The Prime Minister Ordered the Suspension of the Import of Blue Ear Pigs into Cambodia – Thursday, 5.8.2010

Posted on 6 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, called on and ordered the authorities and other relevant officials at the Cambodian-Vietnamese and Cambodian-Thai borders to suspend importing pigs as they may have the blue ear pig disease which is spreading.


“He stated during the certificate granting ceremony to bachelor students of the Build Bright University at the Koh Pich conference hall in the morning of 4 August 2010 that the blue ear pig disease broke out in China in May 2010, in Vietnam and Laos in July 2010, and then in Thailand. Now it entered Cambodia, affecting pigs to die in farms in Kampot, Kompong Cham, Kompong Chnnang, Kandal, Prey Veng, and Takeo.


“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries has taken immediate action, because when such a disease happens in the country, even the transport of animals in our country is banned, but while there are such restrictions, the provinces along the borders still allow the massive import of pigs.


“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen called on the provincial authorities at the borders, especially at the Cambodian-Vietnamese and Cambodian-Thai borders, to suspend the import of pigs in order to prevent the outbreak of this pig disease. He said, ‘All authorities, including customs and CamControl officials, must prevent it. It does not violate the principles of the World Trade Organization, but it is a measure to save the lives of animals from this disease that spreads from place to place. As for the pigs that have already been transported to Prey Veng and Svay Rieng, they must be banned from being transported to Phnom Penh, as it can harm human and animal lives. Our problem now is not just to meet the demands of the consumers, but to guarantee the quality of lives of humans and of animals.’


The Prime Minister took the opportunity to issue a restrictive order, because when such a disease breaks out, there need to be emergency measures taken. Previously, there were infectious diseases like diarrhea and many children suffered from it. Now there comes the blue ear pig disease, but at the border such pigs are permitted to be imported.


He mentioned the Minister’s of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, H.E. Chan Sarun’s wordings, who had said that the illegal import of pigs through the provinces along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border is more active and alarming. Samdech Hun Sen questioned [the official staff], ‘You work at border posts or at the provinces, do you care about public health or about our citizens’ health?’


“Together with the appeal and the restrictive order, the Prime Minister also called on local pork vendors not to increase the prices too much, while the import of pigs from Thailand and Vietnam is suspended. Before, there were many such cases where the traders marked their prices up, and the prices of other meat like beef, and fish, followed and so did the prices of other things. Some said that pigs imported from the west and from the east killed local pigs, while they themselves try to work for their own interests without caring about the consumers. Therefore, there should not be too much price increases and the outbreak of the disease must be prevented, as now veterinarians as well as the Departments of Animal Health and Production, both in the capital city and in the provinces, are dealing with this issue.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2319, 5.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 August 2010

Areyathor, Vol.9, #1450, 5-6.8.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor: Cambodia Tries to Avoid War even though Thailand Sends More Troops [to the border]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2319, 5.8.2010

  • The Prime Minister Ordered the Suspension of the Import of Blue Ear Pigs into Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7026, 5.8.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Expressed His Position about the [World Heritage Committee] Meeting in Brazil and the Border Issue while the Siamese [Thai] Government Wants to Negotiate [he said there is no winning nor losing for Cambodia and Thailand regarding the meeting of UNESCO in Brazil. He wants the border issues to be solved with peace, respect, friendship, and cooperation]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The Royal Government Respects the [Khmer Rouge] Court over [former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch’s Conviction [that sentenced him to 35 years in prison, but he will still serve around 19 years only, considering his past imprisonment and a reduction of punishment for cooperation with the court investigations]
  • Grade Quality Wood Trading Still Occurs in Opposition to the Measures of the Government to Stop Illegal Logging [Kompong Chhnang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3950, 5.8.2010
  • Another Australian Company [the Southern Gold] Announced to Have Found Gold Ore in the Snuol District of Kratie

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #22, 5.8.2010
  • Samdech Hun Sen Wants a Bigger Cambodian Market Share Abroad [to export rice and other grains]
  • Within Three Hours, There Were Two Robberies in Phnom Penh [taking away some money and jewelry]


Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #230, 5.8.2010
  • Cambodia Is Open for Negotiations [over border issues] with Thailand, and the Prime Minister Guaranteed the Citizens that There Will Be No Armed Clash [along the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • Cambodia Exports Fishery Products [of 10,000 tonnes] to International Markets [Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the USA, and Vietnam] Amounting to US$20 Million within the First Six Months of 2010 [US$5 million more than during the same period last year]
  • Four Institutions Have Roles [as buying and selling representatives of stock exchange bonds] in the Cambodian Stock Exchange [the ACLEDA Bank, the Canadia Bank, the OSK Indochina Bank, the Tong Yang Bank from South Korea]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5268, 5.8.2010
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Wants to Send Officials to Negotiate with Cambodia over Border Tensions
  • More Than 110,000 Victims Received Emergency Assistance from the Cambodian Red Cross during the Forth Term [from 2006 to 2010; according to the 5th convention of the Cambodian Red Cross presided over by the King]



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An Official Said the Visit to Singapore Benefits Cambodia – Wednesday, 28.7.2010

Posted on 29 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, returned to Cambodia in the evening of 27 July 2010, after paying an official visit to the Republic of Singapore for three days.

“At the Phnom Penh International Airport, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, held a press conference, saying that the visit to Singapore was essential for Cambodia as it benefits Cambodia, since Singapore has a vigorous economic growth. Practically, within the first six months of 2010, Singapore achieved a 17% economic growth. Because Singapore is an important economic partner of Cambodia, both countries’ trade increased within these six months. Trade increased up to 62%, amounting to more than US$1 billion. Also, investments from Singapore are rising.

“During the visit, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen had discussions with the Singaporean prime minister, and both sides agreed to concentrate on mutual economic development and the exchange of their perspective on regional issues.

“The Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, made a speech during a business meal, organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Singapore in the National University of Singapore in the morning of 26 July 2010.

“Samdech Hun Sen invited Singaporean businesspeople, who have never visited Cambodia, to come to study the Cambodian reality, take up investment opportunities, and meet with Cambodian commercial associations to seek partners and to cooperate to contribute to successful results together. He added, ‘You have capital, knowledge, and experience, and with the extensive potential of Cambodia, there are many places and opportunities where both countries’ economies can benefit from each other.’ Samdech Dekchor promised Singaporean investors and businesspeople to facilitate a favorable and friendly business atmosphere, to be widely open for Singaporean investments and businesses.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked Singaporean investors to establish rice milling factories in Cambodia, because Cambodia harvests lots of paddy rice each year, but the export of unprocessed paddy rice makes Cambodia to lose a lot of profits.

“It should be noted that both countries established diplomatic ties in 1965, but severed them in 1975. They were then reestablished in 1992.

“The trade from Singapore to Cambodia in 2009 amounted to more than US$208 million, while the Cambodian export to Singapore was more than US$481 million.

“From 1994 to 2010, the amount of investments from Singapore was more than US$570 million, concentrated in several sectors, such as tourism, industry, agriculture, and infrastructure.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5261, 28.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2312, 28.7.2010

  • According to the Opinion of His Excellency Hor Namhong [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] the Sentence of Duch [the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Is Too Light [he was sentenced for 35 years in jail, but considering his prior imprisonment and a reduction of the penalty, he will serve only up to 19 years]
  • Twelve Foreigners and Two Khmers Were Seriously and Lightly Injured after a Bus Hit a Cow and Overturned [Kompong Thom]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7019, 28.7.2010

  • Duch’s Verdict Seems to Be Surprisingly Tolerant [based on the impression of Cambodian citizens; according to The New York Times] while the Cambodian Center for Human Rights Said It Is a Model for the Cambodian Courts
  • Workers of the PCCS Garment Factory Strike and Blocked the Russian Federation Boulevard [to demand the factory to re-employ a worker’s representative], but the Authorities Used Force to Disperse Them [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3943, 28.7.2010

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections [COMFREL] ((Note: if an Internet access brings up “http://www.comfrel.org/khm/index.php” – by deleting “khm/index.php” the English version of the COMFREL site should appear)) in Cambodia Criticized the Government for Using the Courts to Push the Opposition Party Away from Competition for the Upcoming Elections
  • A US Senator [Mr. John Kerry] and the Sam Rainsy Party Encouraged that an Independent Court Systems Be Established in Order to Eliminate Impunity in Cambodia

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #15, 28.7.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Praised [the head of the Cambodian Red Cross] Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen [for her effort to protect the honor of Khmer women]
  • The Royal Government Invests in the Improvement of National Road 5 [377 km from Phnom Penh to Banteay Meanchey; responsible for this is the Chamroen Industrial Development company of Cambodia to spend US$500 million; and the width of the road will be enlarged to 15 meters]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #224, 28.7.2010

  • Duch Will Appeal against the Sentence [that convicted him to 35 years in prison] while the World [France, Japan, the USA, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights] Welcome the Sentence
  • Ms. Mu Sochua Accepted Money from the Women Movement [collected for her, to compensate Prime Minister Hun Sen, as she lost in a defamation case]
  • The Ministry of Education Warned Dishonest Invigilators [who get bribes from students and allow them to cheat during the Grade 12 exams]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5261, 28.7.2010

  • An Official Said the Visit to Singapore Benefits Cambodia
  • Regarding Duch’s Verdict, Cambodia Says It Is Not Appropriate while a Foreign Country [France] Says It Is Good
  • [About 1,000] Yellow-Shirt Demonstrators [who protested in front of the UNESCO office in Bangkok] Demanded that the Preah Vihear Temple Is Excluded from the World Heritage List [it is related to the unilateral development plan of Cambodia in the Preah Vihear temple region]

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Court Reform Is Necessary – Saturday, 24.7.2010

Posted on 25 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“Recently, the Ministry of Justice issued a special letter to warn court officials not to do improper activities as this might invite public criticism. In a letter dated 16 July 2010, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Ang VongVathana, wrote that officials of the Ministry have received many complaints from the general public accusing court officials, especially, clerks, without giving their names. The Minister added in the letter that the role of clerks is to take notes, to keep the complaint documents, and to fulfill their role properly according to the legal procedures, neutral and non-biased.

“The Minister of Justice warns in the letter that clerks must not be biased towards any sides during the hearing process and they must follow the orders of judges and of prosecutors in order to gain trust in the judicial system from the public. Such a warning from the Minister of Justice towards clerks is new, but he seems not to consider the judges and prosecutors in the provinces and cities who also commit improper acts.

“Regarding the above issue, the chief of cabinet of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Sam Prochea Meaneth, said that the letter was sent to all municipal courts in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The Ministry aims at all court officials, particularly at clerks who work with lawsuits of citizens. Clerks at the courts do not have the power to pass judgments in any cases. The decision by the Minister of Justice to issue this letter was not because of any special cases or accusations about wrongdoings, but it was issued as part of judicial reforms.

“Observers of the court system in Cambodia said that the letter of the Minister, dated 16 July 2010, deals only with one part of the problem; it warns only clerks who may be creating problems. But judges and prosecutors, who had committed corruption, like by changing a case from wrong to right, are not warned by the Ministry of Justice and admonished to implement their roles appropriately. Corruption in the court system can result from collusion among clerks, judges, and prosecutors. Therefore to put the burden only on clerks is not proper, because it disregards the irregularities committed by some corrupt judges and prosecutors towards poor citizens.

“Officials of non-government organizations said that they often heard of complaints from citizens expressing their disappointment about the courts and especially about clerks. Non-government organizations said that when citizens have money, clerks seem to care about their complaints, but if they do not have money, clerks discriminate against them and delay their cases for a long time before starting to work on them. The issue of the letter of the Minister is a positive sign, but it is still not covering the whole truth. The most important thing is that the Ministry of Justice makes the citizens trust in the court system of Cambodia.

“Many citizens have already been victimized by judges and prosecutors who colluded with powerful officials to grab their land. In some cases, the corruption of judges and prosecutors has been revealed publicly by citizens, like in land disputes in Ratanakiri. But in the end, the Ministry of Justice did not take any legal action against corrupt those judges and prosecutors, but just assigned them to work as judges and prosecutors in other provinces. Such dealings make citizens to distrust the court system, and they curse powerful officials who grab their land.

“At present, the court system of Cambodia is being criticized by national and international circles, accusing it to be a tool of the ruling party that serves only the rich and the powerful. But for poor victimized citizens as well as for politicians of the opposition, the courts do not seem to provide them justice according to the law. Thus, judicial reform is necessary to avoid that citizens lose trust in the institution of the courts. In the meantime, the international community and the donors must encourage the Cambodian government to speed up reforming the court system, as it had promised. Clerks, judges, and prosecutors, who commit corruption by using law for personal benefit, must be punished according to the law.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3940, 24-25.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2309, 24.7.2010

  • Three Men Were Arrested with 570 kg of Borax Powder Used for Applying on Food [to make it last longer] Affecting Human Health [Phnom Penh – Borax, a real multi-purpose chemical]
  • A Laotian Man Was Arrested together with More Than 3,000 Drug Tablets

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7016, 24-25.7.2010

  • Victims and Former Prisoners of the Tuol Sleng Prison Asked for a Life Sentence Imprisonment for Duch [his sentence will be announced on 26 July 2010]

  • Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3940, 24-25.7.2010
    • Court Reform Is Necessary
    • Cambodia Needs Investors and Tax Favors from the USA to Create a Good Atmosphere at the 60th Anniversary of Having Diplomatic Ties

    • The USA Announced to Provide US$187 Million in Aid for Three Years for the Countries of the Indochina Region [Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam] to Address Poverty and to Conserve the Lower Mekong River

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5258, 24.7.2010

    • The Cambodian Prime Minister: The Royal Government Will Make Cambodia [the third] Rice Exporting Country [after Thailand and Vietnam in Asia]

    • [Secretary of State of the USA] Clinton Criticized the Human Rights Situation in Vietnam [during the ASEAN-US meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Vietnam – but indirectly supported Vietnam in its claim on some Islands in the South China Sea contested by China]

    • The [Angkor Sentinel 2010] Military Exercise at the Command Post Level [for peace keeping] Was Finished Successfully [Phnom Penh]

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  • Female Sex Workers in Cambodia Suffer from Members of the Authorities Who Use the Opportunity of Illegal Arrests to Abuse Them – Wednesday, 21.7.2010

    Posted on 22 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

    “The acting Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, Ms. Elaine Pearson, said at the release of a 76-page Human Rights Watch report to the national and international press on 20 July 2010, ‘It is known since a long that some police and other authorities of Cambodia detain sex workers illegally, beat them and rape them, and steal money and other property they have with them.’

    “Ms. Elaine Pearson added, ‘Police arrests sex workers as part of their regular raids in streets and parks in Phnom Penh. Using these opportunities, there is active violence, and other kinds of abuses happened during such actions to arrest and collect sex workers by members of the district police and by other authorities at specific times, sometimes targeting only sex workers to arrest them, and at other occasions arresting sex workers together with other groups of citizens that are considered as “garbage of society” found living on the streets.’ Ms. Elaine Person added, ‘Some members of the police abuse sex workers without ever receiving any punishment, and police punch them, beat them with rattan sticks, batons, and electric shock batons. In some cases, sex workers have been raped by police while they were in detention, and all sex workers have to pay bribes, or their money was simply stolen by police.’

    “She went on to say, ‘In an atmosphere, where police who committed abuses do not receive any punishments, the Cambodian government has to recognize that not to initiate any criminal procedures against such activities is to allow human rights abuses to continue.’ She added that the Cambodian government should close social rehabilitation centers where sex workers are illegally detained, and to completely close the drug rehabilitation centers soon [which are the subject of similar allegations], as well as to stop all violence against sex workers.

    “In addition, the 76-page report of Human Rights Watch titled ‘Off the Streets: Arbitrary Detention and Other Abuses against Sex Workers in Cambodia’ released to journalists on 20 July 2010, says that in Phnom Penh, police had sent sex workers to a Phnom Penh social rehabilitation center and then to non-government organizations or to a social rehabilitation center of the Prey Speu authorities. The conditions at Prey Speu are like hell, as sex workers who had been sent there told Human Rights Watch that they were allowed to get out of their rooms only twice a day to bath, using water from a dirty pond or to go to the toilet, followed by a guard.

    “In addition, sex workers, beggars, drug abusers, street children, and homeless people also sent to the Prey Speu center have suffered from beatings, rape, and other mistreatments. The report adds that at least three persons had been beaten to death at the Prey Speu center between 2006 and 2008.

    “Along with the demand and request to the Cambodian government to stop all violence against sex workers and to completely close any center that detains sex workers illegally and is using violence. Human Rights Watch asked the donors of Cambodia that support the efforts against human trafficking and training for police, especially the USA, Australia, Japan, the European Union, and the United Nations, to reconsider their funding to police institution and to the Ministry of Social Affairs, until an independent investigation about the alleged abuses is conducted, until the persons responsible for the abuses are brought to justice, and until the Prey Speu social rehabilitation center is completely shut down.

    “Ms. Elaine said that the donors should not spend their money to train abusive officials, but should rather take steps to promote responsible actions from the Cambodian government. Also, the report of Human Rights Watch suggests the creation of a special committee to thoroughly and independently conduct investigations on violence and the extortion of money by law enforcement officials, by security guards working in the parks, and by staff or volunteers of municipal social rehabilitation centers; this committee should have representatives from the government who are capable and respectful, as well as from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Department of Social Affairs, UN agencies, non-government organizations, and representatives of sex workers. This committee should be created soon and should have the authority to summon witnesses and to produce public reports.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3937, 21.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 21 July 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2306, 21.7.2010

    • Twenty Four Female Workers between the Ages of 15 and 17 Were Found in the VC Manpower Company That Plans to Send Them to Malaysia [the Ministry of Interior is collecting information from them to take legal action against the company]
    • Takhmao Forestry Officials Intercepted [53 pieces of] Ebony Wood Loaded in a Twelve-Seater Car, Prepared to Be Transported to Vietnam [Kandal]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7013, 21.7.2010

    • The Asian Development Bank Assessed the Cambodian Economy: Through [increased] Tourist Arrivals and Textile Exports, Economic Growth Is Estimated to Be 4.5% [in 2010]
    • The Construction of the Prek Pnov Bridge [across the Tonle Sap river] Is Almost Completed [after spending about US$43 million] and It Is Scheduled to Be Inaugurated in September 2010

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3937, 21.7.2010

    • Female Sex Workers in Cambodia Suffer from Members of the Authorities Who Use the Opportunity of Illegal Arrests to Abuse Them

    Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #9, 21.7.2010

    • [The Minister of the Council of Ministers] Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Leads a Delegation to Attend a World Heritage Committee Meeting [in Brazil from 25 July to 3 September 2010]
    • Human Rights Watch Asked the Government to Halt Abuses against Women Sex Workers [when they are intercepted, they suffer beatings, rape, extortion of money, sexual harassment, detention, and other bad actions from the authorities]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #219, 21.7.2010

    • The Cambodian Stock Exchange Will Be Opened in July 2011 [according to a new delay announced by the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
    • There Are Many Plaintiffs in Case 002 [of former Khmer Rouge leaders, Khiev Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Nuon Chea; as many as 3,993 candidates applied to be plaintiffs of the case, and the judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are considering whether to accept their applications]
    • An opposition Party Official Showed a New Position, Requesting a Political Coordination [between the president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, and the government, relating to the removal of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers, for which Mr. Sam Rainsy was convicted by a court]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5255, 21.7.2010

    • The Total Investment Capital during the First Six Months of 2010 Drops by About US$138 Million [to US$917.4 million, where US$161.4 million were invested by local investors – according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia]
    • Because of a Dispute [between families], a Policeman Fatally Shot Two Persons and Injured Three Others [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]

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    Within Five Months of 2010, Tourist Arrivals to Cambodia Were More Than One Million – Wednesday, 7.7.2010

    Posted on 9 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

    “Phnom Penh: A report of tourist statics shows that within five months of 2010, there were 1,054,821 international tourist arrivals in Cambodia, an increase by 11.53% compared to the corresponding period in 2009, and the arrivals from Vietnam had the highest number.

    “The report was released by the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, for Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen on 29 June 2010, and it was then made available to journalists on 5 July 2010.

    “The report says that, among the international tourist arrivals to Cambodia of more than one million, 552,523 tourists came to Cambodia by air (243,907 through the Phnom Penh International airport, and 308,616 through the Siem Reap airport), 409,349 tourists arrived on land, and 34,349 by ship. 58,743 tourists made one-day-return visits.

    “Minister Thong Khon said that the 10 major tourism markets of origin for Cambodia within the first five months were:

    1. Vietnam: 175,937 tourists, an increase by 43.76%
    2. Korea: 125,455 tourists, an increase by 33.53%
    3. China: 74,558 tourists, an increase by 32.07%
    4. Japan: 67,658 tourists, an increase by 4.80%
    5. America: 65,472 tourists, a decrease by 5.43%
    6. England: 47,635 tourists, a decrease by 4.86%
    7. France: 46,600 tourists, a decrease by 0.51%
    8. Taiwan: 41,707 tourists, an increase by 41.82%
    9. Australia: 38,118 tourists, an increase by 11.05%
    10. Thailand: 36,995 tourists, a decrease by 13.83%

    “Mr. Thong Khon said that the number of international tourists visiting the four priority tourism sites of Cambodia within these five months were:

    1. Siem Reap-Angkor: 565,803 tourists or 45.87% of the total tourist arrivals, increased by 26.63% compared to the same period in 2009.
    2. Phnom Penh: 489,018 or 39.65% of the total arrivals, increased by 11.9%
    3. Seashore regions: 81,459 tourists or 6.60% of the total arrivals decreased by 7.65%
    4. Eco-Tourism regions at the Northeast: 39,791 tourists or 3.23% increased by 91.28%

    “Minister Thong Khon said that the number of national tourists visiting tourism resorts and regions countrywide within five months of 2010 were about 3.5 million, increased by 17% compared to the same period in 2009.

    “Minister Thong Khon added that the number Cambodian tourists going abroad within five months of 2010 were 194,473, an increase by 14.86% compared to the corresponding period in 2009, where there were 339,698 Cambodian tourists going abroad, a decrease by 56.79% compared to 2008.

    Note:
    The numbers in the previous sentence do not tally – and this text does not provide any clue how to interpret the figures – giving percentages up to two digits behind the decimal point, so that any effort to speculate what the figures mean could, at the best, lead to some general statements, without pretending precision up to some hundredths of one per cent.
    But we still try to mirror in The Mirror what is in the originals.

    “The president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, Mr. Ang Kim Ieng, welcomed the increase of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia and said this is because the world is recovering from the economic crisis.

    “Mr. Ang Kim Ieng added that even though Asian tourists to Cambodia, especially from Vietnam that stand on top of the list, who spend a short period of three days on average, spending less money than European tourists, it is still a positive sign for the tourism to Cambodia. Also, the current political stability and the good infrastructure of Cambodia, as well as the expansion of flights, help to attract tourists.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5243, 7.7.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 7 July 2010

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2294, 7.7.2010

    • Municipal Court Ordered [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua to Pay Her Fine within Ten Days [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen], otherwise she will be detained according to the law; Ms. Mu Sochua rejects to pay[as she considers the court decision not to have been just]
    • A Group of Japanese Investors Asked for Support from the Senate for Agricultural Investments in Cambodia [they began a pilot step by doing rice cultivation on 200 hectares in Battambang for rice export]

    Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #787, 7.7.2010

    • Can the Decision of Ms. Mu Sochua to Allow Herself to Be Imprisoned Change the Judicial System in Cambodia, and Bring Help from the International Community?

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7001, 7.7.2010

    • The Appeals Court Delayed Sam Rainsy’s Hearing [over the removal of border markers at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; it was postponed as two prisoners involved in the case were not present]
    • Cambodia and Laos Connect a Fiber Cable Network [to expand highly effective communications]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3925, 7.7.2010

    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: The Sam Rainsy Party Does Not Recognize Any Border Demarcation That Leads to the Loss of [Cambodian] Territory to neighboring countries [especially to Vietnam, where recently some farmers lost their land because of the new settings]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #209, 7.7.2010

    • Cambodia Celebrated the Second Anniversary of the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site [on 7 July 2010]
    • Four Forestry Department Higher Level Staff [accused of being involving in forestry crimes] in Koh Kong Were Released Temporarily [but they are still under court investigation; Prime Minister Hun Sen signed off on a letter sent by the Minister of Agriculture to the Koh Kong Court, requesting the temporary release of those forestry officials]
    • [The manager of a company said:] A South Korean Company, Korean Overseas Grains Investment and Development Corporation – KOGID – Plans to Spend US$7.35 Million to Buy Red Corn [from Cambodia]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5243, 7.7.2010

    • Within Five Months of 2010, Tourist Arrivals to Cambodia Were More Than One Million
    • The Minister of Agriculture of Cambodia Asked Vietnam to Invest in Agriculture [to produce more rice and become a major rice export country like Vietnam]
    • Eight Khmer Citizens Liberated from India Arrived in Cambodia [they had been trafficked to India]
    • [Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An: The Cambodian-Laotian Border Is No Longer a Problem [so far 88% of the border markers are set, along the border line of about 600 km]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    Samdech Hun Sen: Chinese Aid Helps Strengthen the Independence of Cambodia – Thursday, 24.6.2010

    Posted on 27 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

    “Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said that Chinese aid not only helps with the development of Cambodia, but it also helps strengthen the independence of Cambodia.

    “Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so to the delegation of the Chinese People’s Army led by Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun, Political Commissar of the General Armament Department of the Ministry of Defense of China in the evening of 23 June 2010 at the Council of Ministers.

    “The minister in charge of accompanying the Prime Minister’s delegation, Mr. Sri Thamrong, told reporters after the meeting that Samdech Hun Sen had said that China has assisted Cambodia a lot, both with grant aid, and with loans including with loans without interest, to help restore and develop Cambodia. That aid not only assists Cambodia with the development, but also consolidates the national independence of Cambodia.

    “Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun told Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen that his visit to Cambodia at this time is to implement two obligations. The first, he was ordered by the Chinese President, Mr. Hu Jintao, to deliver 257 military trucks to Cambodia as soon as possible, also guaranteeing their 100% quality. The second task is to strengthen cooperation between both countries, especially between the troops of the two countries.

    “Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the quick implementation, like with the speed of a rocket – of Mr. Hu Jintao’s order within 48 days, shows the good relation and cooperation between the countries, the governments, the people, and the troops of both countries.

    “Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun considers Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen as a good and real friend of the Chinese people, especially because he firmly adheres to the One-China-Policy.

    “Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen again confirmed the position of the Royal Government of Cambodia that it is the clear political position of Cambodia, since the time of the former King, and it continues for the current Royal Government of Cambodia, to adhere to the One-China-Policy without any change.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5232, 24.6.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 24 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #512, 24.6.2010

    • The Vietnamese President: Cambodia and Vietnam Have Good Cooperation [he said so during the private visit to Vietnam by Samdech Euv (the former King), Samdech Mae (the former Queen), and the present King]
    • The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization [NEDO] of Japan Plans to Implement Two Projects in Cambodia [setting up of modern rice milling machines at the community level, and producing clean water]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2283, 24.6.2010

    • Japan Provides Grant Aid [of about US$131 million] to Finish the Construction of the Neak Loeung Bridge [across the Mekong River on National Road 1 from Phnom Penh to Vietnam] before February 2015
    • An American Federal Court Convicted [the leader of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters – CFF] Chhun Yasith – to Life Imprisonment [for conducting an (unsuccessful) attack to overthrow the Cambodian government – on 23 and 24 July 2002, there was armed attack in Phnom Penh by the CFF to overthrow the government; during this attempt, three members of the CFF were killed, and some others were arrested; some members of the armed forces of the government and some common citizens were injured]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #689, 24.6.2010

    • Mr. Sam Rainsy: I Am Not Worried about the Warrant of the Yuon [Vietnamese] Puppet Court, as It Is a Problem of the Whole Nation [the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has published an arrest warrant for him, over the accusation of faking public documents and of spreading misinformation]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6990, 24.6.2010

    • The Ministry of Labor Published Books with Instructive Policies for the Prevention of AIDS/HIV [to promote knowledge about HIV/AIDS]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3914, 24.6.2010

    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Encourages Factory Owners to Provide Wages to Workers Who Had a Forced Work Stoppage during the Inauguration of the Sky Road [constructed to reduce traffic jams; the owner of the TACFAT factory does not want to provide them wages for the time of work stoppage – and announced to welcome if workers report this to related institutions, and especially to the Ministry of Labor – Phnom Penh]

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #200, 24.6.2010

    • A Cambodian Official [the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong] Welcomes the Conviction of Chhun Yasith to Jail for Life for Attempting to Overthrow the Cambodian Government
    • The First Sky Road in Cambodia [built to relieve the traffic jam at the Kbal Thnol Roundabout, spending about US$7 million] Will Be Inaugurated This Morning

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5232, 24.6.2010

    • Samdech Hun Sen: Chinese Aid Helps Strengthen the Independence of Cambodia
    • Thailand Arrested More Than 200 Khmer Citizens, Accusing Them of Creating a Village in Thailand [in the district of Aranyaprathet, in the province of Srakeo, 4 km from the Cambodian-Thai border]
    • The Sydney University of Australia Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Culture to Conduct Archaeology Studies in Preah Vihear

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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    The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee Appealed to the Armed Forces to Protect the Interest of Citizens More Than That of Traders – Wednesday, 2.6.2010

    Posted on 3 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

    “Through a press conference on Tuesday, 2 June 2010, groups of civil society organizations in Cambodia, including the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, the NGO Forum on Cambodia, and the Cambodian Housing Rights Task Force, appealed to the armed forces to protect the interest of citizens, and not that of private companies and traders.

    “In the press conference also communities that are affected by land grabbing by companies participated. Also citizens of the Boeng Kak lake community that are facing land grabbing and eviction by the Shukaku company of Senator and Oknha Lao Meng Khin from the ruling party, citizens of the Amleang commune in the Thpong district, Kompong Speu, who are vigorously protesting against land grabbing by the Kompong Speu Sugar and the Phnom Penh Sugar companies of Senator and Oknha Ly Yong Phat from the ruling party, and citizens from Romeas Haek district in Svay Rieng, who suffer from land grabbing by the Peam Cheang Rubber Plantation company, participated.

    “A representative of the Boeng Kak lake community in Phnom Penh, Ms. Huot Mony, told the story that has led to violations and intimidations, to grab their land and houses by the Shukaku Inc. company, where many citizens are staff of the Prime Minister’s advisory committees that came to settle there since 1980. In 1993, the number of citizens in the area increased. On 6 April 2006, the Phnom Penh Municipality summoned citizens to meet at the Srah Chok pagoda, informing them that all the citizens in the Boeng Kak lake area would receive land titles – but it then became quiet.

    “What makes the Boeng Kak lake residents feel very disappointed and hurt is that the notification of the Phnom Penh Municipality, dated 6 February 2006, said that the Boeng Kak lake area is leased for 99 years for US$79.2 million, with the rate of US$0.60 per square meter, to the Shukaku Inc. company, to develop the area of 133 hectares, where 40 hectares are lake surface.

    “Through this agreement, 4,252 families in the Boeng Kak lake area in the Srah Chok commune, Daun Penh district, have been seriously affected by the dredging of sand by the company to fill in the lake. This Boeng Kak lake representative added that the company had laid sand dredging pipes that cause the posts of their houses to become unstable, and they had ordered the authorities to threaten and to prevent citizens from repairing their houses. Some families took out their belongings and the inhabitants moved away, as they were afraid of the danger that their houses might collapse.

    “Many problems had happened to the Boeng Kak lake residents – some are concerned that their houses might be burnt down, people might get electric shocks, or their houses might collapse. Sobbing while she was speaking, this representative called on the international community to think about the poor citizens who face evictions, before they decide to grant aid to the Cambodian government.

    “Also, a representatives of citizens from the Kompong Speu community in the Amleang commune said that their condition is not much different from what the representative of the Boeng Kak lake area had mentioned.

    “This representative said that the Amleang commune residents had worked on their rice fields since before the Khmer Rouge regime, except during the Khmer Rouge regime, and then after 1979, they continued to live on their land, doing farming. Just early this year, Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s company had ordered machinery to clear their farmland and to ban them from farming on their land.

    “Facing such a situation leads to serious disappointments, and the activities of the government and of these companies are not a sign of poverty alleviation, but they add a heavier burden on the citizens. In the meantime, it was noticed that when protests against land grabbing took place, private companies often used armed forces to intimidate the victimized citizens. Some cases led to shootings at the citizens, but the perpetrators were not brought to be punished.

    “Non-government organizations raised six important demands to the government:

    1. The citizens must be involved in all developments.
    2. There must be proper compensation and agreements when dealing with land disputes.
    3. There must be more effective land dispute mechanisms.
    4. Arrests of citizens over land disputes must be stopped.
    5. The government should be involved in solving land disputes, based on proper procedures.
    6. Armed forces should protect the interests of citizens, and not that of powerful traders.

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3895, 2.5.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 2 June 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #493, 2.5.2010

    • Land Disputes Increased in 2010, though Land Prices Dropped [according to the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee – more than 80 organizations were involved in 236 cases in 2009, compared to the corresponding period in 2010, there is an increase by 34.3%]
    • More Than 200,000 [Cambodian] Workers Are Working Illegally in Thailand [and seriously suffer from the exploitation of their labor – according to the Ministry of Interior]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2264, 2.5.2010

    • The United States of America Increases the Visa Fees to the USA from 4 June 2010 [from US$131 to US$140 for non-immigrant visas]
    • The King Issued a Royal Decree to Finalize the Appointments of Four Officials, and to Nominate Five Others [as advisors and under-secretaries of state; all of them are officials from the quota of FUNCINPEC]
    • The Number of Traffic Accidents within Five Months of 2010 Decreased, but the Number of Deaths Rose [there were 2,626 cases in 2010 which dropped by 145, but 804 people were killed, an increase by 11 deaths]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #671, 2.5.2010

    • [President of the National Assembly] Heng Samrin Does Not Allow Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit and Monitor the Putting of Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; the Sam Rainsy Party claims that the marker is planted on Khmer territory, while the government denies it]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6971, 2.5.2010

    • Traffic Accidents in 2009 Made the Government Waste US$248 Million in 2009 [1,717 people were killed and 7,022 others suffered from serious injuries]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3895, 2.5.2010

    • The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee Appealed to the Armed Forces to Protect the Interest of Citizens More Than That of Traders

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #184, 2.5.2010

    • Land Disputes Might Be a Hot Agenda in the Meeting between Cambodia and Donors Today
    • Cambodia Expressed the Position Not to Extradite [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin to Thailand [while the Thai government plans to send arrest warrants for Mr. Thaksin to 187 countries]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5213, 2.5.2010

    • The Forests in Oddar Meanchey Might Bring in US$30 Million from the Voluntary Carbon Market
    • A Tropical Strom Hit Two Districts in Siem Reap and Destroyed 373 Houses
    • Samdech Hun Sen Called on All National Institutions to Strongly Pay Attention to Children [he said so during the 61th anniversary of the International Children’s Day]
    • The National Assemblies of Cambodia and of Iran Encourage the Governments of Both Countries to Establish Embassies
    • Within Three Weeks, Nearly Riel 2 Million [approx. US$470] Has Been Charged from Those Throwing Away Rubbish in Public Places

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    Voluntary and Charitable Donations – Sunday, 16.5.2010

    Posted on 18 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

    In many societies it is usual that corporations, and rich and not so rich individuals make donations for causes they consider important for the public good. During the past week it was reported that more than US$7 million was collected as donations during the celebration of the Cambodia Red Cross and Red Crescent Society’s anniversary on 8 May; it is the largest humanitarian organization in Cambodia, having also individual Members, and Volunteers. This is an impressive organization which has collected an impressive sum. To see whether or not this is the beginning of a spirit of voluntarism in society, it would be good to know how much the same charitable donors are making available to lift up the economic situation of orphanages, to create and maintain scholarships for needy students from the provinces, to support organizations engaged in the promotion of awareness of the endangered environment and its protection, and many similar endeavors.

    In many countries, the Red Cross is one not-for-profit NGO like any other NGO – it receives private and corporate donations, like other NGOs receiving private and corporate donations; often these are encouraged by special tax reduction or tax exemption regulations for supporting such causes for the public good. Over the years I became aware that many persons in Cambodia, dealing with foreign NGOs working in the country, are not aware that these depend to a more or less strong degree on regular private donation, often from people in the middle and lower income brackets in their countries, and not only on public money. But it seems to be hardly a usual feature that Cambodian NGOs, working for the public good, receive similar donations from those who have money, in Cambodia. If there are worthwhile examples, it would be good to have them reported more prominently, and not only for the Cambodian Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.

    But whatever the source of such funds – it is usual that that they are accounted for regularly and publicly. One argument of the government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, why a special NGO law is necessary, was always that the finances of NGOs – as agencies handling social funds – have to be monitored publicly. Though NGOs have responded that they are subject to regular public audit already, and these audit reports have been available anyway, the request to make their financial records public was always among the main arguments to create such legislation.

    Now it is all the more surprising, that the financial volume and the operating procedures of the Social Fund of the government, even it’s existence, referred to sometimes over the years, are not similarly transparent, and there are additional allegations that government representatives have received substantial monies, supposedly for a social fund, which cannot be found in any verifiable public financial record.

    The present round of discussions was triggered by reports that an Australian mining company, which had operated for a limited period in Mondolkiri, is under corruption investigation at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, because it is also listed on stock exchanges in the USA. There are allegations that this may relate to payments to Cambodia. While the government was asked for precise, detailed information supported by documents, to be presented to the National Assembly, additional questions were added relating to payments from the French company Total. Some of the related, but not clarified pieces of information:

    • The Indonesian company Medco Energi said they paid US$4.5 million into a government social fund.
    • The Australian company BHP Billiton paid US$ 2.5 million as “tea money” – according to a statement by the Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology in the National Assembly.
    • Payments of US$20 million by the French oil company Total, paid as a “signature bonus,” are not publicly traceable.
    • In addition, some of the monies are said to have be designated to pay for specific activities in Mondolkiri or in Pursat etc., but different, related information, cannot be reconciled.

    Now the Prime Minister gave the task to explain the situation to the National Assembly to two Deputy Prime Ministers, the Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An, and the Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon. According to Mr. Phay Siphan, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister “said that all revenues must go to the national budget.” Obviously that is not what happened so far.

    Interesting explanations and revelations relating to the past can be expected – combined with the hope that the order of the Prime Minister will be molded into clear administrative procedures for the future.

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    Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources, after an Unclear Suppression Campaign – Thursday, 6.5.2010

    Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

    “High ranking officials of the Sam Rainsy Party had expressed their concerns before, that the non-transparent management of the rich natural resources of Cambodia, as well as corruption, make citizens – the owners of those important resources – become poor, so that they cannot receive the benefits from the present anarchic exploitations of natural resources.

    “Officials from 16 countries met in Phnom Penh for two days, on 4 and 5 May 2010, to discuss about the control of forestry resources and the trade of forestry products. Cambodian high ranking officials welcomed and chaired the discussion meetings to step up effective controls on forest resources. Asian and European officials came from Burma, Cambodia, China, England, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Siam [Thailand], the United States of America, and Yuon [Vietnam], to discuss how to promote forestry exploitation that follows legal standards.

    “Mr. Timo Mäkelä, the Director of Directorate G – Sustainable Development and Integration – in the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission, said that forestry trading is an important sector that boosts economic growth in Asian and European countries, and forestry products have significantly and enormously contributed to development of the economies of Asian and European countries. It is stressed that forestry products are essential for a national economy.

    “Mr. Timo Mäkelä said that good management of forestry resource will help prevent forestry destructions in any country, though forests can provide substantial national income. Cambodia used to export forestry products to some countries such as the former Soviet Union. But since Cambodia introduced reforms in 2001, the export of [unprocessed] forestry products abroad was halted [but illegal export continued].

    “The Minister of Agriculture of Cambodia, Mr. Chan Sarun, who was also present at the discussions, said that people from the countries that attend the meeting can jointly create plans to strengthen forestry management and legislation. ‘We can create joint planning to improve forestry control and to strength fundamental laws, as well as cut down illegal forestry productions.’

    “Recently, Cambodia has started to crack down on luxury grade wood trading, and after activities for one month, the authorities confiscated 6,000 cubic meter of such wood that was to be transported to China and Yuon. Some was to be exported to the international market via Singapore.

    “Ebony, Thnong, and Beng are most wanted luxury grade woods to produce furniture in some countries, and most illegal exports from Cambodia are of these kinds of wood. Most luxury grade wood confiscated was found in Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Kompong Cham, Stung Treng, and Kratie. The destinations for its export are known to be China and Yuon, where millions of cubic meters are needed.

    “The illegal wood trading in Cambodia reduced the rich forestry resource during the 1960s of about 75% of the whole country to drop to only more than 30% at present, according to some environmental organizations. Forestry expert officials and some sectors of the authorities have been blamed for their collusion, committing illegal wood trading, but most of the actors are not brought to the courts.

    “According to reports from forestry administration officials, 207 forestry crimes have been reported to the courts, but some traders with a title as an Oknha, or with close relations to high government officials, have not been charged, though they colluded to commit forestry crimes in Cambodia. Some forestry administration officials enjoy their lives with the wealth they gained from the illegal cutting down of trees.

    Global Witness said in a statement early April 2010, ‘The idea that Ty Sokhun has been removed from his post because of a failure to crack down on illegal logging is laughable.’ The organization thinks that to tolerate Mr. Ty Sokun after 15 years of forestry crimes originating from his office shows that the past spreading of forestry crimes seems to be forgotten.

    Note – From the text of the Global Witness statement:

    Sacking of Cambodia’s forest chief unconvincing as move against illegal logging

    Press Release – 7.4.2010

    Global Witness today welcomed the removal from his post of the Director General of Cambodia’s Forest Administration, Ty Sokhun, but warned that much more needed to be done to guarantee the survival of the country’s remaining forests and the fair and sustainable exploitation of the country’s other natural resources for the benefit of the many not the few.

    Global Witness’s 2007 report, Cambodia’s Family Trees, documented how Ty Sokhun and the Ministry of Agriculture Director, Chan Sarun, sold off 500 or more jobs in the Forest Administration. The report also revealed that Ty Sokhun’s father-in-law was a key member of Cambodia’s biggest illegal logging syndicate.

    “Ty Sokhun’s reign as Cambodia’s forest chief was a disaster for Cambodia’s forests”, said Simon Taylor, Global Witness Director. “On his watch we saw Cambodia’s forests shrink dramatically, largely due to illegal or ill-managed logging operations. It is a good thing he is gone, but he shouldn’t be let off the hook for what happened while he was in charge.”

    Prime Minister Hun Sen says he sacked Ty Sokhun because he had no confidence in his ability to crack down on illegal logging but Global Witness questions why it has taken so long to act…

    Taylor: “Ty Sokhun was not the only one responsible for the destruction of Cambodia’s forests. Our investigations have proven the complicity of officials and elites at the highest levels, including members of the Prime Minister’s own family. If Hun Sen genuinely wants closure on the destruction of Cambodia’s forests, he should commission a full independent enquiry into what has happened, publish the findings and punish the perpetrators.”

    “At the occasion of the change of head of the Forestry Administration and the appointment of Mr. Chheng Kimson it was seen that some high ranking officials such as [Minister of Agriculture] Mr. Chan Sarun were spared to be called to account for their wrongdoings by the head of the Cambodian government, while in fact Mr. Chan Sarun and Mr. Ty Sokun are the most important persons responsible for forestry crimes for years. This way of suppressing illegal wood trading makes international donors to think that Cambodia does it just to satisfy them to get aid, while the Cambodian government is not really willing to intercept illegal wood trading. [[see also The Mirror of 7.4.2010]]

    Note – from a historical Global Witness statement from December 2004

    Resign or be sacked

    Press Release – 3.12.2004

    With the advent of Cambodia’s Consultative Group (CG) donor meeting on 6 and 7 December combating corruption is once more at the top of the political agenda. In line with this renewed emphasis, Global Witness is calling on the Director of the Forest Administration to be made accountable for the rampant corruption within his own department.

    “Ty Sokhun should do the honourable thing and resign. If not, the Prime Minister should sack him.” said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness.

    Ty Sokhun was made Director of the Department of Forestry and Wildlife1 in 1998. Since then, corruption within the department has if anything got worse. The May 2000 Asia Development Bank [ADB] Forest Concession Review characterised the crisis situation in Cambodia’s forest as “…total system failure; resulting from greed, corruption, incompetence and illegal acts…” However, according to the ADB so many people, companies, institutions and countries were responsible for the fiasco that no one should be made accountable. Since that time not one forest department official has been charged with corruption, let alone convicted. Yet as recently as April 2004 the Independent Forest Sector Review referred to “high levels of institutionalised corruption.” Still, no one is being held to account.

    “How can the new Forest Administration hope to address corruption if the people at the top remain the same?” said Buckrell. Ty Sokhun is hopelessly compromised by his familial links to the timber trade. His father-in-law, Khun Thong, is one of Cambodia’s most prolific illegal loggers. “Ty Sokhun’s failure to make public his familial links to the timber trade is a massive conflict of interest and is in itself reason enough to dismiss him.”

    Good governance is at the core of the new “Rectangular Strategy,” of the third legislature of the National Assembly, but the government has been talking tough on corruption and doing nothing for years, as has the donor community. At the 1996 CG meeting, then First Prime Minister H.R.H. Norodom Ranariddh stated that the Royal Government of Cambodia was committed to “implement appropriate measures,” to amongst other things “effectively combat corruption.” More recently at the 2001 CG the ADB’s Urooj Malik “respectfully urged” the Royal Government “to move forward with the finalization of legislation on Anti-corruption…”. The donors then pledged US$ 615 million, US$ 115 million more than the Cambodian government had actually asked for. In 2002 “the adoption of a new Anti-Corruption Law” was, according to the World Bank, by now “of particular and most urgent importance.” The donors pledged US$ 635 million.

    “The Cambodian government must find the whole CG process absolutely hilarious. Each year they fail to meet their benchmarks and each year the donors give them more money.” said Buckrell.

    Global Witness agrees with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sentiments, of more than two years ago, that “while good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.” During Monday’s CG, the donors must hold the entire government to account for their failure to put anti-corruption rhetoric into practice. The donors should insist on rapid enactment of an effective Anti-Corruption law and a register of business interests for politicians, officers in the military, and senior officials.

    “Dismissing the Director of the Forest Administration is an absolute minimum first step any donor really interested in Cambodia’s development should expect from a government committed to reform and addressing corruption,” said Global Witness Director, Simon Taylor. “Our recent report, Taking a Cut, provides a number of other key minimum steps we would expect the Cambodian Government to undertake to clean up its act. Some years ago, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that his Premiership depended on his success in delivering improvements in the forestry sector. By any standards, he has thus far failed. The challenge is now to the donors and the Prime Minister to deliver.”

    “According to a report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the trade in forestry products with markets in Asian countries, North America, and the European Union in 2001 amounted to about US$140 billion, while in 1999, it had been less than that. A report about the fight against illegal forestry crimes of the World Bank, from 2006, showed that the forest destructions in the world siphoned off more than US$10 billion each year.

    “A well known opposition party leader in Cambodia, Mr. Sam Rainsy, had said that corruption leads to the devastation of natural resources of Cambodia. He said that if there were a proper and transparent management of those resources, Cambodia were able to earn huge amounts of money for national construction and for some important infrastructure developments to serve the needs of the citizens.

    “Mr. Sam Rainsy recalled that the exploitation of national resources does so far not contribute proper benefits for the nation and for poor citizens, due to corruption. If there were an accurate management, Cambodia could find sufficient income without depending on foreign aid or loans, as the government does at present.

    “The Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that the improper management of the national budget, especially the collection of income from the exploitations of natural resources without transparency and without following the laws of control, make Cambodia lose its benefits. Mr. Yim Sovann suggests that the government should create effective laws to control the natural resources and to ensure that income from the exploitation of natural resources is not lost to corruption.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 6 May 2010

    Deum Ampil, Vol.17, #1438, 6.5.2010

    • Sweden Plans to Establish an Embassy in Cambodia [no exact date specified]

    Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #470, 6.5.2010

    • A 30-Year-Old Woman Was Attacked with Acid over a Suspected Love Affair [the perpetrators are not yet arrested – Phnom Penh]

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2241, 6.5.2010

    • The Prime Minister Met with the Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense [Mr. Shimba Kazuya [防衛副大臣 榛葉賀津也], discussing about bilateral and regional cooperation]
    • Jointly Stepping Up the Fight against Human Trafficking
    • A Workshop about the Results from a Consultation to Cooperate Implementing the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence against Women Was Held [Ms. Chim Manavy, the director of the Open Institute: priorities and strategies to achieve the same goals together cooperating between civil society organizations and institutions of the government, to effectively implement the action plan, had been discussed and set up, including Information and Communication Technology as a means to promote gender equality and to empower women, as stated in the 2015 Millennium Development Goals]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #648, 6.5.2010

    • Journalists Publish a Declaration on Freedom of Information, Demanding that the Government Creates a Law about the Right to Know Soon [the government is drafting this law without open participation of journalists’ associations]
    • Samdech Euv [Father King] Norodom Sihanouk and Siamese [Thai] King Sent Each Other Good Wishes

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6948, 6.5.2010

    • Nearly 100,000 Hectares of Economic Concession Land in Kompong Thom Are Delivered to Twenty One Companies for Growing Agro-Industrial Crops
    • A Woman Was Raped and Killed and a Few Hours Later, the Perpetrator Was Arrested [Phnom Penh]
    • A Statement by Cambodian Journalists Published on the World Press Freedom Day Suggests that “The Right to Know Must Be Guaranteed for Cambodian Citizens by the Government”

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

    • Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources, after an Unclear Suppression Campaign

    Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #165, 6.5.2010

    • Cambodia Claimed Again that the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda Is on Khmer Territory [while Thailand claimed it is on Thai territory. – Actually, it is on territory declared by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in a Joint Communique on 18 June 2008, signed together with UNESCO and the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, as a “buffer zone” not claimed by Cambodia in the context of the World Heritage Site designation plans]
    • [More than 100] Boeng Kak Lake Residents Protested in Front of the Council for the Development of Cambodia [CDC – to oppose the submission of a Master Plan for the development of the area from the Municipality to the CDC, but officials said that the Master Plan has not yet been delivered to the CDC – but people have already been evicted before the plan was accepted]
    • The Minister of Finance of Indonesia [Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati] Receives the Top Position in the World Bank [as its Managing Director]
    • Cambodia Railway Station Is Starting with New Life because of Continuing Investment [it is now controlled by the Toll Royal Railways; the whole Cambodian railway system is being repaired under US$141,1 million aid and credits from the Asian Development Bank, AusAID, and OPEC]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5190, 6.5.2010

    • Cambodia Imports Fuel Amounting to US$450 Million Each Year [according to a report from the Ministry of Commerce]
    • 199 Pieces of Ebony [loaded on a boat] Prepared to Be Imported to Vietnam, Were Seized on the High Sea [Kampot]

    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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    Fraud? International Cooperation for Transparency – Sunday, 25.4.2010

    Posted on 26 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

    Cambodia entered into many different international relations since the new Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia was promulgated in 1993 and a new phase of history for the country began. International integration was one of the main policy goals of the government – regaining the seat for Cambodia in the United Nations, which had been held by a representative of the Khmer Rouge until 1991, long after the Khmer Rouge had lost their grip on the country, establishing new diplomatic relations, gaining membership in ASEAN, in the World Trade Organization [WTO], etc., and entering into many bilateral agreements – with other governments, with international organizations like the Asia Development Bank, and with Non-Government Organizations through the Ministry of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

    Some of these agreements have consequences in detail, which were not all foreseen or discussed with those who are affected – for example: the membership in the WTO will require that copyrights of international companies for computer software will have to be enforced from 2013 onward, and the import of goods and services from other countries has to be liberalized. Though this may have difficult consequences for some sections of the Cambodian economy, other sectors welcome it.

    During the past week, a five-year Accountability in Governance and Politics program, financed by the USA, was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and the US Ambassador Carol A. Rodley, according to which the Cambodian government will cooperate, implementing specific projects, with the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. According to the nature of this program, international transparency will be necessarily be enhanced, even when this may relate to difficult challenges to be faced internationally.

    What this can mean can be deducted from a difficult processes developing at present in the USA. Goldman Sachs – a full-service global investment banking and securities firm – one of the top financial institutions of the USA, is facing at present charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission [“The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”] of fraudulently having contributed to the wide breakdown of financial systems, by systematically entering into contract with people and companies who were supposed not to be able to pay back what they borrowed. To give a small-scale example: one internal e-mail, now leaked, says “I’ve managed to sell bonds to widows and orphans” making “some serious money” for the bank; one section manager made a profit of $1 billion for the bank – but then the whole system collapsed and needed much higher government assistance. The future will show how this will be handled.

    Once international government agencies get involved, the chance of achieving real transparency is higher. Repeated corruption allegations raised, for example, by the non-government agency Global Witness in the UK were easily dismissed here as not coming from a government agency, without dealing with their specific documentations. They had also raised questions related to the role of the – then – head of the Forestry Department, Mr. Ty Sokun, which were quickly and strongly rejected as “nonsense” and “lies” at that time, but recently he was removed from his position. The situation will be different in a case which is receiving ever more prominence recently.

    The Australian Company BHP Billiton – “the world’s largest diversified natural resources company” – entered into a mineral exploration agreement with the Cambodian government in 2006 to explore for bauxite in Mondolkiri – unprocessed aluminum ore; parts of the exploration site, a 996-hectare mining concession, were in protected natural forest areas. It had also been announced that this was just for exploration, a decision could be found only later, as the transport of bauxite, or the production of aluminum which requires huge amounts of electricity, need further studies. But this plan was abandoned in 2009 because the studies had shown that bauxite mining in Mondolkiri would not be cost-effective.

    But recently, during this month of April 2010, BHP Billiton announced that United States Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating corruption allegations which may relate to Cambodia, though this is not yet sure.

    According to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the USA, a company which has made illegal payments, can be fined to pay “up to twice the benefit that it sought to obtain by making a corrupt payment,” and staff involved may have to serve five years in prison.

    Neither the US Securities and Exchange Commission nor BHP Billiton has stated that there were actually illegal payments. But the present investigations are based on some reports dating back to 2007.

    According to various sources on the Internet, the Minister of Water Resources Lim Kean Hor had reported in the National Assembly at that time that the Prime Minister had informed him from Australia that BHP had paid US$2.5 million as “tea money” for the concession. BHP said, however, that this money was designated for a “social development fund” for health and education projects in Mondolkiri. According to other sources, BHP confirmed to have paid US$1 million to the government in 2006 to secure the concession agreement.

    Later inquiries produced various incongruous pieces of information: that the money was not used, as designated, for health and education in Mondolkiri, but for irrigation in Pursat, and the records of the the Ministry of Economy and Finance show for 2006 only US$443,866 as income from mining concessions.

    By Saturday, not only the US Securities and Exchange Commission was dealing with the BHP case, but also the UK Serious Fraud Office [“an independent Government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption. We are part of the UK criminal justice system”].

    A “social development fund” of the Cambodian government had also been mentioned before, in relation to substantial payments from Caltex, having obtained the right for off-shore oil exploration. While one government argument, why an NGO law is urgently needed, was the request to gain more transparency about social and development funds (which are, for NGOs, regularly audited by public auditing companies anyway), we have not seen any similar reporting so far about the government’s social development fund – its purpose, its administrative arrangements and it’s oversight bodies, and its assets and disbursements.

    The Cambodia Daily carried on 24/25.4.2010 an article, “Precise Meaning of ‘Tea Money’ Up for Debate.” And Mr. Phay Siphan, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, is quoted to have pointed to the new anti-corruption legislation which shows that the government is committed to “highlight transparency.” – He will surely be able to shed more light onto this affair.

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