A Change of Guard

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Thursday 31 December 2009

Cambodian Border Commission meets to report its border works

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party claimed that border pillars like this one have often been planted inside Cambodian territories under the new Cambodian-Vietnam agreements.

By Khmerization

The Cambodian Border Commission (CDC) has on 30th December convened a meeting to prepare the reports of its 2009 achievements and also to devise its 2010 plans, reports Deum Ampil.

The meeting, chaired by Mr. Var Kimhong, chairman of CDC, has tabled its 2009 works on the border demarcations with Vietnam based on the 1985 Cambodian-Vietnamese Treaty and the 1985 Supplemental Treaty ratified in 2005 on border delimitations and border demarcations. The meeting reported that, under the 1985 Treaty, the 1:100,000 scale Bonn map will be replaced with the 1:50,000 scale UTM map commissioned under the 1985 Treaty.

The meeting reports that, currently, the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Commission had mapped 229 demarcation spots on the maps, which is equivalent to 73% of the total demarcation spots to be demarcated. Another 17% of the demarcation spots will be completed in 2010. Cambodia and Vietnam had agreed to plant 375 border pillars along the more than 1000 kilometres long borders. Currently, 160 border pillars (43%) had been plnated. The plantings of border pillars in seven international border checkpoints of Bavet, Tropeang Sre, Tropeang Thlong, Prek Chak, Ka-orm Samnor, Koh Roka and Banteay Chakrey will be given priority.

Cambodia and Laos had also agreed to plant between 100 to 150 border pillars. All the plantings of border pillars with Vietnam and Laos are scheduled to be completed by 2012.

Regarding the borders with Thailand, the MoU on land borders signed on 14th March 2000 and the MoU on maritime borders signed on 25th August 2003 between Cambodia and Thailand have been implemented with technical teams from both countries conducting surveys and searches for old border pillars planted under the 1904 convention and 1907 border treaty. On land boundary, 73 border pillars were planted along the nearly 800 kilometres long borders between the two countries after the 1907 border treaty. The search teams had found 48 old border pillars, with 33 pillars had been agreed by both parties and 15 pillars are still in dispute. The technical teams are still searching for the other 25 pillars.

On the Laotian borders, the border works had neared its completion, said Mr. Var Kimhong. Both countries had already delimited 465 kilometres (86%) of the total border lengths of 546 kilometres. Both sides had agreed on the spots of the delimitations of 311 kilometres and 154 kilometres length is still in dispute. Currently, 121 border pillars had been planted, 4 will be planted soon and 20 demarcation spots need to be negotiated.

Mr. Var Kimhong said the French delimitations, done during the colonial rule, were so complicated that require more times to study and more works to complete the border demarcations.

He also said that Vietnam's unilateral decision to dig a canal to use as a borderline in 1979 has violated the real locations of the borderlines between the two countries. "One more complicated issue is Vietnam's decision to dig a canal along the borders in 1979 that did not respect the real borderlines drawn on the maps. (Now), the local people who live on both sides of the canal must consider the dike and the canal as the real borderline between the two countries", Mr. Var Kimhong said.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Var Kimhong said the border commission will find a formula that will not make local farmers lose their lands because of border demarcations.

Thaksin says he will return to Thailand by middle of next year

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (pictured) said on his Twitter page Wednesday that he would return to Thailand no later than the middle of next year.

He was answering a question posted by a fan as to when he would return to Thailand.

"I think it's no later than the middle of next year," Thaksin replied.

The Nation

Thaksin popular in Cambodia, too

Mr. Thaksin embracing his red shirt supporters in Siem Reap, Cambodia in mid November.

Published: 25/12/2009
Bangkok Post

Cambodians living across the border from Thailand's northeastern provinces idolise ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a study shows.

The initial findings of the research conducted by National University of Singapore senior lecturer Peter Vail for the Thailand Research Fund were unveiled on Tuesday.

They show border people in Cambodia, due to their geographical proximity to Thailand, are impressed with the former prime minister and the populist policies implemented when he was in power.

"They [survey respondents] also enjoyed discussing polarised Thai domestic politics and we could see several effigies in these areas slandering Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,'' said Mr Vail, who is also attached to the Mekong Sub-region Social Research Centre at Ubon Ratchathani University.

The northern Cambodians related to the red shirt group and found the yellow shirts were backward-looking people who wanted to steal Cambodian land and artefacts, he said, adding that they might also want to talk about Cambodian politics but they could not.

"They simply said they did not like [Cambodian Prime Minister] Hun Sen but wanted Hun Sen to introduce populist projects like Thaksin did to Thailand,'' the researcher said.

Northern Cambodians also disapproved of the Thai-Cambodian spat over Phnom Penh's campaign to list Preah Vihear as a World Heritage site.

"They just want to do business and make money,'' Mr Vail said. "They simply want better livelihoods, helped by border trade.''

Thaksin to come as adviser to Lanka?

Thaksin as an advisor of the Cambodian government.

The Daily Mirror

The Sri Lankan govt. is preparing to appoint former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra its economic adviser, another former Prime Minister of Thailand Somchai Wongsawat was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post.

Mr Somchai, Thaksin's brother-in-law had said that the Thai government should not worry about the appointment because Thaksin's role as adviser to Sri Lanka, as well as to Cambodia, would do no harm to Thailand.

The news report comes amidst claims that Thaksin is seeking asylum in Sri Lanka. (See Page 8 Daily Mirror of 30.12.09)

Political observers say that KP’s arrest soon after the news report of the former Prime Minister Thaksin seeking political asylum in Sri Lanka, may be two connected events.

Thailand Government adheres to stringent policies as regards countries, which are providing political asylum to Thaksin. Because of this, finding political asylum for Thaksin is a complicated issue, they say.

Thaksin has already been appointed economic adviser to the Cambodian government and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Sri Lanka is one of the countries where Thaksin was reported to have visited while on the run after being sentenced to a two-year jail term in the Ratchadapisek land case, the Bangkok Post said.

Thaksin, a Thai businessman was a Prime Minister of Thailand from 2001 to 2006. He was deposed in a military coup and convicted in absentia for a conflict of interest.

Born in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand, he started his career in the police and later became a successful telecom entrepreneur and one of the richest people in Thailand.

He entered politics in 1994 and founded the populist Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party in 1998. After a landslide election victory in 2001, he became prime minister, the country’s first to serve a full term. Thaksin introduced a range of partly effective and highly popular policies to alleviate rural poverty. He launched the country's first universal healthcare program, the 30-baht scheme, as well as drastic social order and drug suppression campaigns.

The Shinawatra government also faced allegations of corruption, authoritarianism, treason, conflicts of interest, acting non-diplomatically, and muzzling of the press. Thaksin was accused of tax evasion, lèse majesté and selling national assets to international investors. Independent bodies, including Amnesty International, criticized Thaksin's human rights record.

Thaksin returned to Thailand on 28 February 2008, after the TRT's successor party won the post-coup elections. But after visiting Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics, he did not return to hear charges and applied for asylum in the United Kingdom. In October, the Supreme Court found him guilty of a conflict of interest and sentenced him in absentia to 2 years in jail.

In late 2008, Arabian Business reported after an exclusive interview that the UK froze $4.2 billion of his assets in the UK. However, the UK government has not confirmed or denied this claim.

In April 2009, Thaksin supported protests by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship against the Abhisit Vejjajiva government, demanding Thaksin be allowed to return free from all the earlier corruption charges

On 21 October 2008, the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ruled that Thaksin, while prime minister, abused his power to help his wife buy public land at auction, and sentenced him to two years in jail; however, the charge against Potjaman had lapsed, and the land and properties she gained under the deal could not be seized since she herself had held no political office. The Court also revoked her arrest warrant for this case.

Thaksin had reportedly considered sanctuaries such as China, the Bahamas, Nicaragua, and several other countries in South America and Africa. Reports said the Shinawatras were granted Bahamas honorary citizenship and Nicaragua honorary citizenship and were building a £5.5 million home in China.

Last month, Thaksin Shinawatra had been appointed a special advisor to the Cambodian government and to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Cambodian state television said Cambodia would refuse to extradite Thaksin because it considered him a victim of political persecution, despite his criminal conviction corruption charges.

On 5 November 2009, Thailand recalled its ambassador from Cambodia in protest.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stated this was the "the first diplomatic retaliation measure".

He said Cambodia was interfering in Thailand's internal affairs and as a result all bi-lateral co-operation agreements would be reviewed. The mutual withdrawal of ambassadors is the most severe diplomatic action to have occurred between the two countries.
Amunugama denies any knowledge

When Daily Mirror spoke to Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama about the Bangkok Post report, the Minister said he is not aware of any such move.

“I don’t know about such a move” he said adding that “such a move would be unlikely taking into consideration his background”.

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Sam Rainsy to take part in call-in show broadcast live in Cambodia

30 December 2009


On Thursday, 31 December 2009, SRP President Sam Rainsy, who is currently in Paris, will take part in a radio call-in show broadcast live in Cambodia from 06:00 pm to 07:00 pm Phnom Penh time.

The call-in show is part of a one-hour-daily Candle Light radio program run by the SRP which buys air time from a private radio station broadcasting from Phnom Penh on 93.5 MHz.

SRP Cabinet

Seizure law approved without hitch

Mrs. Mu Sochua, seated: "Going to the court seems like going into a tiger’s mouth".

Wednesday, 30 December 2009
By Meas Sokchea
Phnom Penh Post

THE National Assembly voted on Tuesday to approve the remaining articles of a draft law that will give the government legal grounds to seize private property for public development projects.

The Law on Expropriations, approved by the Council of Ministers earlier this month, will soon allow the seizure of any land for infrastructure projects or others deemed to be in the “public interest”.

During Tuesday’s session, members of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party urged the Cambodian People’s Party-dominated parliament to make amendments to several articles of the draft law, which they say could be used to dispossess the poor.

SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said Article 19, which states that expropriations can proceed even if they are disputed by land owners, reduced the power of the proposed Expropriations Committee to make fair rulings.

“If people disagree with an expropriation, [the law will] allow people to go to court. It is useless to go to court. The court is not independent. Going to the court seems like going into a tiger’s mouth,” she said.

Mu Sochua also suggested changes to Article 16, which gives the government-appointed committee sole responsibility for ruling on the legitimacy of expropriation claims and the compensation that should be paid to land owners.


SRP lawmaker Ly Sreyvyna added that the party did not oppose development, but that it should not come at the cost of the poor. “We should not promote development based on the people’s sadness,” she said.

Ouk Rabun, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance who defended the law in parliament, reiterated his view that the law would be very important for defending people’s interests and would provide fair compensation in exchange for land. He noted that Article 16 also allows property owners to be involved in the process of determining the legitimacy of a claim.

Despite the opposition appeals, Nguon Nhel, first deputy president of the Assembly, said the CPP majority did not have to take its concerns on board.

“We must conform to the 50 percent-plus-one system so the minority cannot force the majority to follow them. We must adopt" the law, he said.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said that he regretted that the law was not clear, and that the Assembly dismissed opposition requests for amendments.

“This is our Assembly’s habit. It has not listened to the minority,” he said. “I support this law, but it must be written clearly.”

Banteay Chhmar temple wins American preservation grant

Photo by: Roger Mitton
Efforts to preserve the Angkorian-era ruins of Banteay Chhmar temple in Banteay Meanchey province have received a substantial boost courtesy of a new grant from the US.

ONGOING conservation efforts at the dilapidated Banteay Chhmar temple complex in northwestern Banteay Meanchey province have received a substantial boost in the form of a site-preservation grant from the Archeological Institute of America (AIA), the organisation announced.

Heritage Watch, the grant recipient, is a partner of the Global Heritage Fund, which launched restoration efforts in 2008 in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and several other NGOs.

In a press release, the AIA said: “With new road improvements, the site is expected to become a major tourist attraction for those travelling from Thailand to Cambodia’s major archaeological attraction, Angkor Wat,” making it essential to advance conservation efforts quickly, as well as to establish community-based enterprises that “protect the site, rather than destroy it”.

Conservationists also fear that the road improvements, particularly National Highway 6 linking Siem Reap with Poipet, will accelerate the looting of Banteay Chhmar. The temple’s proximity to Thailand means that antiquities can disappear undetected into the jungles across the border.

The Angkor-period temples have already lost a number of significant features, including six of the eight massive bas-reliefs depicting Buddhist divinity Avalokitesvara.

Ok Sophon, director general of heritage at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and head of the ministry’s efforts at Banteay Chhmar,
acknowledged that the looting issue was grounded in the relationship of the temple and its surrounding communities.

Despite increased security, Ok Sophon said, his team found 100 holes around the site dug by hopeful antiquities hunters. On one occasion, police tracked down five men seen taking material from the site.
Photo by: Roger Mitton
Part of the Angkor-era ruins of Banteay Chhmar temple, which are being conserved thanks in part to a new grant from the Archaeological Institute of America.

“We went around to the villages in the area and people knew who they were. When we found them, we explained that this was wrong and told them that if they were caught again it would be jail,” he said.

The exact figure for the AIA grant was unavailable on Tuesday, but the maximum award offered under the institute’s Site Preservation Grant is US$25,000 over the course of one to three years

Court nullifies Cabinet resolution on Thai-Cambodian joint communiqué

Sunset over Preah Vihear temple.

BANGKOK, Dec 30 (TNA) – A Thai court has ruled to revoke the Cabinet’s resolution endorsing the joint communiqué of Cambodia and Thailand to back Phnom Penh’s bid to list the ancient 11th century Preah Vihear Khmer temple complex as a United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

The Central Administrative Court nullified the Cabinet’s resolution of June 17, 2008 during the administration of the late Samak Sundaravej approving Thailand endorsing the joint communiqué by then foreign minister Noppadon Pattama and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

The joint declaration was signed on June 18, one day after the Samak administration gave it the green light.

The Thai court on Wednesday also ordered an injunction to temporarily put on hold all activities authorised by the then Cabinet’s resolution until the end of the case.

Nitithorn Lamlua, a lawyer from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) earlier petitioned the Central Administrative Court against then foreign minister Noppadon Pattama for signing the joint communiqué without approval from Parliament as required by Article 190 of the 2007 Constitution.

The Central Administrative Court ruled that the communiqué was a form of agreement involving Thailand's boundary and that there it required prior approval from Parliament.

The government of former prime minister Samak attempted to bypass Parliament and approve an MOU without referring it to the Council of State.

After the court ruling, Mr Niitithorn said the verdict indicated that the process to endorse the signing of the communiqué was not in accordance with the law and the petitioners will file a complaint to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). (TNA)

Cabinet resolution on Preah Vihear Temple cancelled by court order

The Central Administrative Court on Wednesday ruled to nullify a Cabinet resolution under the Samak Sundaravej government related to the Cambodian registration of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site.

Last year the Samak government authorised its foreign minister Noppadon Patama to sign a memorandum of understanding related to the overlapping borders surrounding the temple.

The People's Alliance for Democracy cried foul on the ground that the MOU and its attached map would tantamount to conceding the Thai territory to Cambodia.

A group of 13 PAD complainants filed an administrative lawsuit seeking to nullify the authorisation for signing the MOU. They also sought and received the court injunction to put the Cabinet resolution and the MOU on hold pending the completion of judicial review.

In the verdict, the court ordered the cancellation of the Cabinet resolution after finding that the Samak government failed to follow the procedures prescribed for international negotiations impacting on the borders.

Under the Constitution and relevant laws, such negotiations must be done under the legislative scrutiny. But the Samak government bypassed Parliament and tried to push through the MOU without consulting with the Council of State.

The Nation

FM Kasit urges PM Hun Sen to consider Thai-Cambodian relations as priority

BANGKOK, Dec 30 (TNA) - Thailand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya (pictured) on Wednesday urged Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to show concern for better long term relations between the two kingdoms by not getting involved with convicted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr Kasit said as long as PM Hun Sen has cordial relations with the fugitive ex-premier and sets this amicable relationship as his standpoint in bilateral relations, Thailand cannot accept the condition.

"Neither I nor Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva have any personal conflict with Mr Hun Sen and Mr Thaksin," said the Thai foreign minister, "I have known Mr Hun Sen for over 20 years and know his style of working very well, so I don't want Mr Hun Sen to get involved with the convicted ex-premier for the sake of good bilateral relations."

Mr Kasit reiterated that Mr Thaksin is a fugitive, wanted by the Thai authorities, and that he has undermined Thai society and continues even now.

Ousted by a bloodless coup d'etat on September 19, 2006, Mr Thaksin fled the country over one year ago before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced him to a two-year jail term for malfeasance in regard to the controversial Bangkok Ratchadapisek land purchase case.

The diplomatic row between Thailand and Cambodia flared up after the Cambodian government appointed the fugitive ex-Thai premier as its economic adviser and personal adviser to Mr Hun Sen.

The Thai government recalled its ambassador to Phnom Penh in retaliation, while Cambodia then withdrew its ambassador to Bangkok.

The Cambodian government also refused to extradite Mr Thaksin as requested by Thailand and arrested a Thai engineer working at Thai-owned Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS) on charges of passing privileged information on the flight details of Mr Thaksin during his first visit as advisor to Cambodia to a Thai diplomat.

The Thai employee was sentenced to seven years jail and fined Bt100,000 (US$3,000) but later was released following a royal pardon granted by the Cambodian king.

The Cambodian premier was recently quoted in foreign media as saying he is unhappy as long as Thai premier Abhisit and Mr Kasit are still in their posts. (TNA)

Thaksin poised to become adviser for Sri Lanka: Somchai

Thaksin (L) seated next to Cambodian Finance Minister Keat Chhon during his advisory lectures to the Cambodian bureaucrats on 12th November 2009.

The Sri Lankan government is expected to name ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra as adviser, his brother-in-law and former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said on Wednesday.

Somchai called on the government not to be overly concerned about the move, alluding to the retaliatory measures when Thaksin became the adviser to Cambodia last month.

He said Thaksin working for Cambodian and Sri Lanka should not be seen as harmful to the security of Thailand.

In the past couple of months, Thaksin revealed he made two trips to Sri Lanka.

The Nation

'Thai spy' Sivarak to return to Phnom Penh

Sivarak was convicted and sentenced to 7 years jail by Cambodian court on 8th December.

A Thai engineer pardoned from jail term in Cambodia for stealing flight plan of fugitive Thai PM will return to work in Cambodia, his mother said Wednesday.

Simarak na Nakhon Panom said that she was confident that her son; Sivarak Chutipong, an engineer of Cambodia Air Traffic Control Service, will be safe as Cambodian PM Hun Sen has promised that Sivarak will have a happy stay in Cambodia.

"PM Hun Sen gave me a promise that my son can return to work in Cambodia. He assured that my son will happily work there," he said.

The Nation

Australian cows to give boost to local livestock

Association to promote Brahman cattle to farmers next month.
Photo by: Ross Dunkley
Bulls are lined up to be judged in Australia. A local association plans to introduce cattle from Australia to boost Cambodia meat trade.

ASPECIALIST cattle-breeding association is to run an exhibition next month to promote a new breed of livestock it says will give a boost to Cambodia’s beef trade.
The Cambodian Brahman Breeders’ Association (CBBA) said it wants to encourage farmers to raise high-yield, internationally renowned Brahman cattle for domestic sale, maximising potential profits for rural families.

A spokesman for the group said that the CBBA will hold a show about the breed January 7-9 in the Lvea Em district of Kandal province.

“We want to create opportunities for farmers to raise this new species of cattle and meet the future demands of the beef trade,” Chheang Pou Ny, the association’s Brahman breeding supervisor, said. “It can also be a large source of income for families.”

According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, 3.4 million cattle were raised in the Kingdom in 2008. Nearly all of those were from local species, which produce less meat than Brahmans.

Modern Brahmans were first bred in America in the early 1900s and are a mixture of four Indian cattle breeds. They soon spread throughout the world and have been named by the Australian Brahman Breeders’ Association as “the greatest livestock revolution in history”. The group says the cow’s hardiness and tolerance to heat rescued cattle farming in Northern Australia.

Since spending US$500,000 on importing five Brahman cows from Australia and 10 from Thailand in June 2009, the CBBA has already raised 115 cattle in Cambodia using artificial-insemination techniques.

Chheang Pou Ny said that the organisation wants to produce another 400 animals in the next year. It hopes that within a decade, between 500 and 1,000 Brahman cattle will be available for slaughter every day to feed the domestic meat market.

The group also hopes to encourage Cambodian farmers to consider using modern technology to support their cows, rather than relying on traditional cattle-farming methods passed down through their ancestors.

The government has welcomed moves to encourage farmers to consider investing in different cattle species and using contemporary farming methods to raise their herds, for the sake of economic growth.

But Sein Sovan, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, said Monday that had not been made aware of the association’s scheme.

“We are not sure yet whether the association’s business plan will happen, as we have not received any documents with detailed reports from the group yet,” he said.

The family reunion of the Hun (Sen) clan

Mr. Hun Sen (4th from left) and his brothers and sisters during the family reunion on 27th December, 2009.

By Khmerization

Prime Minister Hun Sen has on 27th December 2009 organised a first ever family reunion of the Hun family with more than 100 members of his extended families attending, reports Radio Free Asia.

According to Radio Free Asia, the Hun family reunion was organised after news that Thailand was hatching a coup plot to oust Prime Minister Hun Sen. Furthermore, during the family gathering, Mr. Hun Sen has reminded his children, nephews and nieces not to do bad deeds in order to avoid revenge attacks after he falls from powers. "The things that I worry the most are the irregular actions that have been caused by members of the Hun clan. Not only my own children, my nephews, nieces or grandchildren: the things I worry the most is the issue of them using (my) influence. I hope that my own nephews and nieces, nephew-in-laws and niece-in-laws can understand this issue. What is important is that, if they cannot do good things to the people, don't just use the influence of the Hun clan to harass the people. The children and the nephews and nieces who don't listen to my advice and who committed bad deeds and when Hun Sen falls from power, don't forget that you are the targets of the attacks", Mr. Hun Sen warned his relatives.

Mr. Yim Sovan, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, applauded Mr. Hun Sen's advice to his relatives. "It is the best advice to our children and there should be such an advice to the whole country, not just in within the family circle but in the whole national society that there should not be any bad deeds happening in the Khmer society because bad deeds brings injustices", Mr. Yim Sovan said.

The Hun family reunion under the patronage of the family patriarch Hun Neang.

According to Koh Santepheap newspaper, there are more than 100 family members, from four generations of the Hun family, attending the Hun clan reunion party at the Intercontental Hotel.

The party was celebrated under the patronage of the family patriarch Hun Neang, the 87 year-old father of Mr. Hun Sen with all 6 of his children and their families attending.

In attendance are Mr. Hun Sen's eldest brother, Mr. Hun San and his wife Mrs. Choeng Kim San and their 5 children and 10 grandchildren. Second eldest brother Hun Neng and his wife Mrs. Leang Vuoch Cheng plus his 6 children and 8 grandchildren. Mr. Hun Sen and his wife Mrs. Bun Rany plus 5 children and 9 grandchildren. First younger sister Hun Seng Ny plus their four children and 8 grandchildren, second younger sister Hun Sinath and husband Mr. Nim Chandara plus four children and 3 grandchildren and the youngest sister Mrs. Hun Bunthoeun and husband Seang Bunleang plus 7 children and 8 grandchildren.

During the family reunion party, Mrs Hun Kimleng, daughter of Kampong Cham Governor Hun Neng and wife of National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun, made a speech thanking Prime Minister Hun Sen for leading the Hun family to the highest honours in the country. She said all the Hun family members are honoured to be born in the Hun family name.

Cambodian parliament passes controversial land law

Cambodian parliament in session.

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia's parliament passed a controversial law on Tuesday allowing the government to expropriate land for development, raising concerns about a surge in forced evictions in the Southeast Asian country.

The National Assembly, which is dominated by the ruling Cambodian People's Party, voted to allow the authorities to seize land to develop infrastructure and pursue other projects deemed to be in the public interest.

Critics and opposition lawmakers said the legislation was vaguely worded and were concerned it would be abused to evict people from prime real estate.

"It will leave even more room and a legal framework to take away land," said opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua.

Land ownership is a controversial issue in Cambodia, where legal documents were destroyed and state institutions collapsed under the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s and the civil war that followed.

A period of unprecedented growth since 2004 has boosted land prices, particularly in the capital, Phnom Penh, leading to a jump in the number of evictions and triggering fierce criticism of the government from aid donors.

In September, Cambodia said it was pulling out of a project sponsored by the World Bank aimed at settling land disputes, adding to international concern about the livelihoods of tens of thousands of impoverished city dwellers.

Eang Vuthi of land rights group Bridges Across Borders said civil society organisations had been hoping for a law that would help to prevent forced evictions by clearly stating when land expropriation was justified, but they failed to get changes made to the draft legislation.

"We wanted them to clarify the language," he said. "This law won't benefit the people. It will benefit only powerful people."

Government spokesman Phay Siphan described the law as a major step in the country's development.

"Nothing is perfect in this world," he said. "The law is a milestone for the country, a turning point. We have never had such a law before."

(Reporting by Jared Ferrie; Editing by Alan Raybould and Alex Richardson)

Meet the three Cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs Bachelorettes

Miss Channy, The first Cambodian-born Bachelorette.


Are you ready for the season premiere of The Bachelor next week? If you haven’t heard, Jake Pavelka, the pilot from this summer’s Bachelorette, is the next Bachelor. He will get the opportunity to choose from 25 bachelorettes and hope to find happiness “On The Wings of Love,” which was once the subtitle of the show but I believe has been canned by the network. It was found guilty by a public jury of cheesiness and desperation, and was sentenced to life in media prison with no chance of parole.

Anyway, all the bachelorette suitors have been announced but I’d like to focus on the three “crazy” ones who are rumoured to stir things up.

Zap2it has the inside scoop on the three “crazies” (their words, not mine) and it looks like there’s lots to look forward to in the first episode. First up is Kristen, a 25-year-old waitress from Aurora, Colorado. What’s her deal? Violence! Apparently this chick mentions violence three times within her first three minutes of screen time. Not only does she tell Jake that she wanted to slap Jillian for letting him go, she tells the camera that she’ll do whatever it takes to win, even “cut a bitch.” YES.

Next up is Channy, a 29-year-old mortgage loan officer from Santa Rosa, California. Channy’s deal? She’s a brazen Cambodian who will use every sexual double-entendre in the book to land her man. Apparently when she first meets Jake, she says something to him in Cambodian, enticing him into a second meeting to find out what it means. Kinda cute, I guess. Except, when Jake later approaches her for the translation, she says, “You can land your plane on my landing strip anytime!” YOWZA.

And finally there’s Michelle, a 26-year-old office manager from Anaheim, California. Michelle’s vibe seems to be a bit on the desperate side. Why? Apparently she fires up the intensity right out of the gate, telling Jake that she’s ready for a husband and kids and has “so much to give emotionally.” Spoiler alert: Jillian and Ed make an appearance on the first show and warn Jake that Michelle is nutso and that he should send her home.

Will you be watching Monday? Sadly, I think I will too.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

PM to void 7NG bridge contract

Srey Sothea was once very close to Hun Sen. Here Hun Sen is seen conferring honours to Srey Sothea (R).

Tuesday, 29 December 2009
By May Kunmakara
Phnom Penh Post

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday he would cancel a major bridge contract and slammed senior officials for negligence in the awarding of build-operate-transfer, or BOT, contracts.

Speaking at the launch of a new road between Siem Reap and Poipet, Hun Sen singled out Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC) Vice Chairman Sun Chanthol and other CDC officials for granting a contract to 7NG Group to build a bridge from Phnom Penh’s Hun Sen Park to Chroy Changvar peninsula. “If the project goes ahead, it will be a great disaster for traffic in Phnom Penh,” he said. “Tell [7NG] that the prime minister announced today the bridge is finished.”

Srey Sothea, 7NG’s managing chairman, had his phone turned off Monday and could not be reached for comment.

Hun Sen also told officials not to award BOT contracts to companies that require government funds to complete the work. “Avoid BOTs that want to make cake without flour,” he said. “From now on, I will kick unsound BOTs away.”
Note: 7NG was a company that acquired the lands at Dey Krahorm and later it had forcibly and violently evicted thousands of Dey Krahorm residents without proper compensation.

Assault victim bribed, lawyer says

Photo by: Photo Supplied
Phat Dara, a mechanic who says he was beaten on the head, face and hands by an off-duty senior police officer, shows his injuries earlier this month.


A COURT official has tried to bribe a mechanic to drop his assault complaint against a senior police officer, the victim’s employer said on Monday.
The complaint stems from an incident on December 13, when 25-year-old Phat Dara saw two cars racing past the garage where he works in the capital.

When the mechanic shouted at children playing in the street to get out of the way of the speeding vehicles, the victim and witnesses say one of the drivers – Neang Sok Na, deputy police chief of the Phnom Penh Minor Crimes bureau – stopped his car and seized the mechanic and beat him on the head and hands with his gun.

Phat Dara remains in hospital, where he is being treated for his injuries.

Song Ly, police chief of the Minor Crimes Bureau has denied the assault allegation.

He said Phat Dara had been drinking, and that it was he who had assaulted Neang Sok Na. “It is the people’s right to complain; however, we also have a document to countersue because the people don’t know the truth,” he said at the time.

Om Heng, Phat Dara’s employer and the owner of Heng Heng garage on Street 39 in Phnom Penh, said on Monday that Phat Dara’s parents had been offered US$500 in compensation by a prosecutor on the condition that they drop the case – an offer they rejected outright.

New complaint
“The small amount could not even compensate the treatment of his injury,” Om Heng said. “He has been in hospital for weeks. We would like to keep pursuing legal action and file a new complaint with Prime Minister Hun Sen. We are so hurt to be violated by police officials.”

A new complaint has already been prepared, he added, saying: “I will take the complaint directly to the prime minister about Neang Sok Na’s brutal acts and attempt to kill an innocent person if it is ignored by the Ministry of Interior’s inspection and court officials. I could not be silent. I must pursue justice for him,” Om Heng said.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodia Centre for Human Rights, said, “There must be some irregularities if it is found that a court prosecutor was acting as a broker to persuade a complainant to accept money to drop a criminal complaint,” he said. “He has no function to do that.”

Ou Virak added that a prosecutor’s role is “to conduct a thorough investigation by collecting evidence from police about the incident, as this was a criminal matter”.

Ou Virak has previously asked that the court guarantee the accused be charged. “If the court prosecutor fails to prosecute the men, it will show that the culture of impunity still remains a concern,” he said.

Deputy court prosecutor Sok Roeun refused to comment on the allegations when he was contacted on Monday.

The original complaint was thumb-printed by nearly 50 people who witnessed the December 13 incident.

Sam Rainsy’s interview with The Cambodia Daily

29 December 2009


On 28 December 2009, the following questions from The Cambodia Daily (Q) were answered by Sam Rainsy (A).

Q. I understand this morning was your scheduled court appearance in Svay Rieng. Your attorney told us yesterday he would appear in court in your place. I am wondering if you have heard any news from the meeting.

A. See attached document. The handwritten annotation is from the judge. My lawyer took the initiative to ask for a delay in court appearance. The judge refused today to grant the delay. Actually, I don't care about the delay. The sooner the better. We can now better see the real face of the Cambodian authorities.

Q. What will happen now that you have missed your court date?

A. An order to the police to forcefully bring me to court is imminent.

Q. Have you been in contact with your lawyer? What will you do if you are found guilty?

Will you remain overseas if so?

A. No doubt, I will be found guilty. The verdict is known in advance like with any kangaroo court. But my only crime was my doing my duty as a Member of Parliament in helping powerless and distressed people. Justice cannot be rendered by and before such a court. I will seek justice by other (political and diplomatic) means. I don't mean justice for Sam Rainsy, but justice for countless Cambodian farmers who are victims of land confiscation because of either internal or external reasons. On top of losing their land, some of those farmers are being jailed because they dared protest the first injustice.

Q. Have you heard of any other witnesses missing their court appearances out of fear of being arrested?

A. Yes, there are at least three of them, not only witnesses but also and above all victims of land grab. I am closely following their cases.

'The Bachelor' preview: The Crazy Bachelorettes

By Andrea Reiher

December 28, 2009

bachelor-crazy-kirsten-channy-michelle.jpgOur picks for the Crazies of "The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love" -- Kirsten, Channy and Michelle.

Every season of "The Bachelor" has 'em -- the crazy-eyed lunatics that you wonder if producers were forcing the Bachelor to keep around for ratings. We've previewed the first episode of Jake Pavelka's turn as "The Bachelor" and these are the ones to watch out for (and possibly frisk).

kirsten-bachelor-160.jpgKirsten, 25, waitress, Aurora, CO

Kirsten was an easy first pick for one of the Crazies because she mentioned violence like three times within her first three minutes of screen time. Not only does she tell Jake that she wanted to slap Jillian for letting him go, she talking-heads that she'll do whatever it takes to win -- even "cut a bitch."

That, coupled with the fact that Kirsten is a little on the drag queen-y side, makes us scared of her. We mean... look at that picture! She's like a well-made-up version of The Gentlemen from "Buffy." Nightmare fuel.

channy-bachelor-160.jpgChanny, 29, mortgage loan office, Santa Rosa, CA

Channy is Cambodian and we applaud the tiny little diversifying in casting, since you generally don't see many races other than Caucasian on "The Bachelor" franchise. When Channy first meets Jake, she says something to him in Cambodian and tells him he has to talk to her later to find out what it means. Totally cute gimmick, right?

Except when Jake does find her and asks her what she said to him in Cambodian, she says, "You can land your plane on my landing strip anytime!" Ummm... yikes.

michelle-bachelor-160.jpgMichelle, 26, office manager, Anaheim, CA

Michelle is a very special girl. She reminds us a bit of Shannon from Jason Mesnick's season -- remember her, the crier who threw up? Michelle is very intense right out of the gate, telling Jake that she's ready for a husband and kids and has "so much to give emotionally."

Ed and Jillian get the crazy vibe from Michelle too, as they try to find a nice way to tell Jake that she's boil-your-bunny nutso and he should send her home.

We don't actually know if any of these women received roses or not that first night, but we certainly hope they did. What would a show like this be without a little crazy? Particularly if the crazy leads to some hot lesbian action. That'd be a "Bachelor" first

Opposition, media plead for release of journalists

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Newspaper publisher Hang Chakra was jailed earlier this year.

It is just a statement, which has no power on the judicial system.

CAMBODIAN media groups as well as opposition lawmakers have urged authorities to release two journalists who were jailed amid controversy earlier this year.

Representatives from 50 Cambodian news organisations issued a statement calling for the release of Hang Chakra, publisher of the opposition-aligned Khmer Machas Srok newspaper, and freelance journalist Ros Sokhet, said Pen Samitthy, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ).
“We are calling on the Cambodian government, under the intelligent leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, to request the King to pardon the two jailed journalists,” said Pen Samitthy, who is also the editor-in-chief of the Rasmey Kampuchea newspaper.

In a separate letter to the National Assembly, 16 parliamentarians with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party also urged the Ministry of Justice to take action.

Hang Chakra was convicted in June of spreading disinformation after publishing a series of stories accusing officials of corruption. Ros Sokhet was convicted of disinformation charges in November after a court ruled that he sent disparaging text messages to CTN anchor Soy Sopheap.

A government official defended the journalists’ convictions Monday and downplayed the CCJ’s demands.

“It is just a statement, which has no power or influence on the judicial system to force them to reverse the courts’ decisions,” said Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan. “The court has made the right decision to find them guilty.”

Previous appeals from journalists’ organisations, opposition parliamentarians and even King Norodom Sihamoni have so far failed to reverse the convictions. The King has the power to grant pardons under the Cambodian constitution, but a sub-decree stipulates that the Prime Minister must issue a formal request before amnesty can be granted.

Meanwhile, Ros Sokhet has written that he “regrets” sending the text messages to Soy Sopheap, according to a copy of the letter given to the Post.

In the letter, he says he never believed the messages, which appeared to allege corruption, would land him in prison.

“I wholeheartedly inform all of you that I had no intention to publicise the allegations in any newspapers, as they were just rumours,” Ros Sokhet wrote. “I am very regretful for those messages.”

Rights groups and journalists’ groups have criticised Cambodian authorities, citing a lack of press freedom in the Kingdom.

“Cambodia does not have a free media in the true sense of the word,” a briefing paper on freedom of expression in the press released this year by local rights group Licadho stated.

In its Press Freedom Ranking this year, international press watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranked Cambodia 117th out of 174 countries.

Vietnam TV gives reality show rights to Cambodian channel

Vietnam Television has given a Cambodian TV channel free rights to its popular Nhu chua he co cuoc chia ly (As If We Never Parted), which helps people trace missing and deceased relatives.

It is also training a crew from Bayon TV led by deputy general director, Tith Thavarith, who will make the program to be titled “It’s Not a Dream” in Cambodian.

Thavarith said enabling people to locate missing relatives or find out where they died is “very precious to society.”

“As If We Never Parted,” first broadcast in December 2007, connects volunteers around the country who seek and share information, and has helped many people find long-lost friends and relatives.

Reported by Vo Khoi

Thailand Eager To Improve Ties With Cambodia

BANGKOK, Dec 29 (Bernama) -- The Government of Thailand wants to improve diplomatic relations with Cambodia but needs to protect its prestige and sovereignty, according to the Vietnam news agency's (VNA) report on Monday.

The statement was made by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (pictured) in his speech delivered on the country's radio and television on December 27.

Abhisit pointed out that he had not regarded the speeches made by Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen of a coup de-tat in Cambodia as a hurdle to the building of bilateral diplomatic ties.

Thailand will consider appointing an ambassador to Phnom Penh if the Cambodian government withdraws their remarks on the Thai judiciary system and adjust their stance, the Thai PM said.


In Southeast Asia, Unease Over Free Trade Zone

Bagus Indahono/European Pressphoto Agency

Textiles on display at a market in Jakarta. Indonesian textile and steel industries are particularly nervous about the lifting of trade tariffs in Asia.

Published: December 28, 2009
The New York Times

KUALA LUMPUR — When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, China and 10 Southeast Asian nations will usher in the world’s third-largest free trade area. While many industries are eager for tariffs to fall on everything from textiles and rubber to vegetable oils and steel, a few are nervously waiting to see whether the agreement will mean boom or bust for their businesses.

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The New York Times

Trade between China and the 10 states that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has soared in recent years, to $192.5 billion in 2008, from $59.6 billion in 2003. The new free trade zone, which will remove tariffs on 90 percent of traded goods, is expected to increase that commerce still more.

The zone will rank behind only the European Economic Area and the North American Free Trade Area in trade volume. It will encompass 1.9 billion people. The free trade area is expected to help Asean countries increase exports, particularly those with commodities that resource-hungry China desperately wants.

The China-Asean free trade area has faced less vocal opposition than the European and North American zones, perhaps because existing tariffs were already low and because it is unlikely to alter commerce patterns radically, analysts say.

However, some manufacturers in Southeast Asia are concerned that cheap Chinese goods may flood their markets, once import taxes are removed, making it more difficult for them to retain or increase their local market shares. Indonesia is so worried that it plans to ask for a delay in removing tariffs from some items like steel products, textiles, petrochemicals and electronics.

“Not everyone in Asean sees this F.T.A. as a plus,” said Sothirak Pou, a visiting senior research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

Asean and China have gradually reduced many tariffs in recent years. However, under the free trade agreement — which was signed in 2002 — China, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei will have to remove almost all tariffs in 2010.

Asean’s newest members — Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar — will gradually reduce tariffs in coming years and must eliminate them entirely by 2015.

Most of the goods that will become tariff-free in January — including manufactured items — are currently subject to import taxes of about 5 percent. Some agricultural products and parts for motor vehicles and heavy machinery will still face tariffs in 2010, but those will gradually be phased out.

In recent years, China has overtaken the United States to become Asean’s third-largest trading partner after Japan and the European Union. The overall trade balance has shifted slightly in China’s favor, although there are significant differences among Southeast Asian countries’ trade balances, said Thomas Kaegi, head of macroeconomic research for the Asia-Pacific region at UBS Wealth Management Research.

Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have only small trade deficits with China, while Vietnam’s has grown substantially in recent years. In 2008, Vietnam exported items worth $4.5 billion to China but imported about $15.7 billion worth of Chinese goods.

In Indonesia, the textile and steel industries are particularly nervous about the lifting of tariffs, prompting the government to say that it would ask for a delay on some provisions. No time frame for submitting the request was given, but the Asean secretariat said it had not yet received an official request.

While competing with more Chinese imports may pose new challenges for Asean manufacturers, analysts say increasing their access to the 1.3 billion people of China could produce significant benefits.

Rodolfo Severino, who was secretary general of Asean from 1998 to 2002, identified Malaysia — which already exports palm oil, rubber and natural gas to China — as one of the countries that might benefit most from the removal of tariffs.

But nations like Vietnam that focus on the production of cheap consumer goods are more likely to be hurt, said Mr. Severino, head of the Asean Studies Center at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

Those countries may need to look for new export products and identify new niche markets, he said: “This is the nature of competition.”

Song Hong, an economist, expects that China will import more agricultural goods, like tropical fruit, from countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam when the trade area takes effect. That could hurt Chinese farmers in southern provinces like Guangxi and Yunnan, said Mr. Song, director of the trade research division at the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

Mr. Sothirak, who was Cambodia’s minister of industry, mines and energy from 1993 to 1998, said the removal of tariffs might help increase Cambodia’s agricultural exports to China. Cambodia needs to diversify its export markets because its exports to the United States and Europe have declined, he said.

While he does not hold much hope that Cambodian textile exports would be able to compete with China’s highly developed garment industry, he said he believed the free trade area might entice more Chinese garment factories to set up operations in Cambodia, where production costs and labor are cheaper.

Pushpanathan Sundram, deputy secretary general of Asean for Asean Economic Community, acknowledged that there would be “some costs involved” for some countries when the free trade area took effect, but he said he believed China and Asean would “mutually benefit.”

Despite the expectations for increasing trade, Mr. Severino predicted that the introduction of the trade zone would not be a “breakthrough event” setting off a dramatic surge in commerce come January.

“There are many factors that traders and investors consider, and the trend has been going this way anyway,” he said. “What this does is to send out good signals and show the determination of governments to make things easier.”

Border provinces exchange work experience

A delegation from the Cambodian province of Kratie on December 28 held talks with leaders of the Binh Phuoc Provincial People’s Council, highlighting developments and cooperation in the region.

During the meeting, leaders from the border provinces expressed delight at the growing friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia in general and between Kratie and the southern province of Binh Phuoc in particular.

They agreed that authorities of both provinces have incessantly strengthened bilateral relations by exchanging delegations on a regular basis, signing cooperation agreements and working together for the implementation of border landmark plantation as agreed by the governments of both countries.

They have also facilitated entry and exit procedures for people from Binh Phuoc and Kratie to travel across the shared border.

Kratie is a north-eastern province of Cambodia that borders Vietnam to the south.


Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Sam Rainsy

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

Svay Rieng provincial court issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Sam Rainsy (pictured) on Monday, after he failed to appear at an arraignment in the provincial capital.

Sam Rainsy, who is facing charges of incitement and destruction of property related to a border incident in October, had requested a postponement of Monday’s hearing, claiming he was busy abroad.

Svay Rieng investigating judge Long Kespirum wrote that the request offered “no reason to postpone, so we cannot permit postponement.” The court issued the arrest warrant following the hearing Monday morning, Long Kespirum told VOA Khmer.

Sam Rainsy’s attorney, Choung Chou Ngy, said the decision was made at the discretion of the court.

Sam Rainsy, who had his parliamentary immunity suspended in November, is charged with allegedly leading a group of supporters to unearth markers from the ground in Chantrea district, where villagers said they worried about Vietnamese encroachment.

Two villagers facing destruction charges have been arrested, and three have gone into hiding. Sam Rainsy said on Friday he was fully responsible for the destruction of the markers, and he urged the court to drop the charges against the villagers.

The destruction charges carry a sentence of up to three years in prison. Incitement carries a sentence of up to one year and a fine up to 10 million riel, or $2,500.

The case will now move back to the prosecutor’s office, where it will be reviewed before it is handed to the provincial trial judge.

Cambodia has more than 2 million tons of rice in surplus for exports

Cambodian farmers in Takeo province drying their rice in preparations for exports to overseas.

By Khmerization

The Ministry of Agriculture indicated that Cambodia has a rice surplus in excess of 2 million tons for exports, reports Khmer Sthapana.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, in a public speech recently, quoted the Ministry of Agriculture statistics by saying that Cambodia has over 3 million tons of surplus in un-husked rice which will amounted to over 2 million tons after they were husked.

In the past, Cambodia only exports rice to neighbouring countries like Thailand and Vietnam. But recently, Cambodia has exported thousands of tons of high-grade rice such as Malis rice, Neang Minh rice and Rumduol rice to European markets that can fetch between $300 to $500 per ton.

Other than this, currently, Cambodia is preparing and packing 100 tons of rice for exports to Australia.

Despite increase in exports to European and Australian markets, rice exports across borders to Vietnam is still very strong, through land and sea routes. Cambodian farmers said, this year, they expect to get a better price than previous years.

Court rejected Sam Rainsy's request for a delay

Mr. Sam Rainsy raised Mrs. Meas Srey's hands in a show of defiance during the uprooting of the border poles on 25th October.

By Khmerization

The Svay Rieng Provincial Court has rejected a request by opposition leader Sam Rainsy for a delay in the hearing scheduled for 28th of December in relation to his uprooting of six border poles on 25th October 2009, reports Radio Free Asia.

The court rejection was confirmed by Mr. Sam Rainsy's lawyer, Mr. Chuong Chou-Ngy, in a telephone interview with RFA.

Mr. Sam Rainsy, who is currently staying in France, reacted to the rejection by accusing the court of following the order from the Vietnamese government. "The real is court is not the court in Phnom Penh or in Svay Rieng. The real court, the real decision-makers are in Hanoi, in Vietnam", said Mr. Rainsy who did not indicate when he will return to Cambodia to face the charges against him.

RFA is unable to seek the court's comments, but Mr. Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, accused Mr. Sam Rainsy of making irresponsible comments. "His Excellency Sam Rainsy has and is insulting the Cambodian judicial system because the district Governor (of Chantrea district) was the plaintiff and this case is still in the hands of the Svay Rieng Provincial Court. This is a silly, disgraceful pretext which is undeserving of a comment from someone who knows the laws", Mr. Sothea said.

On 23rd December, 41 year-old Mr. Prum Chea and 39 year-old Mrs. Meas Srey, the two villagers whose lands are allegedly encroached by the new demarcation poles, were arrested after they appeared in court. And two others went into hiding after the arrests of their husband and wife respectively.

Miss Cambodia in France

Miss Cambodia in France contestants.

By Khmerization

The Khmer community in France has organised a Miss Cambodia beauty pageant for young Khmer women living in France, with many French-Khmer women participating enthusiastically, reports Radio France Internationale.

The beauty pageant was organised on 26th December in the Parisian suburb of Bussy St. George with young Khmer ladies ages from 18 to 24 from provinces all over France participating.

Contestants were judged by a group of panelists and 30% of their scores are voted by the public.

Twenty year old Phoeung Sokalyana, a half Khmer-French lady, from the city of Lille was crowned by Miss Cambodia in France. She won the pageant because of her natural Khmer beauty and due to her Khmer language skills. The consolation prizes are a watch worth 1500 Euros and an air ticket to her Khmer ancestral home of Cambodia. Miss Phoeung Sokalyana said what excites her the most is the long-awaited air ticket to her Khmer ancestral home of Cambodia that she had never visited in her entire life.

Press release: Mission accomplished!

Dear Khmerization people,

just wanted to thank you for your important and fearless work
in spreading free information about contemporary Cambodian society and politics.
Also, I would like to alert you to our latest press release about the secret crowning of
Miss Landmine Cambodia 2009 taking place in the beginning of December in Battambang.
I am currently in Vietnam and am therefore unable to access our own Facebook pages,
however feel free to visit it if you can: www.facebook.com/freemisslandminecambodia
and the press release and pictures from the event are avalaible for redistribution there
if you should wish to reprint the press release on your blog.
All pictures are (c) Rene Solari 2009.

All the best from Morten Traavik, director Miss Landmine

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