prosecution: on 17 February 2009, the first hearing will be held to try one of the Khmer Rouge leaders who held high responsibility. That person is accused of crimes against humanity. Hearings of four other persons to find justice and peace of mind for victims are not expected to begin before 2010. 504 seats are prepared for observers to listen to the hearing of Duch (Kaing Gek Eav), the former chief of the Torture Center Tuol Sleng. As for the others – such as former head of state Khiev Samphan, former deputy prime minister Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, the former minister of Social Affairs and the former strict ideological leader of the movement Nuon Chea – they will be put in prison for the maximum period; there are many countries involved in the process of this tribunal which has been awaited for a long time and which is now finally in progress. Even though it is facing challenging difficulties, it will help to identify what happened, and to close the history of those dark activities of the past.

“Aunty Savoeun said that in these hearings, at this tribunal, there are only 5 to 10 accused – there is no balance, because the Khmer Rouge killed millions of people. She lost four members of her family, and many other families lost some of their members. She said, ‘My beloved husband and son will never return to see me, but they have to receive justice.’

“Highly agitated by communism, the Khmer Rouge’s vision was to damage and to destroy Cambodian traditions and society, until there was nothing left besides falling back to year zero. The Khmer Rouge turned the country into a place of slaves and into a desert without freedoms and rights. At least 1.7 million people, some say more than 2 million, died of killings, starving, and illnesses.

“An official of New-York-based Human Rights Watch, Mr. Brad Adams, said, ‘When more than two million people died, it is not enough to try five to ten perpetrators and then say: Now everything is finished.’

“What we want is that victims and members of thousands of families who died receive acceptable justice; that is, at least between ten and twelve Khmer Rouge leaders should be brought for prosecution.

“Mr. Adams is an American who observes the progress of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia since even before this court was created, he has worked 13 years related to Cambodia, but the progress is slow. It is very important as the clock’s hands move. Some accused died, are ill, and old.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4806, 28.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1858, 28.1.2009

  • Opposition Parties [the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party] Ask [Minister of Economy and Finance] Keat Chhon to Explain [polices to face] the Economic Crisis
  • The Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals Suspend Their Political Support for Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh, because of being disappointed by his inactivity, by the lack clear strategy, and by leading depending on his officials]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6563, 28.1.2009

  • Two Human Traffickers Are Arrested Who Had Trafficked 10 Boys Over the Border for Thai Owners [the parents had been persuaded to let their children work in Thailand where they could earn a lot of money, but the parents had to pay them Riel 250,000 [approx. US$62] per child – Koh Kong]
  • [Kompong Chhnang] Court Summons 4 People, but 70 Others Come [in order to accompany their representatives regarding a land dispute]
  • Tens of Thousands of Tonnes of Khmer Potatoes Are Stuck, while Siamese [Thai] Authorities Prohibit Thai Merchants to Buy Them
  • The 7NG Company Informs [Dey Krahom Residents] to Register Their Names to Receive Houses and Vendor Stalls [31 out of the 91 families agreed to take houses at Cham Chao, Dangkao, Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4806, 28.1.2009

  • Waiting to Receive Justice in Cambodia
  • A [28-year-old] Woman Who Was Raped Appeal for Justice, while the Man Who Raped Her Is Released by the [Pursat provincial court after he had been detained for three months]
  • [Anti-Thai government] Red-Shirt Demonstrators Warn to Surround the Government House on 31 January 2009
  • A Woman Delivers Eight Babies in Los Ageless
  • More and More Americans Go to Serve the Army while Unemployment Increases

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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Report about Human Trafficking Released by US Department of State – Tuesday 6.1.2009

Posted on 7 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

“Cambodia is a base and a target country for victims of human trafficking. Women and children are trafficked to Thailand and to Malaysia for sexual exploitation. Some Cambodian men migrating on their own to Thailand in order to find jobst fall into a situation where they are forced to do hard labor on fishing boats, at construction sites, and in the agro-industry. Cambodian women and children are trafficked to Thailand to work in exploitative conditions as household servants, and some are forced to serve as prostitutes. Some Cambodian men migrate to seek jobs, but when they returned from India, South Korea, or Malaysia, they said that they were forced to do hard labor and fell into dept bondage. Children are trafficked to Thailand and to Vietnam to work as beggars, candy sellers, flower sellers, and shoes-shine boys.

“Some Khmer women migrated to Taiwan to get married through international marriage brokers, but at the end, they were trafficked to work as prostitutes. Trafficking of woman and girls, also affecting Vietnamese people, happens also at the Cambodian border, from rural areas to Phnom Penh, to Siem Reap, and to Sihanoukville. Cambodia is a targeted country to send Vietnamese girls to work as prostitutes. Cambodia is targeted also by foreign sex tourists who want to have sex with children, and there are more and more Asian men traveling to Cambodia to have sex with underage virgin girls.

“Even though the highest standards for the elimination of trafficking have not been reached, the government is making remarkable efforts to fight such trafficking. Now [in the Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 that had been released by the US Department of State on 4 June 2008], Cambodia was ranked for the first time since 2004 on the Tier 2 Watch List [of three tiers], because the government stepped up cooperation to fight human trafficking in the previous year. The government created a special working group against human trafficking on the national level in order to improve the possibility to respond better as an international agency against trafficking, to improve coordination with civil society, to increase law enforcement activities against traffickers and colluding officials, and to increase protecting activities. In February 2008, a new Cambodian law to crack down on human trafficking and sex exploitation was promulgated and came into force. This law provides power to the police to investigate all forms of trafficking, and it is a strong measure to bring human traffickers to prosecutions. High ranking officials of the government publicly announced a ‘no tolerance’ policy for officials benefiting from or colluding with human trafficking.

“The report pointed out that the Cambodian government continued to implement laws against human trafficking last year. But in February 2008, a new Cambodian law to crack down on human trafficking and sexual exploitation came into force. This law provides criminal penalties against all forms of human trafficking, including debt bondage, it states the punishment for wrongdoings which are sufficiently firm which will be applied against serious crimes such as rape. Because of insufficient resources, the government does not provide useful statistics about prosecutions made. The Ministry of Interior reported complaints received regarding 53 cases of human trafficking from April 2007 to March 2008. 35 cases were related to trafficking for sexual exploitation, with 60 victims, and 11 cases were trafficking for forced labor with 106 victims. Cambodian police had taken action on 43 cases. The Ministry of Interior went on to report that 65 traffickers were arrested during the period of this report, and the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had conducted hearings on 52 traffickers.

“The Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department of the Ministry of Interior reported 52 cases involved with 65 traffickers which led to 8 prosecutions. Non-government organizations reported 19 cases of human trafficking for forced labor, related to legal migrant workers who were forced to be salves in Malaysia, but labor recruitment companies in Cambodia normally paid monetary compensation, so they were not convicted for their crimes. It has not yet been seen that labor recruitment companies were prosecuted for being responsible for trafficking migrant workers. In February 2008, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen ordered the Ministry of Commerce to cancel the licenses of marriage brokerage companies, as it was considered that such business is a form of human trafficking.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6544, 6.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Chakraval, Vol.17, #2839, 6.1.2009

  • Son of Prum Manh [a well-known Ayay joking singer] Drove a Care and Hit Two Motorbikes, Then He Tried to Escape, but Was Finally Caught by Police [on the Russian Boulevard, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1839, 6.1.2009

  • Mr. Sok Sareth Is Removed by the Royal Government from His Work of Deputy Governor of Banteay Meanchey to another Position
  • Anonymous Leaflets Describing Officials of the Ministry of Education Who Continue Beyond Their Retirement Age
  • The Owner of the Nightclub [where there was a fire killing 62 people] in Bangkok Is Accused for Criminal Negligence [about safety systems and for allowing underage people to enter the club]
  • Israeli Troops Lunch Land Attacks into Gaza [number of deaths of Palestinians tolls 510, Israelis less than 10]
  • Sri Lanka Troops Are Hunting Rebel Leaders in a Deep Forest Region at the North [after taking control of the Tamil tiger rebel capital of Kilinochi]
  • France Rescues Two Cargo Ships and Arrests 19 Somali Pirates

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #176, 6.1.2009

  • Experts Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery Express Satisfaction about the Increase of the Rainy Season Paddy Rice Yield [they said that the yield will increase to 6 million tonnes, 500,000 tonnes more than in 2007]
  • A 20-Month-Old Girl and a 4-Year-Old Girl Were Raped by [two] Men Early January [one man involved in one of the two cases was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]
  • Chicken Feet and Bones with No Quality Are Imported by Merchants from Siam [Thailand – Poipet]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6544, 6.1.2009

  • Report about Human Trafficking Released by US Department of State
  • Drug Use Declines, but Spreads to Rural Areas; Formerly Drug Pills Were Used, but Now Drugs Are Abused by Using Syringes to Inject Drugs into the Blood
  • A Man Was Shot Dead when He Rushed to Help His Neighbor Who Was Being Robbed [six robbers armed with 1 stick, 4 short guns, and 1 AK Rifle are being looked for – Serei Saophoan, Banteay Meanchey]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3658, 6.1.2009

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Will Visit the Middle East in Order to Ask for Loans to Support His Government

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4787, 6.1.2009

  • National Co-Prosecutor [Ms. Chea Leang] Maintains Position to Not Accuse Additional Khmer Rouge Leaders
  • The Minister of Information [Mr. Khieu Kanharith]: Don’t Prohibit the Performances of the Opera ‘Where Elephants Weep’ – but Prohibit to Show It on Television
  • There Were 10,000 Cambodians Applying for US Visas in 2009 [4,400 for living in the United States of America, and 5,500 for visiting, study, and work]
  • Minister [of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery, Mr. Chan Sarun] Asks Citizens to Produce Prahok in Time [when there are many fish – in the Khmer farming society, Prahok, made from fish, is an important food during the dry season; Prahok can be preserved for a long time]
  • More Than 2,000 Mobile Phones Were Confiscated in Pawnshops, but Were Returned Again to the Shops; however They Are Prohibited to Continue to Make Business [with mobile phones, as this may encourage to steal mobile phones to bring them to pawn shops – Phnom Penh]

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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