A Change of Guard

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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Monks' morality important to Cambodia

By Chak Sopheap
Guest Commentary
Published: September 30, 2009

Niigata, Japan — In Cambodia Buddhism is the state religion, guaranteed by the Constitution, and about 95 percent of the people are Buddhists. However, in recent times, a gradual decline in moral standards among Buddhist monks and the political affiliations of some of their leaders have raised serious concerns.

The current Great Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia Tep Vong has been accused of favoritism toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Some of his controversial orders include the February 2005 ban on the use of pagodas for public forums hosted by non-governmental organizations, particularly the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.

Instead of believing that public forums on human rights create chaos, Tep Vong should view them as a platform for people to voice their concerns and appeal to the government to look after their needs. Buddhism supports such a peaceful approach and nonviolent means to highlight problems and seek solutions.

Tep Vong usually makes speeches on political holidays – such as Liberation Day on Jan. 7, the day the former Khmer Rouge regime was toppled – to reaffirm his support to the ruling party. He rarely touches on issues such as moral standards or the role of monks in Cambodian society.

Several reports of monks having sex, watching pornographic materials and other social misconduct have largely gone unnoticed by the supreme patriarch. Recently a chief monk reportedly got drunk and beat some of his followers, who did not file a complaint out of fear for their safety.

Unlike the case of Tim Sakhorn – a monk who was charged with misconduct and defrocked in 2007 for allegedly destabilizing relations between Cambodia and Vietnam – the supreme patriarch has not reacted to the recent issue involving the drunken monk. This shows that the decision to defrock Sakhorn was politically motivated, and that the Buddhist leader is unconcerned about the decline of morality among the monks under his charge.

If such abuses continue, Buddhism will be less respected in the Cambodian community. This will affect other monks who devotedly follow and respect Buddhist principles. Besides, it would create a dangerous society if citizens were to lose faith in their religion, which contributes to people’s behavior and social conduct.

Buddhism has also played a significant role in national reconciliation and peace for survivors of the former dreaded Khmer Rouge regime. Cambodian people are likely to advise their children to apply Buddhist teachings as a way to solve conflicts in a peaceful manner and also to attain inner peace.

Therefore, the supreme patriarch and other monks need to maintain their gracious role and morality so that the religion is respected and valued. Monks should look back on their past roles in developing the community and the country.

Throughout history, pagodas and monks have contributed immensely to Cambodia’s cultural and educational sustainability, despite civil conflicts. However, their roles and contributions are diminishing in present times.

There are many issues like poverty reduction, corruption, social injustice, land disputes and social conflicts that confront Cambodia’s government as well as civil society. Monks should play a greater leadership role by introducing peaceful mechanisms to solve problems. This would go a long way toward helping Cambodians build a better society and future.


(Chak Sopheap is a graduate student of peace studies at the International University of Japan. She runs a blog, www.sopheapfocus.com, in which she shares her impressions of both Japan and her homeland, Cambodia. She was previously advocacy officer of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.)

Abhisit hits out at Hun Sen

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (pictured) Tuesday hit out at his Cambodian counterpart, Hun Sen, for saying Thai trespassers would be shot if they entered into an area along the common border disputed by the two countries.

"Whenever he gives interviews to the foreign media he always has this attitude where he wants to make headlines," Abhisit told reporters Tuesday, one day after Hun Sen made the challenging statement.

The Nation

Noppadon: NACC ruling unfair

Noppadon explained to journalists about Preah Vihear map on 18th June, 2008.

Bangkok Post

Former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama on Wednesday lashed out at the National Anti-Corruption Commission for finding against him in connection with the Preah Vihear temple communique dispute, saying the decision was unfair.

The NACC on Tuesday ruled that former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and Mr Noppadon were to be held responsible for a cabinet resolution on June 17 last year to allow the then foreign minister to sign a joint communique backing Cambodia's bid to register Preah Vihear as a world heritage site without receiving prior approval from parliament as required by Article 190 of the constitution. The communique was signed on June 18

The two were also found to have violated Article 157 of the Criminal Code.

Mr Noppadon said the NACC's ruling was wrong in law and unfair to him and Mr Samak and was based on evidence supplied by political opponents of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

He insisted that the joint communique was not a treaty, but was only a political statement intended to protect territorial sovereignty. It was the only document in which Cambodia admitted the existence of overlapping border areas, he added.

The document had been carefully considered and agreed to by both Foreign Ministry officials, armed forces commanders at a National Security Council meeting, and the cabinet, said Mr Noppadon.

Although in fact many people were to be held responsible for the signing of the communique, the NACC opted to take legal action against only him and Mr Samak.

Mr Noppadon said he was ready to fight in court to prove his innocence and hoped to receive justice from the courts and the Senate.

The former foreign minister said he talked over this matter with Thaksin on the telephone and the fugitive former prime minister gave him moral support and talked to Mr Samak via his personal secretary.

Sam Rainsy travels to France for appeal

Sam Rainsy holds his book titled "Rooted in Stone".

Wednesday, 30 September 2009
By Meas Sokchea
Phnom Penh Post

OPPOSITION leader Sam Rainsy flew to France Tuesday in advance of an October 8 appeal court hearing during which he will ask judges to overturn a defamation and disinformation verdict handed down early this year.

The Tribunal Correctionnel in Paris on January 27 ordered the president of the Sam Rainsy Party to pay a symbolic 1 euro (US$1.43) fine to Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong, who filed his lawsuit following the May 2008 publication of Sam Rainsy’s autobiography, Rooted in Stone.

Hor Namhong said the book accused him of heading the Boeung Trabek “re-education camp”, where diplomats and government officials from the Lon Nol and Norodom Sihanouk regimes were incarcerated by the Khmer Rouge. He asked for damages of 100,000 euros.

During a press conference held Tuesday before he left the country, Sam Rainsy acknowledged having levelled the Boeung Trabek accusation in interviews, but said it was less direct in the book.

“I had not referred to Mr Hor Namhong by name,” he said. “I just said some leaders after the Khmer Rouge, but Hor Namhong got angry.”

He said he expected to have the verdict overturned for that reason, adding that the appeal court was unlikely to take into account the verbal accusations.

He added that only three lines in his 302-page book had anything to do with Boeung Trabek.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said he did not know whether Hor Namhong would also appear for the October 8 hearing.

‘Bullets’ remark a ‘warning’

PM’s instruction for Cambodian soldiers to ‘use bullets’ against Thai soldiers and civilians was intended to frighten ‘extremists’, foreign affairs official says.
Photo by: Tracey Shelton
Cambodian soldiers guard the border at Preah Vihear earlier this year. Earlier this week, Hun Sen controversially ordered troops to “use bullets“ against Thais venturing into disputed territory.

we have stored enough ammunition to shoot them, and we will follow... orders.

PRIME Minister Hun Sen’s order for Cambodian soldiers to “use bullets” against Thai soldiers and civilians who venture into disputed border territory was intended as a warning to “Thai extremists”, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.

“The Thai extremists must know the consequences that will happen if they insist on entering Cambodia illegally with the intention of occupying any piece of land in Cambodia,” Koy Kuong said when asked about the premier’s comments, made Monday during a speech at the new Ministry of Tourism.

Koy Kuong added, though, that the government was still hoping for a peaceful resolution to the border dispute.

“Right now, we still hold the position on solving the problem with Thailand peacefully, bilaterally and amicably,” he said.

When asked whether he believed Hun Sen’s comments were consistent with the government’s hopes for a peaceful solution, Koy Kuong said
again that the remarks were merely “a warning”.

The Bangkok Post reported Tuesday that Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban would meet with Hun Sen to discuss the border row.

The report did not specify when and where the meeting would take place, and Koy Kuong said he knew nothing about it.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva downplayed the significance of Hun Sen’s comments, telling AFP: “Whenever he gives interviews to the foreign media, he always has this attitude where he wants to make headlines.”

Abhisit also said Hun Sen’s comments were likely an attempt to retaliate against Thai protests held on September 19, during which 5,000 yellow-shirted protesters from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) gathered in Thailand’s Sisaket province to protest the Thai government’s border policy.

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldiers stationed near the border said Tuesday that they were ready to carry out Hun Sen’s order should Thai soldiers or civilians try to enter disputed territory.

“We will not use dogs, electric bats or shields to prevent them. We have stored enough ammunition to shoot them, and we will follow Prime Minister Hun Sen’s orders,” said Srey Doek, commander of RCAF Division 3. “We will not make him disappointed on this problem.”

He said Thai military officers sent a letter Tuesday asking RCAF officials to stop workers from making repairs to Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda, which is located near the temple, because it was in territory they said was disputed. Srey Doek said he had told the workers to continue with the repairs.

A spokesman at the Thai ministry of foreign affairs in Bangkok declined to comment Tuesday, and officials at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached.

Sam Rainsy Party Seeks Protections of Freedom of Expression in the Penal Code

PHNOM PENH – September 30 – Starting 1 October, 2009, Members of Parliament the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) will join the parliamentary debate on the current draft of the Penal Code, which has been passed by the Cambodian Council of Ministers, but must still be approved by the National Assembly.

The SRP welcomes efforts to reform the Penal Code, and recognizes many positive provisions. However, the current draft Code unduly restricts freedom of speech and assembly, the most fundamental of civil liberties. These freedoms allow for participation and creativity at a time when finding solutions to poverty, unemployment, land conflicts, corruption and other critical national issues should be the first priority of the Government. When lawmakers, NGO workers, journalists, trade unionists, villagers and others are not able to freely debate new ideas and challenge the status quo, development is restricted.

The SRP is particularly concerned about the surge in criminal prosecutions for defamation and disinformation against peaceful critics of the Government over the past six months that have attracted the attention of national and international sources. Based on the above facts, SRP strongly urges that articles related to defamation and insult be removed from the Draft Penal Code. SRP recommends and welcomes a new draft law on these issues or include them in the current Civil Code through amendments.

For immediate release, contact: 012 788 999

PM: Border row won't go to int'l forum

Thailand will not raise the Thai-Cambodian border conflict to the international level as the country hopes to solve the problem through dialogue at the Joint Commission for Land Boundary, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (pictured) said on Wednesday.

The conflict will not be raised at Asean meetings or other international meetings, he said.

Mr Abhisit then insisted that the government will not trade support for the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site for any other benefit.

"What we are doing is not for the benefit of others, but for our country," he said. "This government does not have anything to trade for that."

Firms focus on Cambodia market

30th September, 2009

HCM CITY — Vietnamese companies should focus on their strong points to improve their position in the Cambodian market, heard a meeting held last Friday by the Viet Nam-Laos-Cambodia Association for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Speaking at the meeting held in HCM City to discuss improving Vietnamese business prospects in Cambodia, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Le Danh Vinh said: "Viet Nam should increase investment in tropical agricultural produce like coffee, rice, pepper and cashews which are the country’s strengths."

"Besides, rubber and garments are also Viet Nam’s key areas," he said.

Compared to other countries in the region, Viet Nam has an abundant labour force thanks to its young population and it should export labour to the neighbouring nation.

Yeav Kim Hean, commercial counsellor at the Cambodian Embassy in Viet Nam, was delighted at the recent expansion in bilateral co-operation in various areas.

More than 100 Vietnamese companies have a presence in Cambodia, including some big ones like the Viet Nam Rubber Group, Vietnam Airlines, Electricity of Viet Nam, the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam, and the Military-run Telecom Corporation (Viettel).

"The Cambodian Government facilitates investments by foreign companies, including from Viet Nam, in areas like agriculture, small- and medium-sized enterprises, energy, mining, transport and tourism." Hean said.

Phuong Huu Viet, vice chairman of the association, said: "Vietnamese businesses should possess up-to-date information about Cambodian laws, financial and tax policies, and local habits and customs."

Le Minh Dien of the Ministry of Planning and Investment said as of last February, Viet Nam had invested US$211.2 million in 39 projects in Cambodia, $115.9 in the argo-forestry sector, $59.5 million in services, and $35.8 million in the industrial sector.

Vinh said last month the two countries signed a large number of contracts for investment of over $460 million into Cambodia. —VNS

Govt trying for good ties with Cambodia

Bangkok Post

The government has been trying to maintain a good relationship with Cambodia and is cautious when making comments about the disputed border near Preah Vihear temple, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban (pictured) said on Wednesday.

"The government does not want to exacerbate the situation, but it must protect the sovereignty of the country at the same time," said Mr Suthep, who is in charge of security affairs.

People from the two countries can live together as usual, but the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) should be more careful in their activities over the border row, he said.

Last week, PAD protesters gathered near the ancient temple to demand the Cambodian government remove its people from the disputed border area.

The government had already asked the Cambodian government about the roads it built to the ancient temple, but the roads can be used by people from both countries, Mr Suthep said.

Mr Suthep said he believed the National Anti-Corruption Commission's ruling against former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama was rational.

The anti-graft agency on Tuesday voted 6-3 to bring charges against Mr Samak and Mr Noppadon for neglect of duty under Article 157 of the Criminal Code over their support of the joint communique with Cambodia on the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site.

Meanwhile, Thai troops have been reinforced at the entrance to Khao Phra Viharn National Park in Si Sa Ket province, and people are not being not allowed on Mo I Daeng Cliff, which overlooks the temple.

On the Cambodian side, there were reported to be many well-armed Cambodian troops near the 11th century temple.

Ketsana toll hits 55 in Vietnam, Cambodia

Wed, 30 Sep 2009

Typhoon Ketsana has killed at least 55 people in Vietnam and Cambodia, leaving a trail of destruction before heading towards Laos.

Ketsana hit central Vietnam early Tuesday before moving towards Cambodia.

Tens of thousands of people fled their homes to escape flooding caused by Ketsana, which had already killed 246 when it struck the Philippines over the weekend as a weaker tropical storm.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in Laos, a government spokesman said, but Cambodian police and the Phnom Penh officials said that at least 11 died in the country's northeastern and central regions.

The typhoon brought winds of 117 kilometers per hour when it came ashore in the central province of Quang Nam, and dumped up to 900 millimeters of rain.

Around 6,000 houses, schools and health care centers have been destroyed by floods, wind or landslides.

KETSANA Typhoon killed at least 11 in Cambodia

Flood in Siem Reap

By Rasmei Kampuchea

Asia News Network

Typhoon Ketsana is hitting Cambodia, killing at least eight people in Kampong Thom province and injuring 14 villagers as of Tuesday night.

Officials in Kompong Thom said the death toll could possibly increase as they are collecting more data. They added that the 30 houses were completely destroyed.

The typhoon on Wednesday is moving to northeast provinces of Cambodia and the wind is expected to disappear on Thursday.

In the statement red on public television on Sunday, the Cambodian government appeal people to be careful over the typhoon, because the heavy rain might cause floods in the Mekong. Some government officials said that the water in the Mekong has increased.

The statement added that the typhoon could provoke strong wind, flood and lightning. Set Vannareth. Meteorology director at the Ministry of Water Resources, said that from January to 20 July 2009, 100 persons were killed by lightning. 36 persons were reportedly injured and 24 cows were killed.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday that 27 typhoons hit Cambodia each year.

Efficient Computers in Cambodian Schools

ComputersAmerican Assistance for Cambodia Children working on a low-power computer at a school in Phnom Penh run by American Assistance for Cambodia, a not-for-profit group.

What is the best computer for schools in developing countries?

The answer is one that is rugged and sips electricity, according to Javier Sola, one of the founders of the Open Institute, a not-for-profit group providing computers and training in Cambodia.

Mr. Sola’s organization is building desktop computers that consume about a quarter of the electricity normally used by desktop and laptop computers, and that cost just over $200. Mr. Sola said he had so far installed 400 of the “low-power-consumption” computers in schools and teacher-training centers in Cambodia.

Another not-for-profit group, American Assistance for Cambodia, said that it was assembling and marketing additional computers under the brand name “Compodia,” and using the profits for projects to build schools, fund scholarships and support an orphanage.

The biggest energy savings for the desktop machines come from an Atom processor, made by Intel, Mr. Sola said. But in some cases the computers are directly connected to a battery that is fed with electricity from subsidized solar panels, which he said was a highly efficient way to transmit power.

The batteries cost about $85 each. But using solar power in combination with the battery means students do not have to pay the usual fee to the local grid of about 4 cents a day, or buy diesel to run a nearby generator, Mr. Sola said.

Even more energy savings would possible if costs come down for monitors based on LED technology, which is far more efficient than LCD monitors, the experts suggest.

Mr. Sola said that a popular misconception was that reconditioned desktop and laptop computers are appropriate for developing countries because they are free. But those computers are often unsuited to rural environments, where cables get eaten or short-circuited by ants, roaches and mice, and where dust ends up clogging the fans.

Reconditioned computers also have relatively short life spans, so that “Cambodia produces computer waste at a much faster speed that any of the developing countries that donate them,” said Mr. Sola.

Cambodians Visit Pippi and the Astrid Lindgren House

Four Cambodian people visit Astrid Lindgren's House. The book Pippi in Cambodia is the theme for an evening when Anna Mattsson and the Cambodians meet.
Pippi in Khmer.
Pippi in Khmer.

Swedish Anna Mattsson who translated Pippi Longstocking into Khmer is to talk about what it is like to work with Pippi among schoolchildren in Cambodia, together with guests Khun Sovanrith, Pitch Proeung, Cheam Duong and Chay Kep Chhoeun.

“This evening fits very well into our ongoing Pippi exhibition," says Anneli Karlsson, show producer on Astrid Lindgren's house.

Pippi in Pippi

“In our exhibition Pippi in Pippi we have a starting point in how Pippi interpreted and depicted in various parts of the world. Wednesday evening program about Pippi in Cambodia allows the guests to really hear about Pippi's importance in the world today,” Anneli Karlsson says.

Anna Mattsson is an author and translator and she gave 2008 a translation into Khmer of Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking, which resulted in quite a fuss in the Cambodian children's book world.

The Cambodian people who have travelled to Sweden, is Khun Sovanrith, an artist and art teacher, worked at the organization Reyums art school for children and young people. Pitch Proeung is the founder of children's organization "white elephants" and recipient of the Swedish Children's Academy Driving Price 2009. Cheam Duong Chay is pedagogically responsible president and, like Kep Chhoeun as librarian, worked at Sala Sothearos, a government school in the slums of central Phnom Penh. The school is involved in an exchange program with workshops in visual arts and creative writing.

Wednesday night is collaboration between the library Vimmerby, Astrid Lindgren House, Academy of Culture and Arts in Mariannelund Nordica. The exhibition "Pippi in Pippi" runs until November 15 with the Cambodian touch.

Carving a market from a traditional snack

Photo by: Soeun Say
A vendor sells the traditional snack nem at a small shop on the outskirts of Battambang town last week.

KIM Houy, 27, learned how to make a traditional Khmer food called nem from her parents when she was 15 years old.

The trade is something of a village tradition, she said. But though she faces strong competition for sales in Prek Kpob commune, in Battambang province’s Ek Phnom district, an extensive distribution system ensures her products are bought far and wide throughout Cambodia.

The network reaches all the way to south coast in Kampong Som province, but clubs, shops, restaurants and local markets in Phnom Penh are her most lucrative sales points.

In all, the business, which she set up in 2004 with US$3,500 of her own money, brings in between $400 and $500 in profits every month, Kim Houy said.

The traditional Cambodian food, which is a signature dish from Battambang province, is made from hashed fish meat wrapped in banana leaves.
It also contains toasted rice, ginger, star gooseberry leaves, chilies, sugar, salt and seasoning. They tend to be bought in bulk, with 100 nems
going for around 10,000 riels ($2.50).

Nem from Battambang province is perhaps the best known in the country, though it is also a popular product of Kratie province, Kim Houy said.

“Many Cambodian people love to eat nem, and foreigners too,” she said. “If they come to Battambang province they never forget to buy nem to send to their family and friends.”

Public and religious holidays often lead to a bump in sales of nem, like other traditional Khmer products. During these periods, staff are worked off their feet to boost production from between 10,000 and 15,000 nems per day to as many as 25,000 nems a day. “If they [Cambodian people] think about Battambang province, they also think nem because its good taste,” Houy said.

When she launched the business, she had enough funds to employ three workers, but the team has expanded to seven as demand has grown.

These include three employees to package the finished products and dispatch to customers, two business-development managers who scour the country for new markets, a machine operator and a dedicated fish buyer, who buys fresh fish daily from the Tonle Sap river.

He needs to buy somewhere between 80kg and 100kg of raw fish daily to meet demand.

Staffers earn between 140,000 riels and 180,000 riels per month ($35 to $45) depending on experience, but also receive free food every day they work.

Kim Houy has big expansion plans for the business, but recognises it is a tough market. One of the key limitations to expansion is the shelf life of the product, which tends to perish after one week in the open, forcing the company to wait for orders to come in before it churns out a batch.

She is now looking to introduce refrigeration to extend the shelf life to one month and enable the company to smooth over peaks and troughs in production, maintaining a constant output. She is also looking at techniques used in Thailand to keep traditional foodstuffs fresher for longer. With stock on hand, she reckons it’ll be easier to win new customers.

However, her immediate goal is simply to boost orders enough to increase her income and employ three new staffers.

“I will expand my business as soon as I get enough money to do so,” she said. “But if we want to beat our competitor we must ensure quality and taste first.”

Moeung Sonn seeks a retrial

Chairman of Khmer Civilisation Foundation, currently in exile, to ask municipal court to re-examine disinformation conviction.
Photo by: Photos Supplied
Modern lights (inset) installed at the Angkor temple complex (above) caused a stir when it was said that they might damage the ancient structures.

The exiled head of the Khmer Civilisation Foundation (KCF) has asked for a retrial of his July conviction on disinformation charges, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Moeung Sonn (pictured), who is currently in France, was tried in connection with comments he made in May suggesting that a light-installation project at Angkor Wat could damage the 11th-century temple. He was found guilty by Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Chhay Kong and sentenced to two years in prison, fined 7 million riels (US$1,680), and ordered to pay an additional 8 million riels in compensation to the Apsara Authority, the body that manages the temple complex.

Last week, Moeung Sonn requested that his lawyer, Sam Sokong of the Cambodian Defenders Project, write a letter to the Municipal Court urging them to re-examine the case.

“I wrote a draft today, and I will send a formal letter to Phnom Penh Municipal Court within the week asking that my client’s case be retried, as it has been two months since we appealed the conviction,” Sam Sokong said Tuesday.

Chhay Kong said that upon receiving Sam Sokong’s letter, he would fix a time for a retrial. He added, however, that the scheduling of this event should not be taken to mean that Moeung Sonn will be acquitted.

“A retrial doesn’t mean that [Moeung Sonn] has been exonerated, but only that his defence lawyer has appealed his conviction,” the judge said.

Sam Sokong said that though the procedure for retrial scheduling is not spelled out clearly in Cambodian law, retrials are an important element in the protection of defendants’ rights.

Speaking from France on Monday, Moeung Sonn said that he was seeking help from a variety of sources in an effort to overturn the verdict against him.

“I am now seeking intervention from UNESCO and other organisations from the international community, and I have already apologised to the Cambodian government,” he said. “I have requested that the Phnom Penh Municipal court lift the charges against me in order to pave the way for my return to my beloved country.”

The Preynokor News Number 91

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Hun Sen: The 4.6km2 areas at Preah Vihea temple is Cambodian territory

Source: Radio Free Asia
Reported in English by Khmerization

Prime Minister Hun Sen (pictured) has openly declared during an inauguration of a newly-built Tourism Ministry building on 28th September that the 4.6 km2 area near the temple of Preah Vihear claimed by Thailand as undeniably Cambodian territory.

He also warned the Thai yellow shirted protesters not to enter the area. Mr. Hun Sen said: "Because of the three or four (Thai protesters who jumped borders fence on 15th July 2008) that's why Thai troops had invaded Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda. Three of them jumped the border fence: a monk, a nun and a priest. When we arrested them to compile a report, they use it as a pretext to send the troops in. So now, we don't need to arrest them. Don't need to know because this is Cambodian territory. They came with tricks because they did not only want to take the 4.6 km2 of our lands, but they wanted to take the whole Preah Vihear temple. Why such thing happened? It was because (their) prime minister said something like that because this is his original view since he was in the opposition party. Now let's confront each other face to face, either in Hua Hin or at any other forum."

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had claimed that the 4.6 km2 area is Thai territory. Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, the Thai Deputy Prime Minister, has been pressured by the Thai ultra-nationalists to take action against Cambodia for building roads in the so-called "disputed zones". In response he said: "The roads were built during the previous government. And even if there are roads in the border area it does not mean that the land belongs to Cambodia".

The claims had received a strong rebuke from the Cambodian government.

Mr. Hun Sen also warned that he will tear up the Thai unilaterally-drawn maps if there were used for the next negotiation. He said: "Khmer territory is Khmer territory. We will use maps that were internationally-recognised. We do not recognise maps that were unilaterally-drawn by the Thai side. If these maps were used for the negotiation, I will tear them up and throw them away."

On 24th September, Cambodia's Council of Ministers had issued a statement rebuking the Thai claims of the 4.6 km2 area by request the Thai leaders to respect the 1904 Khmer-Thai convention and the 1907 Khmer-Thai Treaty signed between the two countries as well as respecting the verdict of the International Court of Justice in 1962.

According to Deum Ampil, the Cambdian army has pledged its full support of Mr. Hun Sen's speech.

Gen. Chea Dara, Cambodian Deputy commander-in-Chief in charge of Preah Vihear border operations, said he and his army supports Mr. Hun Sen's speech 100%. "If there is an aggression, the first bullet will make the foreign aggressors die on Cambodian soil", he said.

Cambodian authority sent police to investigate a case of a Cambodian teenage boy burned a live by Thai soldiers

Picture of 16 year-old Yon Rith before he died.

Source: Radio Free Asia
Reported in English by Khmerization

A police official said that the Ouddor Meanchey provincial authority has sent a group of police to Kroch Sakhorn village in Kon Kreal commune in Ouddor Meanchey province to interview witnesses and find more evidences about the case of a Cambodian teenage boy burned alive by Thai soldiers.

On 11th September, 12 Cambodian loggers were set upon by a group of Thai soldiers who opened fires indiscriminately. Two loggers were wounded, one, 18 year-old Mao Kloeng had escaped while 16 year-old Yon Rith was unable to escape due to his wounded. He was alleged to have been burned alive by Thai soldiers.

Mr. Lek Sokha, assistant to the Ouddor Meanchey provincial police departement, said a number of police had been sent to the victims' village. "Among the 12 loggers, some of them saw Thai soldiers shot at the wounded boy at execution-style while he was lying on the ground where they found his burned out body, but he did not see the actual burning because he was running away", he said.

Mr. Pech Sokhin, Governor of Ouddor Meanchey province, said when all documents and evidences are collected, the provincial authority will write a report to the Cambodian government.

Gen. Wiboolsak Neparn, the Thai commander of Military Region Two, denied that Thai troops wounded and burned the Cambodian teenage boy alive. He even denied that the Thai soldiers from unit 2608, who accused of burning alive the teenager, were not even in the area.

But during the meeting with Cambodian military officials last week, Thai military officers have acknowledged their soldiers burned the body of a 16-year-old Cambodian boy suspected of illegal logging, but insist they only did so after he was dead.

Cambodian and Thai soldiers clashed in Ouddor Meanchey province

Source: everyday.com.kh
Reported in English by Khmerization

The Reaksmei Kampuchea Daily reported that on the midnight of 27th September, a group of Cambodian and Thai soldiers based on borders in OuddorMeanchey province have engaged in a brief gunbattle.

A Cambodian military source said that a group of Thai soldiers have launched an attack on a group of Cambodian soldiers who were on patrol at 2.30 am along the borders at Kbal Ansong point west of Choam Sa-Ngam Pass in Anlong Veng district. The Cambodian soldiers have exercised their self-defence by returning fires.

The fighting only lasted a few minutes and there was no reported casualty from either side.

Seeking Khmer Rouge survivors in Arizon, USA

Good afternoon,

My name is Nuha Sarraj and I am a Political Science student at Arizona State University. My organization, the Kurdish Youth Club, has been planning annual Genocide Awareness events. Last year, we invited various guest speakers/survivors to share their stories. Unfortunately, we were unable to find Cambodian survivors of the Khmer Rouge. This year, we are keen on finding one. I was not certain who to contact but was hoping you could help me. Do you know of any survivors in and out of Arizona? We would really appreciate any help you can give.





Thai former PM, FM found to have violated law during listing of Preah Vihear with UNESCO

Noppadon (L) shook hand with Cambodian Deputy PM Sok An (R) after signing the communique 24th May 2008.

BANGKOK, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) voted 6:3 to find former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama to have violated Article 157 of the Criminal Code for abuse of authority during the UNESCO-listing process of Preah Vihear temple.

The NACC found the two had violated the law since the then cabinet passed a resolution for Noppadon to sign the Thai-Cambodian communique to support the listing of Preah Vihear as a world heritage site with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), without the Thai parliament approval, Thai News Agency reported.

As Noppadon was the Thai foreign minister in the Samak-led Administration, on July 18 last year, he signed the joint communique with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An for the UNESCO listing of Preah Vihear temple.

The UNESCO, in July 2008, approved Cambodia's bid to list Preah Vihear Temple as the World Heritage Site, since then the temple and its adjacent area have become the sites of border conflict between Cambodia and Thailand.
Editor: Fang Yang

NACC to seek legal action against Samak, Noppadon over temple charges

BANGKOK, Sept 29 (TNA) -- The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will seek legal action against former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama over last year’s issuance of a joint communique with Cambodia to endorse the listing of the historic Preah Vihear temple as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The NACC found grounds to charge the duo over the approval of a Cabinet resolution at that time to endorse the listing of Preah Vihear temple without parliamentary endorsement as required by the Constitution.

The NACC voted 6:3 in finding them in violation of Article 190 of the Constitution, said Klanarong Chantik, the NACC commissioner. It also found them negligent in carrying out their duties under Article 157 of the Criminal Code.

Mr Noppadol, then foreign minister, signed a joint communique with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on June 18, 2008 to support Cambodia’s application to list the 11th century temple as a World Heritage site during the Samak administration.

However, the NACC ruled that it did not find sufficient grounds to take action against other cabinet members in the Samak administration and government officials.

The NACC investigated 44 persons in the case including four in the present cabinet, Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart, Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Pattaraprasit, Information and Communication Technology Minister Ranongrak Suwanchawee and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suvit Khunkitti. (TNA)

Cambodian gov't warns about Typhoon Ketsana

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Royal Government of Cambodia has warned people over the eventual impacts of typhoon "Ketsana", which has recently killed more than 100 people in the Philippines, official news agency AKP reported on Tuesday.

It said that in a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sept. 28, the government warned the public Ketsana would have great impacts on northeastern provinces such as Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng, Kratie, Kampong Cham and Kampong Thom on Sept. 29.

On Sept. 30, the typhoon would hit the northwestern part of the country and other provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey and Kampong Thom.

The tropical storm would increase water level of Mekong River and cause floods, the directive said.

The Royal Government of Cambodia appealed to all relevant ministries and institutions, particularly the local authorities to increase their attention and take preventive measures in order to reduce to the damages.
Editor: Fang Yang

Cambodian killed by hornets

PHNOM PENH - A YOUNG Cambodian boy was stung to death by hornets after a strong wind blew the insects' nest from a palm tree, local authorities said Tuesday.

The nine-year-old boy died on Sunday after being stung more than 30 times last week in Cambodia's quiet coastal province of Kampot, said commune chief Hay Seng.

'He was walking with his mother under a palm tree and unfortunately, a strong wind blew off a branch holding the hornets' nest, triggering the attack,' Hay Seng told AFP by telephone.

The mother was also stung a few times, he added.

The last deadly hornet attack in the country was reported in 2007, when two Cambodian children and their mother were stung to death after disturbing a nest while cutting firewood. -- AFP

Kitchen Call: Asian cuisine for beginners

By Linca Bassett
Kitchen Call
Tue Sep 29, 2009

September offers second chances at new beginnings. School bells peal again. Everything, from haircuts to backpacks to sneakers, is fresh and shiny. While the kids resist return to routine, adults experience twinges of envy — or maybe nostalgia.

In that vein, this week I got a call from a group of Cambridge actors who wanted cooking lessons. They very specifically requested Asian recipes, as they enjoy eating in the many Thai, Cambodia, Vietnamese and Indian restaurants near where they live and work.

Asian cooking requires learning some basic knife skills such as cutting in matchstick slivers of vegetables. It also involves exotic ingredients added to the larder and refrigerator such as fish sauce, fresh ginger, lemon grass and sesame seeds. A quick look at a recipe may be intimidating, because ingredients lists are longer than Western recipes, but the techniques are not difficult and the cooking time usually shorter.

Besides the obvious requests like pad thai, I suggested some quicker dishes that might fit into daily schedules or when cooking for friends. Shrimp toast, a familiar Chinese takeout item, is an easy dish to make at home. A quick and easy Cambodian chicken dish may be in tune with an actor’s lifestyle and doesn’t require hard-to-find exotic ingredients. It pairs perfectly with any kind of rice.

And there’s nothing like bahn mi, the Vietnamese vegetable and meat sandwich that also includes French baguettes and mayonnaise.

So the acting troupe is planning to bring their best knives and their appetites and no agents.

Makes about 24

* 1 loaf day-old French baguette
* 2 cloves garlic
* 4 shallots
* 1/2 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
* 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1/4 cup sesame seeds
* Peanut or vegetable oil
* Fish sauce and lime juice dipping sauce

1. Cut bread on the diagonal into half-inch-thick slices. Set aside.

2. Process garlic, shallots and ginger until finely minced. Add shrimp, sugar, salt, pepper and cornstarch; process until finely chopped, NOT pureed.

3. Spread 1 tablespoon shrimp mixture over each slice of bread. Sprinkle tops evenly with sesame seeds, pressing lightly into the shrimp paste. Place on a baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap until ready to cook.

4. In a deep skillet, warm the oil. Carefully add the bread slices, shrimp side down; fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.

5. Arrange on a serving plate. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

6 servings

* 3 pounds, skinless, boneless chicken breast
* Grated zest of 1 lemon
* 3 scallions, chopped
* 1 onion, sliced
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/4 cup sherry
* 3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
* Hot cooked rice (for serving)

1. Cut the chicken into 2-inch cubes; place in a bowl; set aside.

2. Combine lemon zest, scallions, onion, soy sauce, sugar, sherry and oil. Whisk together. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture. Pour remainder over chicken pieces. Cover; refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.

3. Soak 12 bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300F. Drain chicken, discarding marinade.

4. Thread chicken onto skewers. Place on a baking sheet; bake 20 to 25 minutes, turning and basting once or twice with reserved marinade. Serve over rice.

4 servings

* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 seedless cucumber, peeled, cut into matchsticks
* 1 carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
* 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
* 2 baguettes, cut into 6-inch lengths, hollowed out
* 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* 1 pound cooked pork, thinly sliced
* 12 sprigs fresh cilantro
* 2 jalapeno or other hot peppers, thinly sliced
* Soy sauce, to taste

1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cucumber, carrot and onion. Set aside at room temperature, 30 minutes. Drain mixture into a colander.

2. Lightly toast the cut side of the baguettes. Spread mayonnaise on one half and top with pork. Garnish with cucumber mixture, cilantro sprigs and chili peppers. Sprinkle with soy sauce. Close sandwiches; press down on top slightly.

Linda Bassett, author of “From Apple Pie to Pad Thai,” teaches American regional cooking and international cuisine at North Shore Community College. Reach her by e-mail at KitchenCall@aol.com.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Thais say soldiers burned teen post-mortem

Tuesday, 29 September 2009
By Thet Sambath
Phnom Penh Post

Thai military officers have acknowledged their soldiers burned the body of a 16-year-old Cambodian boy suspected of illegal logging, but insist they only did so after he was dead, the deputy chief of the Thailand-Cambodia relations office at the Poipet border crossing said Monday.

Leu Chandara said the officers made the admission during a meeting last week, but Cambodian officials are not buying Thailand’s version of events. “We don’t believe them and we are going to conduct our own investigation,” he said. If the story were true, he added, it would raise questions about the soldiers’ motives for disposing of the body without first consulting the Cambodian government.

“They said they did not burn the teenager alive, but why did they dare to burn his body without informing Cambodian authorities?” he said. “What they are doing is trying to hide their bad actions.”

Officials in Oddar Meanchey province accused Thai officials of shooting Yon Rith and burning him alive on September 11, shortly after he was arrested and accused of illegally felling trees in Thai territory. Relatives claim he was lashed to an ox cart before soldiers set him alight. Marks on the cart prove he was alive at the time, they said.

Another Cambodian teenager, 18-year-old Mao Kleung, was also shot and severely wounded by Thai soldiers, but villagers managed to carry him to safety on Cambodian territory.( Mao Kleung said he heard Yon Rith scream in pain and a fire burning when he was running away from the Thai soldiers).

Like Leu Chandara, Yon Rith’s parents said the account from Thai military officials was dubious. “They are clearly just trying to hide the fact that their armed forces did a cruel thing,” said Nin Khom, Yon Rith’s mother.

Saing Yon, the father of the dead teenager, said: “I would request that the Cambodian government and international organisations find justice for my son and stop the Thai armed forces from committing cruel crimes against human beings in the future.”

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said he had instructed the Cambodian consulate in Thailand’s Sa Kaew province to investigate the case, but consulate officials were also busy with the case of 16 Cambodians accused of illegal logging along a disputed border area.

The group has been found guilty by a Thai court of illegal entry and destruction of forestry and has been sentenced to up to nine years in prison.

The Cambodian Foreign Ministry said last week it planned to appeal against the sentence.

Officials at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached for comment Monday.

‘No Disputed Land’ Near Border Temple: Hun Sen

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
28 September 2009

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday said there was no disputed land near Preah Vihear temple, contrary to Thai statements.

The temple is at the center of a longstanding military standoff and saw a number of Thai protesters amassed last week.

Though leaders have sought to solve the border dispute bilaterally, Hun Sen said he would raise the issue with Asean at a summit in October if Thai leaders continued to make public statements about the temple and nearby border.

On Thursday, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said roads leading to the temple from the Thai side had been made by the previous government, claiming, "even if there are roads in the border area, it does not mean that the land belongs to Cambodia."

On Sept. 20, around 5,000 Thai demonstrators gathered on the Thai side of the border, near the temple, as leaders of the protest claimed Cambodian civilians and soldiers had settled in disputed areas near the temple.

"I would like to request that Thai leaders stop using Preah Vihear temple in their internal political conflict," he said.

Claims by the Thai prime minister and others about 4.6 kilometers of land near the temple "are not acceptable," he said. Thailand was making unilateral claims using a unilateral map, he said. "Cambodia does not recognize the overlapping or disputed area."

Cambodia uses a map from French surveys in 1904 and 1909 and argues that a 1962 decision at the International Court of the Hague and other documents provide a claim to land near the temple.

"If the Thai prime minister brings a unilateral map to me, I will tear it up in front of [him]," Hun Sen said Monday. "If Thailand militarily invades Cambodia, we will complain to the United Nations Security Council."

Preah Vihear temple was put on a Unesco World Heritage protection list, under Cambodian ownership, in July 2008, sparking demonstrations in Bangkok and an immediate military build-up. Ensuing skirmishes along the border have killed at least seven soldiers.

PM warns Thais over border

Hun Sen accuses top Thai leaders of using dispute over land for political gain.
Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the opening of the new Ministry of Tourism building in Phnom Penh on Monday. The premier rejected Thai statements challenging Cambodia’s claims to land near the Preah Vihear temple.

PRIME Minister Hun Sen on Monday condemned recent statements by Thai officials challenging Cambodia’s claim to land near Preah Vihear temple and accused Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of milking the border dispute for political advantage.

“I suggest that the Thai political leaders stop using the border issue in their own political affairs,” Hun Sen said during the opening of the new Ministry of Tourism building, located near the recently evicted Borei Keila community.

The premier’s comments came four days after Suthep Thaugsuban, the Thai deputy prime minister in charge of security, was quoted in the Bangkok Post as saying that roads built near the temple by previous Cambodian governments did not necessarily belong to Cambodia. The Council of Ministers issued a statement Friday summarily rejecting his remarks.

In his speech, Hun Sen described recent statements by Thai officials about the disputed border territory as offensive.

“The claims from the Thai prime minister, deputy prime minister and other ministers on land around the temple are not acceptable,” he said.

“Cambodia will not recognise them. We will only recognise the maps left from the French era.”

Hun Sen also issued a warning to Thai protesters who might again try to approach Preah Vihear temple.

“I would like to stress that Preah Vihear temple is not like the Council of Ministers in Bangkok, and it is not like the Don Mueang or Suvarnabhumi airports that allow occupation by the Yellow Shirts,” he said, referencing sites that have been occupied in various Thai political protests.

Photo by: AFP
Thai police clash with protesters marching on Preah Vihear temple from the Thai side of the border earlier this month.

Hun Sen also accused officials working at checkpoints along the Cambodian-Thai frontier – especially those at the Poipet border crossing – of illegally taxing people who crossed the border daily for business reasons.

“The Poipet checkpoint has many issues. Now they are charging people who are trying to cart things over the border.Governor, take a look. The police and money-collectors, are they real police and customs officials?” he asked.

He said the issue was significant, despite the fact that it was probably affecting only a small number of people.

He went on to describe efforts to reform the border crossings as part of the government’s broader anticorruption fight.

“If any [government] units are acting illegally, then we must take action,” he said.

“That is the point of fighting corruption. We will create opportunities for people to earn more income.”

Ung Oeun, governor of Banteay Meanchey province, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Poipet Governor Try Narin said he would convene a meeting Tuesday to address the issue. He said individuals crossing the border with few possessions should not be taxed, but added that, as far as he knew, it was standard practice to tax people pulling carts.

“But Samdech is upset about the payments, and he says it is illegal,” he said. “So whatever [Hun Sen] says, I agree.”

Thai Army chief: Thai-Cambodian Border Commission will resolve border disputes

BANGKOK, Sept 29 (TNA) - Thai Army chief Gen Anupong Paochinda (pictured) declined to comment on news report on Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's remarks regarding Thai-Cambodian border disputes, saying that the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission for the Demarcation of Land Boundary would be responsible for the talks to find solution on the border disputes.

International media, including the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP), on Monday quoted Mr Hun Sen as telling Cambodian officials that anyone from Thailand illegally intruding into Cambodian territory claimed by both countries will be shot.

The Cambodian leader also said that if Thai officials negotiating the border demarcation line present their own maps during bilateral talks, Cambodian officials ‘should tear them up or walk out.’

Gen Anupong said that all the border talks would be the responsibility of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission for the Demarcation of Land Boundararies.

He said Thailand and Cambodia had agreed earlier on the principle to use the talks to solve the problem not to use forces to end the disputes and the Thai government is still adhere to the principle.

"The Thai government has clearly showed that it will use dialogue as the channel to end the disputes. Local military personnel are maintaining good relations with Cambodian soldiers," he said, adding that no severe measures would be used.

If there was any trespassing by Cambodian soldiers, clear procedures had been set and Cambodian trespassers would be treated in accord with human rights standards.

Gen Anupong added that the Second Army Area had warned local residents in Thailand to take care when traveling in the disputed border areas, intrusions into Cambodian territory could happen and there are still landmines in the border zone which could endanger civilians.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he was verifying the news report before making any comment and affirmed that Thailand would use peaceful mean to solve the problems. (TNA)

Civil society groups in Cambodia to form media defense network

29 September 2009
Southeast Asian Press Alliance

Several civil society groups in Cambodia are planning to organize a media defense network that would provide legal aid to journalists, media reports said.

According to "The Cambodia Daily", Ou Virak (pictured), director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said on 28 September 2009 that their organization is teaming up with the Legal Aid of Cambodia, Cambodian Justice Initiative, Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists, and the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, in establishing a network of lawyers that would help defend journalists in court.

On 22 September, "The Cambodia Daily" editor-in-chief Kevin Doyle and reporter Neou Vannarin were each fined US$1,000 by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for defaming a group of military officers.

On the other hand, "Rasmei Kampuchea" and "Kampuchea Thmei Daily" issued apologies in July this year after the government filed charges against them.

In the same month, "The Moneaksika Khmer" was ordered shut down in return for the dropping of charges against its publisher, Sam Dith.

"Khmer Machas Srok" editor and publisher Hang Chakra, meanwhile, was sentenced to a year's imprisonment.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy on 22 September lambasted PM Hun Sen's government for silencing critics. Rainsy, along with Duong Hak Sam Rithy, CAPJ vice president, spoke in a SEAPA-organized panel discussion in Bangkok on the media situation in Cambodia.

Virak admitted that forming such a group is challenging because there are not many lawyers keen on defending journalists in court and only a few are familiar with media laws.

South African man in Cambodian jail

By Virginia Keppler

Pretoria (Beeld)- A 27-year-old South African has already spent 11 days in a Cambodian prison, charged with culpable homicide after the death of his friend in a jet-ski accident.

André Bester of Newlands in Pretoria, was arrested shortly after Paul Hutchins of Cape Town died in a jet-ski accident in the ocean at Sihanoukville in Cambodia.

Bester and Hutchins were both on jet-skis when the two collided and Hutchins died. Bester wasn't injured.

André's father, Johan Bester, told Beeld from Cambodia that the accident happened on September 18.

Playing around

"André and his friend (Hutchins) were playing around with their jet-skis, and the next moment, they were in an accident.

"The police immediately arrested André and locked him up, charged with culpable homicide. He's been in jail in Sihanoukville since then," said Johan.

Johan said his son and Hutchins both worked in Cambodia's forestry industry.

"I flew to Cambodia on Sunday to go and support my son. Today (Monday) I spoke to legal representatives and tomorrow (Tuesday) we'll try to submit a bail application so that André can at least get out of prison for now," he said.

He did not want to comment on the circumstances in which his son is being detained, and said he would discuss that at a later stage.


"At this stage I can only say that André is okay. It's difficult, especially since his friend is dead and he's locked up. I've seen him every day since I arrived in Cambodia."

Johan said Hutchins's family were on their way to Cambodia on Monday to fetch his remains and bring them back to South Africa.

"From what I understand, his mother is on her way already."

Siem Reap Airlines set to resume on all routes

Monday, 28 September 2009

By Chun Sophal and Steve Finch

Govt says the troubled line will resume its international flights and Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route – most likely in October.
Passengers disembark from a Vietnam Airlines plane at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. A State Secretariat of Civil Aviation official said Sunday that Siem Reap Airways would resume international flights, including those to Vietnam, following a relaunch scheduled for next month.

SIEM Reap Airways will resume international flights – as well as the domestic Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route – when it relaunches, most likely next month, a government aviation official said Sunday.

Sinn Chansereyvutha, director of the department of policy planning at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), said that the airline would again fly to Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

The airline started flying to Ho Chi Minh City in late October before it grounded all international flights from December 1 following a European Union ban imposed after an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation found Cambodia in breach of 107 standards.

As the only Cambodian airline at the time, it therefore decided to suspend flights, Terry Alton, Siem Reap Airways general manager, previously told the Post. He was unavailable for further comment Sunday.

“We do not have any more reasons to suspend Siem Reap Airways flights … because the company already has the necessary documents and has fulfilled technical requirements,” said Sinn Chansereyvutha, adding that the government had approved a new two-year licence for the airline.
“We believe that Siem Reap Airways will start its official flights by November,” he said.

News of the return of the troubled airline comes after the Cambodian government chose not to renew the licence for its owner, Bangkok Airways, to fly the Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route from October 25, a decision it announced to travel agents the same day, according to a company
statement. It did not give any further details on the suspension of its flights on the route in the announcement.

The government said the decision was made on the basis that Bangkok Airways had only been granted the route due to the suspension of Siem Reap Airways flights last year.

New national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air started the same domestic route at the end of July, and it now looks certain that two domestic carriers will compete on the Siem Reap-Phnom Penh route from the end of next month at the latest.

Relaunch date still unclear
Sinn Chansereyvutha said the exact restart date for Siem Reap Airways would depend on when the carrier was ready to fly again.

The airline had not posted news of its relaunch on its Web site by late Sunday.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Airways will increase the fuel surcharge on its international flights to and from Cambodia from October 1, it said in announcement, from US$15 to $20 per one-way flight. The airline said it would keep the fuel surcharge for domestic flights in the Kingdom at $12 per ticket from the same date until it stops flying between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

The last flight on the route is scheduled to fly from the capital at 12:35pm on October 24.

NACC rules against Samak, Noppadon

Bangkok Post

The National Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday found former prime minister Samak Sundaravej and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama (pictured) violated the constitution in signing a joint communique supporting Cambodia's bid to list Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site without parliamentary approval last year.

Klanarong Chanthik, the NACC spokesman, said the commission voted 6:3 in finding Mr Samak and Mr Noppadon violated Article 190 of the constitution.

The Samak cabinet wrongfully passed a resolution allowing Mr Noppadon to sign the Thai-Cambodian communique supporting the listing of Preah Vihear as a world heritage site with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) without prior approval from parliament.

For this offence, the NACC will ask the Constitution Court to remove Mr Samak and Mr Noppadon from the cabinet - even though they are no longer in government - as set down in Article 270.

The anti-graft commission also found the two to have violated Article 157 of the Criminal Code and abused their authority.

For this violation, they will be charged in the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions, Mr Klanarong said.

The NACC investigated altogether 44 people in this case. They included serving cabinet members and government officials. The commission resolved to dismiss the complaint against the others.

Mr Noppadon was foreign minister in the Samak administration when he signed the communique with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on June 18 last year.

The ministers investigated by the NACC who served under Mr Samak and are now in the present cabinet are Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti, Information and Communications Minister Ranongrak Suwunchwee and Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Phataraprasit.

Savud defeats Alivinario

Vi Savud (pictured), also known as Svaya Ratha, of Cambodia beat Paul Alivinario of Philippines to claim the vacant WBC International interim super bantamweight title on Sunday. The fight was held at Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Songchai Ratanasuban, persident of Songchai1 promoted the show and Mr.Tanakorn Jirapasuksakul supervised the competition. The Cambodian was smaller but somehow beat down the Filipino, forcing referee Franz Marti to stop the action in the sixth round. Savud becomes the first Cambodian boxer to win an international boxing title. The full WBC International 122lb champion is Filipino Bangoyan Balweg.

Vietnam’s NA delegation visits Cambodia

A delegation from the Vietnam National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children is on a working visit to Cambodia.

The delegation, headed by the committee’s Chairman Dao Trong Thi, paid courtesy visits to Cambodia’s Senate President Chea Sim and National Assembly Chairman Heng Samrin on September 28.

At the meetings, the Cambodian legislative leaders welcomed the delegation’s visit, saying that it would help strengthen the traditional ties of friendship between the two countries.

The visit would also provide a good chance for the two countries’ legislative bodies to boost the exchange of experiences, they added.

The Vietnamese NA delegation met with Mom Chimhuy, Chairman of the Cambodian NA’s Commission on Education, Religious Affairs, Culture and Tourism.

The two sides compared notes on a number of laws and policies on culture and education.

Chairman Dao Trong Thi also had a working session with Ho Naun, Chairwoman of the Cambodian NA’s Commission on Health, Social Affairs, Veterans, Youth Rehabilitation, Vocational Training and Women’s Affairs.

The Vietnamese delegation is scheduled to visit the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and meet with Nath Burnoeun, Secretary of State of the Cambodian Ministry of Education Youth and Sport on Sept. 29.

Thailand: Coup anniversay reveals its two faces

Written by Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Source: Green Left Weekly

On September 19, the third anniversary of the military coup that wrecked Thai democracy, two demonstrations took place.

They sum up the two faces of Thailand.

One demonstration, by tens of thousands of “Red Shirts” in Bangkok, was organised in order to continue the demand for full democracy. It was a peaceful and friendly demonstration.

Yet the military-backed Democrat Party government, headed by Abhisit Vejjajiva, declared a state of emergency and lined up thousands of police and soldiers to deal with the demonstrators.

Previously, in April, Abhisit had urged soldiers to fire on the Red Shirts. Two people were subsequently killed and 70 injured by government soldiers.

The other demonstration was organised by fascist thugs of the People’s Alliance for Democracy. The PAD are the “Yellow Shirt” royalists.

The aim of this demonstration was to attack Cambodian villagers living and working at the ancient Kao Prawiharn [Preah Vihear] temple inside Cambodia. Since last year, the PAD have been trying to cause a war with Cambodia by whipping up extreme nationalism.

The temple was built by the ancient Khmers and clearly belongs to Cambodia, both from a legal and historical point of view. On September 19, PAD supporters went to the border armed, as usual, with guns, bombs and clubs. They attacked police and then attacked a group of local villagers who were opposed to them.

Local villagers on both sides of the border have traditionally held joint religious ceremonies at the temple on this day. This has not happened since the PAD forced the closure of the temple last year.

Abhisit’s personal spokesperson, Teptai Senpong said there was no reason to declare a state of emergency in the border area “as the PAD were defending Thai national interests”.

The Thai foreign minister is a PAD supporter who took part in the illegal occupation of the international airports last December. He is famed for being rude about the Cambodian government.

Naturally, the PAD riot and its extreme nationalism was supported by pro-government TV station ASTV.

The government will not prosecute the PAD and its leaders for their illegal violence. They never have.

At the same time, numerous Red Shirts are in jail or face prosecution.

Just like when the PAD took over the airports, it cares little for the impact on local people’s employment and livelihoods.

It cares little if the sons of poor farmers, conscripted into the Thai army, die in a pointless shoot-out with their brothers in the Cambodian army.

The progressive, peaceful and democratic face of Thai society is the Red Shirts. The violent, fascist and authoritarian face is the Yellow Shirt conservative royalists who control the state, the army, the monarchy, the government and the media.

The one thing they do not control is the hearts and minds of most Thai citizens.

Most Thais are waiting for the king to die. But that in itself will solve nothing, despite the fact that his son is universally hated and held in contempt.

No real democracy can be built without dismissing the generals, the judges, the Privy Council, the royal family and the corrupt politicians.

Will the Red Shirts be up to this people’s revolution? Can it be an overwhelming movement of citizens in order to minimise bloodshed? These are the issues on many Thai people’s minds today.

[Giles Ji Ungpakorn worked in the faculty of political science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. He was forced to leave Thailand after being charged under Thailand’s anti-democratic les majeste (insulting the monarch) laws. He is an activist with the socialist Turn Left Thailand group. Visit PCPthai.org and /Wdpress.blog.co.uk.]