A Change of Guard

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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

U.S Peace Corps volunteer makes a difference in cambodia


My name is James Hong and I am a United States Peace Corps Volunteer.

My team and I recently did an education fair in Kampong Cham. If you are interested in the project, you can post the news article on your website.

Thank you

Click on text to read.

Swine flu strikes PM Hun Sen, five other officials

CPP ministers infected with Swine flu: Hun Sen, Tao Seng Huor and Chhay Than

Wednesday, 30 June 2010
By Brooke Lewis and Cheang Sokha
Phnom Penh Post

PRIME Minister Hun Sen contracted the A(H1N1) influenza virus late last week, and five other government officials – including a deputy prime minister and two senior ministers – have since exhibited signs of it, according to a statement issued Tuesday by Health Minister Mam Bunheng.

According to the statement, Hun Sen was likely exposed to the virus, commonly known as swine flu, during or immediately after a meeting at the Council of Ministers last Friday.

He has since received treatment from “very professional Cambodian doctors”, and “the health of Samdech is recovering”, the statement reads.

It goes on to say that tests conducted on all officials who attended Friday’s meeting have revealed “the positive sign of AH1N1” in five officials: deputy prime minister Yim Chhai Ly, senior ministers Chhay Than and Tao Seng Hour and officials Kim Ith and Ith Mith.

The virus caused Hun Sen to miss Monday’s celebrations marking the 59th anniversary of the Cambodian People’s Party, and “some programmes of Samdech were also cancelled”, according to the statement.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Tuesday that he could not provide any information beyond what was included in the statement.
Mam Bunheng could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Nima Asgari, public health specialist at the World Health Organisation, said Tuesday that swine flu patients often recover quickly.

“Usually you would be ill for about one week if you don’t develop severe symptoms,” he said. “It is difficult to say how dangerous it is for an individual, but many people have had it, and mortality rates are quite low.”

As of June 24, there had been 591 domestic cases of swine flu resulting in six deaths since the virus was first reported in June 2009, according to Health Ministry statistics.

Border Crisis: Anti-Thai rally to mark anniversary

Rong Chhun pointed a finger at the police during a protest against Thai occupation of Preah Vihear on 17th August 2008.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010
By Cheang Sokha
Phnom Penh Post

Border Crisis
The Cambodia Watchdog Council (CWC) plans to gather at Wat Botum on July 15 to express anger at Thailand’s “invasion” near Preah Vihear temple two years ago. On July 15, 2008, Thailand sent troops to disputed border areas close to Preah Vihear temple, a week after UNESCO accepted Cambodia’s application to have it listed as a World Heritage site. “The purpose of the ceremony is to show Thailand that the Cambodian people are dissatisfied with the invasion of Cambodian territory,” said CWC president Rong Chhun.Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, said organisers would need to obtain permission from the Interior Ministry. “Any gathering without permission would be nonsense,” he said.

Border killing leads to row over damages

Wednesday, 30 June 2010
By Cheang Sokha
Phnom Penh Post

THAI authorities stationed along the border have offered a compensation payment of 30,000 baht (US$927) to the family of a Cambodian migrant worker shot and killed by Thai soldiers last week, though a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that the sum would not make up for the “cruel act”.

Dim Doeun, 44, was shot and killed last Wednesday while returning to his native Sampov Loun district in Battambang province. He was 200 metres from the border when the shooting occurred, Cambodian officials said last week.

Colonel An Saray, commander of the Cambodia-Thai Border Relations Office in Sampov Loun district, said Thai authorities stationed near the border had on Saturday given the family 30,000 baht in compensation.

“Thai authorities did not admit that their army shot the victim, but they claim the case is under investigation,” he said. “They acknowledged that the victim was shot dead in Thailand, so the compensation is a way of taking responsibility for the victim dying in their country.”

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Tuesday that the compensation payment would not discourage Cambodian officials from raising the case with the Thai government.

“They cannot use this money for totalling the value of the lives of the people,” he said. “They open fire on people like they are shooting animals. They don’t use the law; they use guns and bullets, which we cannot accept.”

He said the ministry was still looking to verify the particulars of the “cruel act” before sending a diplomatic note to Thailand.

Thani Thongpakdi, spokesman for the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, could not be reached for comment on the case Tuesday, while Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said he was “not in a position to comment”.

The rights group Adhoc reported in February that more than 20 Cambodian civilians – including a 6-year-old child – had been shot by Thai soldiers in the border region in the past two years.

“Thai soldiers have no right to kill Cambodian citizens who cross into Thailand,” said a statement accompanying the report’s release.

Union leader offers to pay in Mu Sochua case

Wednesday, 30 June 2010
By Uong Ratana
Phnom Penh Post

UNION leader Chea Mony has offered to pay 16.5 million riels (around US$3,928) in fines and compensation on behalf of opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, who was ordered to furnish the sum after being convicted of defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen last year.

Chea Mony (pictured), president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said Tuesday that he was collecting donations to cover the payment, 8.5 million riels of which is due Thursday.

“We do not want to lose [Mu Sochua] from government or the National Assembly because she is a very good woman,” he said.

On June 17, the National Treasury wrote to Mu Sochua informing her that a payment of 8.5 million riels must be made within two weeks, or by July 1. Government officials have warned that Mu Sochua could face prison if she does not pay on time.

But the Kampot parliamentarian, who was first convicted of defamation last August, repeated that she would prefer to go to jail than to admit guilt, and that she did not want anybody to pay on her behalf.

“Firstly, I will not pay. Secondly, my conscience will not allow anyone to pay on my behalf,” she said by phone from Manila. “If I was afraid of this, I would not have sued Prime Minister Hun Sen.”

Remains at Cambodian grave 'not Errol Flynn's son'

Sean Flynn and his famous dad- movie star Errol Flynn. Sean Flynn's fate has been a mystery since 1970 when he and a fellow journalist were captured by Khmer Rouge guerrillas

PHNOM PENH (AFP)— DNA tests have revealed that human remains found at a Cambodian grave are not those of the son of Hollywood film legend Errol Flynn as had been suspected, a US military official said Wednesday.

In March two amateur Western diggers presented a jaw and a femur bone to US officials, unearthed at a site in eastern Kampong Cham province, saying they believed the parts belonged to war photographer Sean Flynn.

The remains from the site, which some researchers believe is a mass grave for up to a dozen foreign journalists killed by Khmer Rouge fighters during Cambodia's war in the early 1970s, were sent for forensic analysis in Hawaii.

Officials from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) excavated the site in April and found more human remains.

But JPAC spokesman Lt. Colonel Wayne Perry told AFP Wednesday that tests showed the remains were not those of Flynn, who disappeared 40 years ago while covering Cambodia's war.

Perry said there was no match between DNA from the recovered remains and DNA samples they had on file from the Flynn family.

"The remains do not match any known Westerner for whom JPAC has a reference sample," he added.

Flynn, who worked as actor before covering the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia as a photographer, bore a striking resemblance to his father, who starred in swashbuckling roles in The Adventures of Robin Hood and Captain Blood.

The 28-year-old's fate has been a mystery since 1970 when he and fellow journalist Dana Stone were captured by communist Khmer Rouge guerrillas while on assignment in the area, and never heard from again.

Briton Keith Rotheram, one of the team that found the remains, said in March that they based their search on a local villager's claims to have seen regime soldiers kill a prisoner there matching Flynn's description in 1971.

At least 37 journalists were killed or disappeared covering the brutal 1970-75 conflict between the US-backed Lon Nol government and Khmer Rouge guerrillas supported by North Vietnamese fighters.

Vietnam investment takes off in Cambodia; some wary

By Prak Chan Thul

PHNOM PENH, June 30 (Reuters) - Vietnam's biggest commercial bank, Agribank, with assets of $26 billion, opened its first branch in neighbouring Cambodia this week, illustrating the growing economic bonds between the neighbours. The Cambodian government has consistently promoted ties with Vietnam while relations with Cambodia's other main neighbour, Thailand, have at times over recent years been seriously strained by a decades-old border dispute.
But many Cambodians have traditionally been suspicious of their much bigger neighbour to the east and the booming Vietnamese investment in Cambodia is not without critics, some of whom say Vietnamese companies are taking Cambodians' land.
Le Bien Cuong, a commercial counsellor at the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh, said bilateral trade was up nearly 40 percent this year and could reach $2 billion.
"We will try to have $2 billion trade between the countries by this year," Le told Reuters in a recent interview.
"We try to have partnership with Cambodia to supply goods for the people of Cambodia," he said.
Underscoring good ties with Vietnam, Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni and his father, former king Norodom Sihanouk, who at times over his long career was hostile towards Vietnam, this month paid a visit to Vietnam.
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An hailed ties with Cambodia's "great friend" at this week's bank launch, saying Cambodia would always welcome Vietnamese business.
The value of the bilateral trade between the countries rose 38.6 percent to $717.78 million in the first five months of this year, according to figures from the Vietnamese embassy.


Vietnam's exports to Cambodia increased 37.3 percent to $598 million while Cambodian exports to Vietnam rose 45.2 percent to $119.74 million, according to the figures.
Vietnam's investments in Cambodia are worth $600 million in areas such as electricity, agriculture, telecommunications, banking and health care, according to Le.
He said there was no Cambodian investment in Vietnam.
But it is Vietnamese involvement in Cambodia's rubber sector that is stirring controversy in a country where traditional suspicion of Vietnamese designs on Cambodian territory lingers.
About 11 Vietnamese companies announced this year they had obtained separate land concessions totalling 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) to grow rubber in Cambodia.
But rights groups and villagers have voiced concern about the concessions saying Cambodians were losing their land.
"Now everything is Vietnamese," said 56-year old villager Dorn Sina, from one of the 1,000 families involved in a land dispute with a Vietnamese rubber company since 2005 in Kompong Thom province, 170 km (110 miles) north of the capital, Phnom Penh.
Dorn Sina said she lives on a government relocation site after being evicted to make way for a Vietnamese investor.
"How we suffer when we have to start with empty hands," she said.
Pen Bonnar, coordinator of the Adhoc rights group in Ratanakkiri province, 600 km (400 miles) northeast of Phnom Penh, said villagers there were also in dispute over land for Vietnamese investors' rubber plantations which they believed would bring little benefit in terms of jobs.

"Once the rubber trees grow bigger, they will need more Vietnamese workers," Pen Bonnar said.

((prak.chanthul@thomsonreuters.com; +855 2 399 2102; Reuters Messaging: prak.chanthul.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CAMBODIA VIETNAM/ (If you have a query or comment on this story, e-mail to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com)

Thai govt disavows media tale

Photo by: Steve Finch
The Poipet border crossing is shown last year. A Thai news report earlier this month placed two Red Shirt fugitives in Poipet.
Phnom Penh Post

THAILAND on Tuesday denied allegations levelled by Cambodian officials that it has planted false media reports about antigovernment Red Shirts crossing into Cambodia.

The Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers on Monday issued a statement denying a report in the Bangkok Post asserting that two Thais – Warisaya Boonsom and Kobchai Boonplod – had crossed the border into Cambodia on June 23, the day after the bombing of the Bhumjaithai Party headquarters in Bangkok.

Benjapol Rodsawas, identified as an immigration official in Sa Kaeo province, was quoted as confirming the crossing.

In addition to arguing that there was no evidence that the two fugitives were in Cambodia, the Council of Ministers statement called on the Thai government to end its “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia”, and accused it of “fanning acts of provocation against the Kingdom of Cambodia”.

The government issued two similar statements earlier this month after stories appeared in the Thai press alleging that Red Shirts who want to
topple Thailand’s government are hiding in Cambodia.

In response, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi on Tuesday said the Thai officials quoted in the stories had only been stating “fact”, and denied that the Thai government was attempting to link Cambodian officials to the Red Shirts.

“We have not accused Cambodia of being a safe haven or providing support for anyone. The entry of such individuals into Cambodia is simply a matter of people’s movements across [the] border,” he said.

“What the Thai authorities, including the Immigration Office, have said is only a statement of fact.”

But Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday said he did not believe the reports were true.
“The Bangkok Post quoted immigration police at the border, that the two suspects fled to Cambodia,” he said. “If the Thai immigration office knew that, why did they not make the arrests?”

He also said the names of the two fugitives cited in the report on Monday – Warisaya and Kobchai – had not appeared on registration lists at the border.

“The border always registers people when they cross the border, and the two names mentioned as suspects were not on that list,” he said. “They raise incorrect information. When Thailand has problems, they blame Cambodia.”

Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Press and Quick Reaction Unit, called on Thai officials to “make corrections”.

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information,” he said.

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

He added: “Cambodia once again asks Thailand and its media to stop publishing inaccurate information linked to Cambodia.”

Remains of 83 fallen [Vietnamese] soldiers repatriated from Cambodia

Authorities of Cambodia’s Kongpong Thom and Kongpong Cham provinces on June 29 held a repatriation ceremony for 83 sets of remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who died on battlefields in Cambodia during the wartime.

The remains, which were found by the search teams K70, K71 and relevant agencies between the two countries, were transferred to the authorities of Vietnam’s Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh provinces.

Addressing the ceremony, Chum Chuan, chairman of Kongpong Cham province and advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his pleasure at the fine results of co-operation in the search between Vietnam and Cambodia in general and in the province in particular.

He said that the search and reburial for Vietnamese volunteer soldiers are not only obligation but also responsibility of the Cambodian administrations at all levels and people, and this mission will continue until the last remain to be found.

On this occasion, he conveyed profound thanks from Cambodian people to Vietnamese families whose relatives died in Cambodia and shared grief and losses with them.(VNA)

Chea Mony collect money from workers to pay Mu Sochua's fine

By Khmerization
Source: CEN

Chea Mony (pictured), president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, has appealed to all workers to help raise the money to pay a 16.5 million riels ($4,500) fine on behalf of MP Mu Sochua who was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay the fine after finding her guilty of defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen, reports Cambodian Express News.

Mu Sochua sued Mr. Hun Sen for defamation after he called her a "cheung klang" - strong leg, which sometimes means a "hustler", but her suit was dismissed and she was found guilty of defamation when Mr. Hun sen countersued. She steadfasty said she rather go to jail than pay the fine, by maintaining her innocence.

Earlier in the week, there are reports that her party, the Sam Rainsy Party, will pay the fine on her behalf but she strongly objected. It is not sure if she will agree to Mr. Chea Mony paying the fine on her behalf.

Mr. Chea Mony said he had circulated the appeal to all workers to help raise the mony to pay Mu Sochua's fine. He said dispute between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Mu Sochua is a small issue, but if both sides want to be the winner it could degenerate into a big dispute.

Mr. Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Quick and Press Reaction Unit, said by laws, either the person who was fined or their lawyer must pay the fine. He added that the law does not allow anyone to pay the fine on their behalf. However, he did not say whether the court will allow Chea Mony to pay the fine on Mu Sichua's behalf.

PM Hun Sen and 5 cabinet ministers infected with swine flu

By Khmerization
Source: DAP News

Prime Minister Hun Sen and 5 of his cabinet ministers have been infected with swine flu (A/H1N1), apparently during a cabinet meeting on Friday 25th June, according to a circular (pictured) signed by Health Minister Mam Bunheang released to the media on Tuesday 29th June.

The circular stated that Prime Minister Hun Sen had chaired a cabinet meeting on Friday 25th and he showed signs of being infected with swine flu after the meeting. "After the meeting, there was an incidence of a new swine flu AH1N1 that has been transmitted to Samdech Prime Minister (Hun Sen) which requires an urgent measure to treat the Samdech", said the circular.

The circular stated that the illness caused Mr. Hun Sen to cancel his attendance at the 59th anniversary of his party's foundation and a number of scheduled meetings. The circular, however, stated that Mr. Hun Sen's health has returned to normalcy after treatments from expert Cambodian doctors. "After receiving the best medical treatments from expert Cambodian doctors, Samdech Decho's health has returned to normalcy", added the circular.

The circular also said that all ministers who attended the meeting have all been tested and that 5 ministers have been tested positive for the swine flu, namely Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly, Senior Minister Chhay Thorn, Senior Minister Tao Seng Hour, Mr. Kim Ith and Mr. Ith Mith.

Cambodia's prime minister Hun Sen, cabinet colleagues sickened by swine flu

By: The Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (pictured) and three of his cabinet ministers have contracted swine flu and the premier is recovering after several days of medical care, the Health Ministry said Tuesday.

Hun Sen, 59, required "urgent treatment" after Friday's weekly cabinet meeting, the ministry said in a brief statement released late Tuesday.

"After receiving treatment from medical specialists, the health of Prime Minister Hun Sen is back to normal," the statement said.

The prime minister publicly mentioned last week he had come down with fever and flu-like symptoms, and he was absent from the 59th anniversary of his ruling Cambodian People's Party on Monday.

"Prime Minister Hun Sen has cancelled some of his schedule because of his health," said government spokesman Khieu Kanharith.

He said Hun Sen was still receiving medical attention but gave no details.

The statement also said that Yim Chhay Ly, one of several deputy prime ministers, and two other cabinet-level ministers — Chhay Than and Tao Senghour — had caught the H1N1 virus. It did not give details about their condition.

At least six Cambodians have died from swine flu and at least 600 have contracted it since the virus was first detected in the country last June.

Hun Sen has been at the centre of the country's politics since 1985, when he became the world's youngest prime minister at age 33. He has held or shared the top job ever since, bullying and outfoxing his opponents to stay in power.

Cambodian PM and 3 ministers treated for swine flu


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP)— Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (pictured) and three other Cabinet ministers have contracted swine flu and the premier is recovering after several days of medical care, the health ministry said Tuesday.

Hun Sen, 59, required "urgent treatment" after Friday's weekly Cabinet meeting, the Public Health Ministry said in a brief statement released late Tuesday.

"After receiving treatment from medical specialists, the health of Prime Minister Hun Sen is back to normal," the statement said.

The prime minister publicly mentioned last week he had come down with fever and flu-like symptoms, and he was absent from the 59th anniversary of his ruling Cambodian People's Party on Monday.

"Prime Minister Hun Sen has canceled some of his schedule because of his health," said government spokesman Khieu Kanharith.

He said Hun Sen was still receiving medical attention but gave no details.

The statement also said that Yim Chhay Ly, one of several deputy prime ministers, and two other Cabinet-level ministers — Chhay Than and Tao Senghour — had caught the H1N1 virus. It did not give details about their condition.

At least six Cambodians have died from swine flu and at least 600 have contracted it since the virus was first detected in the country last June.

Hun Sen has been at the center of the country's politics since 1985, when he became the world's youngest prime minister at age 33. He has held or shared the top job ever since, bullying and outfoxing his opponents to stay in power.

Cambodian PM Hun Sen infected with swine flu: government

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodian premier Hun Sen (pictured) and several top officials have been infected with swine flu, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

"I can confirm he and several ministers have tested positive with the virus," spokesman Khieu Kanharith told AFP, while a letter from health minister Mam Bunheng said the prime minister was now recovering.

The premier was found to be carrying the A(H1N1) virus after his weekly cabinet meeting on Friday and medics subsequently tested all ministers and officials attending the meeting, according to the letter.

It said tests found Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly, two senior ministers and two officials were also infected with the virus and are now being treated carefully by doctors, although it did not give their whereabouts.

"After being treated carefully by Cambodian doctors, the Prime Minister's health is returning to normal," the letter said, adding that Hun Sen had failed to attend his ruling party's anniversary and cancelled other appointments.

The World Health Organisation said earlier this month that 18,156 people had died from swine flu, a year after the influenza was declared a pandemic, but that the virus was now "globally less active".

In Cambodia six people have died from the virus and another 591 have been infected, according to the country's health ministry.

More Cambodian youth watch TV during World Cup finals

PHNOM PENH, Jun 29, 2010 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- More Cambodian youth have watched televisions during the World Cup in South Africa according to a survey conducted by Indochina Research Ltd. (IRL), local media reported on Tuesday.

The research showed that the percentage of the TV fans aged from 15 to 19 increased by 32 percent in the month of June alone, and that of general population aged from 20 to 29 who watches TV increased by six percent in June, Local Khmer newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea reported.

Those respondents were watching MYTV, a branch channel of CTN (Cambodian Television Network) which airs World Cup matches, the research showed.

Glen Felgate, general director of CTN said he anticipated that the group phase of FIFA 2010 World Cup will attract some 50 percent of the watchers to his network and the number will be higher in the elimination stage.

The IRL will issue a final research result on the TV fans for 2010 World Cup next month.

Monk 'filmed women bathing in holy water'

Neth Khay changing into street clothes after being disrobed

The Sun Herald
From: AFP
June 29, 2010

A CAMBODIAN court charged a Buddhist monk on Tuesday for secretly filming hundreds of women as they bathed naked with holy water at a temple and then sharing the clips.

Net Khai, 37, faces up to a year in jail after being charged with "producing and distributing pornographic images'' by Phnom Penh Municipal Court, prosecutor Ek Chheng Huot said.

He was arrested at his pagoda in the Cambodian capital on Saturday over allegations that he secretly taped the women pouring sacred water over themselves in a pagoda bathroom, said police chief Touch Naruth.

Net Khai was arrested after a victim approached police and said that video clips showing the naked women had been shared among people via their mobile phones in recent weeks.

He was subsequently stripped of his religious status.

"He has filmed hundreds of women since 2008. They came to the monk to be blessed with holy water, but they were secretly filmed," Touch Naruth said.

"His act affects other monks and Buddhism and seriously harms our tradition," he said, adding that Net Khai had confessed to his crimes.

Police said they were looking for the man's accomplices.

There are more than 55,000 Buddhist monks across Cambodia, which has 4300 pagodas.

Cambodia Is a Hard Sell for Investment Companies

Published: June 29, 2010
New York Times

PHNOM PENH — Douglas Clayton arrived in Phnom Penh in 2007 to start a private equity fund, looking to get $100 million in funds under management. His firm, Leopard Capital, started in 2008, is one of four private equity funds here backed by overseas investors, and the first to have completed an investment.

“Anyone can announce they want to start a fund, but getting investors to back you is a challenge,” Mr. Clayton, Leopard’s chief executive and managing partner, said in an interview. “All the groups that started here had no track record, including us. It’s a doubly hard story to sell.”

Mr. Clayton was drawn to Cambodia after experiencing years of double-digit growth in Thailand, where he worked for a hedge fund during the 1990s.

Now ranked at 145 out of 183 countries in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” report, Cambodia is going through its own period of rapid growth. Before the global economic crisis hit in 2008, gross domestic product grew about 9 percent a year for almost a decade. After shrinking by 2.5 percent in 2009, growth is forecast to reach about 5 percent this year.

With $34 million collected so far from an array of international investors, Leopard has completed six investments, including a $2 million, 55 percent stake in Kingdom Breweries, a new microbrewery, and a 31.5 percent share in a recently built shrimp-processing factory. It has loaned about $1 million to an electricity supplier in Kompong Cham Province, in eastern Cambodia.

The traditional private equity strategy of buying out and investing in profitable, pre-existing businesses is rarely an option here, Mr. Clayton said. “The biggest range of opportunities are the businesses that have not started yet.”

Still, in a country where everything is still to be done, “for people who are willing to come in and work very hard and be very entrepreneurial and blaze their own trails, Cambodia is a paradise.”

After decades of civil war and a deadly communist regime that between 1975 and 1979 killed 1.7 million people, Cambodia remains deeply underdeveloped, with four million of its 14 million people living below the poverty threshold, according to the United Nations.

Leopard raised its first $10 million before the financial crisis struck. Cambodia Emerald, a would-be rival, also started in 2008, was not so lucky.

As the crisis bit, “we sort of basically put the fund on hold,” Peter Brimble, founding partner of Cambodia Emerald, said recently. Still, U.S. investors are starting to show interest again, and “we have plans to bring it back,” he said.

Beyond the problems of attracting foreign capital, businesses here say they are confronted with numerous local barriers, the most frequently cited being the extremely limited access to domestic capital, and high transportation and electricity costs.

In 2008, Cambodian bank lending was worth about 25 percent of gross domestic product, compared with more than 90 percent in Vietnam and Thailand.

“Capital is one of the main constraints here,” said Joshua Morris, managing director of Emerging Markets Investments, a private development fund backed by the International Finance Corp. — the World Bank’s private arm — and the Norwegian and Finnish governments. Small and medium-size enterprises “struggle to raise the money they need for expansion,” he said.

Lending is limited by low confidence in the judicial system and a lack of credit information, investment managers say. Mr. Morris, whose $10 million fund operates in both Cambodia and Laos, says he has been “incredibly careful” in identifying prospective business partners and has so far found just two in which he hopes to complete investments this summer.

Apart from their lack of access to cash, Mr. Morris said, Cambodian businesses rarely build proper corporate governance into strategies and fall short on accounting and auditing standards.

“While many businesses excel in generating revenue, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of the internal processes of the company,” he said. Skilled labor is also limited, although “a pretty solid set of business managers” is starting to emerge from the country’s universities, he added.

Yet, for all the shortcomings, Cambodia is at the heart of developing Asia, surrounded by dynamic economies in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. Its currency, the riel, is pegged by the central bank at a stable rate of about 4,100 to the U.S. dollar, and inflation is low, at about 4 percent a year.

International road links are developing quickly, and last year Toll Group of Australia signed a contract to operate the long-neglected rail network, which is being rehabilitated. Toll says the first line, between Phnom Penh and the port city of Sihanoukville, will be open to freight by October.

“It’s a very pro-business government here,” Mr. Morris said. “They have placed very few restrictions with regards to where you can invest.”

“The private sector is our engine of economic growth,” Sun Chanthol, vice chairman for the Council for the Development of Cambodia, the government’s investment board, told a business seminar in Phnom Penh this month. “We want to be the facilitator of the private sector.”

Bretton G. Sciaroni, an adviser to the government and a partner at the law firm Sciaroni & Associates in Phnom Penh, said Cambodia had advantages that did not exist elsewhere in the region.

Foreign investors are allowed to own a company outright, without a local partner. There are no restrictions on fund transfers, no exchange controls, and Cambodia is one of the few least-developed countries to have joined the World Trade Organization.

The government is also hoping to establish a stock exchange this year.

“Senior government officials are focused on attracting investment and creating jobs,” Mr. Sciaroni said. “In addition, because Cambodia is a relatively new country with a new economy, there are business opportunities that do not exist in more developed economies. Much needs to be done in Cambodia, and opportunity abounds.” Still, the cost of doing business is higher there than in many other countries in the region. Electricity costs are high because much of the energy is imported, while transportation is costly and slow because of poor infrastructure. Moreover, “the courts do not provide an adequate venue for commercial disputes,” Mr. Sciaroni said. “Dispute resolution remains an important issue for the business community.”Corruption is another problem. “Corruption exists at many levels and is sometimes only the manifestation of a former economy based on informal processes,” said Christophe Forsinetti, vice president of the venture capital fund Devenco.Yet, the fact that Cambodia’s development lags behind that of its neighbors means there is a higher growth potential as the country catches up, Mr. Forsinetti said.Devenco has invested in Gaea, a waste collection company in the main tourist hub — Siem Reap — and in Pharm@link, a Phnom Penh pharmacy chain. “Many sectors are underdeveloped and companies with a specific knowledge can become a leader on their market with small investment amounts,” he said. “We therefore work on a smaller pie. But it is a growing one.”

Domestic violence against Cambodian women declines

People's Daily Online
June 29, 2010

Cambodian government announced Tuesday that domestic violence, especially against women in the country was significantly declined from a year earlier.

In a new result which was surveyed by Cambodian government through Ministry of Women's Affairs in cooperation with international organizations including the German GTZ, showed that domestic violence, especially against women declined from 64 percent in 2005 to 53 percent in 2009.

The survey was conducted on behaviors toward violence among spouses and towards other families'members.

As many as 3,040 people at their ages of 15 and above, and were living in 13 out of 24 provinces and cities across the nation were interviewed in the survey.

Among the questions, included the insult, curse, rape, physical assault as well as acid attack and shooting.

The answers showed that the misconducts with such behavior declined to 53 percent in 2009 compared to 64 percent in 2005, according to the result of the survey.

The result also showed that majority of Cambodians is aware of the new law on prevention of domestic violence, and more than 80 percent of women and 91 percent of men said domestic violence in all serious forms shall be avoided. Domestic violence against women remains a major issue in Cambodia.

Many women have been subjected to sexual and physical violence often committed by their husbands.

Fear of retaliation and financial costs of bringing a case to court, or even in obtaining a medical certificate from a doctor to prove the abuse, also discourage many Cambodian women from speaking out.


Cambodia sends Vietnamese martyrs’ remains home

The Cambodian provinces of Kongpong Thom and Kongpong Cham on June 29 held a solemn ceremony to hand over the remains of 83 Vietnamese martyrs to Vietnamese provinces of Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh.

Speaking at the ceremony in Kongpong Thom province, provincial chairman Chum Chuan expressed his delight at the fine results of cooperation between the two countries in exhuming and moving the remains of voluntary Vietnamese soldiers who died in Cambodia.

This demonstrates the Cambodian people’s deep gratitude towards Vietnamese families whose relatives had died for Cambodia’s independence struggle, he said, adding that the work will be continued until the last set of remains is found.

The province of Krache will also have a similar ceremony on June 30 to hand over 81 sets of remains of Vietnamese martyrs to Vietnam.

11th Cambodian Festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Click on the poster above to zoom in

You are cordially invited to join our 11th Cambodian Festival as part of Week-ends du monde at Parc Jean-Drapeau! Free entrance. Welcome to all!

Parterre Île-Sainte-Hélène
Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal (Quebec).

Saturday, July 10th, 2010, from 10 am to 10:30 pm


Unholy halls

The Malaysian Star

What is probably the grimmest secondary school building in the world lies in a leafy suburb of the sprawling city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

TUOL Svay Prey High School, now known as Tuol Sleng, is an average looking building that follows the model of many secondary schools in Asia: a three-storey block with a staircase at each end and covered balconies that students walk along to get from one classroom to the next.

In front of the L-shaped school buildings is an open area, now grassed, that would once have been filled with the voices of students taking their morning and afternoon breaks or doing PE or playing football or basketball.

But all that was before the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975 and turned it into the main torture centre for the people of Phnom Penh.

Grim reminders: Tourists taking a look at the two jars allegedly used to torture prisoners at a former Khmer Rouge prison in the Tuol Sleng genocide museum, in Phnom Penh. Operated by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, the museum is to be renovated, officials said.

Detailed records of the Khmer Rouge’s activities there emerged through the work of the Yale Genocide Project.

“Thousands of people – officials from the old government, those accused of being middle class and latterly mainly Khmer Rouge members suspected of disloyalty – were brought to the prison.

"Their presence in Tuol Sleng meant that they had already been condemned. Once inside, they were weighed and photographed. Then the questioning began. Prisoners were told to write detailed confessions setting out their disloyalty.

"They were told to admit they were spies and implicate friends and family. Refusing to confess was not an option, and those that tried were brutally tortured. Many were tortured anyway,” reported BBC news.

Estimates vary on how many Cambodians were killed by Pol Pot’s regime but 1.8 million seems conservative – almost a third of the country’s population at that time. Of those, 17,000 passed through Tuol Sleng on their way to the killing fields of Choeung Ek just outside the city.
Current and former foreign correspondents looking at photos of the victims of the Khmer Rouge at the Tuol Sleng genocide museum in Phnom Penh on April 23. Foreign correspondents covering Cambodia’s 1970-1975 war gathered together en masse in Cambodia for the first time in 35 years to attend a memorial ceremony for 37 foreign and local journalists who died covering the conflict.

When the Vietnamese liberated Phnom Penh in 1975, just seven people of those 17,000 were alive and they found 14 decaying corpses still lying on the floors and the iron bedsteads on which they had been tortured.

The Vietnamese buried them in the courtyard but wisely left other things as they were and these rooms, with their bedsteads in place and with grainy blow-ups of the corpses on the walls, are the first that visitors encounter.

Today, an unnerving peacefulness hangs over the buildings of Tuol Sleng. The fact that they were once a high school lends an added poignancy to the emotional distress that all visitors inevitably undergo.

These rooms, with their bloodstains ingrained in the floor and the shackles that once held prisoners’ legs still attached to the beds, were once classrooms.

Their familiarity means that you can almost still hear the excited chatter of students, the voice of the teacher and picture the rows of upturned faces.

It is a stark contrast to the screams of the tortured that must have echoed around these bare walls in the late 1970s.

In the next building, things get worse.

The Khmer Rouge documented their deeds extensively and with care.

Tuol Sleng had its own photographer whose job was to take mug shots of all the prisoners. These stark black-and-white pictures fill the next two classrooms in the adjacent school block. There are hundreds of them, attached to rows of display boards.

Inevitably, many are of children – the children that should perhaps have filled these classrooms with their laughter. The blank frightened stares chill and it is a hard heart that does not feel tears rising.

My eye was caught by one small boy, of eight or nine I should think, whose image would later haunt me as I visited the UN monument at Choeung Ek and looked at the heap of skulls carefully labelled by age.

Perhaps his was one of them; perhaps his was still lying in the mass burial pits that have been deliberately left undisturbed.

Unanswered questions

The director of Tuol Sleng was Kaing Guek Eav, born in the central province of Kampong Thom in the early 1940s, but he was more generally known as Comrade Duch.

After many years of laying low, during which he worked for the American Refugee Commit­tee, he was identified by photojournalist Nic Dunlop in April 1999. Dunlop handed him over to the authorities.

But having pursued him relentlessly and successfully, Dunlop was suddenly overcome with doubts.
Photos of child prisoners who were executed.

Was there any point in starting a process that would inevitably lead to a lengthy and tortuous trial? Duch was a man already in his seventies. Was he sincere in his remorse, his charity work and his conversion to Christianity? The ending of Dunlop’s book, The Lost Executioner, is full of unanswered questions.

Duch’s defence was always that he had no option but to carry out the orders of his superiors in the Khmer Rouge Central Committee.

“If I had tried to flee, they were holding my family hostage, and my family would have suffered the same fate as the other prisoners in Tuol Sleng. If I had fled or rebelled, it would not have helped anyone,” he told a British newspaper in 2007.

The Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal said on May 24 that the verdict will be delivered late next month.

But whatever Duch’s fate, a visit to Tuol Sleng is a gruelling experience and raises big questions.

I think it was the novelist John Fowles who once wrote that a major failure of our times was to come to terms with the fact that evil exists.

Tuol Sleng thrusts that reality into the face of every visitor, and to anyone with children or involved in education, it thrusts a follow-up question: what are you doing to prepare those children for a world in which the deeds of evil men and women can and do thrive?

How do you recognise evil, oppose it, deal with it, and even, like that little boy, suffer it? For me, Tuol Sleng’s silence was deep and heavy with reproach. The reasons for teaching history have no finer advocate.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A member of the British royal family appeals for funds to help restore Banteay Chmar temple

By Khmerization
Source: DAP News

A cousin of the queen of England, Prince Richard Alexander Walter George, is appealing for funds to help restore Cambodia's Banteay Chmar temple which is in dire need of repair and restoration, reports Deum Ampil.

Prince Richard, who carries the royal title of the Duke of Gloucester, made an appeal during his visit to the temple on Monday 28th June to assess Cambodia's application to list the temple as a world heritage site.

Banteay Chmar temple is situated in Banteay Chmar village in Puok district near the Khmer-Thai border, 60 kilometres north of the Banteay Meanchey provincial capital. It was built at the end of 12th century and completed at the beginning 13th century during the reign of King Jayavarman VII to dedicated it to his sons and 4 Cambodian military commanders who died during a military campaign to repel the Cham invaders in 1177. On 8th of August 2009, the Cambodian government had submitted an application for a world heritage site listing.

Ms. Helen and Ms. Jane Syklat (spelling?), Unesco's representaives who accompanied Prince Richard to the temple, said Unesco is impressed with Banteay Chmar temple and promised that Unesco will help Cambodia to conserve and restore this temple. Ms. Helen added that the world wanted to see Banteay Chmar temple because it is one of Cambodia's best kept secret temples.

Cambodia's foreign tourist arrivals rise 11.5% in first 5 months

Tourists riding elephants near Angkor temples.

PHNOM PENH, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Foreign tourist arrivals in Cambodia increased 11.5 percent in the first five months of this year, compared to the same period last year, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday.

From January to May this year, Cambodia had received 1,054,821 foreign tourists, up 11.5 percent, compared to the same period last year of 945,807 tourists, said the report.

Of the figure, Vietnam placed number one among the top ten, up 43.76 percent to 175,937, and followed by South Korea and China, increased by 33.53 percent to 125,455 and 32.07 percent to 74,558, respectively.

Whilst Thailand ranked ten among the top ten markets arrivals to Cambodia with the tourist number declined 13.83 percent to 36, 995 from 42,931 due to the turmoil in the country.

According to the report, for the month of May alone, tourists to Cambodia increased by 16.9 percent to 170,164 in 2010 from 145, 564 the same month of last year, of which Vietnamese tourists increased by 68.31 percent to 36,992, South Korea rose 44 percent to 19,108, and Chinese tourists up 43.45 percent to 11,162, while Thailand dropped 3.45 percent to 7,392.
Editor: Xiong Tong

CIA's involvement in the 1959 plot

By John Connor

Further to my letter I can now detail CIA involvement in the 1959 plot.

This from William Colby, ex-head of CIA, in his book "Honorable Men" 1978, pp 149 - 150

"The first problem I had to deal with hit me on my first day in Saigon (1959), in fact on the drive into town from the airport. The wife of the officer who met us flagged us down on the street to tell him that a message had just come in that he handle immediately. A “flap” – the CIA word for crisis – was ahead in Cambodia.

Neutralist Prince Sihanouk, who had recognized China only a few months before, was thought by the Thai and South Vietnamese to be an advance agent, or at least a supply channel, for the spread of Communism to their borders.

And they found a sympathetic Cambodian General who thought the same way and whom they were assisting in his preparations for a coup against the Prince. (General Lon Nol?)

CIA was well aware of these machinations through its “unilateral” sources in both those countries and, in response to the White House and State’s policy, was doing its best to dissuade the Thai and Vietnamese from this venture, which we felt was unlikely to succeed and would only exacerbate the problems of dealing with Sihanouk.

But to be certain that we would know what was happening among the coup-makers, CIA had recruited an agent on the Cambodian General’s staff, and had given him a radio with which to keep us informed. And we were indeed informed.

But our efforts to dissuade our allies did not work, and they went ahead with the coup. And it came out as we expected, a failure.

Unfortunately, in putting down the coup, Sihanouk had captured our agent and his radio. And, not un-naturally, he drew the conclusion that CIA was one of the participants, and that the gold and arms furnished from Bangkok and Saigon to be used against him were only part of the over-all plot of which the radio was a key element.

In his mind, his “War with the CIA,” as he titled his book, had begun, and the Agency (CIA) was taught a vital lesson – that our operations would be judged as much for what they seemed to be as for what they really were. It was a lesson many of us had trouble learning, and it would plague us in later years as well.”

It seems the US did learn some lessons to be used in 1970


“Nixon and Kissinger, along with John Negroponte ** (Kissinger aide, officer in charge of Vietnam at the National Security Council) arranged a chaos-creating government coup in Cambodia in March 1970. Generating further resentment, the U.S. installed Lon Nol who collected millions in U.S. economic aid. He declared himself Chief of State, Prime Minister and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces after he disbanded the Assembly in October 1971 in order to declare emergency rule. He then permitted the U.S. to carpet bomb Cambodia.32

Lon Nol retired to Hawaii on April 1, 1975 with a half million dollars, compliments of the American taxpayers.33 What followed? - Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, the killing fields, the liquidation of the middle class, famine, the destruction of the economy and concentration camps.”

So much for American “Democracy and Liberty”

How about $60 billion for war crimes in Indochina - $20 bn for each nations.

John Connor
June 29, 2010

Sam Rainsy Party Firmly Supports Mu Sochua - No Fine to Be Paid

Press Statement

Sam Rainsy Party Firmly Supports Mu Sochua - No Fine to Be Paid

SRP MP Mu Sochua (pictured) reaffirms her long-standing position regarding the payment of a fine for the defamation case against her:

“I am standing on my position, which I have maintained all along: I will not pay for the fine, and SRP will not pay on my behalf. The fine can be paid only with my authorization”

The Sam Rainsy Party supports this position, and any statements to the contrary are unofficial.


June 28, 2010: Mrs. Mu Sochua's speech in Manila, Philippine

June 28, 2010: Mrs. Mu Sochua's speech about Democracy, Rule of Laws and Human Rights for children and women in Cambodia during Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) meeting in Manila, Philippine.

Monk quizzed after filming naked women

Neth Khay ordered disrobed by the pagoda chief
Neth Khay changing into street clothes after being disrobed

PHNOM PENH - DPA - (June 29): A Cambodian court has questioned a defrocked monk accused of filming women who were bathing naked in sacred water at a Buddhist temple, national media reported Tuesday.

Net Khai, 37, was dismissed from the pagoda in Phnom Penh on Saturday after accusations he secretly videoed a dozen women pouring holy water over themselves in a pagoda bathroom, said municipal police chief Touch Naruth.

"This monk's act of filming naked women seriously affects our Cambodian society and Cambodian women's dignity," Touch Naruth told the Cambodia Daily newspaper.

Four women have filed complaints against the former monk, including one who claimed Net Khai had filmed her using his mobile phone and then shared the clip with others.

A court official said Net Khai would likely face charges related to the production and distribution of pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of one year and a 480-dollar-fine.

The head of the country's Mohanikaya Budhhist sect condemned the former monk's actions, but said it ought not to reflect on other monks.

"It is not connected to our monks' discipline at all, and now Net Khai is defrocked so the law can sentence him," said Supreme Patriarch Non Nget. "Yet we are sorry that this man was formerly a monk and did something repulsive to Cambodian society."

Non Nget said he could not understand why the women were naked at the pagoda in the first place, and said such practices should not reoccur. - dpa

Cambodia to launch new property tax by end this year

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

PHNOM PENH, Jun. 29, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Cambodian government is set to launch a new property tax by the end of this year, local media reported on Tuesday, citing officials at the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Under the Finance for Management Law, passed in November, purchasers of constructions worth more than 100 million riels ( around 25,000 U.S. dollars) will be required to pay an annual tax worth 0.1 percent of property value.

"We are preparing a prakas to establish a committee to evaluate property and we will start implementing tax collection in the end of this year, as the National Assembly requires," Norng Piseth, chief of the Real Estate Division at the Ministry of Economy and Finance was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post as saying.

"It is very important for increasing national income," he added.

Although the new levy is not expected to raise large amounts of additional funds, as Minister of Finance Keat Chhon has estimated tax revenue would be between 3 million U.S. dollars and 9 million U.S. dollars, the government has voiced its ambition to improve tax administration.

About 180,000 houses that are under municipal and provincial administration would be covered under the new property tax, according to Hang Chuon Naron, secretary of state of the Finance Ministry.
(Source: iStockAnalyst )

Airbus-Boeing Rivals May Benefit From Spat

Jun 28, 2010

A Cambodian proverb holds that when elephants fight, the ants suffer (Damrei Chol Knea Ngorb Sro-Morch). But there is a real danger of that wisdom being turned on its head as the U.S. and European Union spar in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over subsidies for large commercial aircraft.

In their zeal to win, could Boeing and Airbus be teaching emerging rivals how to craft state subsidies — and inadvertently speed the end of their own duopoly?

A pair of cases has raged in the WTO since 2004, when the U.S. brought a complaint against the EU alleging that Airbus benefited from more than $20 billion in “illegal” state aid for the development of the A380 and other aircraft. The U.S. government’s case claims Boeing’s market lead over Airbus had all but vanished by 2000, making European subsidies unnecessary and potentially illegal.

The WTO’s “final” report on the U.S. case is expected June 30, but the debate will be far from settled. A pending EU counter-claim alleges that Boeing has leveraged research grants from NASA and the U.S. Defense Department to benefit its commercial aircraft programs. Additionally, state and local tax incentives and credits constitute a separate stream of illegal subsidies, according to the EU. In total, the EU claims Boeing received — what a coincidence — more than $20 billion in illegal subsidies. The WTO’s interim report in the European case is expected by mid-July and should signal the flavor of a final report that will be released 6-8 months later.

Even then, the two sides could be locked in appeals and arbitration for years. Or the two governments could at any point opt to negotiate a settlement. And if the WTO rules that a fine is appropriate, the levy need not be applied to aerospace exports. That means business as usual at Boeing and Airbus is unlikely to change in the near term. The EU is not about to cancel launch aid for Airbus’s new A350, and Boeing is unlikely to refuse tax credits from state and local governments. “It’s very difficult to get companies to change behaviors,” says Richard Aboulafia, a Teal Group analyst.

Both sides already are claiming victory. But the real winners may not be based in either Chicago and Seattle or Toulouse and Hamburg. Instead, they might be aircraft builders in Canada, Brazil, Japan or China. The WTO cases may well serve to instruct the Airbus’s and Boeing’s next generation of rivals how to structure state aid — or how not to — so it complies with international trade agreements. “These cases will give someone — maybe the Japanese or the Chinese — some traction,” says William Swelbar, an economist in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department.

In a capital-intensive and risky endeavor such as developing a commercial aircraft program, knowing how to legally tap the rich vein of government funds could be the most important lesson of all.

Photo credit: Northrop Grumman

Tearing Apart the Web of Sex Trafficking

Education is a key step in changing the supply and demand equation of human trafficking.
Monday, 28 June 2010
By Amy Larsen
The Yale Globalist
A young Cambodian girl practices reading in school. Education is key to reducing the vulnerability of girls and women to human sex trafficking in countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. (Courtesy of UNICEF Cambodia)

“Postcards? Book on Pol Pot? Bracelet?” In the ruins of Angkor Wat, two young Cambodian girls hawked their wares with entrepreneurialism beyond their years.

Their questions were calibrated to win over American tourists: “What if we can tell you the name of the American President and the population of Cambodia? Then will you buy something?”

They were smart, but it was a Tuesday morning and these young girls weren’t in school. I asked them why not.

“Our families need the money so we must sell things,” said the elder of the two. But couldn’t they make more money later on with an education?

“Well, I can just find a rich husband instead,” giggled the smaller
girl. “Then I will be rich too!”

These girls exhibit some of the most common vulnerabilities to human trafficking: poverty, lack of education, gender inequality, and the desire for a better life. In Cambodia, as in many developing countries, boys are expected to become the primary breadwinners for their families and, as a result, are often given priority access to nutrition, health care, and education. Girls and women are also uniquely vulnerable to being trafficked for sex. The U.N. Office on drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that sexual exploitation accounts for 79 percent of all forms of human trafficking around the world and that women and girls make up 80 percent of human sex trafficking victims.

Human trafficking is one of the most egregious, widespread, and concealed violations of human rights in the modern world. In 2000, the Palermo Protocol broke new ground by developing the first widely accepted definition of human trafficking: the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt” of a person by means of threats, coercion, deception, or fraud for exploitative purposes such as sexual slavery, forced labor, or child soldiering.

A hallmark of human trafficking is the movement of people either within or across national borders, with Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia representing the largest origin regions of trafficked people and Western Europe, the United States, and Canada serving as prime destinations for these same trafficking victims. The antitrafficking organization Free the Slaves estimates that worldwide, approximately 27 million people are currently enslaved for purposes such as forced sex, labor, and domestic servitude. This is more than double the number of Africans enslaved during the transatlantic slave trade. Southeast Asia is a hotspot for human sex trafficking, with Thailand,
Cambodia, and Vietnam ranked either ‘High’ or ‘Very High’ as countries of origin for trafficked people.

Bringing this tragedy to an end will require broad social changes. Young women and children in Southeast Asia, like the girls I met selling trinkets at Angkor Wat, must be educated about how to defend themselves from sex traffickers and others who would exploit their vulnerable position. Men who purchase sex need to realize how deeply prostitution is connected with human trafficking, a global web of deceit and enslavement that channels girls from countries such as Cambodia to work the sex trade in countries like the United States.

Transnational Trafficking

One way that traffickers recruit women and girls is by offering them a job as a waitress or singer in a distant city, and with it the prospect of a better life. If they accept the deal, girls are told to hand over their identification documents for the purposes of organizing the journey and in so doing begin to lose access to their freedom and safety. Once they arrive at their destination, the girls abruptly realize they have been trafficked for sex as they are thrown into a brothel or locked in an apartment and forced to sexually serve clients for the financial benefit of pimps who control them. Because trafficked girls often end up in a foreign country where they don’t necessarily speak the language and are under surveillance at virtually all times, it is extremely difficult for them to get help even if they try to seek it out. The physical, social, and psychological consequences of human trafficking make it one of the most heinous human rights abuses. As New York Times columnists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn describe in their book Half the Sky, “An essential part of the brothel business model is to break the spirit of girls, through humiliation, rape, threats, and violence.” UNICEF estimates that nearly 1.2 million of those trafficked each year are children.

Because of the transnational nature of human trafficking, and the fact that it involves areas as disparate as education, labor, gender, poverty, law enforcement, health, and migration, cooperation between governments is essential. The United Nations Interagency Project on Trafficking (UNIAP), headquartered in Bangkok, Thai-land, coordinates projects, activities, and agreements among NGOs, U.N. agencies, and governments in Southeast Asia. It relies on a net-work of local and national organizations to help operationalize inter-national antitrafficking agreements, which often include providing immediate assistance to victims and long-term education to young girls in order to reduce their vulnerability to sex trafficking before it begins.

Educating to Empower

On the national level, antitrafficking efforts rely on organizations like World Vision, a key UNIAP partner in Southeast Asia that assists with on-the-ground trafficking prevention by funding groups like the Cambodian NGO Nevea Thmey. Nevea Thmey’s shelter, founded in 1997, offers counseling, medical, legal, rehabilitation, and vocational training services to the more than 800 girls rescued from trafficking since its founding and simultaneously reaches out to the community in an effort to thwart future traffickers. Recently rescued victims join a group of older girls who, after spending time in the shelter, often volunteer to mentor and teach younger girls and oth-ers within their community how to detect traffickers’ tricks. This is particularly useful given the dearth of role models in society due to the Khmer rouge’s bloody genocide 30 years ago which left a quarter of all Cambodians dead. Nevea Thmey’s approach dovetails care for victims with prevention efforts and transforms victims into empowered advocates for change.

Local and international human trafficking experts agree on the central importance of education in reducing the vulnerability of women and children to trafficking. Preparing young girls to stand up for themselves before they ever encounter risky situations is a crucial way to diminish risk. AFESIP (Agir pour les Femmes en Situation Precaire), an anti-trafficking organization and one of the largest NGOs in Vietnam, runs a sexual education and empowerment course for children aged 13 and older with exactly this goal in mind. AFESIP’s curriculum includes topics such as the dangers and pleasuresassociated with sexual activity as well as models of safe and healthy relationships. In order to empower girls to resist unwelcome sexual advances, the children play games, some of which are as simple as girls practicing saying “No!” to boys during role plays. Girls are also taught self-defense. The whole class is later quizzed to reinforce information, and parents are engaged in discussions about the material so it can be reiterated at home. While teaching this curriculum in schools has reached many students and served as a model for anti-trafficking education in Vietnam, low school attendance and completion still represent significant obstacles, especially when parents deem it more useful for their daughters to help at home or work than attend school. Such cultural norms and expectations must change as well if the fight against child sex trafficking is to be won.

Economics 101: Demand Drives Supply

U.N. and NGO programs such as these do a great deal to combat human trafficking and meet the needs of victims in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Yet these efforts target only one side of the supply and demand equation which drives this ignoble industry. The economic value of the human trafficking trade, the fastest growing of all illicit industries, is currently estimated at $32 billion. Its gross value recently overtook that of the illicit arms trade. Doan Thuy Dung, program officer for the International Organization for Migration Vietnam, noted that “the demand side is also equally important” whentackling the problem of human trafficking. In basic economic terms,demand drives supply. In other words, if consumers refused to payfor domestic servants, forced labor, or sex from trafficked women and children, the industry would cease to be profitable — and to exist.

Needed then are not only programs that educate and protect women and children in Southeast Asia, but also the realization by citizens of all nations — and particularly Westerners whose countries are prime destinations for trafficked people — that their own behavior, choices, and knowledge affect the status of human rights around the world. On January 4, 2010, President Obama designated January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month. While this is a small step in the right direction, the United States continues to spend more in one day to fight drug trafficking than it does in an entire year to combat human trafficking, reflecting the substantial gap that remains between speech and action.

The Illusion of Choice

Lina Nealon manages the Hunt Alternatives Fund initiative Demand Abolition, an activism project which aims to combat human trafficking from the demand side. Essentially, it is the “market for prostitution that drives sex trafficking,” Nealon explained. In light of this fact, the most effective strategy for reducing human trafficking is to decrease demand for prostitution and for the purchasing of sex more broadly. To start with, men who buy sex must understand the impact of their choices. According to human trafficking expert and author Benjamin Skinner, most men who purchase sex are under the illusion that the majority of women selling sex do so willingly. The reality is that women trafficked for sex rarely keep money they make from “clients” and are instead forced to turn it over to pimps, who keep them under lock and key. Meanwhile, prostitutes who have not been trafficked seldom choose to sell sex because they actually want to. Of a sample of prostitutes interviewed by researcher Melissa Farley, 96 percent reported that they would rather be doing something other than selling sex and would leave the trade if they could.

Although the average age of entry into the business of selling sex in the United States is between 12 and 14, U.S. federal law considers girls under 18 to be trafficking victims because they are not of legal age. But men who buy sex from underage girls do not necessarily visualize them this way. Skinner has noticed that men who purchase sex often make moral excuses for their actions, convincing themselves that purchasing sex is “no more or less immoral than paying for a plumber to fix the toilet.” While the distinct and underlying crime of human sex trafficking, according to Skinner, lies in the enslavement of those trafficked for sex, both trafficked and non-trafficked women who sell sex experience a wide range of serious social, mental, and physical health consequences.

The Swedish Model

According to Nealon, Sweden’s approach to addressing prostitution is a model worth emulating. In 1999, Sweden passed the Sex Purchase Law, which criminalized the purchase of sex but decriminalized the sale of sex. The law takes into account the fact that a woman who sells sex has often reached this decision because “society has failed her and left her with no other choices,” recounted Nealon. The Swedes conceive of prostitution and the sale of sex as inherently harmful to women due to power imbalances that develop between the buyer and seller. The evidence suggests that they are right. Farley has found that prostitutes show a higher incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) than Vietnam War veterans and torture victims. That is in addition to the verbal and physical abuse that women who sell sex endure on a daily basis; their exposure to sexually transmitted diseases; the stalking, battering, and rape they remain unprotected from; the anxiety, depression, mental distress, and substance abuse problems they are not treated for; and the permanent damage done to their bodies and reproductive systems.

In elementary school, Swedish children are taught about gender equality, dignity, and healthy relationships and learn to regard the purchase of another human being as unacceptable. The Sex Purchase Law works in tandem with Swedish welfare institutions that have increased the social services and job training available to prostitutes searching for other jobs. The impact of educating Swedes about equality and respect for women at an early age has translated into overwhelming popular support for the Sex Purchase Law, a 40 percent decrease in prostitution over the past five years, and a fundamental cultural shift in the way Swedish men regard the purchase of sex.

Additionally, an unanticipated but exceptional consequence of the Sex Purchase Law is that sex trafficking in Sweden has been virtually eliminated since the law’s passage. In economic terms, traffickers tend to regard countries where prostitution and demand for sex is illegal as less profitable markets for the women they are attempting to sell for sex than countries where prostitution is legal. While a universal ban on prostitution, like that which exists in the vast majority of American states today, has proven unsuccessful at halting sex trafficking, a framework that targets the demand side of the sex trafficking equation by criminalizing the purchasing of sex could yield more effective results. Recently, countries such as Iceland and Norway have followed Sweden’s lead by outlawing the purchase of sex in Iceland’s case and by criminalizing the purchase of sex acts anywhere in the world by Norwegian citizens.

Not Such a Party in the U.S.A.

Until American laws change to reflect the progressive and effective antitrafficking approaches found in many of the Nordic countries, short-run efforts to reduce demand for sex should begin with a more equitable enforcement of U.S. law. At present, police departments across the country arrest pimps, men who buy sex, and women who sell sex under the same law. However, the ratio of arrests is extremely skewed, with women selling sex representing 70 percent of those imprisoned in 2008, while pimps and male buyers of sex made up only 30 percent. Skinner noted that while “prohibition against it won’t make the crime disappear,” enforcement of U.S. antitrafficking law at the state level is an important first step in placing more responsibility on men for their choices. Nealon agreed, stating that harsher penalties in the short run would help men realize that when they purchase sex, they are not engaging in a “victimless crime.” She hopes that in the long run, men who buy sex will “gain more awareness and understanding of what their actions do to communities, women, and men themselves.”

Nealon also suggested that educating children about gender equality as early as kindergarten would help change the pervasive culture of impunity surrounding the purchase of sex in the United States and ultimately decrease the demand for sex that drives human sex trafficking. Constant references to exploitative sex in well-liked songs such as “P.I.M.P.” and the popularity of “Pimp and Ho”-themed parties at many colleges are subtle indicators of how American popular culture normalizes and even glorifies the purchase of sex. A cultural shift in the way that people, especially men who buy sex, think about purchasing sex from women, whether trafficked or not, is necessary to combat human sex trafficking.

Globally, education is one key to bringing the tragedy of sex trafficking to a halt on both the supply and demand sides of the industry. Ending human trafficking is not a lofty dream but rather an achievable goal that can be realized within our lifetimes through international cooperation, the proper legal framework, and education. If the culture surrounding the sale of sex can be changed on both ends of the sex trafficking equation, human sex slavery, along with the vulnerability of the Cambodian girls I met in Angkor Wat to this trade in human flesh, will become a relic of history.

Amy Larsen is a senior Political Science major in Calhoun College.

Who killed movie star Piseth Pilika?

Statement of Heng Pov, Deputy Police Commissioner of Phnom Penh City. Hoc (Hok) Lundy was his boss.

The Death of Movie Star Piseth Pilika (pictured)

In 1999, I was heading the Anti- Crime Bureau as deputy director and was in charge of the investigation of the death of the movie star. I found that before she died, she had an affair with Hoc Lundy. Her husband went overseas frequently, leaving her alone in Cambodia. Hoc Lundy often contacted her and took her to parties and buying her presents etc. In due course, a relationship was developed and she bore a son for Hoc Lundy. Then Hoc Lundy introduced her to Hun Sen. Hun Sen met her. Prior to her meeting Hun Sen, she was not that well off. But afterwards, she made a lot of money. Her bank account in Canada Bank showed a balance of US$30,000 at the time of her death. She was also given a brand new Honda CRV and a villa. She was worried about her safety everyday as Hun Sen's wife found out their secret affairs. Hun Sen's wife blamed Hoc Lundy as he was the matchmaker. Hoc Lundy made peace with her and promised that he would try to separate the movie star from Hun Sen. Soon the movie star was killed. I found out that the killer was one of Hoc Lundy's body guards. I went to question Bon Na and he admitted that he was involved together with Keov Vichet in the killing under the order of Hoc Lundy.

Because the crime involved Hoc Lundy, I could do nothing about it. I made no arrest. I was very upset and there an innocent life killed and I being a police officer could do nothing.

Heng Peov hold position as the chief of Bureau of Anti Narcotic in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Neak Loeung Bridge to be completed in 2015

Artist's impression of Neak Loeung Bridge.

By Khmerization
Source: Koh Santepheap

Prime Minister Hun Sen said the construction of Neak Loeung Bridge, which will be financed under a $131 million grant from Japan, will commence in late 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in February 2015, reports Koh Santepheap.

Neak Loeung Bridge in Kandal province, touted to be the longest, biggest and most expensive bridge in Cambodia to date, will connect the future Asean Highway and connect Cambodian people living in the western and the eastern sides of the Mekong river, where the current means of crossing of the river have been boats and ferries.

Japan, Cambodia's biggest donor, have financed many bridge constructions in Cambodia, including Cambodia-Japan Friendship Bridge, known as Chroy Changvar Bridge in Phnom Penh and Kishuna Bridge in Kampong Cham. On top of this, many Cambodian students had been provided with scholarship to further their studies in Japan, with 199 Cambodian students had been given scholarships and completed their studies since 2000 and 24 more scholars will depart for Japan soon for a four-year course at Japanese universities.