A Change of Guard

សូមស្តាប់វិទ្យុសង្គ្រោះជាតិ Please read more Khmer news and listen to CNRP Radio at National Rescue Party. សូមស្តាប់វីទ្យុខ្មែរប៉ុស្តិ៍/Khmer Post Radio.
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Thursday 31 December 2015

Rosewood bust at Tbong Khmum pepper field

Rosewood bust at Tbong Khmum pepper field
Wed, 30 December 2015 ppp
Khouth Sophak Chakrya

Officials load rosewood into a vehicle yesterday after it was seized from a pepper plantation by authorities in Tbong Khmum. Photo supplied

Officers from Tbong Khmum provincial police’s anti-economic crime unit yesterday seized 36 pieces of luxury rosewood timber dumped in a pepper field in Memot district’s Memot commune.

Touch Sambat, deputy chief of the unit, said authorities were alerted by locals at about 6.30am that timber traffickers had deposited the 710 kilogram load on the plot in Sangkum Meanchey village.

Police chief Mao Pov then ordered his men to guard the expensive wood, which is illegal to log, until officials from the district Forestry Administration and the deputy provincial prosecutor could inspect the find, Sambat said.

“After the timber was seized, the rosewood was handed to Memot Forestry Administration experts to compile the lawsuit,” Sambat said.

Em Sokun, from the Memot Forestry Administration, said the body would request the provincial court further investigate the case to identify the timber traders’ identities.

Memot district sits on the border with Vietnam, a known destination for timber. According to a report released earlier this year by the NGO Forest Trends, a US-based NGO, timber exports from Cambodia to Vietnam more than tripled last year, with much of the wood illegal.

Wednesday 30 December 2015


ដោយ សូត សុខប្រាថ្នា
2015-12-30 rfa
ដើម​ត្នោត​ដែល​គេ​យក​ទៅ​គរ​ទុក​នៅ​ក្បែរ​ប៉ុស្តិ៍​យាម​របស់​វៀតណាម ជាប់​ព្រំដែន​នៃ​ខេត្ត​ត្បូងឃ្មុំ កាល​ពី​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​២៩ ខែ​ធ្នូ ឆ្នាំ​២០១៥។
 Photo Provided


School of Vice: Why stop with palm trees? Everything else has been sold to Vietnam!


ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ​រស់នៅ​ឃុំ​ជាំ ស្រុក​មេមត់ ខេត្ត​ត្បូងឃ្មុំ បារម្ភ​ពី​ការ​បាត់បង់​ដើម​ត្នោត​កាន់​តែ​ច្រើន​នៅ​តាម​តំបន់​ព្រំដែន​កម្ពុជា-វៀតណាម។ ការ​បារម្ភ​នេះ ក្រោយ​ពេល​ពលរដ្ឋ​ទាំង​នោះ​ឃើញ​មាន​សកម្មភាព​ទិញ​ដើម​ត្នោត​ខ្មែរ​ពី​តំបន់​ផ្សេងៗ យក​ទៅ​ស្តុក​ទុក​នៅ​ក្បែរ​ប៉ុស្តិ៍​ព្រំដែន​វៀតណាម ជាប់​ជាមួយ​ភូមិ​បឹងជ្រោង ស្រុក​មេមត់។

ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ​រស់នៅ​ភូមិ​បឹងជ្រោង និង​ពលរដ្ឋ​រស់នៅ​ជាប់​ព្រំដែន​កម្ពុជា-វៀតណាម ដែល​ចាត់​ទុក​ដើម​ឆ្នោត​ថា​ជា​អត្តសញ្ញាណ​មួយ​របស់​ខ្មែរ​ដែរ​នោះ ស្នើ​ឲ្យ​រាជ​រដ្ឋាភិបាល ជួយ​ទប់ស្កាត់​ការ​លក់​ដូរ​ដើម​ត្នោត​ខ្មែរ​ទៅ​ឲ្យ​ពលរដ្ឋ​វៀតណាម ត​ទៀត។

ពលរដ្ឋ​មួយ​រូប​រស់នៅ​ភូមិ​បឹងជ្រោង ឃុំ​ជាំ លោក ហ៊ីង សុផុន មាន​ប្រសាសន៍​ថា សកម្មភាព​ដឹក​ជញ្ជូន​ដើម​ត្នោត​ទៅ​ស្តុក​ទុក​នៅ​ចំណុច​ប៉ុស្តិ៍​យាម​របស់​វៀតណាម ឈ្មោះ ប៉ុស្តិ៍​ជ្រៃ ចំណុះ​ឲ្យ​ប៉ុស្តិ៍​៨១៩ ក្នុង​ទឹក​ដី​វៀតណាម គឺ​កើត​មាន​ឡើង​ប្រមាណ​មួយ​ខែ​មក​ហើយ។ លោក​មិន​បាន​ដឹង​ច្បាស់​ថា ជនជាតិ​វៀតណាម ទាំង​នោះ​ដឹក​ដើម​ត្នោត​មក​ពី​តំបន់​ណា​ប្រាកដ​ទេ ប៉ុន្តែ​អាច​ដឹក​មក​ពី​ខេត្ត​កំពង់ធំ ឬ​ខេត្ត​ផ្សេងៗ​ទៀត ដោយ​ក្នុង​តម្លៃ​ចន្លោះ​ពី ៥​ម៉ឺន​រៀល​ទៅ ៦​ម៉ឺន​រៀល​ក្នុង​មួយ​ដើម។ លោក​ថា បន្ទាប់​ពី​ជនជាតិ​វៀតណាម ប្រមូល​យក​ត្នោត​ពី​ស្រុក​ខ្មែរ​ទៅ​ស្តុក​ទុក​នៅ​ក្បែរ​ប៉ុស្តិ៍​យាម​ក្នុង​ទឹក​ដី​របស់​ពួក​គេ ទើប​ដឹក​ជញ្ជូន​ទៅ​ប្រទេស​វៀតណាម បន្ត​ទៀត ដោយ​មិន​ដឹង​ថា ពលរដ្ឋ​វៀតណាម ទាំង​នោះ​យក​ទៅ​ធ្វើ​អ្វី​ប្រាកដ​ឡើយ៖ «អា​នេះ​វា​បំផ្លាញ​ធនធាន​ធម្មជាតិ​ខ្មែរ​ឲ្យ​អស់​នៅ​លើ​ទឹក​ដី​ខ្មែរ​តែ​ម្តង»។

ចំណែក​ពលរដ្ឋ​មួយ​រូប​ទៀត លោក ផុន សុផល ដែល​បាន​ទៅ​ពិនិត្យ​ស្ថានភាព​ដើម​ត្នោត​ដែល​គេ​យក​ទៅ​គរ​ទុក​នៅ​ក្នុង​ចម្ការ​កៅស៊ូ​វៀតណាម សម្ដែង​ក្តី​បារម្ភ ខណៈ​ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ​ខ្មែរ​ចេះ​តែ​បន្ត​លក់​ដើម​ត្នោត​របស់​ខ្លួន​ដែល​ជា​អត្តសញ្ញាណ​ខ្មែរ ទៅ​ឲ្យ​បរទេស។ បន្ថែម​ពី​នេះ លោក​ចង់​ឲ្យ​អាជ្ញាធរ គប្បី​ជួយ​ទប់ស្កាត់​លើ​បញ្ហា​នេះ ជា​ជាង​បណ្តោយ​ឲ្យ​ដើម​ត្នោត​ខ្មែរ​ត្រូវ​បាត់បង់​បន្ថែម​ទៀត​នោះ៖ «ខ្ញុំ​ចង់​ឲ្យ​អ្នក​មាន​ដើម​ត្នោត ជាពិសេស​ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ​យើង ដែល​មាន​ដើម​ត្នោត សូម​កុំ​លក់​ដើម​ត្នោត​ឲ្យ​វៀតណាម»។

Garment worker killed in capital truck crash

Garment worker killed in capital truck crash
Wed, 30 December 2015 ppp
Pech Sotheary

People gather around the scene of a traffic accident in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district after two trucks collided. National Police

One female garment factory worker died and at least seven others were injured when two trucks crashed yesterday in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district.

According to Trapaing Krasaing commune deputy traffic police chief Sim Prim, a truck loaded with ice struck the back of a truck transporting workers as it tried to overtake it on the right-hand side.

“Seven to eight people were injured as the trucks collided,” Prim said.

“The collision shook the workers, and one of them spilled off the truck and then the ice truck ran them over.”

Prim said that the victim was Hem Phalla, 23, a garment worker at the Berry Factory, whose body has been sent to her family.

She and the other workers on the truck hailed from Mkak commune, in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district.

The driver of the ice truck, a Hyundai, fled after the crash, Prim said.

Long the source of concern for labour rights groups, poor travel conditions for garment workers, who are often packed en masse into trucks and minivans, was thrust into the spotlight in May when a horrific crash in Svay Rieng killed 19 people.

The director of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, Moeun Tola, urged companies to arrange safe transportation for their workers, saying low salaries meant many sought cheap, and often dangerous, options instead.

Hun Sen warns Facebook users that he’s watching

Hun Sen warns Facebook users that he’s watching
Tue, 29 December 2015 ppp
Pech Sotheary

Hun Sen shows the audience at a press conference in 2010 a phone that he uses to keep track of sports. Yesterday the prime minister warned that he would be keeping track of Facebook users that insult him on social media and said they could face arrest. AFP

“If I want to get you, I need less than seven hours,” he said. “I won’t need to send forces from Phnom Penh; I can also order local forces. You should not use bad words to insult me, because I can get you if I want to.”

Hun Sen

Facebook users who insult Prime Minister Hun Sen or criticise government policy on sensitive issues could be traced in a matter of hours, the premier said yesterday.

“My opponents should not make insults, because we can identify you,” Hun Sen said during a speech at a Phnom Penh graduation ceremony.

“I’m not exactly sure how the technology works . . . But we can find those people; it’s not very difficult.

“We arrested the colour revolutionaries immediately,” he added, in an apparent reference to a first-year university student arrested in August after advocating nonviolent regime change on Facebook.

On December 22, Hun Sen took a softer approach, saying that officials in his office would take a note of all insulting comments posted to his Facebook page, but only so that they could comment in response, rather than blocking users or taking legal action.

But in yesterday’s speech, he went on to warn social media users that they would not be able to hide their identities from the authorities.

“If I want to get you, I need less than seven hours,” he said. “I won’t need to send forces from Phnom Penh; I can also order local forces. You should not use bad words to insult me, because I can get you if I want to.”

“I want you to know that . . . I see what you write and just want to educate you.”

Chak Sopheap, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, urged politicians to “teach the people how to use social networks correctly”.

“If [users] are worried about incorrectly sharing information, insulting, being arrested or sharing false information, political parties should teach them how to use [social media] responsibly and safely.”

Authorities, villagers at odds over Mondulkiri logging

Authorities, villagers at odds over Mondulkiri logging
Tue, 29 December 2015 ppp
Khouth Sophak Chakrya

Mondulkiri forest officials stand next to a truck loaded with illegal timber on Sunday. Photo supplied

Local authorities say they are struggling to protect the Mondulkiri Protected Forest and the Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary from being logged by villagers in the province’s Koh Nhek and Pech Chreada districts, while villagers accuse authorities of colluding with certain logging groups.

Lung Bung, Mondulkiri Protected Forest director, said yesterday that throughout December, his men seized 23 cubic metres of illegally logged timber, 17 chainsaws and five vehicles. On Sunday, he added, authorities seized some 220 pepper-growing posts cut down in the forest and a vehicle in Koh Nhek district.

Bung maintained that “there are many perpetrators”.

“We lack the forces and means for patrols,” he said, adding that he had only 10 people with which to patrol 300,000 hectares of forest.

According to Bung, forestry crimes in the districts spike dramatically in the early dry season, which he says is the same time a local company buys pepper posts – allegedly illegally logged by villagers – for its plantation.

However, some villagers claimed authorities colluded with certain loggers while targeting others.

“I saw some villagers went into the forest with chainsaws, tractors, huge vehicles, and those vehicles were loaded with timber without any intervention,” said Romas Kil, a Pech Chreada district resident, adding that “if there is no collusion with the authorities, it would be impossible”.

Regulator revokes 29 licences for web firms

Regulator revokes 29 licences for web firms
Tue, 29 December 2015 ppp
Sor Chandara

Cambodia’s telecom regulator has de-recognised 29 internet and voice-over internet protocol (VOIP) providers in the Kingdom, for failing to provide documentation to prove their active status, according to an official from the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC).

After the regulator issued a November 30 deadline for proving they have active operations, 29 companies failed to respond to the deadline and to provide any documentation to support their case.

After this, said Im Vutha, director of the TRC’s regulation and dispute unit, the regulator decided to take back the licences of these firms and to not return their deposits, which was submitted at the time of issuance.

“Based on the conditions of the license, if the company has no active operations, the deposit will not be returned and licence is considered null and void,” Vutha said. “So we have already deleted 29 companies.”

“We have informed them and encouraged them to come forward because they need to follow the regulations,” he added.

Monk congress won’t tackle child abuse

Monk congress won’t tackle child abuse

National Assembly President Heng Samrin talks yesterday at Chaktomuk Theatre in Phnom Penh during the 24th annual monk congress. Heng Chivoan

School of Vice: Is there anything emanating from all these politically forged and thoroughly manipulated institutions that offers one hope that positive change will ever be allowed to materialise? Beside blaming the Cambodians/Khmers for their own lack of willpower and stupidity as usual?


Despite recent high-profile cases of monastic child sex abuse, the organisers of a national conference for monks have left the issue off of the agenda, a move met with criticism yesterday by child protection advocates.
At a press conference to launch the 24th congress of Buddhist monks, held in Phnom Penh, no mention was made of the issue of child protection in pagodas, nor did the topic feature anywhere in a lengthy document outlining the agenda for the event – an omission one child protection official called “a missed opportunity”.
The congress follows hot on the heels of widely reported cases of sexual abuse, including the rape of nine boys by the head monk of a pagoda in Siem Reap last month, and the rape of a 14-year-old girl by a monk in Kratie province in September.
However, nine monks interviewed at the entrance to the congress yesterday said they had no knowledge of child sex abuse within the monkhood, and that they had not heard about the recent cases.
Asked if protecting children from sex abuse would feature during the conference, Ministry of Cults and Religion Deputy Secretary Seng Somony declined to answer directly. Instead, he said officials at the highest levels advised leaders in pagodas to educate and preach in order to prevent violence against children.
Observers, however, said the issue needed to be confronted head-on.“We are extremely disappointed this issue is not being addressed directly”, said Alistair Hilton, technical adviser to child sex abuse charity First Step.
“The message the organisers of the conference are sending out, by omitting this important issue from the agenda, is that the sexual abuse of boys in the care of the monkhood is not important.”
Monks attends the opening ceremony of the two-day national monk congress yesterday morning at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Theatre.
Monks attends the opening ceremony of the two-day national monk congress yesterday morning at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Theatre. Heng Chivoan
UNICEF’s chief of child protection, Bruce Grant, said the reaction of authorities to the Siem Reap case in particular illustrated a wider problem.

Phnom Penh's roots discovered

Phnom Penh's roots discovered
Wed, 30 December 2015 ppp
Phak Seangly

A research photo of a Neolithic axe head that was uncovered in Kandal’s Muk Kampoul district earlier this year by archaeologists and Cambodian researchers. Thuy Chanthourn

Two newly discovered archaeological sites suggest people were living close to what is now Phnom Penh thousands of years before the capital was founded.

Villagers living along the Mekong, and a monk at a pagoda, both in Kandal province, have discovered artefacts including Neolithic axes and human bone, which indicate human settlement in the area as long as 3,000 years ago, according to a report obtained yesterday.

“The use of polished stone dates back to about 1000 to 1500 BC,” said Dutch archaeologist and professor Hans Boch, one of a team of experts called to the bank of the Mekong after the find in Muk Kampoul district’s Chas village.

“The evidence shows people living there thousands of years ago,” he added.

“We found polished stone, a crafted metal bracelet, limb bones, teeth, a skull and pottery,” said Thuy Chanthourn, deputy chief of the Institute of Culture and Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

Ten different types of artefacts were found lying randomly on the surface of the ground on a plot measuring about 100 metres long, approximately 30 kilometres from Phnom Penh, Chanthourn added.

People inspect a section of an ancient site in Kandal province last week.
People inspect a section of an ancient site in Kandal province last week. Thuy Chanthourn
Villagers Chab Sreng and his wife, Tak Chhoeun, came across the priceless items after a mudslide.

“This discovery was only made because part of the riverbank collapsed,” said Pheng Sitha, vice rector of the University of Fine Arts.

Unions talk draft with parties

Unions talk draft with parties
Wed, 30 December 2015 ppp
Vong Sokheng

Union officials attend a meeting about the controversial trade union law yesterday at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Trade unions yesterday concluded meetings with Cambodia’s two main political parties about the draft trade union law as the parties tentatively gear up to hash out the controversial legislation this week.

A working group was announced earlier this month composed of five members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and another five from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party to address criticisms from unions that the law, which has yet to pass parliament, would dramatically reduce their freedom to organise.

Pen Panha, head of the CPP’s wing of the group, told reporters the CPP had met yesterday with some 33 trade unions at the National Assembly.

“We may set December 31 as the date for the meeting between the special working groups from the CPP and CNRP to discuss the issues raised by the trade unions,” he said.

“We collected their ideas to discuss them later.”

Trade unions also held a similar meeting in parliament on Monday with the CNRP.

Son Chhay, head of the CNRP’s wing of the working group, confirmed the meet, throwing his weight behind the unions’ criticisms of the law.

“The ideas of the trade unions are grounded in law and we collected and supported them,” he said.

Vendors at capital market balk at massive rent hike

Vendors at capital market balk at massive rent hike

A dramatic hike in rent by the landlord of Phnom Penh’s Dey Thmey Boeung Kropeu Market saw 60 vendors turn out in protest at the site yesterday morning.
According to Sam Sarat, a food and drink purveyor at the Meanchey district outlet, the owner is now demanding $200 per month in rent from each stallholder – an enormous leap from their previous $35 per month.
A greengrocer, Hai Sreymom, said that unlike other markets, theirs services mostly local factory workers and was therefore not very lucrative – her standard daily income is 30,000 to 40,000 riel (about $10 to $13), she said.
However, she admitted that the venue had been upgraded with improved roof coverings, security and hygiene.
The protest followed vendors’ failed efforts to negotiate a reasonable increase with the landlord, dessert stallholder Chan Sothea explained.
“We asked the owner to lower the price by 50 per cent, as we cannot afford it, but he disagreed. Therefore, we can only continue asking the district and municipal authorities to intervene,” he said.
Responding to vendors’ grievances, landlord Heng Kemseang said that the increased fee was to cover a $100,000 bank loan that he had taken out to pay for renovations and repairs.
“The [vendors] should pity me who dares to risk borrowing money from the bank in order to invest in this market. Their concern is that they cannot sell much stuff,” he said.

Assaulted lawmaker looks to US

Assaulted lawmaker looks to US
Wed, 30 December 2015 ppp
Meas Sokchea

CNRP lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun, who was injured in an attack outside the National Assembly in October, speaks after his return from a Bangkok hospital last month. Pha Lina

Nhay Chamroeun, one of the two Cambodian National Rescue Party lawmakers savagely beaten in front of the National Assembly in late October, may be seeking legal recourse through the US justice system.

In an interview with Radio Free Asia aired yesterday, Chamroeun, a dual Cambodian-US citizen, said he will be meeting with a lawyer with the intention of filing a lawsuit in a US court.

“The Khmer community in the US has already prepared a lawyer. So I will meet with the lawyer to seek the possibility to urge this suit,” he said.

In the same broadcast, Chamroeun reiterated the claim that the attacks were orchestrated.

“I suspected that the one . . . behind [the attack] is a powerful man,” he said, adding that “simple people” are not capable of such violence.

However, neither Chamroeun nor Kong Saphea – the other victim of the beating – went so far as to name any individuals who may have orchestrated the attack.

So far, three suspects currently held in Prey Sar prison have confessed to the beating, after Prime Minister Hun Sen called upon attackers to surrender.

Drivers' protest

Four more arrested in Bavet: org

Four more arrested in Bavet: org
Wed, 30 December 2015 ppp
Mech Dara and Bun Sengkong
Police hold a group of people arrested during garment worker protests in Bavet earlier this month. Photo supplied

A rights group claimed yesterday that four additional people have been arrested over recent violent garment worker protests in the Svay Rieng province town of Bavet, although police officials vigorously denied the claim.

Provincial Licadho coordinator Nouth Bopinnaroath said three people, including one woman, were arrested on Monday and a fourth person, a driver, was arrested yesterday.

“No charges have been filed against any of them,” he said, citing a woman who heard the news from her village chief.

The arrests would bring up the tally of arrested workers to 15, up from the 11 currently known to be in detention.

But provincial penal police chief Koy Sopheap denied the report. “There were no such arrests . . . Nouth Bopinnaroath disseminated incorrect information; where did he get this information that police arrested four more workers?”

Thousands of garment workers across two special economic zones in Bavet began striking on December 16 over the minimum wage, with police and protesters clashing repeatedly. Both sides alleged violence.

Workers returned to work peacefully this week, overseen by a heavy police presence.



កម្មវិធីទូរទស្សន៍អាស៊ីសេរី សម្រាប់ថ្ងៃទី២៩ ខែធ្នូ ឆ្នាំ ២០១៥

Chattanooga couple returns to changed Cambodia for holidays after once fleeing for their lives

Chattanooga couple returns to changed Cambodia for holidays after once fleeing for their lives
December 28th, 2015 by Olivia Harlow

Khom (left) and Tha Yim visit Phnom Penh, Cambodia, their homeland which they fled during the murderous Khmer Rouge years. They have lived in Chattanooga for the 33 years since they fled.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The holidays have a way of bringing people home.

But for Tha and Khom Yim, "home" is a complex term. Although they settled in Chattanooga decades ago, home is also Cambodia, where they once fled for their lives.

This month the Yims are visiting their homeland, a place where millions of people died during the Khmer Rouge genocide 40 years ago.

Most Cambodians led normal lives during the war in neighboring Vietnam.

Tha remembers growing up among farm fields and banana trees, riding bicycles through town and playing in the streets.

"It was a simple life," he said. "I took a bath in the Mekong River and stayed after dark without fear."

It was when the Vietnam War officially ended on April 17, 1975, that another one began. Suddenly, fear was everywhere.

"It was the day I lost my happiness," said Tha. "The hope for peace was just another tragedy."

Over the next four years, the Communist Khmer Rouge — in one of the world's most brutal genocides — wiped out nearly 2 million people, or 25 percent of Cambodia's population. Under the infamous rule of Pol Pot, Cambodians perished at the hands of their own people in Pot's attempt to create an agrarian society.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Cambodia: Detainees and prison staff work together to improve prison facilities

Cambodia: Detainees and prison staff work together to improve prison facilities
29 December 2015
Cambodia: Detainees and prison staff work together to improve prison facilities
A detainee helps build a new stove. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC /R. Chim

Over the past 20 years, the ICRC's Water and Habitat engineers have worked closely with Cambodia's prison service to decrease detainees' stress levels, provide better sanitation facilities and generally improve prison conditions throughout the country. This year, the prison service carried out a project independently for the first time.
ICRC representatives visit Siem Reap Provincial Prison. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC /R. Chim

With ICRC funding, a team of Cambodian engineers built two stoves and made other improvements to the kitchen facilities at Siem Reap Provincial Prison. The project was completed in just 54 days and came in under budget thanks to the hard work of the prison staff and 17 detainees who assisted the engineers.
New stoves at Siem Reap Provincial Prison. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC /R. Chim

“The new stoves make cooking much easier. But more importantly, you need less rice husk to fuel them,” said Filipa Correia, the ICRC engineer in charge of the water and habitat programme in Cambodia. In addition, relations between the guards and detainees have improved.
Rice husk used as fuel for cooking at Siem Reap Provincial Prison. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC /R. Chim

In October, the ICRC met with the director of Siem Reap Provincial Prison and the team of engineers who worked on the project to assess the results. “We will definitely continue supporting Cambodia’s prison service on similar projects,” said Ms Correia. “What we saw in Siem Reap demonstrated their commitment to improving detention conditions and their ability to perform to a high standard.”

Cambodian textile firm sewing the seeds of change

 Cambodian textile firm sewing the seeds of change

South-east Asia’s garment industry has a bad name but decent wages, childcare and labour rights are high priorities for one company breaking the mould
Workers at the Pactics factory in Cambodia

Piet Holten, chief executive of Pactics, says: ‘We are at the bottom of the garment trade, selling products that cost six cents. But we’re still showing we can improve people’s lives.’ Photograph: Sam Jones for the Guardian

The Guardian
Sam Jones in Siem Reap

Tuesday 29 December 2015 

Piet Holten, a tall and ebullient mechanical engineer from the Netherlands, is fond of referring to Pactics as one of the best NGOs in Cambodia.

As he strides around its premises on a quiet, green plot on the outskirts of the tourist town of Siem Reap, his patter is peppered with references to sustainability, empowerment, development and opportunity.

But Pactics is not an NGO; after all, few NGOs would build themselves around a mission statement that aims “to create a decent company that offers competitively priced, high-quality microfibre products in an environmentally and socially responsible way”.

Nor, however, is it most people’s idea of a south-east Asian textile operation. Its factory has been designed by an architect and is arranged around a series of cooling courtyards. Its four buildings are designed to “harvest” daylight so there is no need for artificial light except during storms. Through the air above the waterlily-studded pond and the young trees being grown for shade, squadrons of dragonflies dart and dive.

Set up by Holten in Shanghai in 2004, Pactics began its Cambodian operations in 2010. Three years later, the Siem Reap factory was built; today it produces lens cloths and spectacle bags for the likes of Oakley, Tiffany and Ray-Ban.

Golden memories ...

Risks Remain Despite Cambodia’s Robust Growth: IMF Representative

Risks Remain Despite Cambodia’s Robust Growth: IMF Representative 

Yong Sarah Zhou, IMF’s resident representative in Phnom Penh, spoke with VOA Khmer’s Aun Chhengpor and Oum Sonita recently about the reasons for the country’s healthy growth, as well as some of the risks on the horizon. (Photo: Aun Chhengpor/VOA Khmer)

According the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Cambodia’s economy has grown by 7.0 percent during 2015.

[Editor’s Note: According the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Cambodia’s economy has grown by 7.0 percent during 2015. The fund predicts that the rate of expansion is set to continue, with 7.2 percent annual growth expected until the year 2020. The IMF’s resident representative in Phnom Penh, Yong Sarah Zhou spoke with VOA Khmer’s Aun Chhengpor and Oum Sonita recently about the reasons for the country’s healthy growth, as well as some of the risks on the horizon.]

The Cambodian government regularly touts its success in managing the country’s macroeconomic policy. Does the IMF agree that the economy is well run?

Cambodia’s robust economic performance can be attributed to its hard-won macroeconomic stability, meaning low inflation, stable currency balance, and the modest fiscal deficit. Beyond that, strong growth is also linked to its efficiency improvements, supported by open economic regime, its location in the world’s fastest growing region, and its favorable population dynamics. Those factors helped Cambodia to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies in the past two decades. Also, there are new challenges facing Cambodia in the next generation until the new phase of rapid transformation and becoming an emerging market economy.

Could you explain the IMF’s analysis that the garment, construction and real estate sectors are the three key pillars of Cambodia’s economy?

Garment exports are supported by Cambodia’s relatively low wages and its preferential access to the European Union markets in the Everything But Arms agreement (EBA). So Cambodia’s garment export enjoys the tax-free treatment for exporting to the EU. The robust real estate and construction activities are driven by positive investor confidence, including the prospects of the integration with the ASEAN, which resulted in higher demands for condominiums and retail offices. Also, the real estate and construction booms are supported by very strong domestic demands from the growing young generation needing houses. Beside these sectors’ performances, robust growth is also supported by the rapid credit growth.

New emphasis on grammar in school

New emphasis on grammar in school
Mon, 28 December 2015 ppp
Lay Samean

Students sit an exam in Phnom Penh earlier this year. The Ministry of Education announced last week that students would be subject to dictation exams in the academic year 2015-2016. Hong Menea


School of Vice: The state of the Khmer language in usage is about as corrupted and uncultivated as the speech of the PM himself! And yet the man is more concerned with people "insulting" or criticising him on Facebook than looking into the issue [among so many other pressing issues] of grave consequences and repercussions to the nation.


Cambodian high school students will now be subject to regular dictation tests to instil an understanding of Khmer grammar, according to the Ministry of Education.

The new curriculum, announced on Wednesday and to be introduced in the current academic year, will see students in grades 7 to 12 take up to 45 minutes of dictation daily.

“This is a significant skill in studying Cambodian and Khmer literature. It will help students to be more cautious and to remember spelling, grammar and essay writing conventions,” the ministry said in a statement.

The acting president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Ouk Chhayavy, expressed her support for including dictation in nationwide curricula and examinations, noting that over the past decade there has been little focus on adhering to correct grammar and spelling.

“I do not underestimate their ability, but they do not do it,” she explained. “Youths in this generation are smart in modern society, but their national language has been lost.”

Chhayavy suggested the ministry also include dictation from primary school. According to the Ministry of Planning, the annual rate of increase in literacy among 15-year-olds slowed to just 2 per cent from 2008 and 2013, compared to 10 per cent annually in the 10 years prior.

Fees eliminated on capital toll road

Fees eliminated on capital toll road

A truck passes through the newly opened toll booths on Veng Sreng Boulevard yesterday morning in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Phnom Penh Tollway Co Ltd’s short-lived administration of Veng Sreng Boulevard has come to an end.
City Hall yesterday scrapped all toll fees on the thoroughfare following a unilateral decision by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who was acting on a slew of complaints on social media over high costs incurred by drivers using the road.
Hun Sen wrote in Facebook posts late on Sunday night that he had decided to order an immediate halt to all toll collections on Veng Sreng.
“Shortly after 12 midnight, I decided to take back Veng Sreng after being given the good idea from our people via my Facebook,” he wrote.
“I would like to clarify that there will be no payments for travelling on Veng Sreng Boulevard anymore. I only ask all our brothers and sisters respect the Traffic Law and avoid traffic accidents on Veng Sreng,” he added.
“I offer Veng Sreng Boulevard as a gift to the people to use free of charge.”
But the gift comes at a cost for one local contractor.
The $10.5 million contract to widen and renovate Veng Sreng was acquired by Phnom Penh Tollway in 2013.
The company is chaired by Choeung Thean Seng, a relative of Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin.
Attempts to reach the firm were unsuccessful yesterday.
Municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said that the city would now form a committee to determine how to pay Phnom Penh Tollway for the work done so far.
“We need to create a committee consisting of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, City Hall and other relevant institutions and the company to check the contract and to evaluate how the government will pay out the contract,” he said.
“The company has spent more than $10 million for the construction to widen the road and install a sewage system, street lights and other things.”
An official directs a truck toward a toll booth on Veng Sreng Boulevard yesterday.
An official directs a truck toward a toll booth on Veng Sreng Boulevard yesterday.Hong Menea
In a statement yesterday, City Hall confirmed that it would pay back local residents who had purchased cards to allow them to use the road without charge.

Ministry toughens teen labour ID requirements

Ministry toughens teen labour ID requirements
Tue, 29 December 2015 ppp
Lay Samean

Garment factory employees walk along Veng Sreng Boulevard last year after finishing work. Hong Menea

The Ministry of Labour has announced new regulations for hiring workers between the ages of 15 and 18, toughening identification requirements in a sector plagued by the use of fraudulent documents.

The prakas, active since November 20, requires young workers to show at least three different kinds of identification documents to employers.

Meanwhile, employers are tasked with sending the papers of workers they suspect are underage directly to the ministry’s child labour and occupational health departments, along with keeping lists of all young workers they employ.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said the announcement would ensure proper working conditions for Cambodia’s young workers.

“In the past, we have stipulated that children could not be employed, but in the prakas, as in the International Labour Organization, there are rules about using the labour of a person between 15 and 18 years old,” he said.

According to the prakas, employers must ensure their young workers do not work in dangerous conditions – a stipulation already in the existing Labour Law – and do not work overtime on Sundays and between 10pm and 5am on regular workdays.

‘Bride search’ ends in arrest of two Chinese

‘Bride search’ ends in arrest of two Chinese
Tue, 29 December 2015 ppp
Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Two Chinese human trafficking suspects were arrested in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district on Sunday for allegedly attempting to recruit a 17-year-old girl to enter into an arranged marriage in China.

Major Thai Vantha, chief of the provincial anti-human trafficking police, yesterday identified the Chinese nationals as Xu Jiang, 24 – the man seeking a bride – and his mother, Ye Guaxin, 46.

The pair were arrested based on a complaint from the alleged victim’s family.

“They were human traffickers. They came directly to Tbong Khmum . . . in order to seek and choose a young Khmer bride for marriage and bring her to marry in China,” Vantha explained.

The two are expected to be sent to the provincial court for questioning today, he added.

Captain Var Sambath, deputy chief of Kroch Chhmar district police, said the two suspects were brought to Kroch Chhmar by another Khmer woman, who had herself entered into an arranged marriage in China.

According to Sambath, Ye had promised the alleged victim’s family $4,500 if she would move to China with her son. Xu, meanwhile, had courted the girl, but allegedly, after having sex with her, declared their birthdates astrologically incompatible, prompting the complaint.

Vantha said the engagement was broken off after the Khmer contact had found Xu a more a suitable bride.

‘Anarchic’ Poipet fees decried

‘Anarchic’ Poipet fees decried
Tue, 29 December 2015 ppp
Phak Seangly

Tourists disembark from a bus in the border town of Poipet before crossing into Thailand. Poipet checkpoint officials have been accused of charging tourists extra processing fees to pay for utility bills. Bloomberg

New reports of border officials at Poipet International Checkpoint demanding extra from travellers crossing the border between Cambodia and Thailand have again thrown the spotlight on the oft-maligned western gateway to the Kingdom, with an opposition lawmaker pledging action to stop the “anarchy”.

From fees for a “VIP” service, to demands for money for cash-strapped guards to pay for utilities, paper and ink, the most recent complaints were “typical” of a years-long culture of irregular payments being exacted at the Banteay Meanchey province crossing, said Sum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc.

According to a 34-year-old Cambodian, who recently travelled to Thailand with his wife, border officials proffered two explanations as to why they needed an extra $5, despite there being no fee for Cambodians to exit their homeland.

“At the departure office, [the official] saw that my wife had a new passport and said we needed to pay 10,000 riel to have it stamped,” the man, who declined to be named, said.

“In another case, they asked for 10,000 riel to help pay their water and electricity bills. We gave them the money or else they would have used this or that excuse, and it would have added hours to our trip.”




Monday 28 December 2015

ទាហាន​យួន​គ្រប់គ្រង​ដី​ខ្មែរ​ប្រមាណ​៤​ម៉ឺន​ហិកតា​នៅ​ខេត្តរតនគិរី ធ្វើ​ឲ្យ​មានការ​ព្រួយបារម្ភ​យ៉ាង

ទាហាន​យួន​គ្រប់គ្រង​ដី​ខ្មែរ​ប្រមាណ​៤​ម៉ឺន​ហិកតា​នៅ​ខេត្តរតនគិរី ធ្វើ​ឲ្យ​មានការ​ព្រួយបារម្ភ​យ៉ាងខ្លាំង


School of Vice: What exactly is the nature of the presence of foreign armed personnel on Cambodian soil? As military ally and token of assistance, and if so, against whom? Protecting legitimate Vietnamese investments, and from whom or what threat precisely? Will these soldiers and their civilians become used to thinking: "This is our land" as they have done with regard to Koh Tral island and Kampuchea Krom territory in similar sinister dealings and mode of de facto physical occupation? Why are the rest of the 'civilised' world and governments so tolerant and oblivious to the rape of a small state by its more powerful neighbour? Have we all lost our collective sanity? 


BY មនសិការខ្មែរ

តាមរយៈ​ដី​សម្បទាន​សេដ្ឋកិច្ច​ដែល​រដ្ឋាភិបាល​លោក ហ៊ុន សែន ប្រគល់​ឲ្យ​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​យួន គឺជា​មូល​ហេតុដែល​ធ្វើ​ឲ្យ​ទាហាន​យួន​អាច​គ្រប់គ្រង​ជា​ផ្លូវការ​នូវ​ដី​ប្រមាណ​៤​ម៉ឺន​ហិកតា​នៅតាម​តំបន់​ព្រំដែន​ក្នុង​ខេត្តរតនគិរី​។ ប្រការនេះ​បាន​នាំ​ឲ្យ​មាន​សេចក្ដី​ព្រួយបារម្ភ​យ៉ាងខ្លាំង​ចំពោះ​គ្រោះថ្នាក់​សម្រាប់​ប្រទេស​កម្ពុជា​នាពេលខាងមុខ ព្រោះ​បន​យួន​ឈ្លានពាន​មិនដែល​បោះបង់​មហិច្ឆតា​ដ៏​ខ្មៅ​ងងឹត​ក្នុងការ​លេប​ត្របាក់​ទឹកដី​ខ្មែរ​តាម​បណ្ដាំ​ខ្មោច​ហូជីមិញ នោះទេ​។ ជាពិសេស​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​របស់​កងទ័ព​យួ​ន​ដែល​កាន់កាប់​ដី​ខ្មែរ​តាម​ព្រំដែន​ក្នុង​ខេត្តរតនគិរី គឺជា​រឿង​មួយ​ដែល​រដ្ឋាភិបាល​លោក ហ៊ុន សែន ត្រូវ​ពិនិត្យឡើងវិញ​ជាបន្ទាន់ ដើម្បី​បង្ការ​គ្រោះថ្នាក់​ដល់​ប្រទេសជាតិ​។

តាម​ប្រភពព័ត៌មាន​ដែល​បាន​ផ្សព្វផ្សាយ​នាពេល​ថ្មីៗ​នេះ បាន​ឲ្យ​ដឹងថា ដី​ខ្មែរ​តាម​បណ្ដោយ​ព្រំដែន​ក្នុង​ខេត្តរតនគិរី ប្រមាណ​៤​ម៉ឺន​ហិកតា​ត្រូវបាន​ទាហាន​យួន​គ្រប់គ្រង​ព្រោះ​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​យួន​ដែល​ទទួលបាន​ដី​សម្បទាន​សេដ្ឋកិច្ច​ពី​រដ្ឋាភិបាល​លោក ហ៊ុន សែន គឺជា​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​របស់​ស្ថាប័ន​ការពារជាតិ​យួន​។ ក្នុងនោះ​ដី​ប្រមាណ​៤​ម៉ឺន​ហិកតា​ពីដំបូង​ជា​ដី​សម្បទាន​សេដ្ឋកិច្ច​ដែល​រដ្ឋាភិបាល​លោក ហ៊ុន សែន ប្រគល់​ទៅ​ឲ្យ​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​ឯកជន​យួន​ដាំ​កៅស៊ូ​និង​ដំណាំ​ក​សិ​-​ឧស្សាហកម្ម​ផ្សេងៗ ដើម្បី​អភិវឌ្ឍន៍​។ ប៉ុន្តែ​ក្រោយមក​នៅក្រោម​យីហោ​នៃ​ដី​សម្បទាន​សេដ្ឋកិច្ច​នោះ ស្រាប់តែ​មានការ​ផ្ទេរ​ជា​បន្តបន្ទាប់​រហូត​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​របស់​ទាហាន​យួន គឺជា​អ្នកគ្រប់គ្រង​។ ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​បញ្ហា​នេះ​ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ​រស់នៅ​តាម​តំបន់​ព្រំដែន​ក្នុងស្រុក​មួយចំនួន​នៃ​ខេត្តរតនគិរី បាន​ឲ្យ​ដឹងថា នៅក្នុង​ដី​សម្បទាន​ប្រមាណ​៤​ម៉ឺន​ហិកតា​នោះ ទាហាន​យួន​បាន​បោះទីតាំង​ឈរជើង​និង​ដាំ​ដំណាំ​ផ្សេងៗ ហើយ​មាន​អាថ៌កំបាំង​ដែល​គ្មាន​នរណា​អាច​នឹកស្មាន​ដល់​។

Sanctuary ‘cleared’ in Kampong Speu

Sanctuary ‘cleared’ in Kampong Speu
Mon, 28 December 2015 ppp
Khouth Sophak Chakrya

Officials in Kampong Speu province have accused a man of illegally clearing dozens of hectares of land in the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary to grow sugarcane.

Muong Phy, governor of Oral district, said local land broker Thorng Sokheng bought 100 hectares of land from villagers living on the fringes of the sanctuary, but he later began overstepping the lines of his purchase, illegally clearing land within the sanctuary over the past two years to make way for a planned sugarcane plantation.

“Now we hear that Thorng Sokheng is trying to contact officials [in the Ministry of Environment] to rent out the state land that has already been cleared … but no replies have been received,” Phy said.

Phy added that today, a working group composed of Ministry of Environment officials and local authorities would inspect the site to prepare for an eventual lawsuit. Sokheng could not be reached yesterday.

Yorng Phearum, deputy director of the Oral sanctuary, said the illegal clearing had been stopped by authorities, but not before 54 hectares were cut.

“We do not allow sugarcane plantations or other crops or buildings on the land because it is a wildlife sanctuary managed by the state,” Phearum said.

Since May 2010, the government has instituted a freeze on parcelling out state land to private companies, so attempting to rent out state land, especially in a protected area, is illegal, said Srun Darith, an Environment Ministry cabinet chief.

Darith said that because the land was cleared but not “occupied” yet, punishment would likely come in the form of a fine.

“For clearing sanctuary land, it is necessary to get the perpetrator punished in accordance with the law,” he said.

Two workers electrocuted in Mondulkiri

Two workers electrocuted in Mondulkiri
Mon, 28 December 2015 ppp
Kim Sarom

Two workers were electrocuted to death while installing electrical cables on National Road 76 in Mondulkiri’s Koh Nhek district when the electrical pole they were working on fell on Saturday.

District police official Kann Penh said yesterday that the families of Sann Sothun, 24, and Yeam Sothun, 15, were given an unspecified amount of compensation by their employer, EM Company.

“I saw the representative of the company paid for the funeral and compromised with the families,” he said.

Describing the incident, Penh said the victims were strapped to the pole with harnesses. “Witnesses . . . saw them working on the pole 8 to 9 metres high. The pole collapsed, sending them to the ground and killing them,” he said.

Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Worker’s Federation (CFSWF), said that companies in the Kingdom often failed to adequately provide safety training, and contended that 15-year-old Yeam Sothun should not have been hired in the first place.

“It’s a big mistake of the company,” he said.

EM representatives could not be reached.

Dearth of job security for young workers: org

Dearth of job security for young workers: org
Mon, 28 December 2015 ppp
Lay Samean

A young boy washes a motorbike in central Phnom Penh earlier this year. Hong Menea

Employers in the Kingdom need to draw up more contracts with their young workers to keep them from being exploited and left in the dark in case of a dispute, a youth NGO urged yesterday.

Cheang Sokha, director of the Youth Resource Development Program, said yesterday morning at a conference that youth in the informal sector who work in places like restaurants and car washes remain at risk of being exploited in low-paid jobs with little recourse for legal resolutions.

“Youths seem to have no method for solving problems between themselves and employers, they do not know how to do so,” Sokha said. “It is different from unions or workers who have a solution-finding mechanism.”

Sok Mean, the deputy director of the National Employment Agency, said that the Labour Ministry regularly launched workplace inspections to ensure employers carry out the Labour Law.

But Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, said that youths in the informal sector themselves needed to organise to solve their problems.

The YRDP recommended youths create union-like organisations to demand higher salaries and ensure labour laws are followed.

According to a study of 408 youths in Phnom Penh released in September, the YRDP estimated that only 27 per cent of respondents had contracts with their employers.

Encroachment Unaddressed at Border Ceremony

Encroachment Unaddressed at Border Ceremony

Khmer Times/Aisha Down and Taing Vida
Sunday, 27 December 2015
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during a ceremony to inaugurate a border post near O Yadav border crossing in southern Ratanakkiri province on Saturday. Xinhua/Sovannara

“I think Vietnam is forcing Cambodia to complete the border posts early just in case the ruling party loses the election in 2018,” he said. “Vietnam would have difficulty grabbing new land from Cambodia with a new government, as they have already done.”
 Um Sam An 

O’YADAV,  RATANAKKIRI – Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung, pledged their commitment to peace along the border on Saturday and praised progress made in demarcating the border separating the two countries. 

More than 100 people – including government officials from both countries and Oknha Try Pheap, who owns Mittapheap casino and hotel at the border – gathered Saturday at the O Yadav border crossing in southern Ratanakkiri province to commemorate the construction of a nearby border post and the opening of a 450-meter long road along the border. After the ceremony, the prime minister and other officials took off on a plane for another border marker inauguration in Takeo province.  

According to the prime minister, the two countries still need to demarcate another 17 percent of the 1270 kilometer-long border. After this is finished, he said, Vietnam and Cambodia will focus on solving their maritime boundaries.

“I am so proud that our two countries break through the difficulties within building a peaceful border between the two countries,” he said. “The Cambodian government will make a hard effort to work with the Vietnamese government to ensure that the border posts are accurate and internationally recognized,” he said.